- Created: Wednesday, 09 June 2010 09:53
I'm no survival master so it was nice to be able to check out this kit to expand my experiences. Survival Metrics offers several kits and survival type supplies, however this kit was specifically made with the intent for military operations in a E&E (Escape and Evade) type situation. With this concept the main idea is to make the kit as small and lightweight as possible so it takes a very careful balance of what all is included. Of course everyone is going to prefer full size tools when possible, yet that can easily lead to a ruck sized pack full of equipment. So instead, small yet functional tools are used to make a compact package so it can be on one's person at all times. An E&E kit is no good if it ends up ditched while hauling ass to get out of the start of a bad situation. This Survival Metrics kit is small enough to fit in a pants cargo pocket, so of course it can also fit in other GP pouches on tac gear.
The foundation of the kit is based on the Pocket Survival Pak which is an existing civilian survival kit so it has pluses and minuses. The main minus is that the colors are bright with hope of being seen rather than military colors were earthy tones are preferred for evading. On the plus side, since the pack has been around it helps keep the cost down and has had time to be proven useful. A lot of stuff is inside so I'm going to switch over to more of a list format. The whole pak comes inside a waterproof clear ziplock style sealing bag.
- Rescue Howler Whistle - Fairly compact and light it can get nice and loud if you give it a good blow. Good for when you think rescue may be in hearing range to get their attention.
- Rescue Flash Signal Mirror - Used for signaling long distances, this one has all the good features such as the aiming port in the middle and even comes with directions. On a good day you can be visible past 20 miles.
- 20mm Survival Compass - Makes for a good backup compass. It isn't the fastest needle and will react poorly when near metal, however very useful for the size.
- Spark-Lite Firestarter - (Looks like a small orange stick) A simple yet compact firestarter, it is somewhat like a lighter without fuel consisting of a wheel to spark up flint. Main intent is to be used one handed next to tinder to send sparks into it, however I was also able to roll it on surfaces to cause sparks as well. That noted it was much more difficult as it is harder to get the timing of the sparks to match when rolling nearby the tinder.
- Tinder-Quik - "Waterproof" tinder that starts compact and is easy to fluff up to make it nice and highly flammable. In the right setting it can even be extinguished and used again later if user is fast enough.
- Survival Instructions - A nice handy survival basics cheat sheet that is even waterproofed. Covers all the basics such as shelter, fire, water+food, medical, signaling, and more.
- Duct Tape - [2" x 26"] Classic silver that has many uses for construction, modifications, and medical needs
- Scalpel Blade [#22] - stainless steel, sealed in foil and super compact. Most will find it more functional than a razor blade allowing one to insert it into a stick much easier to create a knife like tool.
- Stainless Steel Utility Wire - [6 ft. of 0.020"] - Mil-spec grade and stronger than brass this comes in hand when more strength or rigidity is needed than just cord.
- Fresnel Lens Magnifier - [2" x 3"] - It takes a long time, but with patience this thing can start a fire making use of just sunlight and tinder. Super thin so takes up almost no space and can also be used as a reading aid.
- Heavy Duty Nylon Thread - [50 ft.] Great for gear / clothing repairs, fishing line, and other non load bearing lashing tasks.
- Braided Nylon Cord - [10 ft., 150 lb. test] It is shiny and white, but plenty strong enough for heavier duty taks such as shelter construction.
- Fish Hooks - , Sinkers  and Snap Swivel, super small and compact, but will get the job done when it comes to catching small fish using the supplied nylon thread and appropriate bait.
- Heavy Duty Sewing Needle - For any fabric repairs or to aid in complex lashing.
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil [3 sq. ft.] - Primarily used to form container to boil water, cook, reflect fire heat however can also be a backup signal reflector.
- Safety Pins - #3-2"  a classic great for expedient repairs, secure gear to prevent loss and much more.
- Pencil and Waterproof Note Paper [2 pcs.] - The pencil is super small and compact, yet functional and can be sharpened with the scalpel. Paper allows for note taking such as maps, logs, or other documentation.
- Contents List + Register card - You probably won't need to leave this in here, but a simple card gives the contents list with description of basic usage of each item.
To supplement the pack, additional items are included:
- The Brunton 9020G Classic Compass - This is a no messing around full size compass, doesn't have a mirror, but does include Inclination scale measures 0° to 35° of slope angle. If you are lucky enough to have a map of the area you are in, fairly precise navigation can be achieved. A good balance of functionality vs size. 1.1 oz, 3.5" x 2.5"
- Photon Freedom Microlight, LED, Red Lens, with COVERT NOSE - A very compact and versatile unit to be used as a light source. Since for an E&E kit, it is the RED version with covert nose to prevent light leakage. Offers many functions such as adjustable brightness and even a SOS beacon mode. Learning all the modes takes some practice so luckily an instruction sheet is included. It uses the flat CR lithium batteries so fitting in extra batteries into the kit is definitely an option. Extra mounts are even included, that being the Photon Clip which makes attaching to clothing or hats easy and the Safety Lanyard which I'll be honest I don't have a lot of use for, but gives more cord and a break-away capability. The ball and socket angle changing ability on the Photon Clip is very useful where it can be placed on the ground or nearby environment then aimed as needed.
