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Survival Gear Test: Gerber’s Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit

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October 21, 2011
Survival Gear Test: Gerber’s Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit - 8

I love a good survival kit.  Whether it’s home-made or store bought, a good survival kit is like an insurance policy against bad luck on the trail and Murphy’s Law on the hunt.

Gerber’s Survival Series of equipment now includes the Bear Grylls Basic Kit, which is an 8-piece survival kit, designed to provide the user with some of the foundational requirements for wilderness survival.  Let the testing begin…

The Kits Features and Components
The kit’s blaze orange, rip-stop nylon pouch, which contains a zip top waterproof bag for the gear.  The overall weight of the full kit is 4.2 oz, which makes it small enough to fit just about any pocket, so there’s no excuse to leave it at home.

The kit’s bag counts as one of the 8 Pieces, while the remaining 7 pieces include a Gerber® Mini-Paraframe™ Knife, an Emergency Whistle, a Spark rod fire starter,  Waterproof Matches,  Snare Wire, some Emergency Cord, a Cotton Ball for tinder.  Also included are Land to air rescue instructions sewn onto the outside of the pouch, and the Priorities of Survival - Pocket guide, which contains Bear’s survival essentials information.  The kit retails for about $23.

The Reality Test
Any survival kit worth carrying needs to live up to a real world, reality check.  Simply put – could this assortment of gear really save my life during the most common outdoor emergencies?

For this kit, the answer is yes, with a few notable exceptions.  Like many survival kits, this kit does not contain any equipment to provide shelter; collect or disinfect water; or provide portable light.

The Component Test
The Gerber® Mini-Paraframe™ knife is a nice choice for this kit, with its combination straight and serrated blade.  The blade is sharp, the lock is sufficient, and the blade doesn’t wiggle when in the open position.  The Blade length is 2.22" and the knife weighs 1.4 oz.  The spark rod worked fine, but the matches worked better, though I’d like to see more of them in the kit (there were only eight, with just one striker strip).  The very fine gauge copper snare wire was just enough to make one decent snare, about 19 inches of wire.  The emergency cord came in two varieties – 10 feet of 1/8 inch braided nylon cord and 16 feet of heavy nylon floss.  I was a little disappointed with the cheap, plastic “Made in China” whistle, but it was loud. 

What are my favorite aspects of this kit? 

I really like this kit.  The high visibility pouch with waterproof inner bag is perfect for a survival kit.  You can’t afford to lose a survival kit if you drop it somewhere, and can’t spot it.  You also can’t afford to have the contents get wet.  The Gerber® Mini-Paraframe™ knife is a great little back up knife that I am going to have a hard time keeping in the kit – where it should stay – so I don’t get caught with an empty survival kit someday.

What would I change in this kit? 
I would add to this kit the types of items that I mentioned earlier.  I would add a large trash bag, or plastic emergency poncho to provide shelter from rain and wind.  I would also add some kind of zip-top bag to collect water, with a few purification tablets to make the water safe to drink.  A small LED light would also make a great addition to provide a portable light source.  I’d rather see the lanyard whistle from Gerber’s Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife, than the current choice of whistle – but I also understand their need to keep costs down to be able to provide an affordable yet high quality survival kit.  And truthfully, I’d pay the $23 that this kit costs, just for the Mini-Paraframe™ knife.

Please let us know how this kit stacks up for you, and what you would add, by leaving us a comment below.

Comments (8)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Aussie Jim 11/21/2012 at 12:15am

Store purchased survival kits are what they are - presents for someone else. They are only the starting point for a life-long personal quest. We each have our own ideas of our needs in a particular area and weather conditions. Research and partical experience helps us choose the items we need. We need layers of preparedness on our person and cached where we can get to it. I realise that many in the USA do not like BG because of competative marketing. The kit is only entry level - hopefully leading to personal research.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsman1970 7/6/2012 at 07:18pm

This kit is about as good for true wilderness survival applications as Bear's show is... meaning it's terrible, lacking and misleading.

This kit is missing a LOT of gear, including some of the most important stuff (shelter materials, space blanket, etc). the gear that it does have seems to be rather low quality stuff... not the kind of gear I want to trust my life to. I guess you 'get what you pay for', and if you want to trek into the wilderness with Wal-Mart quality gear that was made in China, then so be it.

If your life is WORTH something to you, then go with quality stuff. I'd check out other survival gear starting with M40 Survival kits. They are well thought out based on the Rule of 3's. They include a LOT of gear, and the focus is on quick shelter, blankets, and MULTIPLE means of making fire and purifying water (the whole thing is packed into a cooking pot that slides into a belt pouch). For nabbing food, they have snare wire, fishing gear and even slingshot bands so you can whip up a quick hunting tool.

You'll also notice that they have a much higher level of materials (like 100# test spectra line and 550# test paracord included). Compare that to the cheapo clothesline cord in the Bear Grylls kit!

