Be Prepared. Buy Altoids.

by Andy Amick on October 7, 2015

in Gear, Prepared

The title should be read like one of the WWII war bonds posters. “Be prepared, buy more altoids” or  “Have you bought your Altoids?” or “Do your part, buy altoids”

altoids survival kit

Altoids tins are a simple and easy way to store an emergency kit in your backpack or on your bike. For anyone that enjoys a good puzzle, it’s also an interesting way to see just how many items you can fit inside.

Since they are so small, one could be dropped into each backpack and stored on each bike so that preparedness items are always available, if needed..

Small Altoids

small altoids firestarter kit, altoids fire starter, altoids survival

The small tin is, well, small. Imagine that. It’s perfect for stashing a few preparedness items and then dropping it into your hydration pack or seat bag. It will be there if it’s ever needed.

The picture above is the small kit I carry in my mountain bike hydration bag. Fire, water (by using the tablets in the hydration bladder if needed), and money are available if a ride doesn’t go according to plan.

Arctic Altoids

altoids survival kit

This is probably my favorite size – sort of the Goldilocks of Altoids – even though the lid on the top makes it harder to get items out.

It easily holds a firestarter, matches, two types of tinder, compass, razor blade, safety pin, and mini can opener (the sharp point is sometimes handy). This kit is in my day hiking pack. A person could easily reduce the amount of fire starting materials and replace them with water tablets, bandages, spare cash, or other small items.

Regular Altoids

This is a size that I don’t use anymore. I’ve played around with making a full size survival kit and is certainly possible. For a full preparedness kit, I prefer using Aloksak bags since they are waterproof whereas the Altoids tin is not. If you’re interested, do a search for Altoids survival kit and be ready to see how creative some people have gotten with the larger size tin.


Regardless of the size chosen, Altoids tins are a fun way to experiment with carrying preparedness/survival items with you. The tin is strong enough to hold up to wear and tear when it’s buried at the bottom of your pack, yet easy enough to open, switch out items, and access when needed.

One thing to keep in mind as you are devouring all of the mints in order to make your own kits is that the tins are not waterproof. Using waterproof matches and little zippered bags helps to protect the contents. Or just store the kit inside of a plastic bag which saves room inside the tins for more items.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

Follow me on Twitter ·

Previous post:

Next post: