Minimalist Survival Kit

The minimalist survival kit is a set of items you should always have with you. Your location doesn’t really matter since it contains the basics of the basics. This kit should be small enough to be contained in a small box that you can carry everywhere.

Now, let’s see what we are going to put inside!

I will list a few pre-made kits for those of you who don’t want to make their own. But I really recommend building your own and understand why each piece earned its place there. In such a small container, only the indispensable is included.

Once your kit is done, don’t just leave it alone. Check it frequently and don’t forget to bring it with you. Always bring it with you, wherever you go. Every time you check it, be sure everything is still in a good state and not expired, specially the matches and the medicine tablets.

You can fill in the space left in your tin with cotton wool to prevent the contents from rattling. The wool can then be used to make a fire!

Note that when taking the plane, you will have to keep your minimalist kit in your checked baggage, not as a carry-on.


A small box of tin is the best for your minimalist survival kit. You can simply get some Altoids, the tin will make a great container. By polishing the inside of the cover, you can get a nice reflecting mirror if you need to communicate by light signals.

Here are the dimensions of an Altoids Mint Tin if you want to use another kind of tin :

  • 3.8″ (9.68 cm) long
  • 2.4″ (6.19 cm) wide
  • 0.75″ (1.91 cm) deep

The easiest is to go buy a box of Altoids or get something like ’this blank tin.’

An Altoids Tin

Altoids Tin

Matches (waterproof & strike anywhere)

Matches are your solution to make fire when everything else failed. You should consider it as a your last resort.

You can get ’waterproof matches’ but you will have to cut them so they can fit in the container since they are usually quite big. If you want a more minimalist solution, you can use ’regular strike-anywhere matches’. To make them water-resistant, you can deep the head in melted candle fat.


A flint will be your best friend to start a fire. They should be your first choice when you need to light one on. It will even work wet!

I recommend ’this flint’ or ’this one’ for your minimalist survival kit. It’s waterproof and compact. Don’t forget to train with it before getting lost in a forest

Water Purification Tablets

You will die if you don’t drink water for 3 days. But you will die faster if you drink contaminated water! That’s where the ’water purification tablets’ come in play. The tablets will remove all the bad stuff (bacteria, fungi, viruses) from the water and allow you to drink it safely.

Magnifying Glass

A ’magnifying glass’ can be used to make fire by using the sun light. You can also use it to find small splinters that you should keep clean to avoid infection.

Needles and thread

Put several needles in your kit of varying size. Needles with big eyes are better since you can’t be sure what you will use to sew. Strong thread is of course the best choice since you will be using it to repair clothes and probably much more.

You can get ’this needles set’ and ’this kind of thread’. Don’t take all the thread. Cut some and wrap it around the needles.

Fish hooks and line

Obviously, the main goal of the fish hooks is to catch fish. Take a few hooks of different sizes. Smaller hooks are better, because they take less space and can catch small and big fish. Take a line that is strong enough to support a big fish!

I recommend this ’set of hooks’ and ’this strong line’.

Snare Wire

Snare wire is a very useful item that will let you collect some food easily if you are lucky. Setting up a few traps should not take long so it’s a good opportunity to get ‘free’ lunch!

Two examples of good versatile snare wires are ’this one’ and ’that one’.


Having a good compass is one of the basics to survive. Sure, you can use this fancy G.P.S, but what will you do when it runs out of battery? Being able to use a compass efficiently is not easy however! You should know your environment and the geography of the place you are in. Best used with a map unless you know how the place you’re in is structured. Compasses usually take quite some space but I found ’this one’ which is super small.

Flexible Saw

A flexible saw is a compact tool that gives you a way to cut trees, even big ones. Save your knife blade and get yourself some flexible saw. If the handles take too much space in your kit, just cut them. You will be able to make new ones with wood. I recommend this’Flexible Saw’.

Medical Kit

Having some basic medicine with you can save your life. I’m not a doctor, so consult one to discuss about these medicine and their alternatives. You will need a prescription for some of them anyway.

Here’s a non exhaustive list of useful medicine :

  • Analgesic : Relieve Pain. Example: Ibuprofen.
  • Intestinal Sedative : Treats diarrhea. Example: Loperamide.
  • Antibiotic : Protects from general infections. Example: Tetracycline.
  • Antihistamine : Treats allergies, insect bites and stings. Example: Piriton.
  • ’Quick-clot’ : Treats and seals wounds.

Butterfly Sutures

You can use ’Butterfly Sutures’ to keep a wound closed.


You know what are plasters. Get some ’nice ones’ and use them to keep your minor wounds clean.


Don’t laugh. Yes you can use it for protected sex. But it can also be used as a water bag! I’m sure you know where to buy these but if you don’t, ’check those’.

The Complete List

Here’s the list of all the items.

  1. ’Tin’
  2. ’Matches’
  3. ’Flint’
  4. ’Water’
  5. ’Magnifying Glass’
  6. ’Needles’
  7. ’Thread’
  8. ’Fish Hooks’
  9. ’Line’
  10. ’Snare Wire’
  11. ’Compass’
  12. ’Flexible Saw’
  13. ’Butterfly Sutures’
  14. ’Plasters’
  15. ’Condoms’

Pre-Made Kits

If you don’t want to make your kit by yourself, here are a few pre-made kits. They don’t contain everything I recommend in this list so if you decide to take a pre-made kit, be sure to check what’s actually inside!

Now you can make your own minimalist survival kit. If you think about anything that should be added, you can leave a comment and I will consider it! Don’t hesitate to add other items in there if you can fit them, those are just the essentials!

Comments (1)
  1. marty d March 9, 2015

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