|Branch Co. "LifePac Survival Kit"|
|Contents List||Photo of Kit||Specs & Ratings|
Image Map Photo of Kit with Linked Contents
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|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 or Supplies||Rating|
|Use moderately reflective aluminum container bottom as improvised mirror|
|Flat Novelty Whistle (failed to work) - China|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|Matchbook with 20 paper matches|
|Tinder Cube - 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 inches (12.7 x 12.7 x 12.7 mm)|
|Single Edge Razor Blade|
|Poly Thread wound on plastic bobbin - #69 size, indeterminate length (listed as "fishing line"), approx. 10 lb (4.5 kg) test|
|Fishhook - medium|
|Button Compass - aluminum and plastic, 17mm, dry|
|Trible Antibiotic Ointment - 1/32 oz (0.9 g) foil packet|
|Adhesive Bandages - Curad "Classic" - 3/4 x 3 inches (19 x 76 cm)|
|Acetaminophen Tabs, 375mg (equivalent to regular strength Tylenol)|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|Beef Flavor Soup Mix|
|Sugar packet - paper packet|
|Tea Bag - paper packaging|
|Salt packet - paper packet|
|Tootsie Roll (very small) - "Energy Nugget"|
|Dentine Gum stick|
|PERSONAL PROTECTION GROUP|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Safety Pin - small|
|Paper Clip - large|
|Golf Pencil - sharpened, 3 1/4 inches (8.3 cm)|
|Duct Tape - 2 inch (5 cm) wide|
|Zipper Lock Plastic Bag - 4 x 4 inches (10.1 x 10.1 cm), 2 mil (not pictured)|
|Survival Instruction/First Aid Instruction Sheet with space for notes - not waterproof|
|Sardine Tin, 4 1/4 x 3 x 7/8 inches (10.8 x 7.6 x 2.24 cm) - cannot be re-closed|
|Weight:||2.1 ounces (59.5 g)|
|Size:||4 1/4 x 3 x 7/8 inches (10.8 x 7.6 x 2.24 cm)|
|Alt. Branded:||Whistle Creek|
Called the "LifePac Survival Kit" by manufacturer Branch Company and also sold as the more descriptive "Survival Kit In A Sardine Can" under the Whistle Creek brand name, this is a sealed kit along the lines of the similarly packaged Coghlan's "Survival Kit-In-A-Can." We found our sample on Ebay, but they apparently sell thousands each year at outdoor stores and other retail outlets.
The aluminum sardine tin measures 4 1/4 x 3 x 7/8 inches (10.8 x 7.6 x 2.24 cm) and the kit weighs in at 2.1 oz. (59.5 g). Unlike the tightly packed Coghlan's kit, there's enough space inside to allow the contents to rattle around, becoming more than a little annoying at times. This makes it inappropriate for some advertised purposes, it's hard to imagine a hunter or fisherman being happy with a kit that rattles. The sealed kit offers the advantage of being totally waterproof and resistant to pilfering, so what's there will likely still be there if you need it. The disadvantage is that it is sealed, so you cannot check the contents or add or replace anything in the kit.
Opening the kit (view kit unpacked layer by layer) we discovered a serious failing--the included flat novelty whistle didn't work! There was nothing obviously wrong with the whistle, it just didn't make any whistling sounds when blown. Being sealed, there's no way to discover that ahead of time, leaving a potential survivor in the lurch if they are depending upon the kit. The manufacturer claims that our experience was the first they had ever heard of and that they test samples from every batch of whistles they purchase. They advised that they have instituted "stepped-up in-house testing measures" and they offered to send us a replacement kit, standing behind their "satisfaction guaranteed" policy, but that doesn't help someone stranded without a working whistle.
This kit includes both some basic survival equipment and minimal food. Firestarting supplies include only a book of paper matches and a single tinder cube, 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) square piece of compressed and impregnated sawdust, essentially similar to Coghlin's Fire Starter Sticks.
There is a bobbin of #69 size poly thread, indeterminate length and listed as "fishing line" that we measured at approximately 10 lb. (4.5 kg) test. There's no needle, so you couldn't use it as sewing thread. There is only a single fish hook.
You get one single edge razor blade, a large paper clip that will only stand limited bending before breakings, and a single small safety pin. A 3 1/2 inch (9 cm) piece of two-inch (5 cm) wide duct tape is affixed to paper backing. There's an aluminum case dry button compass.
Foodstuffs include a tea bag (sealed in paper, not foil), a beef soup mix packet, salt packet, sugar packet, the smallest Tootsie Roll we've ever seen (called an "energy nugget" by the kit manufacturer), and a piece of Dentine brand gum. More of a morale and brief energy booster than anything else. A lightweight 4 x 4 inches (10.1 x 10.1 cm) zipper-lock bag is provided to store the contents once the kit is opened, not a bad idea at all.
Medical supplies include a single adhesive bandage, an alcohol prep pad, certainly not a good choice for "antiseptic," two regular strength acetaminophen tabs and a foil packet of triple-antibiotic ointment. This had an expiration date only seven months after we purchased the kit. There is no indication anywhere that there is a life-limited item inside the kit (though the contents list does include "Antibiotic Ointment," something of a giveaway if anyone is paying attention). We don't think that's a very good idea, particularly in a sealed kit. Either don't include such items, or be sure that it is prominently noted.
The foldout page of non-waterproof survival/first aid instructions are minimal and some a bit far fetched. Suggested use of the paper clip includes "animal snare" for example The first aid instructions are pretty good right until the end where they ruin everything by including anachronistic and dangerous snake bite treatment. There are a couple inches of blank space on each side of the sheet for notes and an included golf pencil with which to write them.
This kit is a convenient size and lightweight. The quality of the items, for the most part, is marginal. The whistle failure is serious, potentially life threatening. The soon to expire antibiotic packet didn't thrill us either. The rattle was annoying and makes it unsuitable for some uses. In terms of value, for the same price the Coghlan's version of the sardine can kit provides double the quantity or more of many critical items and better quality as well in some cases. We rate this kit as "Very Poor - Unacceptable" due to the whistle failure. Had the whistle not failed, we would rate the kit as "Mediocre."
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: November 30, 2001
Revision: 01 June 1, 2002
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