You have your EDC Altoid kit, you have your BOB backpack, but what about a different container? What about a coffee can survival kit? the more that you can have available nearby for use in a disaster situation, the better off you’ll be. Let’s say that you’re at work when you get word a wildfire has started near your house. There’s zero chance that you’ll be able to head back home and grab the gear you’ll need.
Or, let’s say that you’re driving with your kids through a Montana winter when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. You’ve no cell service, nobody else is around, and you’re on your own. It happens!
In either case, all you have available to you is the gear in your vehicle. this is why it’s important that every prepper have gear stocked, and what’s easier than putting it all into an empty coffee can, creating a coffee can survival kit!
You can just about always stuff a coffee can into a corner somewhere, whether that be in your college dorm, in your vehicle, or in a desk drawer. So why not keep one at hand?
Items to Put in a Coffee Can Survival Kit
If you’re interested in building your own compact survival kit in this fun DIY project, check out what we packed in ours below.
1 – Uberleben Zuben Fire Striker
I’ve done a lot of research on the various types of fire strikers out there, and I really do think that Uberleben makes some of the best ones out there. If you’ve got the money to burn, the Electric Strike works absolutely fantastic, but I would venture a guess to say you likely don’t have $90 sitting around to spend on a fire striker.
2 – Fire Blowing Tube
That’s really the best description that I can think of for this guy, but it’s technically called a pocket fire bellow. I’ve started enough fires to know that I don’t like breathing in smoke. You can pick up a 2-pack of these telescoping tubes on Amazon, and they help to eliminate that problem just about completely.
3 – Kobalt Multi-Tool
I picked this up for sale at my local Lowe’s for $20 or so. It came with a pocketknife too. This is my go-to multi-tool that I keep on my person pretty much all the time. It’s not the lightest multi-tool out there, but it’s incredibly useful, as I find myself using one 2-3x a day.
4 – Folding Knife
This is a cheap folder I picked up at my local Walmart. I think it cost me all of $7. Yeah, yeah, you get what you pay for, but I always have a higher quality blade on my person, and this one has handled everything I’ve thrown at it so far. And shoot, $7 for a knife is about as affordable as it gets.
5 – Cold Steel Urban Pal
If you don’t know about Cold Steel, you’ve been doing yourself a disservice. This is my favorite knife company out there, and I’ve used their blades for years backpacking and about the farm. The stuff they make is as strong as an ox. I figure the Urban Pal could easily be used for a makeshift spear. It’d probably be better off with a longer blade like with the Safe Maker 1, but this is what I have, so this will have to do.
6 – Paracord
Here’s another item I use on just about a daily basis – Paracord – it’s a survivalist favorite. Buy a roll of it and split it up into different lengths. I put three different lengths of cord in here. I figure the longest one would make a great bear bag or shelter roof (for an A-frame), and the others would be for just about anything. And really, if I needed to, I could easily tie all these together to get one really long stretch of rope.
7 – USB Drive
Have you read our piece on creating a digital BOB? You really should. I’d never even thought about such, until after checking out what this article had to say. With a USB encrypted with VeraCrypt, I’ve got all of my sensitive information that I might need should I have to hit the road fast.
8 – Coins and Cash
This is mainly for vending machines and road tolls. Seriously, why do I have to pay taxes to drive on the road my taxes already helped build?! I never have change for when I need it for these situations, so this is mainly just for my own sanity. I figure that the ability to get food out of a vending machine could be beneficial as well in a post-disaster situation where your access to food has become severely limited.
I’m not going to take a crowbar to somebody else’s property to get food after a Hurricane Katrina event where things should go back to “normal” within a few months. This helps make sure I can at least get something should I need to. It’s only $3 worth, but I feel that’s a pretty good amount for my purposes here.
A bit of cash is easily one of the most practical things that I tuck in my survival kits. If I run out of cash in my wallet, this ensures that I have an extra stash that I can turn to should I end up in a pickle. Just make sure that you don’t tell your wife about this. Otherwise, it ends up being spent on bagels and coffee without your knowledge. (I may speak from experience on this one.)
9 – Post-it Notes
If your car breaks down, you can easily stick these to the inside of the window detailing what happened as you hike out for help. You may also find yourself using it for everyday, non-survival purposes.
10 – Vaseline-Soaked Cotton Balls
I’m convinced that this is the best type of tinder out there. I’ve yet to find anything that lights anywhere near as quickly as these little guys do. They’re most certainly a sticky mess, but you can get a fire started with them in one strike, and they burn long and hot enough to get your fire going no problem.
11- Emergency Poncho
I confess that I’ve never run into a situation where I’ve had to use one of these, but I like knowing that it’s there just in case I should need it. Plus – they’re cheap! Most of the time I’ve already got weather-appropriate clothing with me, but these are so light, there’s really no reason not to throw one in your kit.
12 – Emergency Mylar Blanket
Here’s something that I have had occasion to use – an emergency blanket, and I’m fairly positive it saved my bacon as well. The heat difference that you feel when you have one of these things wrapped around you is drastic. These are (to me) one of the most useful pieces of survival gear that you can have with you, and I do my best to always make sure that I have one of these within reach, should I need it. You can get some pretty good deals on these things if you buy them in bulk. I think they make a pretty fun stocking stuffer as well.
13 – Tweezers
If you have big fingers, attempting to pull out a tick, splinter, or bee stinger can be difficult. And when such a situation happens, you’ll really wish that you had a pair of tweezers nearby. Throwing these in the kit solves that dilemma.
