|Pro Survival Kit Co. Belt Pro 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|
|Whistle incorporated into knife scale (see below)|
|Acrylic Signal Mirror (two-handed), 1 x 2 inches (25 x 51 mm), reusable protective sheet on face, nylon string lanyard|
|Orange Nylon Ribbon (1.5 in. (38 mm) wide) with Retro-reflective Tape (1-inch (25 mm) wide) sewn one side, 25 inches (64 cm) long.|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|Victorinox Classic Whistle Knife (1.5 in. (38 mm) spearpoint blade, nail file, screwdriver tip, scissors, tweezers and whistle) with wrist lanyard (Switzerland)|
|Scalpel Blade packed in foil, #22|
|Four Seasons Survival "Spark-Lite" Fire Starter|
|Four Seasons Survival "Tinder-Quick" tinder|
|BCB Wind and Water Proof Matches and striker (England)|
|BCB Commando Wire Saw (England)|
|18mm Brunton (Silva) 40LU Watchband Compass (modified case), luminous face, nylon string lanyard (Sweden)|
|Photon Micro-Light II, white LED, lithium battery flashlight with nylon string wrist lanyard|
|Fishing Kit in plated round metal tin
|Adhesive Bandages, 1 x 3 inches (25 x 76 mm)|
|Butterfly Closure, medium|
|Povidone-Iodine Prep Pad|
|First Aid Cream with Aloe - 1/32 oz / 0.9g packet|
|Triple Antibiotic Ointment - 1/32 oz / 0.9g packet|
|Tylenol (acetaminophen) 500 mg|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|Aquatabs Chlorine Water Purification Tablets (England)|
|Gerber "Seal 'n Go" Sterile Bag with Zipper Seal for use as Water Container, holds 10 fl. oz. (300 ml)|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Heavy Duty Canvas Sewing Needle|
|Plastic Electrical Tape, 1/2 inch (13 mm) wide (wrapped around Spark-Lite)|
|Parachute Cord, mil-spec, red, 550 pound (249 kg) test|
|Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, 12 x 12 inches (30.4 x 30.4 cm)|
|Stainless Steel Wire (six 2-foot (61 cm) lengths)|
|Safety Pin, large|
|Plastic Cable Ties, miniature size|
|Waterproof Paper, 4.25 x 5.5 inches (108 x 140 mm)|
|Golf Pencil, unsharpened|
|Survival Instruction Sheet on Waterproof Paper|
|Fishing Knots Instruction Sheet on Waterproof Paper|
|Polypro Webbing Belt with Cam-Lock Buckle, integrated zippered pouch, 48 inches overall length|
|Weight:||6.6 oz. ( g)|
|Size:|| 48 inches overall length, 24 inch pouch x 1.5 inches wide.|
Packed pouch is .5 to .65 inches thick
|Manufacturer:||Pro Survival Kit Company|
George VanOrden is a veteran of 21 years service in the Marine Corps. His Pro Survival Kit Company produces a line of personal survival kits based on those George originally developed for his own use, based on his experiences in teaching survival in the military.
The Belt Pro Survival Kit takes most of the contents of his Pocket Pro Survival Kit and packs them inside a heavy duty 1.5-inch (38 mm) wide polypropylene webbing belt that can be worn pretty much as you would any utility style belt. The belt has an overall length of 48 inches (121 cm), but can be shortened if desired by simply cutting off the end and fusing the poly with a lighter. There's an elastic keeper provided to serve as a belt loop after the buckle if needed, though we didn't need it. Longer belts can be had by special order, for someone with a particularly large girth. The belt can be had in black, tan or olive drab (OD).
The buckle is a plastic Cam-Lock style that grips securely. While the buckle is a bit bulky and sticks out quite a bit, it didn't seem to cause too many issues for us.
The contents are housed in a zippered section that is 24 inches (61 cm) long and which starts 3 inches (8 cm) from the buckle. A second section of webbing is sewn to the the belt at the bottom and the top is joined by a sturdy zipper.
