Are Urban Altoids Tins for “Survival” or “EDC”?

Urban Altoids EDC Tin

In a few short days I will be uploading my updated Altoids Tin (Version 2.1) to YouTube. My previous version (v2.0) is the most popular video on my channel as far as views go. However, I do receive my fair share of critique when it comes to the title: “Urban Altoids SURVIVAL Tin”. The phrase “Altoids Survival Tin” seems to be the standard naming convention for these types of mini kits. My Altoids Tin is filled with more items for EDC (Every Day Carry) than for “survival”. In an urban environment, do you really need to have a Altoids Tin for “survival” or is “EDC” a better description for the contents?

Prior to beginning my YouTube adventure, I used to carry a generic Altoids Survival Tin in my pocket. I purchased it on EBay for $20 and it contained all of the standard “survival” kit items: can opener, candle, fire steel, knife, fire starters, fishing equipment, compass, etc. I carried that little tin for over a year. Want to guess how many times I actually used it? Zero. That’s right, it was never needed to be used. In an urban environment, what are the chances of actually needing a mini fishing kit to gather food? If one was lost in the woods or Amazon jungle, this item would be essential. However, urban residents are closer to a Starbucks than to a body of water with actual fish in it (not including an aquarium). Now there are many urban environments around the world that are in civil unrest, where the concept of “survival” is actually warranted. Fortunately, the country I live in is not in this state, hopefully for the foreseeable future.

After time, my stock Altoids Survival Tin became the topic of humor amongst family and friends. I eventually wanted to find a better system that would be more applicable in an urban environment. I eventually settled on finding micro sized pieces of EDC gear that would actually be handy to use throughout the week. I wanted to go for more of a MacGyver approach than a John Rambo approach to mini gear to carry. My current kit is tailor made for my urban environment, lifestyle and area of needs. I find it to be an essential part of my Every Day Carry setup. It is no longer the laughing stock at social gatherings, but rather something requested to be displayed for its cool factor. Mission Accomplished.

In my upcoming Altoids Tin video (Version 2.1) I am going to be calling it my “Urban Altoids EDC Tin (v2.1)” instead of my “Urban Altoids Survival Tin (v2.1)”. I am perfectly fine with this naming convention, since it actually represents the purpose of my particular tin. However, I always question why items for “EDC” can somehow nullify the items for “survival”. There is a large portion of preppers and survivalists who do not like the idea of calling a Altoids kit as a “Survival” tin if it happens to include nailclippers, tweezers and a USB Flashdrive. Nevermind that it also includes fire making methods, illumination, a knife, multi-tools, whistle, etc. For some reason, these items become null due to the inclusion of EDC items as far as calling something a “Survival” tin. I just don’t understand this way of thinking. The term survival is applicable to your particular region, society, personal needs and other customizable requirements. Here are a few definitions for Survival:

  1. To remain alive or in existence.
  2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma.
  3. The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.

Upon first glance, this would probably mean a life or death situation. However, if you were to have uncontrollable diarrhea with no access to the appropriate medicine, would you NOT call that a “hardship”, “ordeal” or “difficult circumstance”? I know I sure would! I suppose I see the concept of survival as something that does not have a gold standard and it up to interpretation. What do you feel? Should EDC and Survival be two completely different groupings of gear, or is there some wiggle from for a merging of the two? In my opinion, EDC is more specific to gear and Survival is more specific to knowledge. If I am going to carry something daily in an urban environment, I’d like those items to be high probable for use. I the case of an emergency or survival situation, knowledge will take precedent and the improvisation of gear will be leveraged.

That about sums up my current thoughts regarding the subject. I’m sure down the road my views may vary or at least be tweaked. In my opinion, that is the essence of prepping; thinking dynamically verses statically.



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