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

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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.