In this episode, Bryan answers some questions over coffee, including a few about his FJ Cruiser. He also walks through... View ArticleView Article
Survival prep is something most of us never want to have to worry about. Unfortunately, that also means it’s often the most overlooked group of items that one should carry if they find themselves venturing into the great outdoors. I believe that camping should consist of what’s needed for your trip along with a few “just in case” items. I don’t need a four-course meal while trekking through the backcountry. The feeling of being remote is what brings me pleasure. Getting away from pavement, getting away from crowds, getting away from the creature comforts of home and calling the forest or desert your home for even just a few short days, that’s what it’s all about. Regardless of how you spend your time outdoors, being prepared is something you need to be concerned with.
As a gear junkie, I am always on the lookout for the next best product. Something to replace what I was using. Something that improves upon previous designs. Something that is more compact and easier to carry. Something smart. It seems I have found something that fits all those bills, called GearPods. The majority of my time spent outdoors is either traversing some trail in a 4Ã—4, hiking into the mountains or spending countless hours on my bike in the hills. Lately I’ve been looking closely into bike packing which is spending several days riding and camping with only what I can carry on my bike. When I first heard about GearPods I was immediately excited. A survival kit and stove in a container almost the size of a soda can? Say it IS so!
In order to show you just how small this pod is I had to grab a bottle of water and a can of soda. Something this small will be very easy to throw in a bag, glove compartment, saddle bag, or just about anywhere on your person, bike, motorcycle or in your truck.
The container itself is very tough and will take a beating. I dropped it a couple times just to make sure the caps or “terminators” wouldn’t break or come loose. Nope. One of my other favorite companies, Topeak, already offers a bicycle bottle cage that will work perfectly to hold a GearPod! This just brought another smile to my face.
- Colors: Various (GearPods Terminators), Smokey Grey, Dark Grey
- Materials (GearPods container): Polycarbonate, Polypropylene
- Materials (GearPods CookMug): Hard Anodized Aluminum, Silica, Thermoplastic Elastomer
- Materials (GearPods Stove): Hard Anodized Aluminum
- Materials (Other): Rip-Stop Nylon (Stuff Sac), Hexamine (Fuel Tablets)
- Weight: 0.83 lbs (13.3 oz)
- Dimensions: 3.2” diameter, 6.0” height
Removing the caps from both ends reveals the CookMug, Waterproof and Tearproof instructions, and the stove found in the nylon bag. The instructions also feature a compliment of survival tips and tricks.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Here are all of the items that come included in this little container.
- GearPods CookMug: Compact 4.0” anodized aluminum cooking mug/pot with snap-in lid
- GearPods Stove: Solid fuel stove with windshield
- Esbit ® solid fuel tablets (2)
- Rescue Flash signal mirror – 2″x3″ signal mirror with retro-reflective targeting, protective film, plastic sleeve and instructions
- Fox40 Micro Safety – loud emergency whistle for signaling distress and communicating location
- Spark-Lite – dependable, one-handed fire starter
- Tinder-Quik (4) – weatherproof waterproof tinder that burns 1-2 minutes
- NATO “Storm” Matches (10) – vacuum sealed, NATO-approved waterproof and windproof matches with striker
- 20mm Liquid-filled button compass – simple navigation tool
- Mini-LED flashlight – small keychain-type flashlight with rugged case and battery with 24+ hours of continuous use
- Folding saw – light- to medium- use knife with stainless steel razor blade and rugged handle
- Folding knife – light- to medium-use saw blade constructed of 18TPI steel for cutting wood and metal, and housed in a rugged handle
- Katadyn Micropur-1 Water Tablets (6) – 1 tablet per 1 liter (33.8 fl oz) of water; effective against viruses, bacteria, guardia and cryptosporidium
- Sterile, self-standing water bag (36 fl oz) – for pre-treatment water capture and storage
- Heavy duty needle – for repairing clothes and gear
- Heavy duty thread (50ft reel, 10 lbs BS) – for repairs and emergency line for fishing
- Safety pins (2) – 2″ — for repairs, first aid or even improvised hooks for food procurement
- Wire (8ft) – 0.02″ stainless steel wire, non-magnetic — use for repairs and snares
- Braided nylon cord (25ft, 70lbs BS) – many uses including securing gear and building shelters
- Fishing kit – 4 hooks, 2 split-shots and 1 snap swivel
- Duct tape (2″x30″ 9mm) – many uses from first aid to repair
- Weatherproof stationery — 2”x3” (4) – keeping logs, leaving messages, drawing maps
- Pencil (with protective cap) – use with weatherproof stationery
- Fresnel Lens (2″x3″) – redundant fire starting method
- Waterproof and tearproof instructions – with illustrations
- Stuff Sac – with drawcord and fastener (2)
There are a handful of stove systems out there, but not many as compact as this. In the past I’ve used the Snow Peak, MSR and Jet Boil systems and they all work great. But, you will have to carry fuel to run them which robs valuable space. Before I go on, it should be obvious that this stove system isn’t made to cook big meals. This is a survival kit and the stove should be used for emergency water cleaning, heating up soup, tea or anything else you can fit into the CookMug. Would I rely on this for a few days? Yes. A week long trek? You could rely on it, but I would probably pack something more substantial if I were cooking large meals.
