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5 keyring tubes for carrying emergency cash

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by MarylandUSA, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Empty Pockets

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    A few months ago, my college-age daughter, while vacationing out-of-state,was held up at night and surrendered her wallet. It got me thinking: Wouldn't it nice to have a wad of spare cash on my keyring? Even if I never get robbed, there are times when spare cash would be handy. I may lose my wallet. I may forget it or leave it at my desk. I may run short of cash till payday.

    As I explored what's out there, I found that most solutions are repurposed pill-fob tubes; most can hold just a single bill, and nearly are so short that the bill must first be folded. These restrictions wouldn't do! A U.S. $20 bill won't go far, and if you would need to use the emergency bill to buy a train ticket, the machines won't take a bill full of creases. And trust me, if you ask strangers, "Would you be so kind as to trade me an unfolded $20 for this one?" most will suspect that you're offering a counterfit.

    I also discovered that these tubes are listed under a wide range of names. A sampling:
    bill cache, cache vial, emergency bill holder, pillfob, pill fob, pill vial, pill keyring holder, keyring tube--you get the idea.

    A U.S. bill measures 66mm (2.61 in.) wide by 156mm (6.1 in.) long. I wasted a good bit of change buying pill tubes advertised as 70mm or 75mm before realizing that this figure was for the outside dimension--or worse, included the keyring lug.

    First I tried the Original Pill Fob from the Herringtoncatalog.com. A pricey stainless-steel affair, this was overkill. It also proved too short to hold a bill unfolded and too narrow to hold more than one.

    [​IMG]

    I ended up buying four pill tubes and one toothpick holder. From left to right:

    • silver "Large Key Chain Pill Fob Survival Kit Container" from U.S. eBay seller ferrocium; also sold as "Water Proof JUMBO Aluminum Pill Holder Key FOB / I.D." from U.S. eBay seller emeraldviz.
    • green "Pill Cache Container box case bo Keyring holder VIAL" from eBay seller bid-store, located in Asia. It also comes in blue and red. I favored green to remind me there's money inside.
    • black "Aluminum Waterproof Bunker Capsule / Pill Fob" from the U.S. dealer goinggear.com.
    • green "Water Proof Long Aluminum Pill Holder Key FOB ID Holder" from U.S. eBay seller emeraldviz"]emeraldviz[/URL]. Many colors are available.
    • toothpick holder #2500 "jungle camouflage" from Hart Woodcrafts in the USA.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the five tubes shown alongside an unfolded U.S. $20 bill. As you can probably tell, there's no way for the bill to fit into the middle three tubes without being folded:

    [​IMG]

    If the tube's inner length is shorter than about 70mm, you'll have to fold the bill. To insert two or more bills, be sure to interfold it (nest the folds), as shown with this $20 and $10; if you fold both bills along the same side, one end of the roll of bills will be thicker than the other, wasting precious millimeters of inner diameter:

    [​IMG]

    So how much do they hold? From left to right:

    • 6 bills, no folding necessary
    • 3 bills, interfolded; maybe 4; unfortunately, a 16340 lithium cell got lodged inside before I could test.
    • 4 bills, interfolded
    • 2 bills, interfolded
    • 1 bill, no folding necessary...but you must tape a grab tab" or you'll need tweezers to extract it from the toothpick holder's constricted neck.
    [​IMG]

    Here are the five tubes in different order, showing how the bills look when you peer straight down into the tube:

    [​IMG]

    I chose the big, fat silver tube. I can't tell you how secure I feel, knowing that come what may, if I have my keys, I have two $20s, one $10, two $5s, and one $1...all usable in a ticket machine.
     
    kkay and Luis Enriquez like this.
  2. MikeN

    MikeN Loaded Pockets

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    Interesting stuff
     
  3. Boy SureFire

    Boy SureFire May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way

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    I hope you change your mind about not being "online often" since this is a nice article... Also you can stick a $20 bill inside a pill baggy, & tuck it underneath the soul of your favorite shoes.