They are very compact for the amount of gear included, and are packed in heavy cordura MOLLE pouches. Really nice stuff. One guy builds them to order, so each one is basically made by hand.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buffalowing12 3/26/2012 at 11:27am

Instead of the water tablets I recommend a LifeStraw. A lifestraw is a straw where you stick it in the river or lake and suck through the mouth piece and it filters your water.water purification tablets only filter little amounts of water . also a lifestraw filters 2000 liters of water. what i am saying is change the water purification tablets with a lifestraw

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buffalowing12 3/26/2012 at 11:27am

Instead of the water tablets I recommend a LifeStraw. A lifestraw is a straw where you stick it in the river or lake and suck through the mouth piece and it filters your water.water purification tablets only filter little amounts of water . also a lifestraw filters 2000 liters of water. what i am saying is change the water purification tablets with a lifestraw

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen 2/16/2012 at 06:10pm

Hi...

For a "basic" kit...made to fit and be caried in such a small pouch, it's not too bad.

If I were to utilize it, I would carry it in a bigger bag (or use two cargo pockets) to include some food, compass, more 550 paracord and a personalized first aid kit. Would also include a trauma kit, space permitting. (I keep one at home, one in my BOB and one in my UTE).

A spark striker and rod would also easily fit in the kit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from T-Mac 10/24/2011 at 06:20am

A button compass would be perfect for this kit, plus all the other stuff.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM1993 10/22/2011 at 12:15am

Yeah I was thinking the same thing as 25-06 when I read this post. Needs a compass.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 25-06 guy 10/21/2011 at 08:48pm

How about adding a small compass and I agree on the space blanket and water tablets.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from 25-06 guy 10/21/2011 at 08:48pm

How about adding a small compass and I agree on the space blanket and water tablets.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM1993 10/22/2011 at 12:15am

Yeah I was thinking the same thing as 25-06 when I read this post. Needs a compass.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from T-Mac 10/24/2011 at 06:20am

A button compass would be perfect for this kit, plus all the other stuff.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsman1970 7/6/2012 at 07:18pm

This kit is about as good for true wilderness survival applications as Bear's show is... meaning it's terrible, lacking and misleading.

This kit is missing a LOT of gear, including some of the most important stuff (shelter materials, space blanket, etc). the gear that it does have seems to be rather low quality stuff... not the kind of gear I want to trust my life to. I guess you 'get what you pay for', and if you want to trek into the wilderness with Wal-Mart quality gear that was made in China, then so be it.

If your life is WORTH something to you, then go with quality stuff. I'd check out other survival gear starting with M40 Survival kits. They are well thought out based on the Rule of 3's. They include a LOT of gear, and the focus is on quick shelter, blankets, and MULTIPLE means of making fire and purifying water (the whole thing is packed into a cooking pot that slides into a belt pouch). For nabbing food, they have snare wire, fishing gear and even slingshot bands so you can whip up a quick hunting tool.

You'll also notice that they have a much higher level of materials (like 100# test spectra line and 550# test paracord included). Compare that to the cheapo clothesline cord in the Bear Grylls kit!

They are very compact for the amount of gear included, and are packed in heavy cordura MOLLE pouches. Really nice stuff. One guy builds them to order, so each one is basically made by hand.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen 2/16/2012 at 06:10pm

Hi...

For a "basic" kit...made to fit and be caried in such a small pouch, it's not too bad.

If I were to utilize it, I would carry it in a bigger bag (or use two cargo pockets) to include some food, compass, more 550 paracord and a personalized first aid kit. Would also include a trauma kit, space permitting. (I keep one at home, one in my BOB and one in my UTE).

A spark striker and rod would also easily fit in the kit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buffalowing12 3/26/2012 at 11:27am

Instead of the water tablets I recommend a LifeStraw. A lifestraw is a straw where you stick it in the river or lake and suck through the mouth piece and it filters your water.water purification tablets only filter little amounts of water . also a lifestraw filters 2000 liters of water. what i am saying is change the water purification tablets with a lifestraw

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Aussie Jim 11/21/2012 at 12:15am

Store purchased survival kits are what they are - presents for someone else. They are only the starting point for a life-long personal quest. We each have our own ideas of our needs in a particular area and weather conditions. Research and partical experience helps us choose the items we need. We need layers of preparedness on our person and cached where we can get to it. I realise that many in the USA do not like BG because of competative marketing. The kit is only entry level - hopefully leading to personal research.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buffalowing12 3/26/2012 at 11:27am

Instead of the water tablets I recommend a LifeStraw. A lifestraw is a straw where you stick it in the river or lake and suck through the mouth piece and it filters your water.water purification tablets only filter little amounts of water . also a lifestraw filters 2000 liters of water. what i am saying is change the water purification tablets with a lifestraw

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)