Whether you’re an avid sportsman, a paranoid worry-wart, or a post-apocalyptic fan boy, being prepared for the worst is a challenging pursuit that, at best, might save your life or the of a loved one or, at worst, provide an interesting hobby and some lessons on self reliance. After discovering that each time I felt I was missing something critical in a sticky situation it turned out to be something rather small in size, I compiled a list and went about studying how to make a survival kit out of a regular sized wallet that should give you just about all the tools that you’d need, provided you have some basic survival skills or training. Here’s what I came up with.
First off, be sure to get a quality, water proof wallet. There’s no need to put out much money on it, just be sure that it is sturdy, well stitched, and well waterproofed. The waterproofing is important as some of the contents will be first aid supplies and fire starters that will be rendered useless if they get soaked. If you’re planning on packing your survival wallet along for rigorous outdoor adventuring such as mountain climbing or river activities, consider purchasing a wallet with a lanyard or chain so that you won’t be in danger of your tools simply falling out of your pocket.
Next up is choosing a wallet sized tool kit. There are a wide array available if you look around at online survival outfitters, and what you choose will likely be dictated for the environment you expect to be stranded in. I chose the Ice Companion tool kit because many of the features may prove handy in a civilized setting, whereas I’d be likely to be better equipped if I became stranded in the outdoors (famous last words). This tool kit only 1/8″ thick, but it’s hand crafted from stainless steel and fits in several critical tools including: 2″ serrated knife, bottle/can opener, screwdrivers, magnifying glass, compass, awl, tweezers, toothpick, rulers, and lanyard hole.
Our toolkit gives us almost all of the physical supplies that we’ll need, although you might add some other supplies depending on your environment. In the woods or anywhere near open water, some basic fishing tackle could come in handy and takes up no little or weight. A pocket sized mirror could be critical to signaling over large distances, and the tool kit I chose would not double as a mirror. I added a piece of a hacksaw blade to my kit; it’s small and portable, but could come in handy in any number of situations. If you’re expecting to be on foot during a last man on earth, Omega Man situation, you might consider picking up a credit card sized lock picking set. It’ll come in handy as you raid the barren city for supplies before the cannibal zombies emerge at sunset.
Now that our wallet is geared with all of the tools we can realistically expect to get put in there, it’s time to give consideration to medical supplies and fire starters. Take 10-12 waterproof matches with some compressed dryer lint, wrap lightly but securely in plastic, and place this in one half of the billfold portion of the wallet. Flint and steel are even better than matches if you understand how to use them reliably. Next, arrange a collection of single use painkillers, digestive medication (if needed), sterile toilettes, iodine tablets, Neosporin, and bandages. Wrap these materials in a handkerchief and place in the remaining portion of the billfold. This will not be to bulky if you choose your medical supplies judiciously. Utilize the remaining space for identification, an emergency credit card, and a supply of cash in $20 bills.
This is about all that you’ll be able to fit into you’re survival wallet. Conspicuously missing from your new kit is food and water. The iodine tablets can be used to sterilize some water supplies, but it is important to learn when it is safe to do so. You can also sterilize water by boiling it once you have built a fire, provided that you can locate a metal container to boil it in. Remember to always keep a fresh jug of water in your car, and carry more water than you expect to need if you’re away from a regular supply. Understanding basic survival methods will become critical if you will be away from regular food and water, and there simply isn’t anyway of carrying everything you’ll need for nourishment in your billfold. As for food, keeping some high energy foods in your car and some nourishing food on your person is helpful, but you’ll need to rely on your skills, tools, and common sense once you run out of supplies.
Good luck and be safe!