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Sunday, November 25, 2012

9 Reasons a Coffee Can Should be in Your Survival Kit

Original Article

You'll need a good survival kit in the wilderness
Size and weight matter.
Whether your putting together a 72-hour Survival Pack that you can sling over your shoulder or making a Every Day Carry Kit that you can slide into a jacket pocket, it’s important to consider how easy the kit will be to carry.

Consider Convenience

I can tell you from experience if it’s big and bulky, you’re survival kit will get left behind more often than not. You’ll simply walk out the door without it. “I’m only running to the store; I won’t be gone but a few minutes,” you’ll say to yourself. Odds are, that’ll be when you’ll need it. And a survival kit, no matter how well stocked, is worthless if you don’t have it when the need arises.
Two factors that affect kit convenience: how heavy is it, and how bulky is it.
To curb unnecessary growth in both size and weight, it’s good to carry items that can serve multiple purposes. The fewer items you have to carry, the lighter your kit will be.

The Many Uses of a Coffee Can

That’s how a 1-pound coffee can can earn its way into your 72-hour pack. Consider the following uses for this light-weight and versatile survival instrument.
  • Purify water. As a metal container, the 1-pound coffee can be filled with water and safely heated over a fire to kill any water-borne pathogens that may be present.
  • Dig a hole. The rigidity of the container allows it to be used to scrape the ground and even dig a hole in some soils. This can be handy for finding food or water.
  • Carry fire. A small coal from your fire can be placed inside the can along with some tinder and kindling and transported to another campsite, saving matches or firesteel.
  • Cook stew. The natural wild edibles you may find in a true survival situation may be as unappetizing as they are nutritious. Combining your dried earthworms, grubs,  and ants with more palatable items like dandelions and chickweed will help soften the taste and texture of your impromptu meal.
  • Melt snow. During the winter months, a coffee can may be used to melt snow or ice over a fire. The warm liquid will help provide much need heat to your body as well as lift your spirits.
  • Contain the kit. The coffee can itself can be used as the container for the survival kit. You can pack quite a bit inside the can, including a multi-tool, a trash bag, a fire steel, safety pins, some packages of oatmeal, cotton pads, a handkerchief, and some paracord to list but a few.
  • Table. The can may be turned upside down and the bottom of the can will provide a nice flat and durable, albeit small, work surface that you can use.
  • Make noise. Tapping on the bottom of the can with a rock or the spine of your knife will produce a noise that can help signal would-be rescues.
  • Carrying items. A can is, after all, a can. It can used to help carry small items along your journey as you survive in the wild.
With so many uses, and potentially many more, why not add a coffee can to your 72-hour pack or your get-home car kit?
What uses have you found for a coffee can? 

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  1. Why not a large can of Mountain House or similar freeze dried food. The lasagna is pretty good.

    After you eat the content, you have a large can. Just don't throw it away.

  2. I used to cook in cans when I was a boy scout. I stopped doing it when my father said I would get lead poisoning from the solder in the can. Is this still something to worry about?

    1. The United States banned the use of lead to solder/seal cans in 1995. Unless the can is older than that or from a foreign country, it should be fine to cook in.

  3. That paracord can be wrapped around the can to fashion a hands free sling for carrying the can.
    We keep an unused paintcan in our cr with a TP roll in it and a 1/2 bottle of rubbing alcohol. It can be a small heater that would even be safe to use in the car, (with a window cracked) if you get stuck in the snow and ice. The nice thing about it is that it has a lid.