Gear Review: AXP Wilderness Survival Kit

Need a diversified survival kit? Sure, everybody does. While you could build your own emergency kit piece by piece, it's nice to have the option of picking up one that's ready to use. The new AXP Wilderness Hiker Survival Kit has been built to deal with wilderness emergencies and common injuries. But is this really a complete, turn-key survival system? Read on to find out if it might suit your needs.

This kit looked really good upon first inspection. The bag itself is actually a rip-stop nylon roll, lined with eight mesh pouches. These dividers keep your gear separated, modular, and organized. The bag is made in the USA, though not all of the gear is domestically made. The kit rolls out to 8.5 inches wide and 25 inches long. It’s also MOLLE compatible. The elements for shelter include a small Mylar emergency blanket and plastic emergency poncho. These could have been of much better quality, but they do pack down very small. Your need for water is provided by the Aquamira Frontier Emergency Pocket Filter, which is a straw-type filter. The bag it comes in also doubles as a soft water bottle, similar to a Platypus bottle.

Since fire making is such a big part of survival, I was pleased to see my favorite fire starter included—a Bic lighter. It’s hard to beat the ready flame of a butane lighter, especially when you’re lighting damp material. There are also 25 survival matches and a pouch of NDUR Utility Flame fire starting gel. Other tools included in the kit are a micro StarFlash mirror, micro JetScream whistle, a clip-on compass, and an LED flashlight, all of which are high-quality pieces from UST (Ultimate Survival Technologies). To round things out, there is also 10 feet of 550 paracord and 5 feet of duct tape.

The AXP Wilderness Hiker Survival Kit also comes with medical gear. Many of these components are multi-use, such as cotton balls for medicine application and fire starting. Med supplies include a small but well-rounded assortment of gloves, gauze, moleskin, super glue, two vials of benzoin tincture disinfectant, one Steristrip, and one dose each of sting relief, hydrocortisone cream, poison ivy cream, Ibuprofen, antihistamine, and Tylenol.

While it’s not built to handle traumatic injury, or supply the needs of a large group, the AXP Wilderness Hiker is a solid choice for an off-the-shelf survival kit. This would be a good choice as the base of a vehicle survival kit, one-person outdoor survival kit, or the core of a 72-hour bag. Upgrade the space blanket to a larger, tougher model and add a knife, and you’ll be ready for most of the emergencies that could head your way. The AXP bag and many of the contents are made in the USA. The Wilderness Hiker kit weighs 22 ounces, and retails for about $90.