February 24, 2018

Altoids Tin or Mini Kit

Every year I see at least one story about someone sliding off the road and into a ravine or getting lost in the mountains or some other unfortunate act.  These people are often found alive, days or sometimes weeks later.  Many are not so fortunate.  It was one of these stories that got me carrying what I call a mini kit in our vehicles.  This was actually an article I had planned on writing later this fall.  That is until I saw this story about a California man survives after his car plunges 200

“La Vau, 68, said he survived for six days after the crash by eating bugs and leaves and drinking water from a creek. He said he spent nights in his wrecked car and his days outside, yelling for help every 30 minutes or so. He could hear cars on the road above him, but none stopped.”

There was another car not far from Mr. La Vau, that driver had crashed two weeks prior and was only found because Mr. La Vau was.

I carry other gear in my car but this kit is kept in my console and is, in large part, supplemental.  The stories I mentioned above are the reason I carry it at all.  One of the stories involves a woman who had her pelvis broken and was stuck in the driver seat, this is why I keep the kit withing reach of the driver seat, console or glove box should be ok.

      • Altoids tin is the container for the mini kit
    • Tinfoil; I think it’s 12” x 12”.  This can be used to catch rain, boil water or make a fancy hat (LOL).
    • Lighter and matches for making fire.  If you have your battery, you have another way to make fire.  (the matches are “strike anywhere” , I think they changed the makeup of these, they used to light if you gave them a dirty look, I couldn’t get these to light on anything short of the strike plate.)
    • Cotton balls with some Vaseline; these are fantastic for starting a fire.  If you plan to use this, spend some time making sure they’ll light.  I did and found I was using too much Vaseline and the flame wouldn’t hold.  I actually pulled this kit out and tried to use the cotton and a flint to start a fire, the Vaseline had dried out.  Lesson learned; check all kits yearly, not just the BOB’s.  (Dryer lint or char cloth are also good here.)
    • Razor blade; I always carry a pocket knife, but I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
    • I also carry a small fishing kit, a few hooks, sinkers and 25 or so feet of line.  In one of these stories I read that a man was stranded near a lake and could see small fish, with no way to catch them. 
  •  One item I just thought of as I am writing this that I need to add is a whistle. Yelling can quickly wear you out and do a number on your throat, while blowing a whistle all day long takes next to no effort, just ask my neighbor kid.

Here is a good article from ield and Stream that shows make a Survival Kit out of an Altoids Tin

Here is a picture of how I keep the kit in my car.

    • $.99 first aid kit (you can supplement this with some meds)
    • Cheap knife; my thought or this is to be able to cut the seatbelt if needed.
  • I might wrap a section of Para-cord around these two instead of the rubber band, that would give a good length of rope.

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