9 Reasons a Coffee Can Should be in Your Survival Kit

October 18, 2012

Survival Kits

You'll need a good survival kit in the wilderness

Size and weight matter.

Whether your putting together a 72-hour Survival Pack that you can sling over your shoulder or making a Every Day Carry Kit that you can slide into a jacket pocket, it’s important to consider how easy the kit will be to carry.

Consider Convenience

I can tell you from experience if it’s big and bulky, you’re survival kit will get left behind more often than not. You’ll simply walk out the door without it. “I’m only running to the store; I won’t be gone but a few minutes,” you’ll say to yourself. Odds are, that’ll be when you’ll need it. And a survival kit, no matter how well stocked, is worthless if you don’t have it when the need arises.

Two factors that affect kit convenience: how heavy is it, and how bulky is it.

To curb unnecessary growth in both size and weight, it’s good to carry items that can serve multiple purposes. The fewer items you have to carry, the lighter your kit will be.

The Many Uses of a Coffee Can

That’s how a 1-pound coffee can can earn its way into your 72-hour pack. Consider the following uses for this light-weight and versatile survival instrument.

  • Purify water. As a metal container, the 1-pound coffee can be filled with water and safely heated over a fire to kill any water-borne pathogens that may be present.
  • Dig a hole. The rigidity of the container allows it to be used to scrape the ground and even dig a hole in some soils. This can be handy for finding food or water.
  • Carry fire. A small coal from your fire can be placed inside the can along with some tinder and kindling and transported to another campsite, saving matches or firesteel.
  • Cook stew. The natural wild edibles you may find in a true survival situation may be as unappetizing as they are nutritious. Combining your dried earthworms, grubs,  and ants with more palatable items like dandelions and chickweed will help soften the taste and texture of your impromptu meal.
  • Melt snow. During the winter months, a coffee can may be used to melt snow or ice over a fire. The warm liquid will help provide much need heat to your body as well as lift your spirits.
  • Contain the kit. The coffee can itself can be used as the container for the survival kit. You can pack quite a bit inside the can, including a multi-tool, a trash bag, a fire steel, safety pins, some packages of oatmeal, cotton pads, a handkerchief, and some paracord to list but a few.
  • Table. The can may be turned upside down and the bottom of the can will provide a nice flat and durable, albeit small, work surface that you can use.
  • Make noise. Tapping on the bottom of the can with a rock or the spine of your knife will produce a noise that can help signal would-be rescues.
  • Carrying items. A can is, after all, a can. It can used to help carry small items along your journey as you survive in the wild.

With so many uses, and potentially many more, why not add a coffee can to your 72-hour pack or your get-home car kit?

What uses have you found for a coffee can? 

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33 Comments on “9 Reasons a Coffee Can Should be in Your Survival Kit”

  1. Action Gear Supply Says:

    Reblogged this on Zombie Periodical and commented:
    A recommended article


    • Marilyn Says:

      Where can you find metal coffee cans any more?


      • Ursula Haigh Says:

        Substitute a #10 can from food storage. I save all my # 10 cans, I have plans to try making a rocket stove one of these days.


        • Joe Says:

          Rocket Stoves are another great use for the cans. A 1 pound can is probably a bit small but the #10 food cans should would well.

          Thanks Ursula.



      • Me Says:

        Walmart Master Chef cans are metal.


      • Joe Says:

        Agreed, they are getting harder to find these days.


      • John Says:

        Most off brand coffees are metal cans.


      • richard schwartz Says:

        Major coffee brands are no longer packaged in steel cans; that coffee is in paper or plastic. But the house brand coffee is usually in a steel can. Also, you can still get coffee in the un-economical smaller cans that are steel.

        But you are right: steel coffee cans are a departing relic from the previous century. Just like the steel beer cans that could be soldered together to make a great ham radio antenna (thick conductor provides greater bandwidth).


      • Travis Says:

        In the grocery story… in the coffee aisle. And don’t buy Folger’s so much, those cans are plastic. Open up and look around. Some of those other brands of coffee are actually in a “metal” can.


      • Phyllis Boling Says:

        Fill one with small toys, snacks, etc.. One per grandchild. Great for driving long distances. Their own Treasure Can. I also put snacks in one for the adults to share on trips. Tight lid, Handy. Easy to pass from person to person. My camper is full of coffee cans. Cannisters, storage containers used in kitchen and bathroom, one for card games, dice games, etc. Small tools, nails, screws, duct tape, fit nicely for a tool kit. I could go on forever. Kids love to play with them, carries their treasures. Always, always, always, one for each child to collect their ‘finds’ when camping or playing outdoors.
        I also use them for serving soup for a small group ‘camping’ as well as one for crackers.
        I could go on and on……………we buy coffee in the tin cans so we have a good supply.


  2. Kevin B Says:

    Drill 2 small holes on on the top edge and to run paracord, coathanger, or chain through to carry or hang over a fire. Additionally I keep some sandpaper in there to clean the bottom to use as a makeshift signal mirror.


  3. Donna Says:

    I have a #10 can in my bug out kit. It contains a roll of toilet paper and plastic bags to be used as liners. This my emergency porta potti.


  4. meanwhileintexas Says:

    i agree 100%.i am totally with you on this whole thang can wait to hear more.


  5. Jennifer Says:

    I always have one when I camp. Getting up to use the potty in the middle of the night can be loud and I don’t want to wake anyone. It is really nice to have one when it’s raining and you are camping.


  6. Sarah G Says:

    Does it have to be a coffee can, or can it be one of those cookie cans?


    • Joe Says:

      It can be most any container that would suit your purposes. If you’re talking about one of those cookie tins that are 4 inches tall and 12 inches across, I’d prefer the coffee can personally. It’s going to be more rigid and easier to carry. But that’s a personal preference.

      Thanks, Sarah G!



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    It’s hard to find educted people oon this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


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  10. Morx Says:

    … you’re (your) survival kit will get left behind…


  11. Cynthia Tarver Says:

    Take a roll of Bathroom Tissue and place in coffee can. Pour alcohol over tissue( Rubbing alcohol). Light and keep warm up to 8 hours.


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