14 – Water Iodine Tablets
I really need to replace these with some newer ones, but for the moment, they’ll have to do. Water iodine tables are as important as having a fire starters.
Having some means of water purification is easily one of the most important things that you can do to keep yourself alive and healthy in a disaster situation. While I prefer using my Steri-pen – and find that iodine flavored water is terrible – this is most certainly better than nothing and can be tucked away and forgotten about.
15 – Pill Bottle Survival Kit
These things rock. They’re super easy to make, convenient to carry, and I use them all the time. Inside each bottle I pack two cotton balls, a pencil stub, $20, two band-aids, two aspirin, two Benadryl, a small Bic lighter, a notecard, and whatever else I can stuff in there.
16 – Shemagh
Nothing beats a good shemagh. At my house they get used to clean up messes more than anything else, but while hiking I use them to filter my water bottle from chunky stuff as I fill it up and to clean out pans. The uses are virtually endless.
17 – Lockpick and Turning Tool
I’m a locksmith, so I find reason to carry a picks with me just about everywhere I go. I prefer using a hook, so I’ve included that and a turning tool within this kit. Most of the time (for me) this involves getting a friend in their house after they’ve locked themselves out. There could most certainly be other survival situations you would want one of these for though.
18 – Mirror
If I get something in my eye, I like to be able to see it to get it out. This could easily be used as a signal device should you be lost out in the woods as well.
19 – Allen Wrenches
I threw two of these in here of different sizes. I never seem to have one of these when I need it. Hopefully, this will help me to avoid that in the future.
20 – First Aid Supplies
Alright, so this is most certainly not a fully stocked kit, but I figure this will cover most of my bases out there. I’ve already got painkillers, bandages, and Benadryl in my pill bottle survival kit, so this is some of the bigger stuff.
I’ve put in some muscle pain cream, alcohol prep wipes, bigger bandages, and some anti-itch goop as well.
21 – Plastic Bag
While I’m not a fan of Walmart, I do like plastic bags. How many times have you needed to carry a lot of something and didn’t have the necessary bag to carry it in? With the Walmart bag, I could easily dump the contents of my coffee can survival kit into it and carry all my gear out into the woods. I can use it to pick huckleberries, to hold other goodies I find while out in the bush, and so on.
These virtually weigh nothing, pack down real small, and you can get them everywhere, so there’s no reason to not do what you can to keep these at hand.
22 – Spare House Key
This is easier than picking a lock, and you never know when you’ll need a spare key. Perchance a friend comes over to my house before I get there and it’s pouring rain/freezing outside, that way I can text him where he can get a key to let himself in.
23 – Paperclip
You never know what these might come in handy for. I always keep one nearby just in case. If nothing else, they get me in push-button privacy knob doors rather painlessly.
24 – Carabiners
I end up using these all the time. You know how on some bags the zipper likes to disappear in the seams of the fabric? Having a carabiner attached to the zipper pull helps to keep that from happening. Being able to clip stuff to your belt loops helps to make your hands free as well.
25 – Shrum Tool
Behold, the shrum tool is the most useful tool in all of existence! This is a locksmithing tool that I’ve found is incredibly handy to keep on my person at all times. Have a knot you can’t get untied? Shrum tool! Have a panic bar lock you need to open? Shrum tool! Have something in a tiny space you can’t reach with your fingers? Shrum tool!
For real, pick yourself up some of these. You won’t regret it.
26 – Hot Hands Packets
I threw two of these in here. I like to keep these on hand (haha) at all times. They’ve proven their worth to me on various hikes and camping trips, and ever since then I occasionally buy them in bulk for use in survival kits and other outdoors expeditions. They’re reasonably affordable and make great stocking stuffers come Christmas.
27 – Headlamp
If you haven’t checked out my review of Vont’s products, you can read about it here! They’ve got a great, inexpensive lighting kit that comes with two headlamps. If you end up with a flat tire at night, in the interior of a warehouse when the power goes out, or the like, having a headlamp can be a true gamechanger.
I prefer headlamps over flashlights just so I can keep my hands free, and the Vont headlamp is a great way of keeping me from stumbling about in the dark without having to spend $20 on a light.
28 – Tissues
When I’m out in the woods, I mainly end up using these as toilet paper more than I do anything else. While, yes, leaves are just about always available, have you tried wiping your butt with a pine branch? It’s not a pleasant experience. These are light and cheap, so save yourself the hassle and put some of them in the kit.
This most certainly isn’t a definitive list. If you’re making a coffee can survival kit, throw in there what works for you. Include the items that you already have around the house. I think a lot of times, people think that they’re simply out of luck because they haven’t got $400 to throw into gear to stuff in the DIY survival kit they watched a video of on YouTube.
Don’t worry about that. A vehicle coffee can survival kit doesn’t have to be expensive.
Use what you already have. If there’s something else (such as a fire striker) that you’ve had your eyes on and want to pick up, then that’s great! Go for it! But use what you have in the meantime, and don’t get caught up in the I-don’t-have-the-money woes.
Part of survival is creativity! If you can’t get creative with survival applications for the things you have laying around the house, do you really think you have much of a chance of actually making it out in the woods?
So, use what you have, and upgrade when you can.
Use the above list as a template – as a means to get your gears turning. The goal is to increase your access to tools and equipment that would make survival easier. What do you have nearby that could help with that? Do you have other thoughts on our list? What would you include in a coffee can survival kit? Let us know in the comments below!