The Altoids tin mini survival kit has long been popular with those in preparedness circles. These great little tins though, can be used for so much more. For those readers in the UK the Fishermans Friend lozenge tins are about the same size and are every bit as useful.
Children suffer dreadfully in times of crisis. Including them in the preparations for such an event can calm them considerable. Giving them their own small bug out bag complete with child friendly lightweight kit makes them feel less excluded and part of the team.
Altoids tins make a very compact, easily transportable medium for barter items in a crisis situation. So what can you fit in such a small tin?
Well if you’re thinking of ongoing needs for a family of six…not much. But for small individual carry kits, or as I said, small barter kits, a hell of a lot can be put into a relatively small space if you take your time to find the right items.
Well start with the most common one:
- Mini survival kit: Everyone will have an opinion of what should go in, and that’s fine. Aim to have a few generic items that would be of use regardless of the situation such as waterproof matches, a mini compass, band aids, cordage, wire saw etc. Include a ziplock bag. It holds water and is infinitely easier to fill than a condom.
- Sewing Kit: Sewing notions will be in great demand after any type of collapse. Include needles and threads, safety pins, buttons and popper fastenings. A couple of fabric patches might be worth including in barter tins.
- Mini toolkits: A small screwdriver, a couple of coils of wire, nuts, bolts, screws and nails will be highly sought after as barter items.
- Lighting kit: Small or cut down candles, and a book of matches would be useful in any emergency situation as well as for barter.
- First aid kit: Band aids,dressings, small stretch bandages, safety pins,tape,tourniquet ( a bit of an inner tube works well) alcohol wipes etc.
- Fishing kit: Lures,hooks and line rolled around sturdy card.
- Firestarter kit: Matches,disposable lighter, tinder.
- Writing kit: Folded paper in the bottom, and small pencils. Regular pencils are easy to saw in half and then sharpen. Ideal for kids on long journeys or small gifts or barter in emergencies.
- Kids activity kits: Anything you like that will fit. Wax crayons and pre-printed pictures to colour, paper, sequins and a glue stick, whatever floats their boat. These are also useful to store as small gifts when shop brought stuff may not be available. As such their barter value to other parents would be high.
- Over the counter medication: Cut through the foil between the blister packaging. Acetominophren and Ibuprophen store well and are always handy to have in the glove compartment or backpack. In any kind of breakdown simple medications will be very highly sought after. Go for brands that are instantly recognizable if they are for barter.
- Food: Particularly for barter having a pre-defined amount of goods makes life easier. Foodstuffs should be plastic wrapped and the tins foil lined. Items such as:
- instant coffee
- herbs and spices (individual wraps for mixed tins suitable for perking up food whilst hiking)
- tea bags
- chocolate powder
- Those little peppers, salt and sugar sachets picked up in cafes and fast food outlets.
- hard candy
- dried fruit
- Other items: Cheap collapsible toothbrush and mini toothpaste, tampons, seeds, cigarettes and/or tobacco, mixed cordage and anything else small enough to fit that may have value in a crisis…or keep your backpack organized.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.