I was eagerly awaiting this kit designed by survival equipment guru Doug Ritter and ordered as soon as it was available. I was not disappointed, it is just as good as promised.
At only 3.9 oz. and 4 x 3.25 inches folded it is light and small enough that I don’t even notice that I am carrying it. It really does fit in my pocket — even a shirt pocket as well.
I tried out the signal mirror and it’s the best plastic mirror I’ve ever used, better by far than the mil-spec mirror from Ultimate Survival. Very easy to aim and gives a very bright concentrated signal flash. The whistle sounds as loud as the Fox40 Classic I used to carry, but much more compact. I’ve had a Spark-Lite for years and it’s a top notch fire starter. The compass works well, I made a lanyard loop out of a short piece of brass wire, you could use the stainless wire in the kit, but I had the brass wire from an older kit.
I am really impressed by the survival instructions. Doug really did a great job with those, there is all the detail you could possibly expect in such a small piece, practical and easy to follow and no stupid BS and the drawings are very well done. You can tell that he’s anal about stuff like this and understands how to instruct someone who doesn’t know anything about survival. I’d prefer more medical stuff, but I recognize why he didn’t include it — he has a good point that there’s really not enough room to do it justice, so stick to only the survival stuff.
The rest of the gear (fish hooks, line, scalpel blade, needle, duct tape, magnifier lens, steel wire, etc) is all first rate and well thought out. I’ll add some matches myself and a Photon LED microlight, but that’s really all it lacks. It’s not cheap, but I feel that you more than get your money’s worth and it’s gear that will not let you down when you need it the most.
I just ordered three more kits so everyone in my family will have one and I’ll probably give them away for stocking stuffers this Christmas. Yes, it’s that good!I just wanted to let you know there is a trick with doug’s kit that I use. I found it to be still too large for me to comfortably carry, so I set about trimming everything down. If you conserve space carefully, you can base the kit around an altoids tin which is much nicer to carry then the kit in its zip loc container.
1.) Empty out the vial that holds all the safety pins and the needle.
2.) The needle can go in the dowel for the duct tape, and you can use scotch tape to tape it shut.
3.) The safety pins go on the bottom of the container.
4.) The pencil runs along the edge.
5.) The duct tape goes on the far edge, and the whistle is placed inside so that its angled side sits over the pencil piece.
6.) The fresnal lens can go in the lid.
7.) With a little bit of shaving you can get the paper in the lid with the
8.) Stuff the tinder in odd shaped places instead of keeping them in their
#5 is so important because it’s the only way you can keep the duct tape and the signal mirror from getting in the way of each other.
These few tips will help you get started getting everything in there. It’s
alot like a puzzle.
I slightly refolded the foil to match the size of the tin, wrapped the whole
thing in a folded bandana (as an extra item, and to prevent fraying of the
foil and secured both with ranger bands placed length wise.
I also pitched the instructions but you could easily put them in with the
— Charles Rowe
[Be sure to check out the kit's content and Doug's logic for inclusion of pieces at his FAQ.]