|Tacoma Mountain Rescue Unit 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|
|Underside of container lid has shiny reflective film attached, 2 x 3 inches (51 x 76 mm)|
|Compass, 35mm, large bubble (imported, origin sticker removed)|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|Folding Knife, 1.75-inch/44 mm (cutting edge) drop point blade with cap lifter at base of blade (China)|
|Blue Diamond Safety Matches in paper match box|
|Candle, 0.5 x 5 inches (13 x 127 mm)|
|SHELTER AND PERSONAL PROTECTION GROUP|
|Tacoma Mountain Rescue Storm Shelter, plastic personal tube shelter|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|Tea Bags (sealed in plastic wrap)|
|Sugar packet, 1 tsp (5 cc)|
|Beef Bouillon packet|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Twisted Poly Mason's Twine, orange|
|Golf Pencil, sharpened|
|Paper Sheets, 3 x 4 inches (76 x 102 mm), stapled together|
|Zipper Lock Plastic Bag, 4 mil, 11 x 7.5 inches (279 x 191 mm)|
|Aluminum Foil, 12 x 18 inches (305 x 457 mm)|
|Wire ties, paper covered, 8 inches (203 mm)|
|Black Plastic Tape|
|Survival Brochure, not waterproof|
|Rectangular Metal Tin with Lid, 5.187 x 3.5 x 2.312 inches (132 x 89 x 59 mm)|
|Weight:||11.6 oz. (329 g)|
|Size:||5.187 x 3.5 x 2.312 inches (132 x 89 x 59 mm)|
|Manufacturer:||Tacoma Mountain Rescue Unit|
The front of the Tacoma Mountain Rescue Unit survival kit proclaims "Your All Purpose Survival Kit For Overnight Emergency - Provides: Information, Warmth, Shelter, Energy, Signals" and more. Does it deliver? Yes, and no. It's all there, like it says, but quality varies all over the map, mostly not so great. However, with care and intelligent use, it will likely see you through an overnight wilderness survival experience, as it has a number of survivors.
These kits are assembled as a fund raiser by the Tacoma Mountain Rescue Unit. A few years ago when they were forced to abandon their original slim tin for a much larger one, they went from having a largish mini-kit to having a bulky personal survival kit, 5.187 x 3.5 x 2.312 inches (132 x 89 x 59 mm), that is really only comfortable in a rucksack or large fanny pack. The bright yellow metal tin does make a great cook pot and they include a heavy plastic zipper lock bag that can be used to transfer the gear into if needed, or to hold water. There's some room to add your own stuff, but not a lot; the tin is pretty well stuffed. (view kit unpacked layer by layer)
The blade of the folding knife included does not lock and blade strength is adversely impacted by the huge cutout required for the cap lifter, a feature of questionable utility. It also wasn't very sharp. On the positive side, it has a plain edge and is moderately robust. Not really a knife we'd want to have to depend upon, and the user had best we careful or they will surely break it, but far better than a razor blade or scalpel.
The box of safety matches are not waterproof or windproof, and being safety matches you cannot strike them except on the box. Unless your gaining something like wind or waterproofness to offset this drawback, we prefer strike anywhere matches. At least they give you plenty, juts better keep them dry.
The candle took only a few minutes to start melting, leaking through its plastic sleeve into the kit itself, after we placed the kit in the summer sun. It wouldn't take long at all in the desert heat for it to make a mess and we'd suggest removing this candle if you intend to use the kit in such an environment.
The plastic Storm Shelter is one of the best pocket-size personal shelters available. We carry one ourselves and they are available separately. Sort of an elongated, lightweight plastic bag with no sealed end, the tube shelter works very well.
The whistle is novelty whistle, effective enough, if not particularly robust. The reflective tape affixed to the interior of the lid to serve as a signal mirror is moderately effective and requires two hands to aim.
The compass in our kit had a huge bubble in it and would likely only get worse if we traveled to and from a higher elevation. This is not satisfactory.
Tea with sugar make for a decent hot stimulant, but the tea bags are not individually wrapped in foil, rather they are simply wrapped with some plastic cling wrap and will certainly go stale relatively quickly. The good news is that they are easy enough the replace.
Wire twist ties are not really a very good replacement for real utility/snare wire, though they will serve for some uses if push comes to shove. The twine is both strong enough and there's enough of it to be useful, though we much prefer a braided line to twisted.
The survival "brochure" (instructions) are pretty good overall, though they do include the all too common stupid solar still and a few other minor annoyances. They are not waterproof. Most of the instructions deal with survival techniques, not first aid, a focus we prefer to see in such instructions.
Interestingly, REI, who are the principle retailer of these kits, notes that is is "not a substitute for the 10 essentials." This even though it covers most of them. Why the disclaimer. We can only guess that perhaps they recognize that, one, it's not small enough to be with you at all times, and two, the quality is marginal. We rate we rate this kit as "Mediocre." The price is right, but the size and overall quality are not.
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: April 12, 2003
Email to: email@example.com