I have two of these kits, which I will be stowing in our two family cars. In the event we're Bugging-In, then we'll bring them in the house. I have already discussed my belief in having kits like these available for use every day, everywhere you go, so I won't waste time on such here.
Pictured above is everything from the interior of the backpack all spread-out.
Even once the water has been ingested, the bottle can be used to capture rainfall or serve as a much more handy way of collecting water from a stream, etc. than would be the empty foil water pouches.
Doesn't exactly look comfy, but it sure beats being caught out in the elements. Actually, I could see using the tent material as a rain-catch with the Mountain Dew soda bottle pictured above, even if you're actually sheltering inside your vehicle. The nylon rope, of course, could be put to a gazillion uses as well.
StanSport brand Fold-A-Stove camper's stove with 24 fuel tablets included!
The stove opens to 2 different cooking positions, and the fuel tablets ignite easily and burn with no odor.
You can see the stove in action in this YouTube video, starting at about the 0:54 mark. You'll notice that he seems to have a little trouble getting things lit, but I blame his use of the striker he had no experience using, since he seems to have almost as much difficulty getting the paper to catch fire as he did the fuel tablets.
According to him, each tablet burns for about 10 minutes and he could have cooked his oysters with just one tablet.
Here's another YouTube video of this cool little stove in action. As you can see for yourself, he had no trouble at all lighting the fuel tablet with a match, and this kit just happens to include a box of 50 of them as pictured earlier. As a side-note, he made me very nervous with the box setting so close to the fire. ;)
The whistle is a real treat though. In addition to a signaling whistle, it includes a signaling mirror, a liquid compass, and a flint. The 5th tool in its 5-in-1 name is that the top screws-off, and you can store stuff inside it: extra matches, fishing line and hooks, whatever you think you might need.
Here's a YouTube video about it.
These are thermal, allowing the person using them to retain 90% of their body heat, even in rain or snow conditions. They measure 84 inches wide x 52 inches long.
Cordage is something that most people might not consider to be a survival tool, but they'd be wrong. It has myriad uses, and you really can't ever have too much of it on hand.
Honestly, out of everything included, the First Aid kit is probably my only real disappointment. Not that it's not a good basic kit, but you have to understand that the 54-pieces includes each individual bandage and antacid tablet. In fact, different size bandages and gauze pads, literally, make-up more than half of the total kit.
In its defense, however, it does also include antibacterial cream, burn ointment, as well as antiseptic pads and towelettes that could prove very useful.
I would suggest the addition of some antidiarrheal medication and a clotting agent.
Also, it wasn't until I sat down to write this article that I realized this kit has a camp stove but does not include any sort of metal container in which one could boil water, melt snow, etc.
I recall from watching "Survivorman" that host Les Stroud would often make tea out of pine needles and the like. Having something hot to drink went a long way toward helping him keep warm. With that in mind, I think I will be adding an inexpensive but well-rated Stainless Steel camp mug to each kit as well, along with as many packs of Ramen and powdered drink mix (with electrolytes) that will fit. And a roll of duct tape. Duct tape is always a good idea.
I have to say, I really like this kit and, for just over $50, it's a steal. It was worth it to me just in saving me the hours I would have spent building my own kits from scratch, and, by the time we add in what I would have spent ordering items from several different vendors and paying for shipping, I feel like I made out like a bandit.
In fact, I like it enough that I'm going to recommend it to some friends of mine who are just beginning to dip their toes in the emergency preparedness waters. Just having a couple of these in the back of a closet somewhere would put a small family leaps and bounds ahead of 99% of the populace in a disaster scenario, and I feel like such a kit could serve as a good jumping-off point to a deeper future level of preparedness.
So, tell me: What do you think?
**Update: Added one of these Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef pouches to each of my two survival kits with more additions to come.