Gear we Like: Altoids Tin

Reviewed by Wndsn staff, Germany


There is a lot of passion out in the world for an otherwise innocuous piece of trash. After you finish an Altoids tin, having had fresh breath delivered, there’s this hardy box just laying there empty. Someone figured out that it was absolutely perfect for enhancing one’s odds in not-just-survival conditions, and with it, a love affair was born. Altoids mint tins have been popular with outdoor enthusiasts for decades, being re-used as crush-resistant first-aid or mini survival kit containers. A curious term of endearment for these kits is “Bug-Out Altoids Tin” or BOAT.

  • Typical wilderness survival kit items are: firestarter/tinder, waterproof matches, scalpel, wire, charcoal tablets, mini chem lights, etc.
  • Typical urban survival kit items are: Mini BIC lighter, paperclip/wire, p38 can opener, duct tape, razor blade, money, an NFC chip with communication details or preloaded SIM card info, etc.

All to say, it is very easy to add an extra layer of protection and foresight while taking up very little space or attention. The only problem is when you actually need a breath mint and all you have are razor blades.


The tins are crush-resistant and fit into most pockets.


Altoids tins are not waterproof and would have to be sealed for long-term storage.


Not everything needs to be packed in a hard case, but for those small items that do, the Altoids tin is a readily available choice. Secured with a few Ranger bands (pieces of inner bike tube), it's an ubiquitous piece of outdoor kit and an exercise in fitting as much as possible into a tight space.

Telemeters in Altoids Tins

Did you know that a standard Telemeter fits into a standard Altoids tin? The Telemeter is a recommended item in a survival kit and at a thickness of about 3 mm, it can go on the bottom of a tin until it's needed. The tough Dyneema string can be used for many emergency applications (whatever you can do with two feet of strong string), just as well as the tungsten carbide plumb line weight.

On top of the Telemeter, add useful items, depending on whether the kit is wilderness or urban specific (see above).

For those going with the even more compact Altoids Smalls tin, our dog tag tools fit right into these.


  • Manufacturer: Altoids
  • Manufacturer’s Website:
  • Price: 2.50 €
  • Weight (empty): 31 g (1 oz)
  • Size: Outer overall: 2.4" (60 mm) x 3.8" (95 mm) x 0.83" (21 mm), inner: 2.2" (57 mm) x 3.6" (92 mm), corner radius: .55" (14 mm)

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