Building an every day carry (EDC) kit is easy. Building a small EDC kit is not. Want a challenge? Try fitting it all inside an Altoid tin. We need this item, that item – and that one, too. Before long, our EDC kit needs to be carried in a full on bug out bag backpack! Maybe I can help you focus on EDC essentials.
The ubiquitous Altoids tin has long been a staple within the prepping community. It’s small size, anonymous looking container, and easy portability means that it is a very convenient way to carry a number of supplies on your person at all times that can easily assist in your day-to-day life.
I’d like to take a look at two spins on a small EDC kit packed into an Altoids tin: the urban survival tin and the first aid survival tin. Either would make a great addition to your EDC kit, and there’s truly no reason not to carry one of these every day.
Urban Survival Tin
The pic below is everything I include in my Altoid tin small EDC kit. You will notice that not everything here is a “survival” item, and that’s okay. I also want my EDC kit to have everyday functional items. It is, after all, an “every day” carry kit.
I keep a piece of minty gum, and a rubber band within my urban survival kit. The stick of gum is so that I don’t completely embarrass myself giving a presentation after eating Thai food at work, and the rubber band has a myriad of uses.
I always keep a spare house key on me. You never know when you might need one of these, and they can save you a lot of time, headache, and money if you always have one available. Whether you drop your keys down a storm drain or need to give one to a family member who is in town this weekend, an extra key on your person is a must.
Here are a few first aid supplies I keep in the urban tin. There’s a Band-Aid, two alcohol prep pads, and some sting relief in case anyone gets stung by a bee.
I always like to keep some stamps on my person. I’ve found that they’re one of those things that you always need but can never find. In my experience, the post office likes to close at the drop of a hat as well, so it’s always a good idea to keep a good stock of stamps at home, perchance you need to get bills done and ready to mail and can’t buy stamps.
I keep a cheap Bic lighter and a birthday candle in my urban tin. I confess that I don’t really ever use these candles, and that they don’t really last very long at all, but they’re fun to have for friend’s birthdays at restaurants. You could seal a letter with them too if you wanted.
This is just a teeny, little Swiss army knife that I’ve had for years. It fits just about anywhere, and allows me to always have a knife, file, flat head screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, and scissors with me at all times. It fits really well within the tin, and there’s simply no reason to not add one of these as a last resort knife.
Here we have a lockpick that I cut to size with an angle grinder (it took all of two seconds), and a turning tool. I’ve found that I have better luck single pin picking than I do with a rake, so this is often the first style of pick that I turn to. If you’ve locked yourself out of some place, this is often all you’ll need in order to get back in. I keep some paperclips and two nails in the urban tin as well. Both have a myriad of uses, and I’ve found that since they weigh virtually nothing, they are well worth carrying.
I keep a small supply of sticky notes in case I need to leave a message for anybody (e.g., on the window of a broken-down car), a small pencil stub to write with, and a USB for data needs at work and on the go. It can also serve as your digital bug out bag – so to speak.
Here I have four quarters that I keep mainly for the surprise toll road (I truly hate those), and in case I need to get something out of a vending machine or something like that. These are pretty useless for phone booths anymore, so Plantar’s Peanuts from snack rooms it is. I also have a square of tinfoil folded up (it’s about 8”x5”) just for whatever.
And here we can see how everything fits nicely within the tin. If you look closely, you’ll notice that there’s also a little 8” strand of 550 paracord in there as well.
Built an Urban Survival Altoid Tin Kit
You can use the following items that I did, find your own, or pick and choose. Build one to your situation.
|Survival Tin Items||Purchase Link|
|spare house key||your local locksmith|
|alcohol prep pad||Amazon|
|stamps||your local post office|
|emergency birthday candle||Amazon|
|tiny Swiss army knife||Amazon|
|quarters and aluminum foil||under your couch/in your kitchen drawer|
First Aid Survival Tin
Out of all the variations of Altoids survival tins that you see people utilize, the first aid version is easily my favorite. I normally have most of the other prepping things that I need on my person in one way or another at all times, but first aid items seem to never be around when you need them.
