Vigilant Trails was kind enough to send me one of their "Bug Out Box" Survival Kits for review. This 87 piece kit has many essentials for starting a fire, collecting and purifying water, catching food, signaling for help, and staying warm.
My first thoughts were that this box was quite a bit smaller than I had thought and how could they possibly jam 87 useful items in this 5-inch by 3.5-inch by 1.5-inch box. Well, they did it. I believe that someone who knows how to use most these items would have a much better chance of survival than that same person without this kit. Probably the best way to give you an idea of what I mean is to show you the list of contents from Vigilant Trails web site;
- (1) Vigilant Trails Survival Guide
- (1) Crush Proof Metal Container (4 3/4 X 3 3/8 X 1 1/2)
- (1) Nylon Compression Strap w/Integrated Emergency Whistle
- (1) Flint Fire Starter with Steel Scraper
- (8) Storm, Wind & Water Proof Matches
- (1) Match Striker
- (1) Fresnel Magnifier X3 Power (3 X 2 inch)
- (5) Fire Starter Tinder Tabs
- (1) Matchbook (20 Matches)
- (1) Emergency Space Blanket (84 X 52 inches)
- (1) Shatter Proof Emergency Signal Mirror with Sighting Hole
- (2) Liquid Filled Compass (20mm)
- (1) Airline Tubing (2 feet X 3/16 inch)
- (5) Water Purification Tablets
- (2) Coffee Filter
- (1) Liter Plastic Bag (re-sealable)
- (1) Clear Plastic Sheet (42" X 31")
- (1) Lock back Knife, Single-handed Opening (5" overall length)
- (1) Stainless Steel Surgical Blade
- (1) Stainless Steel Needle (3 inch)
- (1) Pencil (3 1/2 inch)
- (1) Olive Drab Paracord (5 feet)
- (4) Heavy Duty Plastic Zip Ties
- (1) Heavy Duty #69 Nylon Thread (10 feet)
- (3) Size 2 Nickel Plated Steel Safety Pins
- (1) Vitamin A & D Ointment (Petroleum Jelly, 5 gram tube)
- (2) Antiseptic Povidone-Iodine Pads
- (2) Alcohol Prep Pads
- (3) Sterile Strip Bandages (1 X 3 inch)
- (3) Butterfly Bandages (3/8 X 1 13/16 inch)
- (1) Sterile Patch Bandage (2 X 3 inch)
- (1) P-38 G.I. Can Opener
- (1) Mini LED Flashlight (water resistant housing, includes 2- CR2016 batteries)
- (1) Insect Sting Wipe with Lidocaine
- (1) First Aid Burn Cream
- (3) Split Rings (10mm)
- (4) 100% Cotton Balls
- (1) 24 Gauge Bronze Snare Wire (5 feet)
- (1) Fishing Kit:
- (3) Eagle Claw #7 Split Shot Sinkers
- (3) Eagle Claw Size 10 Gold Treble Hooks
- (6) Eagle Claw BB Split Shot Sinkers
- (1) 50 feet, 6 # Fishing Line
- (3) Foam Floats / Hook Protectors
- (3) Artificial Worms (3 inch)
As you can see there are quite a few items in this little can. Let me break it down for you a bit into a few categories so you can see how well thought out this package is.
FireNow Just to give you an idea, there are several things in this kit that you can use to start a fire. Most obvious is the book of matches, followed by the weatherproof matches, the flint fire starter and steel scraper, and also the Fresnel Magnifying Lens. All are great ways to start a fire with just a little bit of kindling, or even with some of the items in the box (like the cotton balls for example).
WaterWater is something that you cannot live without. This kit has several items you can use to keep yourself hydrated. There is a 1-liter zip seal bag that you can store clean water in. There are 5 water purification tablets that are good for 1-liter of water. Some coffee filters can be used to get some of the crud out of the water you find. You should be able to get 5-liters of water (one at at time) if you take care of the bag. There is also a water solar still kit. This is a simple kit that utilizes the airline tubing, the zip bag, and one of the included plastic sheets. Not to worry. There are simple instructions in the box. You can also use the can to boil water in.
FoodMy first choice would be to use the P-38 can opener, and cook a nice meal in the survival tin itself if you have some with you. After that, probably the most obvious thing is the fishing kit. With the books, bobbers, line and artificial worms, you have a chance of catching a fish (unless you are me who fish manage to elude). You can also use the wire and rings to construct a snare trap. The instruction kit has a friendly reminder to not eat foliage if you don't know what it is so you should learn about your local plants in case all the squirrels and snakes are hiding from you.
ShelterThe kit has a few simple items that will keep you alive in many situations. The first is the mylar blanket. Mylar blankets can keep in up to 97% of your body heat. This means you have a better chance of not freezing to death. Also included are some simple instructions on how to make a debris shelter. You can probably utilize the paracord if your shelter doesnt stay up like it does in the picture.
First AidThis kit has this too. Included in the kit are a few bandages, a surgical needle, a surgical blade, some thread, paracord, and a few assorted creams and ointments that you can use to clean and treat various injuries and bites.
SignalingThis kit has a whistle that it built into the strap, and also a signal mirror with sighting hole that will work good on sunny days. Of course you can always build a fire to attract attention.
Other ItemsThere is a magnifying glass that you can use to start fires, find that splinter, read those small print instructions, or whatever. A small LED flashlight will keep you out of the dark. There is a small 5-inch knife (not the best but it will do). There are two compasses included to help you get unlost. I guess they figure you will lose one if you managed to lose yourself. A nylon compression strap can have several uses. There is also some paracord, some plastic zip ties, a pencil, and an instruction sheet that briefly explains how to use some of the items included.
It is my recommendation that you learn all you can about how you can use these items in a survival situation. The more you know about how to use these items, the better. Just find a nice YouTube video here and there on each of these items every now and then and you will see how easy it is to use. A little bit of creativity can come in useful as well. You don't always have to have to exact tool you need to solve a problem. The variety of items in this kit will definitely help you in solving some of the many problems you will no doubt run into if you find yourself in a situation where you need this kit.
Now, just a disclaimer. This kit should not be your only means of survival. This kit is an excellent kit, and I would think that someone who knows how to use these items could survive long enough to get to a safe location. I suggest you put one of these kits in your Bug-Out Bag. Put one of these in your Car Survival Kit. This kit is an excellent start or supplement to these kinds of kits. If you are just starting your Bug-Out Bag, get one of these and throw it inside, and build from there. It is that good. For $29.99 you certainly cannot go wrong considering many of the items there are in this one can. This is an excellent product.
If you are wondering...It is possible to fit everything back in the can after getting everything out with a little practice.
You can order yours from Vigilant Trails web site. The "Bug Out Box" Survival Kit can be found here.