The Argument for Mini-Kits

Spend much time on the more heavily-trafficked survival message boards and you will inevitably see posts come up regarding mini-kits, like the kind you make out of the ever-popular Altoids tins. Frequently, what happens is someone posts a picture of one they put together, which is all well and good. But then, you’ll see several posts saying how it is a stupid idea, what possible use would such a small kit have, that sort of thing.

Part of the problem is that those who build these kits are often inexperienced with survival skills in general and perhaps feel these small kits are all they’ll need. At least, that’s how it sometimes comes across.

The reality is, these mini-kits are great.

But they certainly aren’t intended for long-term survival by any means. They are a backup, perhaps even a backup to your backup gear. They are not, or should not, be seen as the end all, be all survival kit.

The idea behind having a mini-kit is that, no matter what, you can always have at least some survival gear with you at all times. They are small enough to toss into a pocket or purse and not make you feel overburdened by the size or weight. If something happens to your primary gear, you’ll still have some of the basics at your disposal.

Typically, these Altoids tins and such have things like:

–Strike anywhere matches
–Tinder (Fire Straws, anyone?)
–A button compass for navigation
–A signal whistle to help rescuers find you
–A small razor knife or other blade
Water purification tablets
–Some adhesive bandages
–Duct tape
–Maybe even some paracord

No, a mini-kit isn’t going to keep you living high on the hog for weeks on end. But, it just might be enough to keep your butt alive for a day or two, at least long enough that you can work to improve your situation. As I always say, skills trump stuff every time. So, while you work on assembling all these nifty kits and whiz-bang gear, please be sure you know how to use all of it!

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

One thought on “The Argument for Mini-Kits”

  1. We really like the idea of a third layer backup. Our local group recently made this a discussion topic. While researching ideas like mini-kits, we found the W.A.S.P. bracelet.

    Before anyone dismisses this as just another paracord bracelet, visit the link and scroll down to the contents. We found it to be an impressive and unique list. Yes, even water purification tablets. All in a bracelet.

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