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Personal Size Survival Kit Review
U.S. Military
SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit

SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit
Contents ListPhoto of KitSpecs & Ratings
Explanation of Survival Equipment and Supplies 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)
Good (decent, reliable quality and/or competent performance)
Adequate (just sufficient or satisfactory quality and/or performance)
Mediocre (substandard or questionable quality and/or performance)
Poor (inferior quality and/or unreliable performance)
Very Bad (shoddy or seriously deficient quality and/or performance, unacceptable)

SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit
SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit
Click on photo to view higher resolution photo.

Contents of SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit
Qty.Survival Equipment & SuppliesRating
Aluminum Foil (contents packaging) may be utilized as an improvised signal mirror
Colonial Ranger brand Medium Stockman 3-blade folding knife, sawcut plastic handles, 3.375 inches overall, 2-inch clip-point main blade, 1.375-inch sheepsfoot blade, 1.187 inch pen blade.
Wooden Safety Matches and 2 striker strips, 2 packs of 5 each and striker strip wrapped in very heavy aluminum foil
Tinder Sticks, 1 x 0.187 x 0.187 inches, individually wrapped in aluminum foil
Very Good
18mm Brass Dry Compass with lanyard ring
Fish Hooks, 2 small, 1 medium, snelled with 7.5 inch monofilament leader
Very Good
Condom (water container)
Heavy Duty Sewing Needle
16 ft./
Stainless Steel Wire
Survival Instruction Sheet on Waterproof Parchment
Cardboard Box inside sealed aluminumized plastic film pouch inside Nomex cloth sleeve: Box: 5 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches (127 x 38 x 13 mm), Pack: 7.25 x 2 x 0.625 inches (184 x 51 x 16 mm)
Very Good

Specs & Ratings
U.S. Military
SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit

Weight: 2.9 oz. (82 g)
Size: 7.25 x 2 x 0.625 inches (184 x 51 x 16 mm)
Price (04/2003): est. $45 (from civilian sources)
Manufacturer: Various for U.S. Military

Click on photos for larger image.

SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival KitThe SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit is standard issue U.S. military equipment (NSN 4240-00-741-9713) included on most pilot and crewperson parachute harnesses. This is a sealed unit with virtually unlimited life. Our unit obtained relatively recently from current stock is dated September, 1997. Bear in mind that suppliers of this kit to the military may have sourced items in the kit from different vendors over the years and while the kits should contain the same items, more or less, the items themselves may differ slightly, sometimes for the better, sometimes not, depending upon what they convinced the procurement officer to allow them.

The interior cardboard box is sealed inside an aluminized plastic film pouch which is then slipped inside a green Nomex cloth pouch which is sewn closed with a few stitches at one end.

The instructions on the the Nomex flap say "PULL TO OPEN" and by pulling apart the two flaps the stitches are ripped open and the interior aluminized pouch can be slipped out. This, in turn, has a cloth tab at one end that is pulled to open the pouch. The careful survivor with a knife will cut the aluminized pouch open to retain as much functionality as possible, as ripping it open with the tab is more destructive.

The cardboard box that actually holds the contents of the kit has a hinged lid that is taped shut. Cut the cellophane tape and the lid of the box hinges open to reveal all and allows it to be closed relatively securely afterwards. (view kit unpacked layer by layer)

SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit - PackagingIt was assumed in designing this kit that it would be used in conjunction with the parachute, which provides a lot of capability between its gores and the parachute lines (cord). To a great degree, this kit is really back-up to the full survival kit either in the seat kit of ejection seat equipped aircraft or in the survival vest of flight crew on transport aircraft. If a pilot or crewperson needs what's in the kit, then they likely really need it badly because they have lost their main kit, one way or another.

The three-blade stockmans pocket knife in our kit was made in the U.S. by Colonial. We have seen some SRU-16/P kits with similar knives, but made in the Orient and of lesser quality. The knife we had was well built, for what it is. The multiple blades are definitely an advantage, but we'd prefer that at least the main blade be locking for safety. If we had our druthers, we'd really prefer a single robust locking blade folder. You could easily fit one in for the same weight and volume.

For fire starting purposes, the wooden safety matches are hardly the best choice as they are not waterproof in the least, as the provided minimalist instructs note "Keep them dry". Sometimes easier said than done. The matches are packaged in very heavy aluminum foil, but that will be of little help once unpacked. Substituting a Spark-Lite firestarter would be a big improvement. The tinder is packaged in conventional heavy duty aluminum foil and works just fine, though it is only water resistant, not waterproof.

The condom serves as a water container, of course. Kits manufactured from 1962 through 1971 contained 6 iodine tablets in a small glass vial for water purification. Kits manufactured after 1972 do not contain any water treatment.

The best you can say of the three snelled hooks is that it's better than just providing one, as we have seen in some so-called survival kits. Two heavy duty sewing needles seems a bit of overkill. Both are expected to make use of line stripped from the parachute cord. Using them you can improvise quite a bit of useful gear from the parachute harness and parachute.

SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit - CompassThe 18mm brass button compass is very nice and we wish we could find something comparable these days that was commercially available. Being a dry compass it bounces around, but it won't ever leak or develop a bubble. The little lanyard ring on top is just icing on the cake.

There is a slip of water-resistant parchment with a list of contents on one side and a few suggestions for use of the kit on the other. Calling them survival instructions is probably a reach. Since you can see through the parchment and the printing on the other side, it makes reading either side a wee challenge.


Overall, we rate this kit as "Adequate."  There are a few really nice touches, like the compass, but lack of a decent waterproof firstarter really hurts, especially with a minimalist kit such as this. We understand why they removed the water treatment, it requires the kit be replaced or serviced after a few years which is an expensive proposition for the military, but we'd prefer to see some water treatment returned to the kit. The practical alternative is just slip a bottle of Potable Aqua or a strip of Katadyn MP-1 tablets in your flight suit.

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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
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First Published: April 12, 2003
Revision: 01 April 18, 2003
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