My Urban Survival Tin

My urban survival tin, as promised in the article on building your own survival kit. This tin is meant to include items that will help you through a Tier 1 incident. That means an event that is minor enough not to include the need for Tier 2 items and takes place on the scale of the city you are in at that time.

Examples of possible events are that you’ve been robbed and now have no wallet and phone on you, you tripped and hurt yourself, you’ve torn your jacket, the button popped of your pants, your car was stolen or you’re stuck in an office building after the electricity went of and you need to survive the cold night ahead. Those and more events can be tackled using this tin. You could also go spear hunting for stray dogs for example, just saying.

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Contents of the Urban Survival Tin

This is a list of all the items I’ve packed into my urban survival tin. For your convenience I’ve linked some of the items to the product on Amazon in order of appearance.

At first I dropped the idea of carry on storage because I couldn’t fit a USB stick in there, but than I realized that not only does every desktop computer take SD cards nowadays, also cameras and laptops do. So I stuck one in. The size depends on what you think you’ll need. Mine doesn’t have to be that large since I use it for carrying around three files. One heavily encrypted file with very important personal data, one unencrypted file with all the important numbers to organisations I might want to contact, like life insurance, my work, my wife’s work, etc. and another encrypted file holding my Google Contacts.

I didn’t include everything you’d expect

As much as it is informative to go over what is in this tin, its good to know what is not, and why. This is a small list of the items I intentionally left out.

  • A fishing kit. I expect that anybody seen fishing will become prey as soon as he or she caught a fish. You attract to much attention to yourself. Remember, there aren’t that many watering holes in the city.
  • Tinder. I didn’t include tinder since cities are stuffed with tinder. There’s paper everywhere you look. You can use carpets, parts of vehicles like the fuel or the manual for example.
  • Whistle. I do see plenty of use for one in a forest, but none in a city.
  • Some type of saw. I do see the need for it, but couldn’t fit one. Might later if I find one that works and fits in the tin, although it will most likely be part of my Tier 2 pack.
  • Flashlight. I suggest you safe the space and make it part of your EDC by hanging it of your key chain.

Did I forget anything building my urban survival tin? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are. so please leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

Until next time, Kain

26 thoughts on “My Urban Survival Tin”

  1. Great build out. I agree with most of your thoughts on what’s included and excluded with the exception of the whistle. I grew up in San Francisco and I knew more than one person that carried one. After an earthquake, you may need to signal rescuers if you’re trapped under rubble or try to call for help if you are trying to free someone.

    Not everyone lives in earthquake country, but you can still have a need for signaling in an urban environment.

    Just a thought. Great site by the way!

    • Thanks for the kind words Dhorlo.

      You might be right on the whistle. Especially in an earthquake prone area that would be needed. I’ve been on the fence on this one. I don’t see a really good reason to include one for where I live. But, I might just include one from now on.

      • I’m for the whistle as well. I live and work just outside of the D.C. area…definite concrete jungle here. I was in a ground floor restaurant in a high rise building when we had an earthquake a few years back. Thankfully, no collapse, but there was a parking garage that did just a couple of months ago. Also, within a half hour drive or so outside of town you can find yourself in heavily forested areas. A whistle could definitely come in handy here.

      • Nice load out. FYI… I found a neat little 5 in 1 safety survival whistle. $4US It has a waterproof storage where I put my pills, instead of the separate can. It fits well my EDC but I have it rubber banded to the side of my tin. (its 4.5″L by 1.25″D)

        “5 in 1 Survival features super-loud whistle, signal mirror, compass, flint, and waterproof match storage, with lanyard”

        I have a small aaa mag light. But I choose a more reliable separate light that I use more as an everyday tool on my keys as you stated. I also have a Micra on my keys. So it frees up space in my tin for a sewing kit and a spate small Swiss army.

    • Thanks, the money is a good tip. After quit a few people said I should carry money I’ve added some. I carry 1×50 2×20 and 1×10 now. There’s no space in my tin for quarters. But then again, where I live quarters are useless. Can’t get nothing, and that includes no payphones.