- Wind & Waterproof Survival Matches  - These larger than typical matches come with 2 striker pads and give off plenty of flame to get a fire started assuming you have the proper tinder ready.
- Wetfire Tinder  - Another somewhat unique type of tinder, it comes as a white cube. Proper use is to crumble it up or use shavings to allow sparks to make it more easily ignite. Once going it will even stay on fire while floating on water. As a bonus is non toxic and smokeless.
- Survival Saw - This particular version is one of the stronger ones for it's size class. No parts on it are actually sharp, but it can cut the hell out of wood. A nice feature is that the rings are sized differently so a snare can easily be constructed with incorporated swivels to make operation much easier. I learned the hard way the sawing motion is much more sidal rather than wrapping fully around as a wrap which will result in a lot more snagging than sawing.
- Aquamira Water Purification Tablets [10 pack] - Tablets for water to kill any nasty bacteria or viruses without boiling. Viruses and Bacteria will have their asses kicked in a mere 15 minutes, but it takes a full 4 hours to also kill off Protozoa in all water types. Each pill will treat 1 liter of water. Comes with instructions that make the pills sound like poision, but don't stress over it too much as the water is nice and safe once you wait the advised time.
- Aloksak 9"x6" Waterproof Bag (980cc) - Since almost a liter this makes for a great fit with the Aquamira tablets. Rather than some generic sandwich ziplock, the Aloksak allows water to be stored safely while going through terribly nasty swamps and other harsh environments. Common ziplock bags can be contaminated by porus migration while the Aloksak will not.
- Scout Fire Flint Firestarter - A solid and reliable fire starting tool that will work even in wet environments. It comes with a protective paint on the main stick so be sure sure and scrape it off before you expect sparks. A metal scraper is included and you will want to make sure the jagged side is facing the stick, otherwise you will have a terribly hard time creating enough friction to cause sparks. Alternatively a knife can be used as a scraper. Long strokes seemed to produce the best results for me and was even able to start fires with non optimal tinder.
- QuikClot® Sport Silver, 25g Pack - This is the main medical piece of the kit and good for treating a single substantial wound. Works somewhat like a bandage, yet has QuickClot integrated that greatly aids in the speed of clotting to stop bleeding. This variant even has ionic silver for antibacterial qualities.
- Parachute Cord, 7 Strand (550 cord) 10' - Good ol' 550 cord has plenty of lashing uses. Use it as is for full tensile strength, or take out the inner strands for more length and usability options.
- Survival and Emergency Sleeping Bag (Bivvy Sack) - When freezing your ass off, this compact sack will certainly help you out which can keep in up to 90% of body heat. The material is shiny, but fortunately it is at least OD Green to help blend in with natural environments.
- Sil-Nylon Carry Pouch - All the goodies fit in this supplied pouch which is made mostly of 1.1 oz silicone impregnated, waterproof rip-stop nylon. The main opening is a single zipper which is not very waterproof, thus why some of the other parts of the kit come with waterproof packaging. If going full on E&E, I'd probably take off the survival metrics patch, which is no big deal. I'm indecisive on the latch hook as it makes for an easy way to attach to one's belt loop or kit, but I don't think I'd personally hold it that way and may cut it off to save on a little space. That aside, it functions well as a lightweight pouch to hold all the kit items in.
Now this exact item list won't fit everyone perfectly, but it does make for a solid foundation where a user can then fine tune the kit by adding or subtracting some items. For example, one reason a knife is not included is that it is assumed the user will already have a knife or multitool. A small pocket knife will likely frustrate more than be helpful so if a knife is needed I suggest a small, yet locking one such as the Benchmade 707 Sequel, or Mini Griptilian. As a small suggested mod, I'll likely take out the silver duct tape and use military OD green tape wrapped around a card like a credit card. This will make it lay flatter and be a more favorable color. I am also interested in including some sort of bandage or even a TK-4 Tourniquet since if you take an injury that requires the need for the quick clot pack, the kit doesn't have a good way to secure it to the wound. Any of the cord would be less than comfy in an already crap situation and creating rags would require ripping up one's current clothing. If not already on ones body, escape items are recommended additions such as a handcuff key and kevlar cord (for cutting through flexcufffs).
While testing some of the fire elements of the kit a big lesson I learned is to be sure and try out each item to get accustomed to using each tool properly. Waiting to use the kit for the first time in a real survival situation is non-optimal to say the least. I'll admit I'm a cheap bastard sometimes so was hesitant to use up items like the tinder, however am glad I went ahead and tried them out as I still have some left over and replacing won't be too expensive. The knowledge gained by just trying them all out for the first time is worth quite a bit more. Although I was able to get good results with the Proforce Scout, I'm tempted to add a mini Bic Lighter to add or replace the Spark-Lite since it was fairly hard for me to get fire inducing sparks out of it even when using properly. If the mini Bic runs out of fuel, the shield could be removed to make sparks available giving similar functionality to the Spark-Lite.
I still have plenty to learn, but after doing more research and testing I say the Survival Metrics E&E kit is overall a well thought out ensemble. All items that are redundant are done for good reason each with different strengths to come through when the other fails. If you are also new to survival kit, be sure and check out my videos. Sometimes seeing how NOT to do things can be just as useful as the right way.