The only addition in contents between the Pocket and Belt kits is a signal streamer in the belt kit. When we first received our evaluation sample, this was just a piece of thin black fabric tape that was used to protect the contents from the zipper, also making it easier to zip closed. Not long afterwards we received an upgrade to the signal streamer, a 25 inches (64 cm) long piece of bright orange 1.5-inch (38 mm) fabric tape with a strip of 1-inch (25 mm) retro-reflective fabric sewn to it. It still serves for zipper protection duty, but now also serves as a useful signal. We like that kind of thinking.
The contents are packaged to reduce bulk as much as possible. The length of parachute cord goes in in first and then a plastic sleeve of vacuum packages modules, with the meds and Aquatabs in a separate module, making them easy to change out when they expire. Between the vacuum packing and the added sleeve, the contents seem well protected from abuse and any water they may encounter.
With the gear inside, thickness ranges from 0.5 to nearly 0.65 inches. It was able to slip though the belt loops of all our normal casual wear pants, though it was a tight fit in our blue jeans. If you wear pouched items on your belt, this is something you will have to be careful with. A Leatherman Wave in its nylon pouch fit fine, but there was no way you'd have ever gotten the leather pouch to fit over the section with the the kit inside. Spring clips simply won't work either. Depending upon your waist size, there's either a little or a lot of belt on the end that is just the webbing, and this presented no issues, just another web belt. In our case we clipped the cell phone there with no problem. Those with waists smaller than about 30 inches may have an issue with this, though in most cases there are alternative means available to secure equipment.
The first question that popped into our mind, and the first question out of the mouth of virtually everyone we showed the Belt Pro kit to, was how comfortable will it be? We have worn the kit long enough to come to the conclusion that for many it will be just fine. The webbing gets softer over time when worn and the gear seems to find the right place for itself, more or less. You can also rearrange the modules to suit yourself. We ended up opening the belt and adjusting the position of the end of the internal sleeve which formed something of a knot. Once we adjusted that to between modules, it wasn't much of an issue. Later we just closed it off with multiple flat folds and the knot was gone.
The only really noticeable adverse impact we noticed, once we got used to it, was when sitting in the car and plane. While we knew it was there, it was the sort of thing that you can get used to. The noticeably thickest, and hard, item is the knife and we'd be tempted to either do without, since we usually have two or three or more blades on us at all times, replacing it with a thin whistle, or substituting a thinner knife and a whistle. Another alternative for those of us with larger waists would be to have two compartments at either side, leaving the back flat. How practical that would be from a production standpoint, is another issue entirely.
Commercial grade vacuum packaging is used to make the compact modules. Needing a way to open these packages (and acting as if the kit is our last resource), we had difficulty opening the one containing the knife and resorted to using our teeth to rip it open. While we suspect nobody carrying such a kit is likely to be without a knife in the first place (a philosophical touchstone when assembling such kits, include a knife or not?), given the vacuum packaging and the knife's inclusion, it might perhaps be better to leave the knife out of the vacuum packed items for ready access. George later advised that he is doing exactly this.
Aside from lack of a locking blade, the Victorinox Whistle Swiss Army Knife is good quality, if not very robust. The whistle incorporated into the scale on one side is better than nothing, though not nearly as loud as a quality SOLAS grade whistle, approximately half as loud when we compared subjectively over a distance of 150 yards (137 m). By the same token, for the pack volume a normal whistle would occupy, you gain a knife, scissors and a so-so file, not the worst tradeoff. A wrist lanyard of nylon string has been added.
George makes up his own signal mirror, a very compact 1 x 2 inches and only as thick as a penny. The mirror in the kits we received had a hole drilled in the center for aiming purposes, but since it still would not allow one-handed aiming, George later eliminated the hole, adding 2.5% to the reflective surface for improved performance. Given the small size of this mirror, every little bit helps. Aiming instructions, including an illustration, are provided in the survival instructions. A flexible black plastic sheet cover protects the mirrored surface, held in place by static cling. As long as care is taken where you put it after removing it (we found we could stick it to the back side of the mirror) the protective cover can be replaced for continued protection of the mirror surface. A wrist lanyard of nylon string help keep the light, small and easily dropped/blown-away mirror secure.
