Survival Items that Fit in Your Wallet

The worst case scenario for any emergency situation is that you get caught away from home and with nothing on you except your wallet. What happens if your wallet is all you have?

Or perhaps you have everyday carry (EDC) items on your keychain, but you want to have another place to store EDC items. Fortunately, there is a compact solution that is perfect, particularly for men, who don’t carry purses in which they can fit any number of EDC items.

Believe it or not, your wallet is a perfect place to store survival gear!

You might not be able to carry everything you would ideally like to carry on your person, but there is more space than you might think in your wallet and there are a number of survival items that can be made small enough to fit in your wallet.  Here are our top picks for survival items that fit in your wallet.

A Small Knife

A knife is one of the most important items to have with you at all times. Yes, there are places where it is illegal to carry a knife, but in general, you should be able to carry one with you at all times.

You can easily fit a small folding knife with a 1-inch or 2-inch blade in your wallet. If you want a larger blade, consider removing the hilt of a knife with a 3-inch blade and just putting blade in your wallet.

There are also some knives that have been designed to be carried in a wallet.  For instance, the InstaBlade Credit Card Knife is a stainless steel folding knife that, when folded, is the size of a credit card.  It slides easily into your wallet or can be carried in a pocket.

A Flashlight

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Not many people would think they can carry a flashlight in their wallet, but it can be done. There are flashlights that are designed to fit in a wallet and are great when you’re left in the dark.

One really cool device is the LEDPocket Credit Card Wallet Light Bulb. This light isn’t the brightest, but it is still useful because it is so compact and is there when you need it.

However, an even better flashlight is the Iain Sinclair EON-C Classic Ultra-Thin Credit Card Light. This is an LED light that has pre-installed lithium batteries that have a long life. The light is powerful, light, and the size of a credit card. Perfect for a wallet.


Okay, you’re not going to put actual water in your wallet, but you can carry a way to purify water in the compact little space. Just put a few water purification tablets in a small Ziploc bag and slip it in your wallet and you are prepared in case you need water in a pinch.

A Can Opener

Like the water, you aren’t going to carry food in your wallet, but you can fit a fabulous little P-38 can opener in your wallet.

If you get stuck somewhere in a serious emergency and you can’t get home or to your bugout location right away, you will be able to open cans of food, making it possible for you to eat with relative ease.

An Emergency Firestarter

You should have a way to start fires on your person at all times. A small piece of charcloth, some fire starter powder, and a ferrocerium rod will all fit in your wallet without taking up a lot of space. Just put the fire starter and the charcloth each in their own small Ziploc bag and tuck them in with the ferrocerium rod.

Alternatives to this include a small striker fire starter, matches, or a Fresnel Lens Credit Card Magnifier.  You can also carry a small, good quality lighter, but it might be a bit bulkier.


It’s always a good idea to have some sort of strong string or cord with you at all times. You can easily carry some string or lightweight cord in your wallet by wrapping a length of it around a business card (yup, those business cards are handier than you think!).

Wrap your cord around the card in a single layer (double if it’s thinner cord) and tuck it in your wallet. You can also do this with dental floss, perhaps include one of each, a stronger, heavier cord and the lighter dental floss.

Small Tools

Your business cards are useful for carrying other survival tools, as well. Any small items, such as fishing hooks, safety pins, sewing needles and some thread, and any other small items you can think of can be taped to a business card and slid into a small compartment in your wallet.

When paired with the cord you have wrapped around another business card, you have fishing gear in your wallet at all times, as well as a sewing and small repair kit. That’s pretty impressive.

Some Duct Tape

Yup, you can even carry duct tape in your wallet. Just wrap 20 or 30 feet of duct tape around a business card or an old credit card or bank card. It will be flat and not terribly thick and will still fit inside your wallet with ease.

A Signaling Mirror

Chances are you aren’t going to be stuck out in the wilderness with only your wallet, but you never know when you might need a signal mirror.

You can get a signal mirror that is the size and shape of a credit card that will fit snuggly in your wallet. This will provide you with a way to send a signal if you need help or to communicate with someone over a distance.

A Multi-Tool

There are a number of multi-tools that have been designed to fit in your wallet. Many of these come as a flat, stainless steel single-piece the size of a credit card that provides various edges that form rulers, saws, and screwdrivers. These are great example of single-piece multi-tools.

There are also more comprehensive multi-tools designed to be carried in your wallet.

These are also the size of a credit card, but have both stationary and removable parts, such as knife blades, compass, flashlight, tweezers, scissors, fire starter, and signal whistle (what you get depends on what brand and model you purchase).

