Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: Gerber - Bear Grylls "Ulitimate" Survival Kit

Here is the second of the Gerber "Bear Grylls" branded survival kits that I purchased through Catch of the Day and wanted to share the contents and my thoughts with you. First up, I got a couple of comments from the first Bear Grylls "Basic" kit that I reviewed. I wanted to just say again, that whilst the kinds of antics that Mr Grylls gets up to on his shows might seem to be silly, gross, dangerous, or totally contrived. what he is demonstrating is what you should be -capable- of doing. Sure he has a film crew right beside him, so he doesn't -need- to drink his own pee, or eat his freshly snagged grass snake raw, but he can, and you might need to one day, that's the point. He's made enough of a name that he can put his name to products, and its those products that I want to focus on. When you're wet, hungry and lost, and it's dark, you wont give a damn if you thought the guy looked a tool on TV. Having some good gear stashed in the bottom of your pack will go a long way to improving your situation.

So, with that said, on with the show! This is the "Ultimate" kit. As with the "Basic", it is housed in a ripstop nylon pouch, this time with a whistle fitted to the drawstring. a nice addition. Inside the kit is a resealable plastic bag, containing the rest of the kit.
  • First and foremost, I was impressed to find that it included a Space Blanket; the aluminised plastic shiny mainstay of survival kits everwhere. Not only will it keep you dry, but will keep you warm in very cold environments, offer shade in hot ones and act as a bright signal for rescuers to spot. Brilliant. I haven't had one for years, since moving from Canada in '92 and I've felt its absence.
  • A little LED keyfob gives a easy source of light (there was a trick to it, PULL to light, there is no switch). 
  • A second chunky signalling whistle is always a good addition to a kit, whistles are easier to get a loud, piercing and recognizable noise from than yelling in most instances, I've found. 
  • The addition of a multi-tool, in this case, the Gerber Clutch, adds Needle Nose Pliers, Wire Cutters, Fine Edge Blade, Phillips Screwdriver, Small Flat Driver, Medium Flat Driver, Bottle Opener and Tweezers to your repertoire in one compact package. It comes with a lanyard ring, to secure it and has a snappy response in its mechanism. 
  • A firesteel and striker are as ever, a welcome addition to any survival kit. The striker includes a bottle opener, great for knocking back a cold one after you stumble into an abandoned diner. 
  • Top right in the picture is a wire saw. I LOVE these things, great for cutting branches, broken timber, limbs. I've cleared obstructions and sawn branches for projects with them. Quieter and more precise than a hatchet or machete.
  • Fishing kit, including line, four hooks, split shot and swivels. I've carried some fishing kit in a mint tin for years, without having need for it, but I like to think that its one of those things ... who knows, one day maybe I'll just fancy dropping a line in a pond.
  • More of the extra long starter matches, and a striker, as in the "Basic" kit, a handy addition for when the firesteel is too daunting to use. The cotton ball for kindling is another nice touch.
  • Waxed cotton thread, and a hank of nylon cord are a great inclusion, making a tent from the space blanket, snares, adding leverage to the wire saw. String is always useful. 
  • A Helioscope, signalling mirror is a tremendous piece of kit to have in an emergency kit. Glinting light at a target is a great way to attract attention. Be sure you're doing it on purpose!
  • A sewing kit is a nice touch, even if you don't have to stitch a hole in yourself, mending your clothes or pack can be a great boon in a touch situation.
  • The shiny copper wire is for snares. Hard for little teeth to chew through, setting a snare is a good way to secure yourself a protein boost. 
  • Lastly, there is Bear's handbook notes on the Priorities of Survival. Good campfire reading after a hard day fighting off muties.
I neglected to mention in reviewing the "Basic" that both it and the "Ultimate" also include, on the reverse, hand signalling techniques.

So, all in all, a pretty good stash of gear, and all fitting into a little packet, not much bigger than a thin paperback book. I'm glad I got it, it's going into the bug-out-bag that lives in my car.

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