Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Survival Tools

For the benefit of the youngsters in the crowd, back when photographs required actual film, rather than bytes of digital media, the film came in virtually bomb proof and actually waterproof little plastic film cans (or cannisters), with pop-off lids. Anyone who shot pictures had dozens of them, more often than not. And if you're older than dinosaur teeth (call it late 1960s back to the 1930s or so), they came in aluminum film cans, with screw-on lids.

What good are they?

Watertight leakproof storage for:
treasure maps
*important ID or papers
*stash of paper currency, coins, gold, silver, gemstones, etc.
a buriable cache (pronounced cash, not cashay , unless you're a Common Core moron) of any kind
*fuel tabs or firestarter
*spices (Coghlans still makes snap on spice shaker lids for plastic cans)
*a mini-survival fishing kit (hooks, line, weights)
anything else you can think of.

None of that requires the film cans, and seldom seen film doesn't matter.
You can buy 10-12 of the cans, empty, new, for $5 on Amazon.

And really, it's not just film cans, it's any sealed waterproof container.
Film cans just used to be as ubiquitous as phone booths. Unfortunately, they still are now.
But while phone booths and film cans have gone out of style, the utility of the latter remains unsurpassed, and for prices from free, to cheap as dirt, brand new.

You can also go to The Container Store website, and find a yuuuuuge selection of other cans and containers of food-safe waterproof sealable plastic cans, tubes, etc. for similar purposes.
And you should.

I found a flatter round one the perfect size for medical tape, to keep it from drying into a ball of congealed unusable goo in a car first aid kit.
A longer thinner one that holds IV and chest decompression needles visible, without letting them poke holes in everything, or lose sterility.
GoToobs hold all sorts of things without burping the contents all over your gear, from Betadine to sunscreen, and everything in between.

All of the above are highly recommended. Dropped in water, they'll usually float.
Buried for months to years, they remain intact, with no metal parts to rust and fail.

Take advantage of the multitude of uses to store items safely, and have them as fresh and useful when you need them as they were the day you loaded them up.

*The Sergeant Major notes "You will see this material again."


Anonymous said...

Another handy item to carry EDC materials. The diabetic test strip cases too are nice. The ones from medical labs are longer and fit awl and sail needles.

Anonymous said...

Plus 1 on the test strip containers. The OneTouch brand I use have a label that peels off nicely, and the can has a desiccant liner. One went through the wash with no leaks, though my wife was annoyed. I keep an empty can in my weekend travel kit for used sharps and strips.

It's cold comfort, but the multiple prescriptions I take mean I get a selection of small and larger pill bottles; Not quite bombproof, but air and water tight. The labels are hard to peel off at times, but I've had luck with WD-40. Dishwashing with Dawn gets the small and residue.

Aesop said...

There are five test strip containers on my desk now, each with a pair of earplugs in them.
(I get the containers free where I work. ;) )

As for getting labels off bottles and such:

It's retailed at WalMart, Walgreen's, Target, etc.
Citrus-based, and gets labels and stickers off of everything with minimal fuss and no damage.

Anonymous said...

Harking back to the magnifier article from last week, I found a bunch of less expensive, squad size offerings on the beast's website:



Chuck said...

Containers work. Amazon sells 10-packs of 5, 7 and 13 dram clear "pill bottles" with pop-off lids for cheap. The 5s, 7s and 13s make perfect containers for small AR parts, a complete FCG fits in the 30 dram version. A completely assembled bolt fits in the 13s. They're not watertight, but that's why screw-top versions are available.

All kinds of sizes and shapes are available, whatever you need to store, organize and protect, there's probably a simple and cheap small container to do it with.

Extra points for going all Sheldon Cooper and adding readable labels; you may be able to tell extractor pins from ejector pins from across the street in the dark but Joe and Sally can't.

It's organization, and that counts. A lot. If you can't find it you don't have it, and if you can't find it fast there may not even be a point in looking for it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the desiccant packs too.

My prescription comes with them. Seal them up in a plastic bag. Up here in MN, a cold dry winter day is a good day to put them in the oven about 200 F to dry them out. Back in a air tight bottle in a plastic bag. Add a few to things you want kept dry.


Anonymous said...

Been saving scrip and OTC bottles for the same reason; though the scrip bottles can be brittle. Most of my .22 ammo is contained in large aspirin and ibuprofen bottles.
Good stuff, Brother; drive on
Boat Guy

Ominous Cowherd said...

Bottle preforms are good, cheap, tough small tubes. Usually second hand stores will have some old widemouth Nalgene bottles for cheap.

Linda Fox said...

Cheaper than The Container Store is American Science & Surplus - https://www.sciplus.com/ - science teachers find it a gold mine.

A.B. Prosper said...

Another great survival article. Thanks.

Funny enough I still have some film cans in my kit. 20+ years old and still good as new.

The Freeholder said...

I've thrown away hundreds of these over the years. Found a couple dozen a while back, and I was just stupidly happy with that.

westside dano said...

In case you happen to be in the market, The Container Store clientele tends to have a female to male ratio of about 10 to 1. Just saying.

TRX said...

I threw away several dozen film cans away a few years ago. I'd been saving them because they looked like they might be useful, but after a few decades of accumulation I realized the only use I'd ever made of them was to keep earplugs in, and I only needed a couple of those... so they moved from the "nifty" to "mustgo" category and thence out to the curb.

Now that I know a couple things they might be useful for, I'll save a few of my wife's test strip bottles...