Two great examples are the Tool Logic SVC2 Survival Card and the Victorinox SwissCard Lite. You can seriously have a Swiss Army Knife in your wallet – well, it’s as close as you can get!

A Cell Phone Charger

Having a way to charge your cell phone in an emergency is ideal and having a way to do this that fits in your wallet is even better.

Fortunately, a small battery pack designed to fit in a wallet is available and is capable of charging your cell phone to 25% of its total power. This is perfect in a pinch and a great example is the TravelCard Portable Smartphone Charger.

A Flash Drive

Since we are talking about a wallet here, you can carry copies of your important documents right in your wallet. These come in handy when needed.

However, sometimes it’s nice to have more than just the main documents. You might want to have access to your important survival information with you wherever you go, such as those how-to documents that tell you how to build a shelter or what wild food you can forage.

Carrying a USB flash drive in your wallet is a great way to keep all sorts of important information with you. As long as you can access a working computer, you can pull up the information if you need it.

Flash drives are also very small on their own, so there isn’t really a need for anything special. Just try to find the thinnest model possible.

Prepaid Phone Card

An international prepaid phone card is a good item to have in your wallet at all times. If the cell networks go down, then you have the option to use a payphone to make a call whenever you need to.


Yes, cash is considered an emergency item and it happens to be what your wallet is designed to carry, so you probably already have this one covered.

However, for the sake of providing a complete list, I will state here that you should always carry some cash on your person.

It is truly amazing what you can fit inside a wallet.

Of course, many of these things were designed specifically to be stored and carried in a small space, but some of it is just made with ingenuity. Use your imagination and you can have a lot of the things you would carry in a get-home bag (GHB) right in your wallet.

Knowing you have these items on hand whenever you need them and wherever you are will put your mind at ease and ensure you are fully prepared for anything.

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6 thoughts on “Survival Items that Fit in Your Wallet”

  1. Hi Dan,

    I think you are on the right track here. Might include those “cards” for your wallet that break into off lock picking tools and such. Just an observation but prepaid phone cards for a ‘pay phone’? I have not seen a pay phone in years. Maybe for a burner wireless phone perhaps, which should be included in your kit. Also, I would add a RF blocker for the wireless unit so you cannot be tracked surreptitously as many do not understand that if the unit is ‘off’, means nothing to those that monitor the airwaves and can track you nonetheless, think the middle east, drone attacks initiated by a signal from someones phone, whether they were using it or not. Also, maybe add a small map of your AO and small compass and the smarts to use it. The GPS or the entire com system can be switched off in a heartbeat. And then you are blind. As a final tidbit, the US Navy has reincorporated the instruction and use of sextants to find position on the globe because they realize the sattelite nav system could go down.

  2. I also agree with the concept of the wallet EDC kit. Its appearance doesn’t raise any suspicion and it was designed for pocket carry. Several of my kits have the UVPaqlite product, a glow in the dark clear nearly paper thin envelope with glow in the dark materials in it. Does not replace a flashlight as it doesn’t cast a beam, but it glows that recharges from any light source and will greatly extend your battery powered light sources by a great deal. No shelf life, waterproof and will not ignite any gas line leaks.

    Multi-tool – check out the SOG Crosscut or Leatherman Micra. Both abou a 1/4″ thick and have some pretty useful tools included. I have a sewing bobbin of G.I. trip wire on the split ring – makes good STRONG repair sewing material and can be used for many other uses. My sewing kit has several needles (including the heavy duty sail needle recommended by Canterbury) inside a coffee straw stirrer, wrapped with several types of thread on the outside.

    Fire source – the mini BIC makes a lot of sense and can be wrapped with additional duct tape that is a good fire starter material.

    Thanks for the article.

  3. my question is about the Duct tape. whenever my duct tape latches on to something, it sticks like nobody’s business. So if it is wrapped around something how in the heck can it be pulled apart?
    Thanks & love your e-mail’s.

  4. Cop checks your wallet pills? consealed blade? jail?
    alls good till you get robbed first thing they take is ??

  5. Some really clever ideas that I know I never thought of. One additional item I would suggest is a “space” blanket – should be small enough to fit.

  6. I would suggest forgoing the taping of survival items to your business or credit card and just buy a survival card with those items mentioned in that section above prefabricated in it; I would highly recommend the survival card series from READYMAN. More than sizeable enough to fit in a card slot in your wallet and quite affordable, even for the whole set, which is up to seven now I believe. I would also throw out a special mention of the SURVCO Survival Ax Tool. It’s a bit bulkier, but still fits well in a card slot in a wallet.


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