Monday, January 3, 2011

The Almighty Coffee Can

While enjoying an amazing winter day at the Beyond the Fire bush lot with my kids and Instructor John, my kids did what kids do best - demand something not readily available.

The two boys took a brief break from their own little shelter building to demand a drink.  Neither of us had a drink on hand however trying to explain that to young children never quite cuts it.

So it was time to dig deep into the pack to find something capable of producing hydration for the hardworking survivorman wannabe's.

What I found was a piece of equipment that has been with every pack I have carried since learning the importance of survival preparation.  There has been no greater resource for me that provides the capability to provide shelter, make fire, food, hydration, keep snares, hold paracord, whistles, etc. - you get the point.

The Almighty Coffee Can.  Not one of those huge Costco cans but just your run of the mill Maxwell House 330 gram all metal tin.  Besides smelling great for months after the final scoop of coffee grinds have been removed, the coffee can provides a water proof house for many things.

The coffee can I have fits in my pack taking up a very small amount of space while providing an unmatched assortment of materials necessary to my survival and self rescue. 

When you're packing a kit bag to go camping, hiking, skiing or any other winter activity the weight and size of the pack has a huge effect on your energy, distance travelled and comfort level.  So you pack your kit bag for efficiency and effectiveness.  So with preparation in mind, what light weight, waterproof and rugged item is better than the metal coffee can.

Here is a list of the items in mine:
  • 20 ft of snare wire
  • 25 ft of paracord
  • whistle
  • compass
  • signal mirror
  • magnesium flint striker
  • multi tool
  • folding knife
  • 2 emergency blankets
  • 10 water proof matches
  • 2 Werthers candies
  • 2 tea bags
  • 2 hot chocolates
  • 1 Cliff bar
  • 5 large safety pins
  • 25 feet of 10lb test fishing line with 2 hooks
The options are endless, the storage ability is unrivaled.  The can becomes a boiling pot, a drinking cup, sap collector and even a rodent trap.

So, with snow slowly melted and eventually boiled Instructor John,  the two junior survivormen and myself enjoyed a hot peppermint tea courtesy of the almighty coffee can.

It seems so simple but it can never be argued that the contents of that little coffee can could save your life and allow you to self rescue from a winter emergency.

The next time your scraping the bottom of the coffee can, frustrated because you didn't buy a new one, just remember this post and don't throw it out.  Keep it and fill it.  It may save your life !