|BCB International Ltd. "Combat Survival Kit"|
|Contents List||Photo of Kit||Specs & Ratings|
|Explanation of Survival Equipment and Supplies Ratings|
In most cases the reason for the rating given a particular item will be obvious based on our normal evaluation criteria which can be found by clicking on the Group Heading link and reading the relevant text regarding that item. In cases where a low rating is not obvious, for example, if an otherwise good product is damaged due to poor packing, the reason will be given in the listing. Further explanation and the overall rating of both quality and value for the Survival Kit will be found in the written evaluation which follows the kit contents listing.
Excellent (superior quality and/or performance)
|Qty.||Survival Equipment & Supplies||Rating|
|British Lifeboat Whistle|
|Interior of Storage Tin serves as Signal Mirror|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|Folding Lockback Knife, 1.75 in. plain edge cip point blade|
|BCB Ranger Flint and Steel|
|Paper Safety Matches|
|BCB Commando Wire Saw (w/out finger rings)|
|Brass Snare Wire|
|Fishing Line, monofilament|
|Fishing Hooks, small|
|Fishing Weights, large|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|"Aquaclear" Water Purification Tablets (Chlorine Based)|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Safety Pins, assorted small sizes|
|Pencil (golf style)|
|Plastic Tape (seals tin)|
|Waterproof Survival Instruction Sheet|
|Accident Evaluation Form|
|Weight:||6.1 oz. (173 gr)|
|Size:||4.25 x 3.125 x 1.125 in. (10.8 x 7.9 x 2.8 cm)|
|Manufacturer:||BCB International Ltd.|
(NOTE: This review was updated November, 2004, based on a sample kit supplied by the manufacturer.) BCB International Ltd. from England offers the "Combat Survival Kit" ($20), the least expensive of a number of pocket and personal size survival kits in its line. This small kit is loosely modeled after that described by John Wiseman in his well know survival book, "S.A.S. Survival Guide."
The kit is contained in a small metal "tobacco" tin, 4.25 x 3.125 x 1.125 inches (10.8 x 7.94 x 2.86 cm), that easily slips into a shirt pocket. (This is exactly the same type tin, the larger of the two sizes commonly available, that you can find at tobacco shops if you want to assemble your own kit. It is also about the same size as the Altoids tin often used for self-assembled kits.) The hard container can be a bit uncomfortable in a pocket, but does a good job protecting the contents. While the tin has a seal in the removeable lid, since it is not vacuum sealed, as it is when used to hold tobacco, it really relies on the tape to seal it. So, it isn't quite waterproof, but highly water-resistant. The contents are not all of the very highest quality, but the basics are all covered and the quality of most items is adequate or better.
Principle among these is a decent flint style fire starter with included scraper (it does require two hands to use, unfortunately), button compass, whistle and BCB's effective wire saw, though without any handles. This latest version has shrink tubing around the wire on the loops at either end, which is much better when it comes to actually using it.
The inside of the tin will serve as a moderately effective signal mirror. Not great, but better than no mirror at all, though it too requires two hands to use.
The tea candle included will melt in extreme hot climates, such as the desert southwest where we are located, so we'd suggest removal if you anticipate carriage of the kit in a summer desert environment.
They now include a small lockback folding knife, replacing the non-locking knife used previously. The bad news is that this Pakistani produced knife is of abysmal quality. We found the lock release extremely tight and difficult to operate. One female tester was unable to unlock the blade to close it. The frame is brass with wood inlay. The clip-point blade, 1.75 inches with 1.375-inch sharpened edge, is of unknown stainless steel alloy, but not very high quality based on our experience trying to put an edge on it, and was so poorly sharpened as it came that it was hard pressed to cut some cardboard, it barely made a cut even using substantial force. When we tried to make a feather stick using a piece of dry pine it was like trying to use a butter knife, virtually useless. We tried sharpening it, reprofiling from scratch with a diamond stone and then going from there using ceramics, and it would still barely take an edge. Better than before, but still not acceptable under any circumstances. If you're going to rely upon this, best to at least unpack and resharpen it immediately, or replace it with a more effective small knife.
Also included are a book of paper matches, not in the least waterproof, a travel style sewing kit like you get in your hotel room, a useable fishing kit, snare wire and an assortment of small safety pins along with a few other odds and ends that would be useful. Some "Aquaclear" chlorine based water purifier tablets are provided, though there is no water container in the kit. You could add a condom or plastic bag to use for that purpose. The tabs were marked with a 2008 expiration date, though there was no indication on the packaging that there were date limited supplies inside. Anytime there are life-limted supplies in a kit, this should be marked on the exterior.
The kit also contains a waterproof sheet of generally well written survival instructions, though they do include instructions for the generally counterproductive desert water still and a few other less than useful suggestions. There is also an Accident Evaluation Form with directions and space on which to make notes.
The plastic tape used to seal the tin's joint can be carefully removed and there is plenty of room to add other items. Afterwards, the tape can be reapplied. The tape itself might well be useful in a survival situation.
The BCB "Combat Survival Kit" is a mixed bag. The packaging compromise in terms of size and protection is one of the better available commercially and it contains generally adequate, if not stellar, contents. The poor quality knife, paper matches, lack of waterproof tinder, and no good signal mirror are definite drawbacks, but the flint fire starter is a plus. There is plenty of room to add more stuff, however, and the price represents good value for what you do get. We rate this kit as "adequate." It would serve as a good basis for a more complete and capable kit.
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
Revision: 05 November 21, 2004
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