Wednesday, December 19, 2012

SOL Origin Survival Kit - Review

Survival kit can mean a lot of different things to different people.  For me, the backpackers survival kit includes a pared down set of the basic essentials needed to survive in the outdoors in an emergency situation.  Your typical backpacking gear will include most everything that you need to survive on your trip; but it is good to have the very basic essentials together in one kit, so that you know you are covered and it is in a package that you can grab quickly if you need to make a quick getaway.

So, I look at the survival kit as more of a catch-all category for a number of basic survival gear beyond your first aid kit.  The basis of my survival kit is the SOL Origin from Adventure Medical Kits.  SOL stands for Survive Outdoors Longer, and the Origin is a small, lightweight package that includes items such as firestarter, pocket-knife, signal mirror and whistle, a penlight, a mini compass, a small fishing tackle set, and repair kit.

The Origin is packaged in a compact, blaze orange, waterproof, plastic case.  Its dimensions are a diminutive 3.8" x 2.75" x 1.5", and it only weighs 6.25 oz. - not bad for what it includes.  One side of the container has a flip-up signaling mirror, with a handy sighting window to help line up your reflective signal flash - the mirror is also handy to supplement your hygiene/toiletries kit, for shaving or putting in contact lenses.  The other side of the case stores a number of handy tools that slide into place - these tools include a mini fluid filled compass to aid in navigation, a fantastic little flint-wheel fire steel devise (the FireLite), and a sturdy little pocket-knife that includes a whistle in the handle and a small LED flashlight.  The knife as a ~1.75" locking blade, and the 10-lumen light in the handle is designed to help illuminate your cutting area.

Those tools alone would be great in a kit this size, and covers the basics of navigation, fire, signaling, illumination, and cutting tool.  But, when you open up the hinged lid of the container, you'll find another assortment of useful goodies.  Inside, the kit contains i) a small instruction sheet with 62 survival techniques and strategies from Buck Tilton, ii) a small 3 sq.ft. folded up piece of tin foil (to fashion a drinking cup, or small pot), iii) 4 pieces of SOL's TinderQuik firestarter, and iv) 10 ft piece of nylon braided cord with a repair kit and fishing tackle set.

I love the TinderQuick fire starters, especially when coupled with the SOL FireLite flint-wheel - this is my favorite firestarter as I reviewed here.  The repair kit, in addition to the cordage, includes a 6 ft piece of stainless steel wire, a size 7 sewing needle, and 3 large safety pins.  The fishing tackle kit includes four size 10 fish hooks, a length of nylon fishing line (that can also be used with the sewing needle), two size 12 snap swivels, 2 lead split-shot.  This kit covers a lot of bases; and for around $40, you can't really go wrong with it.  It makes a pretty cool gift.

I have added a few other things to supplement this set and finish off my personal survival kit - these include an emergency Mylar space blanket for warmth, rain protection, and potential shelter; an Esbit fuel tablet for emergency cooking/water boiling; and, chlorine dioxide and neutralizer tablets for water purification (that I keep in by toiletries bag).  I actually keep this entire, palm-sized survival kit tucked into my toiletries/hygiene waist-pack, so that in a backpacking emergency I can grab it like a micro-bug-out-bag.  There's probably enough room in the waist-pack to include my First Aid Kit, too.

So, what's in your kit? 

1 comment:

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