Contents of My Mini-Personal Survival Kit

Rather than make a separate page for each picture (yeah, I know, getting lazy), I put all the pictures of my mini-Personal Survival Kit on one page, starting with photos that show it being unpacked layer by layer and ending with close-ups of some of the contents. The photos aren't the best, I admit, but hey, what do you want for free?

Mini-Personal Survival Kit in its Altoids mints container.          The first thing you see when you open the mini-PSK, a cheat sheet with emergency action steps.

Left, no parachute cord wrapped around this Altoids tin, because I don't want to attract unwanted attention from overly-paranoid building security people, so all the outside of the PSK has is a layer of electrical tape to seal and waterproof it. Right, what you see when you open it, a 'cheat sheet' that lists emergency action steps, mini-PSK contents and reminders of some basic survival techniques such as fire starting and water treatment. This serves two purposes: 1) It helps keep me focused and thinking clearly in an emergency, and 2) It can help someone unfamiliar with survival to figure out what to do with the contents. The fluorescent yellow color also enables it to be used as a small signal panel to attract attention.

The compressed sponge helps to cushion the contents of the mini-PSK.          The top layer is things I might need immediately, like the whistle.

Left, I use the compressed sponge to cushion the contents, and to help keep everything from bursting out when I open the kit. Right, top layer of the contents, including a whistle to attract attention and a water collection and treatment bag. The inside lid was highly polished to enable it to be used as a rudimentary signal mirror. Not as good as a real mirror, but that takes up too much space.

The matches, tinder and the flashlight are in the next layer.          Alternate fire starting implements include the flint/magnesium sparking stick and metal striker and waterproof fire starters.

Left, waterproof matches wrapped in plastic for added protection, an LED flashlight, waxed nylon cord in the green baggie and water treatment pills in the small brown glass vial. If you do repackage Potable Aqua water treatment pills, it is very important to put them in something that the iodine will not corrode through and ruin the rest of your kit. Glass and Teflon are about the only things iodine will not eventually eat. Although the lid to this glass vial is hard black plastic, I put a length of plumber's Teflon tape over the opening before screwing the lid down tight, and so far that has worked fine. Right, steel striker for the flint/magnesium sparking stick, wrapped in fishing line, waterproof Tinder Quick fire starters, a drinking tube and the wire saw (wrapped in a slit length of vinyl tubing to keep it from puncturing other PSK items).

The complete contents of the mini-PSK, 60 items that just might help keep you alive.

The complete contents of the mini-PSK. Yes, all of that really fits into the Altoids tin, but be forewarned, it can take four hands to keep it all in there before you shut the lid! There is some redundancy, for example matches and a flint/steel sparking stick and waterproof tinder, and a razor blade and 2 razorknife blades, but that gives you flexibility and options to meet whatever situation you are confronted with.

Close-up of some of the mini-PSK contents.          Close-up of more of the mini-PSK contents.

Left, close-up of some of the contents, including the wire saw and pull rings, nylon cord in a very small ZipLoc bag, cutting tools, wire fishing leaders, whistle, flashlight, compass, matches and flint/magnesium sparking stick. Right, drinking tube and water treatment tablets, safety pins, fish hooks in various sizes, lures, two needles, two nails, the electrical tape that closed the kit, and a small section of soda straw to wrap the electrical tape around after you remove it.

Close-up of signaling and fire starting contents.          Close-up of fishing gear, flashlight and miscellaneous bits.

Left, PSK cheat sheet, aluminum foil, the wire saw, sponge, duct tape on adhesive label sheet backing, the water bag, waterproof tinder. Right, close-up of the fishing gear, fire starting and other items.

One thing I have done since (again!) repackaging the mini-PSK while tinkering with the contents is to place similar items in small plastic bags zip lock bags, like you can get from a jewelers or from the C.L. Morgan Co. This helps prevent the loss of the many small items and also sorts out the stuff you might need right away, like fire starting supplies, from the things that can wait, like fish hooks and safety pins.

Will all of these little bits and pieces save my life someday? Maybe. Will knowing I have these tools and the knowledge and ability to use them make me breathe easier in an emergency? Definitely.


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This page was last updated Feb. 23, 2004

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