Survival Kit in a Can

An essential item to have in any type of emergency, a survival kit in a can provides small but vital elements, which greatly enhance your chances of surviving in conditions that limit food, water or first aid. Because this type of kit is so small and easily carried, people are not hampered with heavy backpacks, when moving to a safer area to escape adverse conditions. In addition, you can put these compact survival kits in the glove compartment of your car in case you are stranded in a remote stretch of land.

Photo courtesy of mikepetrucci


You can purchase kits from companies selling survival equipment or you can make your own using a sardine can, a soup can or a coffee can. Survivalists can cook food or boil water in these tin cans as well, which is why one of the items in a survival kit in a can is a plastic baggie. You store the survival items normally packed in the can in the baggie, when using the can for other purposes.

Canned survival kits can also include:

  • Waterproof matches
  • Fishing line/hooks
  • Instant soup packet
  • Salt packets for flavor enhancement and dehydration prevention
  • Tea bags
  • Compass
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Razor blade
  • Band-Aids
  • Signal whistle
  • Water purification tablets
  • Chewable vitamins
  • Ibuprofen tablets

Energy boosters such as packets of sugar or honey are small enough to fit into a sardine can or an Altoids can. Remember these kits are meant to help someone survive for no more than three or four days before finding help.

Contents of a Larger Survival Kit in a Can

Survivalists can pack additional items in a coffee can since it is larger but not as convenient to carry when hiking. However, you can ensure you have the items essential for survival if lost in the wilderness, by keeping a coffee can survival kit in the trunk of your car with these things:

  • Long burning survival candles
  • Pocket knife
  • Energy bars
  • Pair of extra socks
  • Large trash bags
  • Penlight and extra batteries

A good substitute for candles are several feet of heavy string coated with melted wax. Wrap the string in wax paper to prevent them from getting wet. When needed, simply cut off a piece of string, fray the end and light that end with which to start fires.

An antihistamine like Benadryl is also handy to have in case of anaphylactic shock from eating wild plants that cause an unexpected allergy reaction. In addition, travel-sized tubes of cortisol cream will reduce itching from insect bites or contact with poison ivy.

Urban Survival Kit-in-a-Can

Items included in this kit differ because of the environment. A fishing line and hook will be useless in a city 20 miles from the nearest woods, creeks or lakes. Urban survival kits in a can meant for 72-hour use could include:

  • Water purification tablets
  • Band-Aids, antiseptic ointment
  • Penlight
  • Lighter/matches/long-lasting candle
  • Paper towels or a bandana to use as makeshift mask
  • Wet wipes
  • Ibuprofen
  • Coffee, tea, hot chocolate packets
  • Hard candies
  • Sugar packets

When creating a survival kit in a can, think about what kind of emergency for which you are preparing and what sort of items would be essential to survive in that situation. If you live in a region where winters are harsh and blizzards frequently occur, place a survival kit in your car that contains items useful for staying warm and preventing dehydration or nutritional weakness. For areas that are prone to earthquakes, necessities such as first aid items, water tablets, bandanas and energy bars would be the first things to pack in a soup or coffee can.

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