Geek Gifts 2011: Survival Kit in a Sardine Can

Whether your summer plans involve enjoying the outdoors or preparing for the apocalypse, ThinkGeek's Survival Kit in a Sardine Can is something you'll want, says former Boy Scout Edmond Woychowsky.

This might seem an odd admission from a geek, but I used to do outdoor activities -- some of which didn't involve Renaissance fairs. You couldn't tell by looking at me now, but I camped, went whitewater rafting, hiked, fished, and hunted... berries. I did these activities in the years commonly referred to as BC (before children), but I still remember that regardless of how well you plan, something can always go wrong.

This is why ThinkGeek's $9.99 Survival Kit in a Sardine Can intrigued me. To some, this might seem like a novelty -- after all how could the contents of a sardine can help anyone survive -- there aren't even any sardines in the can?-- but check out what does come in the can:

  • Aminofen (Acetaminophen)
    Credit: Edmond Woychowsky
  • Adhesive bandage
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Alcohol prep pad
  • One packet sugar
  • One tea bag
  • One packet iodized salt
  • One book of matches
  • One Tootsie Roll Midgee
  • One stick of chewing gum (cinnamon)
  • One cube fire starter
  • One pencil
  • One plastic zip lock bag
  • One large paperclip
  • One single-edge razor blade
  • One fishhook, appears to be number 8 or 10 size
  • One spool fishing line
  • One compass
  • One whistle
  • One safety pin
  • One piece duct tape
  • One set of instructions/first aid tips

Click the image to enlarge. (Credit: Edmond Woychowsky)

While some might laugh at the contents, each and every item is useful. Take the chewing gum, for example: You can chew it and then use it as an adhesive or as bait on the fishhook. I would, however, refrain from using the line as a hand line because it's too thin, and you'll end up needing to use the bandage; instead, you should find something else can be used as a fishing rod.

After you catch a fish, you can use the razor blade to gut it, and then use the can's lid to scale it. Next, you could use the matches and any dry wood that you find to create a fire. If there's no dry wood, then use the fire starter and green wood. It will be smoky, but you'll have one of the comforts that the human race has enjoyed for over a 100,000 years.

Geek gift bottom line

The majority of people will never need something like this survival kit, excluding those who survive the apocalypse. In the event of the apocalypse, even the zombie apocalypse, there is enough of a selection of items to tip things in your favor or at least give you peace of mind. And, really, what is peace of mind worth?

To put it in geek terms, having it and not needing it means you lose nothing, but not having it and needing it means that you could lose everything.

Geek gift score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: *
  • Geek factor: *****
  • Value: ****
  • Overall: ****

For more reviews of tech gadgets, gizmos, games, and books, download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2011.