The Altoids Tall Tin Smartphone Survival Kit isn’t going to get you through the apocalypse. It won’t help you on a deserted island. It won’t provide food or shelter either. This survival kit is something that I’ve put together out of necessity during everyday life.
Far too often, we are caught without a proper charger for our phone. A friend has an iphone that has a nearly dead battery and all you have is your Android charger (or vise versa). Sometimes you realize that you’ve maxed out the memory on your phone and SD card taking those duckface selfies too.
I have a solution to the problem. It’s the Altoids Tall Tin Smartphone Survival Kit.
This Altoids Tall Tin carries everything needed to charge any Android or iPhone currently on the market, plus it has a lot of other good stuff.
Let’s take a look.
The tin itself
This is just your ordinary Altoids “Arctic” tall tin. There’s nothing special about it other than I lined the sides with a large bandaid to stop extra rattle from the stuff inside.
USB-A to MicroUSB cable, 3 inches
USB-A is the standard USB ports on a laptop or computer. This cable has a Male USB-A that plugs into the laptop and a MicroUSB plug to go into the phone. In other words, it’s your standard charging cable. Obviously it’s there for emergencies. You won’t be able to easily lie on the couch using the phone while it charges. It’s just a standard cable that came with one of my many portable battery chargers.
MicroUSB to USB-C Adapter
This one is essential for most recent high-end smartphones. The USB-C adapter allows you to use any older MicroUSB cable on your new, shiny phone. This adapter was a must have, and I bought a ten pack so I could put these in every kit.
MicroUSB to Lightning Plug
Essential for iPhones and iPads, I have one of these because there’s always “that friend (or coworker)” that never seems to have a charger with them. I carry all Androids, but still got a ten pack of these for my friends on the dark side of the force.
Standard USB to MicroUSB adapter
This one is kind of interesting. I purchased these adapters so that I could plug in a standard USB drive into any smartphone. It also does double duty for the USB Wi-Fi dongle and Raspberry Pi Zero (more on this in a moment).
USB-C to Standard USB
I have a portable hard drive that has a USB-C adapter to plug into my laptop and phone. Sometimes, I do use a computer that doesn’t have USB-C, and I have to use this adapter so that I can plug it into the standard USB port. This adapter also allows me to plug the Raspberry Pi directly into the laptop port for power (again, more on this below) by daisy-chaining the adapters.
Click on the photo below – it’s too confusing to explain.
MicroSD card to Standard USB adapter
Sure, I could just plug my smartphone into the computer, but I find it very handy to have a really small adapter for when I have to get video off my GoPro or transfer/save files on computers.
Raspberry Pi Zero-W + 128GB microSD card
I carry a Raspberry Pi Zero in the tin. Call me a nerd, but I have very functional use for carrying one of these everywhere. It runs PirateBox, a small anonymous offline file storage/sharing and communications system. It runs it’s own Wi-Fi network using the onboard Wi-Fi. You just connect your phone or laptop to the PirateBox network to save files, share files chat with others that are connected (if any) or run a tiny 4chan style message board completely offline. There is no connection to the internet so no one on the internet can download your files. It should be mentioned that the Pi Zero creates an open network by default so anyone that does connect to the PirateBox over wi-fi has access to the files as it was intended to be a file sharing network.
Use Case: This PirateBox comes out a lot during conferences I attend. People connect to the box to chat and share files. It also is used frequently to temporarily save non-sensitive files. The PirateBox comes out when I’m sitting in coffee shops just for fun. I’ll name the Wi-Fi network to the same one as in the coffee shop to add a bit of excitement to people’s day.
Oh, and this is a perfect solution for creating an hotspot so the kids can all connect and play Minecraft together on car rides (again, not connected to the internet, just creates an AdHoc network).
Non-phone related stuff in the tin
I have just a few other general items in the kit. I don’t need to go into much detail, but they are as follows:
- 2x Waterproof matches and striker card
- 1x 1.5″ red glow stick from a fishing kit
- 1x safety pin
- 1x single-edge utility razor blade
This Kit Is Always With Me
This is actually one of the most used kits I carry.
Obviously you can see the usefulness of carrying a small kit such as this. It’s insanely useful to have and essential for keeping your phone charged. It also gives you almost every option needed to transfer files to and from your phone if you use it as a storage device.
If you don’t need the Raspberry Pi or the non-phone related stuff, all the adapters fit in an Altoids Smalls tin for full time pocket carry.