How many times have you been around your friends when it turns out that somebody needs some form of medication or a Band-Aid? With the First Aid Tin, you’ll be better able to assist those you love, strangers, and even yourself with the random health happenstances that you’ll occasionally come across.
This tin gives me a pretty good baseline for daily health and medicine needs, and it’ll definitely help you to be able to help your friends while you’re out and about. Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside…
One of the first things that I included was an off-brand Benadryl. Some of my friends have food allergies, and we’ve discovered together that restaurants don’t always tell you what the ingredients are in their dishes. If you’ve ever watched your friend order dessert, only to discover that there are peanuts in it after taking a few bites, it’ll help you to realize the importance of always carrying some Benadryl on you.
I included a list of emergency phone numbers at the top of the tin, taped onto the underside. They’re numbers that you’ll definitely want in the event of an emergency and you have lost your cell phone full of your contacts (yet have access to another phone) or the like. Just a simple way to ensure that you can always contact who you need to.
I included two butterfly bandages within the kit to assist with temporary laceration closure. If you ever cut yourself accidentally, these can help to close up the wound pretty well until you can get to proper medical help. They’ve kept me from needing stitches a couple of times.
I have two alcohol swabs within the kit to help kill any of the germs that have gotten into a cut or what have you. You can also use them to clean your hands before eating.
Another form of handwashing that I like to keep around. I use these before I use the alcohol prep pads, if possible.
Here’s a small collection of bandages that I keep with me. Two little, small ones, and a regular size one. An old woodworker taught me to always carry these around, as you never know when you (or somebody else) might need one.
Here’s a little packet of muscle pain rub that I keep on hand. It’s called My Rubber Arm, and it’s essentially like a Biofreeze packet. It helps with pain relief if you end up with a muscle spasm while out and about or realize later in the day at work that the workout you did the day before has got you hurting.
Here’s two little 3×5 notecards and a pencil that I cut to size so that they fit into the bottom of the tin. Just in case you have to write a note for somebody. They’ve helped me a couple of times with stroke victims. I’ve been able to write down as much information from them as possible about their health history, meds, allergies, and so on before they completely lose the ability to talk. I then hand that information to the EMTs. Becoming an EMT, by the way, is great prepper medical training.
This is a daytime cold medicine and a nighttime cold medicine. It’s off-brand, but it’s essentially Dayquil and Nyquil. Colds never come at convenient times, and it’s very nice to have at least some medication to last you until you get home (perchance you suddenly become symptomatic at work/a hotel/a restaurant/etc.).
I keep four aspirin wrapped up in a little piece of tin foil. I’ve written in Sharpie on the foil “ASA” – which means aspirin in med-lingo – and the dosage size. These are good pain and fever reducers, and they can save somebody’s life if they’re having a heart attack.
Here’s two Tums that I keep in a piece of tin foil, with the name and dosage written on it once more. This is another medication that’s just never there when you need it. This way you’ll be able to continue hanging with your friends at a restaurant and have a good time. That’s an excellent book in the background, by the way.
I keep two little cough drops in the container as well. I use the strong stuff as I’ve never found the weaker, fruity flavors to be worth a hoot.
And this is how it all fits rather nicely into the Altoids tin. This little package will help you to easily have a wide swath of medications, and first aid tools to help you to be better prepared at the random health curveballs that life will occasionally throw your way.
Built a First Aid Altoid Tin Kit
|Survival Tin Items||Retailer|
|alcohol prep pad||Amazon|
|muscle rub packet||Amazon|
|DayQuil/NyQuil liqui caps||Amazon|
Small EDC Kit or Tiny?
Obviously, these kits aren’t comprehensive. They might even be considered tiny, but what you put in them is a factor of what you have on hand, what your needs are, and where your imagination takes you. Do you carry an Altoids survival tin? If so, what is the main type? Are there other items that you would carry in these kits instead? If so, let us know in the comments below!