Down at the Fell-Off-ATruck-Stop

A couple days ago I had to take a 60 mile drive from here over to You Caint Git There From Here where my buddy, TOG, lives. Along the way there are a couple of my favorite “Fell-Off-A-Truck-Stops”, those little mom-and-pop joints, and the blue tarp “Big Sale Today!” tents where the applicable motto is, “You should’ve bought it when you saw it”. One of the places had a basket full of these Coleman “Essentials” survival tins. Two dollars apiece, or three for $5. I grabbed three, including the only oversized unit that was still in the basket.

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As you can, see the smaller, 24-piece units are just first aid kits. The larger one [74-piece] purports to be a “Personal Survival Kit”!!   WooWhee!!   The smaller kits go for $8 over on Amazon and the bigger one will set you back $9… seems like I got a pretty good deal for only five bucks.

Then you open them up, or read the back of the can. They are just plain a collection of a few generic bandages, a couple of alcohol & itch wipes, two safety pins, and a razor blade. The “Personal Survival Kit” adds a few extra bandages and a box of 40 matches!   DOUBLE WOOWHEE!   Each match counts as an item!   Well, I guess they are waterproof, and that has to count for something.

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The other thing that I noticed when I got them home was that they had done a really nice job of putting heavy-duty heat shrink around the packages. Not all the way around the packages. They left the ends open. Despite the two smaller of these claiming to be Fishermen’s Essentials kits, they didn’t bother to make them waterproof… An extra half-inch of heat shrink and it would’ve been fine.

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All my grumbling aside, they are nice little slide top steel tins. The stuff inside is perfectly usable, even if it’s a bit cheap, a bit sparse and limited in variety. While the smaller cans are of a decent, Altoids size to go in your pocket, the big one is too thick. You can really feel the lump of it when you put it in your shirt pocket, and it is way, way too thick to be comfortable in your pants. It’s size means that it definitely has to go in one of the pockets of your pack. I can probably pull out all the bandages and repurpose it into a really satisfactory actual “emergency” kit with stuff I’ve got laying around. That way at least the label is no longer telling a lie. As you can see the smaller tin will nest into the back of the larger. If I flesh those out into a better pair of first aid kits with a few more things, I can throw a couple of riggers rubber bands around the pair of large and small and have a decent all-purpose kit to throw in a pack. I like the idea of having a separate first aid kit, so that I don’t have to go digging through a whole lot of stuff to just find a Band-Aid.

The depression on the back of the larger kit also suggests that you could stick a silver mylar emergency blanket on there really easily with just a piece of duct tape. Anyways, once I’ve finished with the repurposing and repacking, I’ll get up another post up and you guys can see what I managed to squeeze in.