FireSurvival Skills

A Practical Guide to Building Your Pocket-Sized Fire Starter Kit in an Altoids Tin

Compact Survival Mastery: Transforming an Altoids Tin into Your Ultimate Fire Starting Companion

Hello fellow preppers,

Today we’re stepping into the world of compact survival gear. You might be familiar with the concept of using an Altoids tin for various DIY survival kits. They are inexpensive, easy to find, and conveniently sized for your pocket or backpack. In this guide, we’ll learn how to build a fire starter kit using an Altoids tin. The process is relatively simple and can be executed even by those at the beginning stages of their prepping journey.

Materials You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to build this fire starter kit:

  1. An Altoids Tin
  2. Double stick tape
  3. Jute twine
  4. Magnesium fire starter or small lighter
  5. Fresnel Magnifier
  6. Stormproof matches & striker
  7. Cotton balls
  8. Petroleum Jelly
  9. Ziplock pill bags

Building Your Fire Starter Kit: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Preparing the Altoids Tin

First, empty your Altoids tin of mints and clean it thoroughly. You want to ensure there are no leftover particles that could cause a problem. Allow the tin to dry completely.

Step 2: Attaching the Striker and Preparing the Matches

Take the double stick tape and cut a small strip that fits the striker for your stormproof matches. Adhere the tape to the striker, then affix it firmly to the inside of your Altoids tin lid. This is a handy way to keep your striker readily accessible and dry. Place 8 Stormproof matches into a Ziplock pill bag.

Step 3: Preparing the Jute Twine

Cut your jute twine into small strips, about 1-2 inches long. If you wish, you can unravel these strips for more efficient burning. Once cut, place these jute twine strips into one of the Ziplock pill bags. This twine will act as kindling when you need to start a fire.

Step 4: Preparing the Cotton Balls

Take a few cotton balls and soak them in petroleum jelly. The jelly helps the cotton burn longer and more steadily, making it an ideal firestarter. Once soaked, place your cotton balls into a second Ziplock pill bag. This keeps them dry and prevents the petroleum jelly from getting on your other gear. Alternatively, put the cotton balls into the Ziplock bag dry and add a small tube of petroleum jelly lip balm to the tin.

Step 5: Choosing Your Primary Fire Starter

You have the option between a magnesium fire starter or a small lighter. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. A magnesium fire starter is highly reliable and long-lasting but requires a bit of skill to use effectively. A lighter, on the other hand, is very straightforward but can run out of fuel. Choose the one that best fits your comfort level and skill set. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, both will not fit in the tin.

Step 6: Packing Your Kit

Place the Fresnel Magnifier at the bottom of the Altoids Tin. This is a powerful tool that can be used to start a fire using sunlight and requires very little space. On top of the magnifier, neatly pack your primary fire starter (either the magnesium fire starter or the small lighter), the Ziplock bag with the jute twine, and the Ziplock bag with the cotton balls. Ensure the tin can close properly.

Step 7: The Final Touch

On top of the items in the tin, place your stormproof matches. These are a reliable backup and can be used in almost any weather condition. The compact nature of the Altoids tin should keep everything securely in place.

And voila! You have your pocket-sized fire starter kit.

Remember, building your kit is just the first step. Practice using these tools in various conditions to become adept at starting a fire when it counts. Good luck and happy prepping!

Photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

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