Polymath Products Mini Survival Tin Review

Polymath Products Mini Survival
You could debate for years about what should be included in a compact survival kit (and people do!). So for the purposes of this review I'm going to comment on what is in the kit, rather than what could be in the kit.

Following the reviews of the fantastic UCSK and EDC Fire Kit from Polymath Products, here's the final kit in the line up - the Mini Survival Tin.

Tipping the scales at just 51g, it's a bit heavier than both the UCSK and the EDCFK.

Its a change from the other two, being housed in a metal tin rather than the usual shotgun cartridge, however it shares a lot of it's contents with the UCSK.

Speaking of contents...


The larger volume of the Tin compared to the UCSK means it includes a few more items.

Polymath Mini Survival Tin

The Housing
  • Metal tin
  • Ranger band
The tin measures 6x5cm and is exactly the same as the mini Altoids mint tins. This part of the kit was a little disappointing, although it may be my fault as it got fairly battered about! (More on that later)

The tin is sealed with a ranger band stretched around the sides which gives fantastic waterproofing and is a well known multi-use survival item.

The ranger band is one of the most simple, yet useful items in the kit. It can be used to attach the tin to a belt, knife sheath or rucksack strap, it can be used to lash items together, it can support a broken finger, and it can even be used as a fire starter!

Mini Survival Tin on Backpack Strap
The Tin attached to the shoulder strap of a rucksack
Fire Preparation
  • Fire Steel, 6.5mm Ø
  • Fire Steel Striker
  • IPA Alcohol Swab
The firesteels on the UCSK and EDCFK were both fantastic, and although the fire steel in the Tin isn't quite as good it still works just as well as it needs to! It's a little fiddly to use but it still throws good sparks.

The striker is the same as in the UCSK, a little piece of hacksaw blade and again - although small and fiddly, it works!

The IPA Alcohol Swab isn't technically a fire preparation item it works well to get kindling going after you've lit your tinder. Unfortunately though if you use it for fire lighting you obviously won't be able to use it to treat wounds!

I would really like to have seen at least one of the EDCFK's tinder sticks in the Mini Survival Tin, which would let you save the alcohol swab for first aid, but sadly this is an item that was left out of the Tin.

Tinder Stick in Mini Tin Survival Kit by Polymath
One of the tinder sticks from the EDCFK
Navigation and Signalling
  • Liquid-filled Compass
  • Glow Stick
  • Whistle
The compass is accurate, pretty much dead on the same as my Silva one. There isn't really much else to say about the compass, it works and that's that!

Compass and Map
Good for some impromptu route planning!
After reviewing the UCSK and EDCFK I have become quite fond of the glow stick included in each kit, so it's nice to have one in the Tin. It can be used to view the compass in the dark, provide a small amount of light to aid movement at night, and as a night time fishing lure/bite indicator.

The whistle is a really nice little tubular aluminum device with a lanyard hole at one end. A whistle could be invaluable in a mountain or canyon emergency, where there may be people on nearby trails but you are out of sight and in a dangerous situation (127 hours anyone?).

  • Scalpel Blade, #10
  • 8m Fishing Line, 6lb
  • 2x Swivel, Size 10
  • Hooks: 2x Size 10, 2x Size 8
  • 2x 1m Brass Snare Wire
The Mini Survival Tin contains a fairly comprehensive survival fishing kit, with line rated to 6lbs. It seems that 6lb is a pretty respectable size for a fish, so the fishing kit could definitely make or break a survival situation!

Also included in the kit is a #10 scalpel blade which has a myriad of survival uses; cutting cord, building spears and traps and carving tools, as well as a number of medical uses.

The 2m of brass snare wire (cut into 2x 1m lengths) can of course be used to construct snares, or if food is less of a concern than shelter it can be used as shelter building cordage.

  • Water Carrier (Condom)
  • 2x Water Purification Tablet
The water carrier can be used with the cartridge as a water bottle, or can be used to store dry tinder when in a wet environment. It can also apparently be used as a flotation device when inflated and wrapped in a shirt!

