Medicine Pill Bottle Survival Kit: How To and Why

One type of container I have used a lot over the years for creating small survival kits is empty medication bottles. 

medicine pill bottle survival kit

“But why would you use such a container?” you may be asking. The main reason is that I am cheap! But on a more serious note here are a few more reasons why I like repurposing these containers. 

6 Reasons To Use A Pill Bottle Survival Kit

Cheap!

I know that I already brought this up but who doesn’t like saving money? Plus, everyone already has these in one form or another in their homes.

Durable

Pill bottles are lightweight, compact, and offer a durable hard container for protecting the items inside. 

Water-Resistant

These containers are water-resistant and depending on the type of lid some may be waterproof. An added benefit is that if they are dropped in water, they will float long enough for them to be retrieved. 

Organization

While this article is about making an easy to carry kit, these containers can be used to keep items organized in larger survival kits or packs. 

When you are using multiple bottles it would be beneficial to use clear ones. That way the contents of the container are highly visible from the outside. 

Discreet

If you do not wish to advertise your kit, what could be more discreet then storing survival items in a container labeled “aspirin?”

Big or Small

Pill bottles come in all shapes and sizes so they can be customized to your liking. Carry just a few extra items or a whole bunch, it is up to you.


Survival Kit in a Pill Bottle: First Steps

First off, if you are repurposing a prescription pill bottle, I highly recommend removing the label from the container and properly discarding it. These labels usually have personal information on them such as your name, address, and name of your physician. No need to advertise that in case you misplace your kit. 

As it pertains to selecting a container, there is such a variety of them that the choice is really up to you and what you want to put in it. Which brings me to my next point. 

There are basically two types of kits that you can make and here is what I call them.

  1. Miscellaneous Kit. This type of kit will have a little bit of everything in it. Maybe some sewing supplies, a few fishing items, a tool for starting a fire, a few band-aids, etc. 
  2. Dedicated Kit. This type of kit has items in it with one dedicated purpose in mind. For example, it will be a first aid kit, a fire-starting kit, fishing kit, etc.

So, which one is better? This is a hard question to answer because they both have their ups and downs. A miscellaneous kit will provide a little bit of everything to help out in several areas. But a dedicated kit will be more robust and serve one purpose very well. In that case, why don’t I go ahead and make both of them! 

Real quick before I get into the lists, I need to share the dimensions of the pill bottle I am using. It is roughly 2” in diameter and 3 ¾” tall. 


Miscellaneous Pill Bottle Kit 

Here is a list of the items I was able to get into this container.  

  • Fatwood x2 (also known as, lighter wood)
  • Cotton ball
  • Lighter wrapped in several feet of duct tape
  • Tinfoil 2ft square 
  • Wire, roughly 8ft
  • Band Aides x8
  • Antiseptic towelette 
  • Fishing line, roughly 30ft 
  • Fishing hooks x25
  • Swiss Army Knife 
  • Needle w/8ft of thread 
  • Clothespin 
  • Plastic bag 

Dedicated Kits: Fire, Fishing, First Aid

These dedicated kits are meant to serve a singular purpose. Yes, items in the kit could be used for tasks outside of the scope of the kit but then the kit may not be as effective. 

Below, I will be showing three kits that I have made in the past and the items I chose to put in them. 

Fire Kit

For my fire kits, I go heavy on easy to use ignition sources and tinder. These are the foundation of getting a fire going so that is mainly what I pack. When space allows, these are the items I choose for my fire kit.

  • Lighter 
  • Ferrocerium rod and a magnesium rod 
  • Stormproof matches
  • Cotton ball (or dryer lint)
  • Charcloth
  • Fatwood x5
  • Birthday candle
  • Swiss Army Knife 

More details on creating a fire survival kit can be found here.

Fishing Kit 

In this kit, the majority of the space is taken up by fishing line and hooks. This is a personal choice because I believe the fishing line and hooks are the most difficult to recreate in nature. They are also the only two items required for catching a fish. Everything else just helps out. These are the items I like to put into my fishing kit. 

  • Fishing line, roughly 30ft
  • Fishing weights x5
  • Bag with fishing hooks x25, swivels x3, lure, small floats x2, small weights x2
  • Fishing jigs x4
  • Stringer line 
  • Swiss Army Knife 
  • Float

More details on designing fishing survival kits can be found here.

First Aid Kit

Considering the size of the container, I lean towards packing in basic first aid materials. The items that I chose to put into this pill bottle are

  • 6 yards of sterile gauze
  • Full-Sized Band Aides x10
  • Knuckle Band Aides x2 
  • Small Band Aides x10
  • Alcohol Prep Pads x2 
  • Sting Relief Prep Pad
  • Clean Towelette
  • Needle w/ 8ft of thread
  • Tweezer 
  • Antiseptic Prep Pad 
  • Triple Antibiotic Creams x2 
  • Burn Creams x2

The following items were not pictured because I had used them and forgot to replenish the kit! This is a reminder to always stay on top of your supplies!

Assortment of meds that include, antidiarrheal, pain and fever reducer, anti-inflammatory and water purification tablets (not just for drinking purposes but you are going to need clean water for washing affected areas)


Final Thoughts

Please realize no one should think that these kits are all that you need when walking out of your house. They should be thought of as backups or a way to keep items organized in a larger kit. 

It can be extremely difficult, if not impractical, to transport a fully stocked pack everywhere you go. But a smaller kit like the ones discussed in the above article is easily carried in a coat pocket, a purse, or a small backpack. This allows an individual to always be prepared on some level. Lastly, remember to make these kits your own! Add or take away items as you see fit. Thank you for reading and I hope this article got you thinking about different ways to carry survival gear. Stay prepared!



Bryan Lynch
Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. Recently, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. Read more of Bryan's articles.

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