Around the age of 19 and just before the Y2K craze, I learned of the website of my friend Doug Ritter. He published “Equipped to Survive”, a non-profit organization dedicated to testing survival gear. On his website, he provided lists of various kits as well as his evaluation of them. This website was and is a great resource for building emergency kits and providing guidance for those who don’t know where to start.
As a young man, I started building pocket emergency kits based on many of the recommendations from Doug’s site. For convenient packing, I started by carrying some items in a small Ziplock bag and later swapped it for a military decontamination container and then an Altoids tin.
Ever since those early days of building emergency kits, I have been on the hunt for good containers to house micro-sized items. I look at emergency kit building as an exercise in problem-solving and I’ll either compile the items I need and find a kit or work from a container backwards filling it.
That is exactly what I did with a couple of Prometheus Design Werx Ti-SST capsules sent to me earlier this month. These capsules are milled from 6AL-4V titanium and have a watertight o-ring to keep the contents of your tube dry. PDW offers the Ti-SST in two sizes and they can be joined together using the optional Ti-Coupler.
1980s “Survival Knife” Kit
If you grew up in the 1980s and watched First Blood, you know the role the hollow-handle survival knife had on the knife industry. It makes sense to pay homage to this style of knife by building out a survival kit for this one. In the movie knife handle and so many handles from that era, wooden strike-anywhere matches could be found in small quantities. Funny thing, the bottom of these containers is actually textured to strike those there. Keep in mind, unlike a ferro rod that provides thousands of scrapes/sparks, a few matches of the same overall diameter provided one potential fire per head.
Other items in those early knife kits included fish hooks, a fishing line, sinkers, and needle and thread. Some of these early kits included a small scalpel blade, a wire saw, and some safety pins to boot. These kits were assembled with a focus on fire and food.
With a strong titanium housing and MK2 pineapple grenade texture, the Ti-SST capsules make a great container for a compact fishing kit. A strong braided fishing line is wrapped around the outside of the kit and the capsule is used as the reel. Fish hooks can be attached to Rite-in-Rain paper and secured in place with packaging tape.
Snap swivels, split shot sinkers, and other bait fishing tackle can be carried inside. Perhaps the best artificial fly to carry inside the capsule is a simple wooly bugger. This fly mimics a nymph and many other subsurface aquatics. It will work well on panfish, bass, and trout. Dry flies and bass popper flys are also great additions to this type of kit.
If you’re looking to load out for the primary purpose of building fire, there are a few ways you can equip a Ti-SST. Used in conjunction with a PDW Ti Ferro rod, the Ti-SST can be used to house tinder only. With a knot of paracord placed at the bottom and plenty of Vaseline-soaked cotton balls are jammed inside with the other end of the paracord left at the top of the container. When tinder is needed, the cordage is pulled and the tinder is dispensed.
A second type of fire kit is made by using the Ti-SST as a water-resistant option for a larger ferro rod and tinder tabs as a buffer. Waxed jute twine can also be used to fill the gaps between the rod and the interior dimensions of the tube. Ferro rods don’t fare well against salt water and the water-resistant housing is perfect to preserve the integrity of your firestarter.
There are plenty of times when survival comes down to having the right gear for the wrong scenario. Then there are times when money can buy you out of a sticky situation. The Ti-SST can be used for cash storage as well as copies of sensitive documents like licenses, permits, and important contacts. You never know when you will need to prove your identification if you lose your wallet or purse.
Additionally, you can keep micro SD cards in either size of the Ti-SST along with an “escape and evasion” kit if you are feeling like Jason Bourne. Your identity and the documents associated with it are extremely important. Storing them in a container like this leaves little to chance. You can also use it as a pill container and place a copy of your prescription inside when traveling.
The quality of the container is just as important as the quality of the kit components. These kit descriptions are not set in stone and your best course of action is to personalize one to your needs.