DIY: Altoids Tin Bicycle Essentials Kit

By Stephen Haynes

I’m a huge nerd for things in small packages, especially if the small packages are incredibly useful. I also love Altoids. So it should come as no surprise that I’m a major fan of DIY kits that utilize Altoids tins. I’ve poured over the DIY survival, first aid, zombie apocalypse and fishing kits made by industrious people over at and have made various kits for myself which I use often.

The thought of making a bicycle equivalent to the outdoorsy survival kit has circulated through my mind several times and I was happy to see someone employ the idea. I ran upon this one the other day made by Instructables member SMART. I really like a lot of what SMART is doing with this kit and I think anyone could use it as a jumping off point for there own bicycle minded survival kit. In fact, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

What follows are the ingredients that I used and the process by which I made my bicycle survival kit. This isn’t meant to be a be all end all kit. In fact, if I did this ten times I have ten different kits. Have fun and use my experience as a jumping off point for your own custom kit.

What you’ll need (Kit items):

  1. Some cash
  2. Antiseptic wipe
  3. Spare house/bike lock key
  4. Band aids
  5. Sandpaper
  6. Vulcanizing liquid
  7. Aspirin
  8. Electrolyte packet
  9. Zip ties
  10. Tube patches
  11. Altoids tin (or something like it)

Tools you’ll need to make the kit:

  1. Chipboard/cardboard
  2. Xacto knife
  3. Pen

After collecting all of your essentials you need to find a way to make them fit in your tin. You could simply shove all the stuff in there, throw a rubber band around it and throw it in your bag, but where’s the fun in that. Most of the joy in these things, for me, comes in the process of making them, so bear with me…

1. Cut your chipboard/cardboard to size. Trace two outlines of the tin onto your chipboard/cardboard and cut them out. Cut a little notch in one corner of each so you can remove them as needed later. You may have to whittle the edges of the board down a bit before it fits properly.

2. Write your important info on one of the pieces of chipboard/cardboard.

3. Start packing. After you get the chipboard/cardboard to fit, start packing the stuff in the tin.

4. I separated my stuff into two levels. Secret Stash level (emergency funds and a spare house/lock key) and the Emergency Level (everything else).

5. Put the key and cash in the tin and lay the first piece of chipboard/cardboard over top of them.

6. Carefully put all remaining items in on top of the first piece of chipboard/cardboard. Clever folding may need to be employed here. Also, the things you need/find to put in your kit will inevitably be a different size from what I’m showing here so be patient and be creative.

7. Put the remaining piece of chipboard/cardboard (the one with your emergency contact info on it) on top of the rest of your stuff and call it done!

8. Hopefully everything fits neatly in the tin for you but if it doesn’t employing a few rubber bands to hold everything together doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

Got any bicycle survival tips, tricks or kits of your own?


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