I was in two minds about whether this should be a separate thread, but since there's a few commercial survival kits here already I think these two reviews will be right at home here.Brief Review of the BCB Combat Survival Kit and the BCB Ultimate Survival KitBCB International
are a major UK (Welsh) manufacturer of personal equipment for the military, expedition and bushcraft market. The BCB Combat Survival Kit
is one of their cheaper pocket survival kits, based on the ubiquitous 2oz tobacco tin and seemingly inspired by Lofty Wiseman's advice in the SAS Survival Handbook. The BCB Ultimate Survival Kit
is a larger and higher-spec kit intended for military aircrew. Both are available in the US from BestGlide
, where the Combat Survival Kit is $25 while the Ultimate Survival Kit is $90. (Prices in the UK are typically ~£15 and ~£35 respectively.)
So, what do you get for your money?BCB Combat Survival Kit
Water resistant tin - this is a standard plated steel 2oz tobacco tin.
Vinyl tape - roughly 2' of green tape, 1" wide, initially used to seal the tobacco tin shut. Mine's been on and off the tin 3 or 4 times and it's still sticky, although it's definitely less sticky than it was the first time.
Button compass - BCB's small, liquid-filled compass, no bubbles and has a graduated card rather than the simple needle sometimes seen.
Knife - a cheap nameless lock knife, with a not-quite-2" blade. The best thing I can say is that it's better than nothing, but I'd rather have (eg.) an Opinel.
Matches - ten normal-looking book matches, without even a ziplock bag to keep them dry.
Pencil - the sort of pencil you'd get for free in Ikea.
Purification tablets - 10 Oasis-brand
tablets "manufactured to an effervescent formulation containing sodium dichloroisocyanurate" each capable of treating 1 litre / 1 quart of water.
Snare wire - a length of brass wire.
Candle - a tealight.
Flint & striker - BCB's ferrocerium rod and a stamped steel striker.
Fishing kit - a small kit in a ziplock bag with monofilament line, hooks, split shot and a couple of snap swivels.
Whistle - BCB-brand lifejacket whistle.
Sewing kit - the sort of kit you'd get free in a hotel, in a ziplock bag with a couple of needles, six lengths of thread and two buttons.
Safety pins - five, in a ziplock bag.
Wire saw (finger looped) - BCB's usual wire saw, without the split rings that normally accompany it.
Survival instructions - a single sheet of paper printed on both sides with (it seems) selected highlights from a larger survival manual. The illustrations will seem familiar to anyone who has read one of the various military guides.
Accident evaluation form - an aid to assessing casualties and recording their injuries and and treatment administered.
Hacksaw blade - on the official contents list, but missing from my kit.BCB Ultimate Survival Kit
A number of these items are identical to those included in the Combat Survival Kit.
Lightweight mini mess tin - a larger and better-made anodised aluminium tin than the tobacco tin usually used, but too big to fit in a (ie. my) shirt pocket. Fits comfortably into a cargo pocket.
Water bag - Condomi-brand unlubricated latex condom, labelled as an "ultrasound probe cover".
Nylon cord - not paracord, a thinner braided line.
Button compass - same as above.
Candle - same as above.
Flint & Striker - same as above.
Tinder - a single tampon. (I'm guessing it's included as tinder!)
Fishing kit - same as above.
Mini multi-tool - this is an interesting device. It unfolds to give you a pair of pliers, and there's a small blade plus screwdriver bits and nail file concealed within the handles. A nice idea, but you're relying on having a proper knife somewhere else in your gear.
Matches - same as above.
Sewing kit - same as above.
Purification tablets - same as above.
Safety pins - same as above.
Single edge razor - one single-edged razor blade.
Salt sachets - two small salt sachets, the sort of thing you'd get in McDonalds or KFC.
Purification Straw - seems to be a reduced-size version of BCB's water purifying straw
Signal mirror - a bit of shiny aluminium foil to stick on the inside of the box lid. Rather disappointing.
Whistle - same as above.
Snare wire - same as above.
Wire saw - same as above, but wrapped in black plastic.
Grip lock bag - a ziplock bag big enough to hold the whole kit.
Pencil - same as above.
Survival instructions - same as above.
Hacksaw blade - again, on the official contents list, but missing from my kit.
My kit is the "USA Version" with some added extras for the USAF. These are:
Extra water bag - an additional condom, supporting the commonly-held belief that Americans get more action than us poor Brits do.
A4 waterproof paper - a single sheet (A4 is roughly the same size as "letter".)
Micro light - a mini LED keychain flashlight.
Vinyl tape - on the official contents list, but missing from my kit.