The water purification tablets should make suspect water sources safe to drink from. They make the water taste horrible but it's much better than getting ill from the water. These things are trusted by military all over the world so I'm inclined to trust them too!

  • Sewing Needle
  • Scalpel Blade, #10
  • Adhesive Dressing Strip
  • IPA Alcohol Swab
  • 2x Safety Pin
The adhesive dressing and alcohol swab are both sealed and sterile, and would be essential to prevent infection of small wounds in a survival situation.

The sewing needle and safety pins could have medical uses including sewing wounds and pinning bandages (although obviously this is a very last resort!), and the safety pins can double as emergency fishing hooks.


The kit includes 1m of braided paracord, however it is inside the tin rather than outside it, so takes up quite a lot of space.

I'm not going to bother to list uses of paracord, there are far too many!

Paracord in Mini Tin Polymath
Who doesn't love paracord?

The overall quality, like the rest of the Polymath Products kits, is absolutely stunning.

The main components of the kit are all packed neatly inside a plastic bag with the paracord filling the remaining space inside the tin. An exceptional level of detail is put into manufacturing these kits!

Mini Survival Tin
Neatly packed
The metal tin however leaves a lot to be desired. I had it strapped with the ranger band to my belt and after a matter of kilometers the lid had become dented (maybe I'm just getting fat...). I then used the ranger band to attach it to the kydex sheath of a knife and the same happened to the other side where the tin had contacted the sheath. Eventually the hinges deformed and the lid popped off.

Mini Survival Tin by Polymath
RIP, tin
It was a massive surprise when a component of such a well built kit failed, but apart from the dents and lack of hinges the tin is still usable. I now just make sure to put the ranger band around the tin in fear of the lid popping off and losing the contents of the kit.

If anything needs improved with this kit it's definitely the housing!

Tips and Tricks

The Mini Survival Tin comes with a printed instructions, tips and tricks sheet similar to the ones with the UCSK and EDCFK. It gives a handy refresher on basic survival techniques and alternative uses for components of the kit.

  • Can literally save your life, or just save the day!
  • Small and light
  • Very comprehensive, covers all survival priorities
  • Full fishing kit
  • Discreet and compact
  • Perfect for attaching to a knife sheath or belt
  • Great price
  • Flimsy tin
  • Could be improved with a tinder stick from the EDCFK

This is a great kit, very well thought out and constructed, but it's only letdown is the tin.

If you're on the fence between the UCSK and the Mini Survival Tin I'd say just go for the UCSK. The Tin is a great product, it's just outshone a little by the UCSK! Saying that though, some people will prefer the Tin.

Also, if you have the UCSK and the EDCFK already you may as well get the Mini Survival Tin to complete the set!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed my review!

You can check out the Survival Tin at the Polymath Products website here:

Knife and Sheath
I currently have the contents of the kit attached to my knife sheath with the ranger band - no tin necessary!
Thanks to Sam and Luke from Polymath Products for letting me review the Mini Survival Tin, they're awesome guys with an awesome company!

Disclaimer: Polymath Products provided me with the product free of charge in exchange for this review. This didn't alter my opinion of the product in any way. These are my opinions.

Review by Jake McConnell (part of HighballBlog.com outdoor athletes team who test and review outdoor gear).

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  1. Hi Jake,

    Luke from Polymath Products here. Many thanks for producing three very in-depth and thorough reviews of our kits. You've given us some really valuable feedback, and several things to consider.

    We're as surprised as you were to hear of the tin failing like it did. Obviously it's a bit of a problem if the container wasn't up to normal use! Since we sent you the mini tin, our tin supplier has upgraded the tins with a more sturdy grade of tin plate, so this will help. I expect the hinges are always going to be a weak point on the tins though.

    We'll be looking further at this issue, and the other suggestions you have made, and we'll see what we can come up with.

    Thanks again for the great reviews!

    Best Regards,
    Polymath Products

    1. Hi Luke,

      Thanks for the comment! That's good to hear that you've upgraded the tins, it's always great to see companies listening to their customers and taking their suggestions and experiences on board.

      I look forward to seeing what you can come up with, judging by your products you sure aren't short of innovative ideas!



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