Pocket Survival Kit Reviews: Coghlan's Survival Kit-In-A-Can - ITS Tactical
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Pocket Survival Kit Reviews: Coghlan’s Survival Kit-In-A-Can

By Mike Petrucci

2 of 6 in the series Pocket Survival Kits

Continuing our series on pocket sized survival kits, today we are taking a look at another sardine can style kit. This one is the ‘Survival Kit-In-A-Can’ by Coghlan’s.

Just by reading over its list of contents you’ll quickly notice that it has an impressive amount of gear inside. The question, though, isn’t really about quantity, but quality.


The idea of these kits is to provide all the necessary survival materials in a lightweight and portable package. Here is the product description, straight from the packing:

Lightweight, compact and watertight, Coghlan’s Survival Kit-In-A-Can contains 38 items which can provide warmth, shelter and energy in threatening situations from the desert to the arctic.


This kit is light. That’s one of the first things you notice. The size, weight and form factor of these styles of kits makes it perfect for a backpack, purse, cargo pocket, tackle box, etc.

As it comes from the factory, it’s watertight and even floats. I do worry a little about puncture though. I’m thinking of maybe a car or plane crash doing some damage but if it’s on your person, you may be alright. Also, I only really stress that a puncture may ruin it because just like the Whistle Creek kit, not everything inside is protected from water.


  • Compass
  • Fire Starter
  • 9.8′ Multi-Use Cord
  • 3′ Wire
  • 4 Waterproof Matches (heads dipped in wax or paraffin)
  • 101′ Fish Line (it’s not real fishing line, just a strong multi-purpose line)
  • Soup Packet
  • Tea Bag (not enclosed and has no label)
  • Sugar Packet
  • Match Book (non water proof… why?)
  • 2 Antiseptic Swabs
  • Razor Blade
  • 3 Twist Ties
  • 12″ Duct Tape
  • Signal Mirror
  • Zip Lock Bag
  • 2 Bandages
  • 2 Nails
  • 2 Safety Pins
  • 2 Fish Hooks
  • Signal Whistle
  • Chewing Gum (flavor didn’t last long)
  • Sewing Needle (could be used for repairing gear or maybe even a crude suture)
  • Energy Candy (tasted like regular peppermint candy to me)
  • Note Paper
  • Pencil (plastic with graphite insert)
  • Survival/First Aid Pamphlet (useful because in a stressful situation, people tend to forget the basics)

Testing Notes

  • The fire starting cubes burned solid and hot for 3 and a half minutes. I didn’t do a full “camp fire test” because they were identical to the previous kit’s cubes. They also burned completely out at 5 minutes and 10 seconds.
  • The gum was Dubble Bubble and tasty but they really could have picked a gum that has longer lasting flavor. I used the gum as bait for fishing but didn’t catch anything.
  • Using a trashed water bottle, I made a makeshift fishing reel. It worked to keep the line from tangling but it’s worth noting that they do not include true fishing line.
  • I made some hot tea with the tea and sugar and my wife even enjoyed it!
  • The soup broth was amazing! Honestly, it is probably the one thing I would covet the most in a real survival situation. I would ration that little packet to no end and probably use it with everything from just water to any animals I was able to catch and cook.
  • The weight of this kit on my scale registered at only 2.9 ounces.
  • The amount of duct tape felt adequate. There is just so much you can do with it that I don’t think you can ever have enough.
  • These survival kits are so small and portable that it even fits in the tiny compartment under the rear seat of my motorcycle!
  • To make a more functional signal mirror, I used the razor blade and cut a small hole in the middle of the included reflective paper.
  • The compass worked well enough to provide a basic sense of direction.


  • Cost
    • 5/5 – Very inexpensive, especially for what is included ($10-15)
  • Waterproofness
    • 3/5 – While it’s completely waterproof when unopened, you’ll have to transfer the contents into the included zip lock bag to maintain the level of water proofing. Puncture of hard objects is also a concern with these aluminum kits.
    • IPX7 rated (submerged to 1 meter for 30 minutes)
  • Size/Weight Portability
    • 5/5 – About as small and light as you can make a survival kit. Fits very well in almost anything. Even the tiny under-seat compartment of a sport bike!
  • Shelter
    • 1/5 – This is where these small kits get into the most trouble. They just don’t have anything other than a razor blade and some string to help construct a structure.
  • Water Purification
    • 3/5 – You can boil water in the container itself but due to its small size you’ll be running for refills non stop.
  • Food
    • 4/5 – I gave the Whistle Creek kit a 4/5 in this category but after seeing this kit, that should be knocked down. This kit includes two fish hooks, wire for snare, as well as hard candy and gum. It won’t be easy to find food to eat but accounting for the size of this kit, I’m impressed.
  • Fire Starting
    • 4/5 – Two fire starting cubes, waterproof matches, and a regular book of matches should really help you get a fire started.
  • Signaling
    • 3/5 – This kit came with a flexible mirror-like signaling device but it is in no way a true signaling mirror. That doesn’t mean that you won’t attract attention though. It’s a welcome addition. Also, the whistle actually worked very well and seemed to be plenty loud, unlike the last kit’s whistle.

Overall Remarks

I know a lot of people scoff at these little kits and write them off as pure novelty but this is actually one that I would recommend. Although, it’s more of a last resort kit than anything else.

This kit is way more full-featured than the Whistle Creek version. So if you were going to choose between the two, I’d say go with this one. The amount of included gear should (in theory) allow you to survival longer. Once again, this isn’t really the ideal survival kit but it’s perfect for a stocking stuffer or inexpensive gift that actually works to some extent.

Stay tuned for more pocket survival kit reviews coming your way!

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