|Randall's Adventure and Training Mini 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|
|Retro-reflective Material, adhesive backed, 1.875 x 2 inches (48 x 51 mm)|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|Utility Knife Blade|
|Scout Fire Steel Flint Firestarter with steel striker (Sweden)|
|Resinous Pine (fatwood) Stick (for tinder), approximately 2.5 x 0.625 x 0.25 inches (64 x 16 x 6 mm)|
|Fresnel Magnifying Lens, 1.625 x 3 inches (41 x 76 mm) magnifying area (part of "Brunton Emergency Pocket Survival Kit")|
|20 mm Button Compass, wet, luminous cardinal points (Japan)|
|10mm Floating Disk Compass (part of "Brunton Emergency Pocket Survival Kit")|
|Fishing Kit in zipper lock plastic bag
|Alcohol Prep Pads (also usable as tinder)|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Heavy Duty Sewing Needle|
|Waxed 9-ply Polyester Cord, 160 lb. (73 kg) test|
|Stainless Steel Snare Wire|
|Safety Pin, small|
|Paper, not waterproof, 8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm)|
|Pencil Section, 2.25 inches (57 mm), unsharpened|
|Survival Instructions, "Brunton Pocket Survival Kit" plastic cards, waterproof|
|Waterproof Otter Box 1000, black, 4.375 x 2.875 x 1.375 inches (114 x 73 x 35 mm)|
|Weight:||7.1 oz. (201 g)|
|Size:||4.375 x 2.875 x 1.375 inches (114 x 73 x 35 mm)|
|Price (04/2003):||$46.50 + $3 S&H|
|Manufacturer:||Randall's Adventure and Training|
Randall's Adventure and Training Mini Survival Kit is housed in a tough black Otter Box. Overall exterior dimensions are about the size of the traditional tobacco tin kit, as used by BCB and Penrith, but the thicker plastic, hinge, and latch give up quite a bit on the interior dimensions. On the plus side, access is easy and it is rated leak proof to a depth of 110 feet (33.5 m). The kit weighs 7.1 ounces (201 g); 3.8 ounces (108 g), more than half, is the Otter Box. There is a braided nylon cord lanyard attached.
The tea candle takes up a lot of room in the kit. (view kit unpacked layer by layer) We evaluated our kit in the cooler months, but in our experience here in the desert, the tea candle will melt in extreme hot climates. We'd suggest removal if you anticipate carriage of the kit in a desert environment.
The Swedish Firesteel requires two hands. With the resinous pine stick it should be adequate to get a fire going almost anywhere. The single piece of cotton tinder is not waterproof and we much prefer waterproof tinder. The alcohol swabs could also be used for fire starting, but our preference for medical use would be for povidone iodine swabs that won't further injure sensitive tissue if it gets in a wound.
The writing paper provided isn't waterproof and the pencil is unpainted, so it would soak up moisture more quickly.
The small piece of retro-reflective is of questionable usefulness to search and rescue looking for a survivor, there's no signal mirror, whistle or any other signaling gear.
The utility knife blade is better than a single edge razor in that it is much stronger and the pointed ends provide added utility. The blade is taped to the lid of the Otter Box and was difficult to remove. It would be easy to have provided an easy way to pull it off the lid, rather than depending upon possibly non-existent fingernails. In cold weather, it might be extremely difficult or impossible.
The waxed cord is quite strong, the wax adding some strength and making it very secure when used for lashing, saving hitches. The down sides are a tight knot that is almost impossible to untie and waxed cord holds onto every bit of debris or dirt it comes in contact with, so extra care must be taken to keep it as clean as possible prior to use. The waxed cord would not serve very comfortably as a lanyard or for similar use.
The waxed cord will thread through the eye of the heavy duty needle for sewing repairs, though the cord is pretty heavy for such purposes in most cases. The only alternative is the monofilament fishing line. Some thread would be handy.
The fresnel lens magnifier in the included Brunton Emergency Pocket Survival Kit will not only serve as a back-up firestarter, it also makes it much easier to read the very fine print on the survival instruction cards, which comprise the bulk of this so-called kit and which serve the RAT kit as survival instructions. These three credit card size waterproof plastic cards are about 50% medical instructions and a half of one card is wasted on the "floating compass." Impractical advice includes the ubiquitous solar still with the usual illustration. Instructions for water purification are to "boil water 20 minutes; let stand 30 minutes; strain,"" a waste of time, resources and energy a survivor might ill afford.
The Otter Box is rugged as all get out and by and large the contents that are there will see you through, but there are a few items just don't quite cut the mustard. The survival instructions are noticeably lacking. What's not there is also a concern. The lack of signaling gear is a significant failing and there's also nothing to either contain or purify water. The latter may be fine in a jungle, but in many other areas it is a more critical issue. Overall, we rate this kit as "Adequate," not because of generally less than better quality components, the usual reason for a rating such as this, but mostly because of what it doesn't include, combined with its few less than stellar items. The missing items, such as a signal mirror and whistle, could be carried separately and that would solve some of these issues, but this kit isn't sold as a partial answer to the survival equipment question, rather it is presented as a complete mini survival kit.
RAT also sells a larger Jungle Survival Kit ($89 04/2003) that appears to incorporate much of what we feel is missing in this kit, though in a larger Otter Box that would result in what we categorize as a "one-person cargo pocket and pouch size" kit. We would expect this kit to rate better as a result, but have not had an opportunity to evaluate this larger kit.
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: April 12, 2003
Email to: email@example.com