    Welcome to EDCF,
    -BSF
     
  4. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Empty Pockets

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    Here's how it looks on my keyring, alongside a Peak LED 1xAA brass flashlight:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Cuso

    Cuso Loaded Pockets

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    Very good stuff. I carry an emergency $20 in an empty Pea lighter casing. It works but, having more than one note in different denominations is very useful. I don't like having cash on me and would only use it for emergencies.
     
  6. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    Excellent topic.

    Have had good results from goinggear.com, and my travel needs center around my car. Four inter-folded bills will do just fine for my needs.

    P.S. - Glad to hear your daughter wasn't hurt.
     
  7. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    What if the bad guys take your keychain too?
     
  8. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Empty Pockets

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    Then I'm SOL. In fact, I need to remove the "$100 reward" from my blue keyring ID, seen facedown in the photo above. If the returner removes my cash, then expects a reward, I'm twice screwed. In fact, nothing says he woudn't help himself to some of the other goodies, professing ignorance when I'd ask where they were.
     
  9. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Empty Pockets

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    British option: 75x25mm keyring stash

    EDCers in the UK might want to consider the "keyring stash aluminum" from Amazon seller cleo. At 75mm x 25mm, it looks ideal. I'd order one, but the seller doesn't ship to North America.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jean

    Jean Loaded Pockets

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    Thats why you get the "Plan" version smooth, brass, and without the D ring part.
     
  11. dewildeman

    dewildeman Loaded Pockets

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    Don't ask me where, it might be on this forum, but I've read where people are taking the body of AA Maglights and using them for capsules, replacing the lighthead with a cap.
     
  12. Boy SureFire

    Boy SureFire May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way

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    That was on here, but I'll have to track it down....

    don't throw away your mag lites
     
  13. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Empty Pockets

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    Update: Several eBay dealers are selling jumbo tubes in colors, like these "Aluminum Pill Box Case Bottle Stash Container Keychain" from eBay seller source_kit.
    [​IMG]


    I bought one in black and silver from dodo-gogo, who lists its dimensions as 20x88mm, including nub. It's the same size as the one-color Large Key Chain Pill Fob Survival Kit Container" from U.S. eBay seller ferrocium.

    [​IMG]

    By the way, if you roll the bills nice and tight, you can fit eight U.S. bills inside. (I had originally written "six".) The spare $10 came in handy recently at the Metro station. I accidentally bent my plastic Metro card and needed to buy a replacement from a machine that accepted only two $5 bill or one $10 bill. In my wallet, I had only $20 and $1 bills. Keyring cash to the rescue!
     
  14. tiktok 22

    tiktok 22 Loaded Pockets

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    I noticed you are carrying it on an S-biner...These things have a tendancy to open accidentally. I have an s-biner and have had it open in my pockets on numerous occasions. So much so I am ditching it in favor of other options. With enough searching on this forum, you wil find other members with the same problem.
     
  15. anthony

    anthony Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the size and number of bills comparision. This will be helpful.
     
  16. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Empty Pockets

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    Boy, are you right. I once returned to my car after a concert and discovered that my car keys were not on my S biner! Luckily, I was able to keypad into the car, where I found my car keys on the driver's-seat floormat. They had fallen off as I squeezed the ring while exiting from a tight parking space. I now carry everything on a simple 75-cent split ring from the hardware store.
     
  17. **cutup**

    **cutup** Loaded Pockets

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    Very helpful info on pill vial names!
     
  18. mhphoto

    mhphoto Loaded Pockets

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    Excellent reviews, thanks!

    I use a smaller version of the Going Gear aluminum capsule and I love it.
     
  19. ckc123

    ckc123 Loaded Pockets

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    Get some shrink wrap tube!!!!

    I use it with mine.. I roll the bills up tight, then use the shrinkwrap to keep them from unraveling.. then insert the "bundle" into the fob/holder etc.. I can get 4 bills easily in a tube the same size as your first stainless one...
     
  20. r-ice
    • In Omnia Paratus

    r-ice Loaded Pockets

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    what about the new Canadian bills that are plastic? Any ideas how they would fit?