    • By the way, if you were to sent me a picture of you tin I’ll post it here online. Might be nice to start a collection of survival tin’s. Goes for anyone reading this that wants to share his or here survival tin. Just mail it (or them) to me at That would be awesome. Thanks ahead in case you do sent a picture of your tin.

  2. The sewing tin is awesome. I discovered recently that a lot of hotels offer small sewing kits at the front desk. They take up a lot less space in my edc tin than a micro tin. Something to consider.

  3. Hi Jeremy, great tip! Thanks. I just visited a resort on Cape Verde, but I totally forgot to ask them if they had a kit. Something to do with vacation and my brain shutting down :). But I’ll remember for next time I check in somewhere.

  4. I feel late to the party on this one but I’m going to be making a tin here at the end of the week and thought I might run some things your way. First, thank you for being specific with your gear. I was lost as to what multitool I should put in there aND you’ve saved me a bunch of time. I’m not sure how you feel about doubling up on things but part of my plan accommodates someone stealing my vehicle so the keychain flashlight would be gone. A single cr2032 watch battery and an LED diode from radio shack is pretty cheep and might fit in your kit nicely as both are fairly small. Best regards.

    • Hi Chris, thanks for your insightful comment. No matter on being late, you’re at the party. That’s what counts! (also, if being on time was any measure I wouldn’t have the right to speak :) )

      On to your points; You’re absolutely right, a tiny flashlight could do wonders. If your tin has the space for it, by all means include it. I’m all for doubling up. I myself carry two flash lights in my EDC backpack, one in the glove compartment of my car and one on my key chain. I just couldn’t get one to fit into my tin.

      The most important thing, I think, is to remember when putting together a tin is to make it fit the scenario’s for which you think you’ll be needing it. I have nothing to put a watch battery in, but to someone else that could be a life saver. A lot of it comes down to personal choices.

    • Try adding a resistor to the led-battery mix, solder them ahead of time so you don’t need to worry about it if you ever needed to use them. The resistor will increase the battery life and it doesn’t take up much more space. It may not add much more life but even an hour can make all the difference. This site will teach you a little bit more about it! Good luck and stay safe.

      • Actually, as it turns out, the watch batteries weren’t a great idea after all. since my original post both the batteries have some how died even without me using them. Not sure if I should have wrapped them in electrical tape or what but they hardly have any juice left.

  5. Hi @jack, thanks for asking. Do you mean the tin itself or the whole thing? Cause the tin is, that is the tin that comes with the Ritter RSK mk5 knife you see in the pictures. Everything that’s in the tin you can get on Amazon. If you follow the links I summed up in the article you’ll get there.

  6. Forgive me if this is a dumb question but what would the toothpicks and cotton balls be used for? I’m an Eagle Scout and can’t say that I’ve ever needed that kind of thing in any type of emergency situation.

    • Well, nothing that has any real Scout stuff involved. I concentrate on necessity as much as on whats needed regularly on a comfort level to survive urban life. That includes cleaning out your teeth before walking into a meeting with your boss. The cotton is drenched in a flammable liquid, I now keep it in a little baggy, so it serves as a fire starter as well as a simpel way to stop the rattling of your tin.

  7. 70% Alcohol Wipes are nice for cleaning scratches and cuts before using the bandaids and they take very little space. I always keep a couple of wipes and bandaids on my wallet and a few more on my tin.
    I also carry a few water purification tablets, but thats because tap water is not that safe in my country, depending on the place and building.
    Other than that, seems spot on.

    • Hi Will, thanks for your tips. The purification tablets I hope not to need. Here we’ve got drinking water everywhere and when the water companies are down I can boil water. I’m working on a new, slightly bigger tin. I will definitely save a spot for one or more alcohol wipes. Cheers.

    • I second using a microSD in a full-size SD adapter. However, I previously carried a miniSd adapter and NEVER used it, and that was back when some phones still accepted them. I no longer even own one.

      I suggest adding a USB OTG adapter for connecting anything USB (including chargers) to your phone. I carry one of these tiny ones ( and use it all the time.

    • Hi John! I just got to where I’m spending time on the site again. It’s a mess as it got hacked which screwed things up for me. But, always be positive. I’m taking the wake up call to redo the articles and start writing again.

      Altoids and other candy tins are great options indeed!

      Thanks for commenting :)


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