Vintage Tin for Survival

Fireside Point by Darrell Bush
Fireside Point by Darrell Bush

Thrift stores and old antique shops can hide great treasures if you look diligently enough. Especially tiny treasures. I’m always on the lookout for small tins and was delighted to find this old Regesan Catarrh Pastilles tin for $1! Thinner and slightly larger than most mint tins, this container is just long enough to hold my manual can opener. While not perfectly water-tight, this well made tin snaps tightly shut and is unlikely to open in your pack or pocket, and the shiny interior is useful as a mirrored surface to signal for help.

Items include:

  • Tin itself, useful as a reflective signaling device
  • 6′ (2m) paracord, can also be unwrapped into 7 strands
  • 2-square-feet of heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Manual can-opener with spoon
  • 200′ of heavy gauge fishing line
  • Earplug as storage/bobber for 2 fishing hooks
  • 2 bundles of 7 waterproof matches with striker paper
  • 2 foil-wrapped petroleum-jelly-dipped cotton balls
  • 3 large safety pins (can be bent into fish hooks)
  • Polysporin ointment in sealed tube
  • Bandages and package of gauze
  • Small amount of medication

Tiny enough to tuck into a shirt pocket, this compact tin helps one to be just a bit more prepared in case a hike in a new wilderness area takes a wrong turn and the unthinkable happens. Lost! Of course it’s no replacement for a proper backpack filled with crucial components to help you stay safe overnight (or longer) in the backcountry, but this little tin is small enough to be an EDC (everyday carry) and it’s a lot better than nothing. The matches alone can be life-saving.

Petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) swabbed onto a cotton ball is an incredibly helpful fire-starter. You provide the flame and once it catches, it burns for several minutes. This is immensely helpful in windy conditions or when dealing with imperfect fire starting material. Rip a small hole in the foil, pull out a bit of the fluff and twist it like a wick. Light that thing and you’re good to go.

While my attempts at paracord braiding haven’t been successful yet, I am practicing. I want to make a pouch to slide the tin into, with a carrying loop. I look forward to continuing to improve my survival tin making skills, and will share my journey here. I’ll also be sharing about a couple of different folding saws I that I use, my favorite hatchet, plus other items I bring everywhere… just to be safe. 

4 thoughts on “Vintage Tin for Survival

  1. Excellent! Homemade first aid kits were exactly what I gave to all the hikers/hunters in my family (friends, too) for Christmas. They were a huge hit and much better than anything one could buy. I had a collection of old tins, perfect size for sliding into a pocket or a knapsack.

    1. Well then we are definitely ‘cut from the same cloth’! Such thoughtful gifts… not only handmade (hand-gathered?) but they show how much we care about the ones we give it to. We want them to always be safe. Thanks so much for your visit and comment.


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