Coffe Can Kit

by Gordon Davis
(Tehachapi Ca.)

Here is a simple, low maintenance kit, well suited for aviators who want something along, but don't want to make a hobby of it.


This kit is designed for long term, no maintenance storage. It provides good crash impact resistance and is easy to put together with a minimum of expense and uses “off the shelf” items. This kit will have a “shelf life” of about five years. Nothing has batteries to be replaced, and only an inspection is needed to keep it in usable condition.

1. Empty 3lb metal coffee can. This is the container and becomes a cooking pot.

2. 2 each, pocket “space blankets”. (Exposure protection)

3. 1 waterproof match case filled with “strike anywhere” matches. Before packing, dip the heads of the matches in melted paraffin wax to further preserve and waterproof.

4. 1 “Multi-tool” DON’T BUY A CHEAP ONE! Include a small sharpening stone.

5. First Aid items:
Small roll surgical tape.(6-8 ft.)
10-15 “Band-Aid” type bandages
1 “trauma dressing” (Military type battle dressing) bandage.
Small roll of “gauze” type bandage
4-6 “4X4 gauze pad type bandages.
1 bottle “iodine” water purification tablets.
1 Tube of lip balm & 1 small bottle of 100% “DEET” insect repellent.
Small container of salt tablets.(10-12)
Small container of “aspirin” or similar pain relief tablets.
2-4 single edge razor blades or scalpel blades.
2 sewing needles.
1 small toothbrush (don’t laugh) & roll of floss.

6. Six by six foot square sheet of 3 mil. Clear plastic sheeting (for solar still)
(Fold this lengthwise to fit the inside height of the can, then wrap on the inside)

7. 15-20 feet of “550” type parachute cord

8. Small foraging kit:
8-10 “snelled” fish hooks, (assorted sizes) & 4-6 “split shot” sinkers
Small roll (20-30 ft.) of 10 lb. test monofilament fish line.
8 ft. of .032” “safety wire” (steel) (for making snares etc.)
1 RED, COTTON bandanna. (For soaking up dew, signaling etc)

9. 8 ft. “surgical” or plastic tubing (drawing water from solar still etc)

10. Folding “lock blade” knife with at least a 3“ blade. (NOT A CHEAP ONE!)

11. Magnesium type fire starting kit. (Add a small wad of soap free steel wool for tinder)

12. 2 “tea” candles. (These can make fire starting easier, and provide light)

13. 2 sheets aluminum foil. Cut off 3 ft pieces of HEAVY DUTY foil, fold and pack.

14. Signal Mirror, LOUD whistle, and small pocket compass.

15. Large “tuna can”, (for cup & catch pot for solar still, etc.)

16. Nutritional helps:
6-8 Chicken bullion cubes. (MSG free)
2-4, 1 cup size Instant soup mix packages (MSG free if possible)
2-4 small packages of instant coco mix
6+ “decaffeinated” tea bags
6+ Hard candies (Mints, etc, helps keep sugars up, & can be refreshing)
12 “one-a-day” type vitamins (optional)
(Pack these items in a 1 gallon zip type freezer bag, which can be used as a canteen)

All this will pack into the 3 lb. coffee can, with room to spare if you are creative. Use a high quality duct tape to seal the lid on, leaving a flap of tape folded back against itself to facilitate quick opening. Keep this in the plane where you can grab it as you exit. You may want to add a few items like a 3X3 foot sheet of mosquito netting (for a head net) or sunscreen lotion. A few other suggestions are a carpenter’s type utility knife (with extra blades stowed in the handle), a wire type saw, or a few shortened hacksaw or reciprocating saw blades.

wilderness survival

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by: Sofy

Thanks for suggesting me such a wonderful Coffee can kit. I think you have done a great job by sharing this information or suggesting this kit. I appreciate your effort that you have taken and I am expecting more from you.

addition to the addition to the addition to the aircraft survival kit
by: Anonymous

cram as many bic (and only bic) lighters in the kit. do not depend on mylar space blankets alone to protect you from the the elements.
they are good for preventing shock but are far too flimsy and small to be anything other than a very good reflector of a heat source. again cram in as many 3 mil 55 gallon contractor trash bags as you can. a million survival uses, water proof shelter,rain gear, flotation device (2 bags were used to float an injured person to shore) wind brake, sun protection, super shelter, look it up on the net. i tried it,it works. and lastley a good small first aid book.

aircraft survival kit additions(
by: Anonymous

you might want to include a bag of medium safety pins. trying to get tape to stick when it's cold or wet is frustrating.pins can also be used to close open wounds. also sanitary pads work as well as trauma dressings and tampons work well for puncture wounds (saw this done once). skip the band aids,use gauze split the ends and tie. aircraft crashes almost always result in serious injuries requiring serious and plentiful medical supplies. another handy item to have is dental floss,it's sterile and can be used for suturing also be sure your needles are curved, and will accept the floss, it makes sewing much easier. perhaps two cans taped together with lots of duct tape (gorilla tape is the best,exceeds mil spec) also two ace type bandages (read compression bandages).

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