Firestarting is provided for with the excellent one-handed Spark-Lite flint firestarter, five BCB NATO Wind and Waterproof matches and the Spark-Lite waterproof tinder. George has drilled the Spark-Lite to allow him to attach a nylon string wrist lanyard. The length of tape is wrapped around the Spark-Lite.
For a compass, George has taken the quality made-in-Sweden Brunton (Silva everywhere but North America) 40LU watchband compass and sliced off the watchband loop and added a lanyard.
There are six two-foot lengths of stainless steel snare wire. They are cut because the wire is too tough to cut without a wire cutter. This makes it easier, or more correct, possible to make up small snares, but restricts a little the ultimate potential of the wire for other purposes.
For packaging considerations, the bulky split rings normally attached to the ends of the wire saw have been replaced with loops of parachute cord, which seem to work just fine. In fact, they were more comfortable, though not as easy to use when improvising a bow saw.
When we mentioned that we'd prefer to see one or two more safety pins beyond the single one in the kit we received for evaluation, George immediately upgraded to three.
The Aquatabs are a chlorine based water disinfectant, and while generally considered not to be quite as effective when high organic contamination of water is an issue as is iodine, the strip packaging is their trump card and provided care is taken in their use, they are quite adequate for the most part. The Gerber "Seal 'n Go" bag is an excellent water container that much easier to use than the traditional condom.
The assortment of fishing gear is of sufficient quantity and quality so as to make this a viable means of food procurement in the right environment and there's a waterproof illustrated card of fishing knots and such, copied right out of the mil-spec fishing kit.
There is a good assortment of basic medical items to treat small injuries. The standard grade plastic adhesive bandages will do the job in most cases, but are not as abuse resistant or sticky as some. Expiration dates of the medical items and the Aquatabs are clearly listed on a tag in the package and on a separate list of contents. While some companies will send you a reminder about expiring medical items, Pro Survival raises the bar with an extraordinary offer of free replacement, all you have to do is send them a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
The fresnel lens magnifier and Flosscard from the Pocket Pro kit are not included in the Belt Kit, simply won't fit; not critical, but noticeable losses. The bouillon packet is also missing, not nearly as noteable a loss.
This Survival Instruction sheet is pretty good and when we mentioned a few items we had concerns with, such as the solar still illustrated in the original instructions included in the photo above, George got us on the phone and eliminated that and made some other minor but important changes as well. We like that this is printed on waterproof paper. The fresnel lens magnifier from the Pocket Pro kit may be missed the most here since the print is quite small.
Packed with the kit is an envelope with a contents list, including expiration dates for all life-limited items, a reminder to contact Pro Survival for your free replacement of dated medical items, a review of the contents with suggested uses for each piece of gear and all the manufacturers' instructions that came with each piece, a very nice and helpful touch. Also included is the 15 day, no questions, money-back refund offer if not satisfied.
NOTE: Virtually this same kit, but with a few more items, is also available as the Pocket Pro Survival Kit with the contents packed inside a plastic container.
Overall, we rate this kit as "Very Good." This belt kit isn't for everyone, but it ensures you won't leave home without it, assuming you leave home wearing pants and your belt. We were very impressed by the attention to detail and high quality of almost everything in the kit. George's upgrades even during the short time we had the kit speak loads about his dedication and his response to our queries to address items we wondered about shows that he is committed to making it a good as he can, within the constraints of commercial production. While there are some items that could stand small improvements, any such deficients, such as they are, are minimal for the most part and not life threatening. While not cheap, it represents an excellent value because it's all there. Not a lot more you can ask of a pre-assembled commercial survival kit.
Disclosure: In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that George is an active participant on The Survival Forum on Equipped To Survive and has made a donation to the Equipped To Survive Foundation in support of this Web site.
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: April 12, 2003
Revision: 02 October 21, 2005
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