Following the included instructions, I wrapped the windshield around the stove and CookMug and placed one of the fuel tabs into the base of the stove. I did this over one of the BBQ grills at my local campground just to be safe. I also didn’t want to upset the Park Ranger.
Using the included matches I lit one match and placed it along side the fuel tab. In a few seconds the tab was going and getting hot. You can blow out and save used fuel tabs. If you decide to not keep a used tab, please be smart about what you do with that unused fuel. Remember, we don’t like forest fires. Be smart.
The retractable legs kept the stove upright and the windshield allowed the fire to burn nice and hot. Hot enough that I was boiling water without the lid on the CookMug in a matter of 3 minutes. That’s quick in my book. It took most of one fuel tab in order to boil this cup of water. Keep that in mind depending on how long you will be away and how many times you will need to use the stove. Pack a few extra fuel tabs since they’re cheap and small to carry.
The concave base of the CookMug allows maximum heat capture from the stove. The silica band around the mug keeps your hands from getting burned when it’s time to enjoy your warm liquid. Be careful though, the mug will still be warm. I was able to safely drink the water after giving it about 30 seconds to cool off just a little bit. The stove and mug come together to create a great lightweight cooking system.
This is what the base of your stove will look like after use. You are burning fuel directly on the base so it will discolor the stove and will need to be cleaned. GearPods also offers a Burner to allow the use of denatured alcohol (with the Burner) or solid fuel tabs (without the Burner). I would bet depending on how much stuff you carry in your Survival Pro pod, you could get the Burner to fit.
Another item in the pod that caught my eye is the constant-on LED light. Having a switch to keep your light on is invaluable when camping. Most of those small LED lights you buy at REI don’t offer this. They really should. You often need both hands when working in the dark.
When using the windshield be sure to face the vents downwind. This will allow better wind protection while still providing oxygen for the fire to breathe. The edges of the shield are a tad sharp so be cautious when rolling it back up for storage.
Looking to do a little fishing? Need to sew something up? This little container has just what you need for those tasks. As a former avid fisherman, it’s nice seeing the weights included.
There are two blades in the kit that could cover most of what you need in any survival situation. Most of us carry a pocket knife, but what if you drop it? Or, what if you really are trying to save weight and need something smaller. These should do the job.
The pod includes 6 Water Purifier Tablets that are effective against viruses, bacteria, guardia and cryptosporidium. Nobody likes getting sick in the woods. If you do run out of water, clean water is your top priority. Boiling water or using purifier tablets could save your life. Using the included sterile, self-standing water bag, you can use these to start the sterilization process for clean drinking.
Weatherproof paper and pencil (with cap) are also included as well as this Fresnel magnifying lens, which is great for creating fire if needed.
Here is a closer look at a few more of the items inside the pod. Nice to see the emergency whistle, 8-feet of stainless steel wire, 25-feet of 70lb nylon cord, button compass, fire striker and heavy-duty thread.
The only frustrating thing I found about the pod is trying to stuff everything back inside the container in the same fashion it was removed. Fortunately, I found there is enough room to get everything back in regardless of order. Just make sure the larger items go inside the cup, not the stove.
With the stove and smaller items in the base, I wanted to show you how everything went into the cup without the included bag. As you can see there is still plenty of room to stash a few more matches or other items.
The pencil (with cap) is the longest item in the pod, make sure it is lined up with the CookMug lid opening when closed.
Another great feature to the pods is their modular system. All of the pods are able to be connected to one another keeping your gear organized. This empty small container screwed onto the lid of my Survival Pro gave me extra space to store more items. You can purchase empty containers in a variety of sizes to fit your needs.
Perfect for a few extra matches, fuel tabs, band-aids, etc.
To test the size of this kit in my bag, I found the GearPods Survival Pro with the small container added still fits great into my Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Lightspeed.
I wanted to do a little comparison shopping after using the pod so I headed down to REI. After spending about an hour looking over every survival type kit they have, this is the closest I came to what is included in the Survival Pod, minus the stove and mug. There are several survival type kits ranging from $20-$200 but none of them had what the pod has with a stove.
This SOL Scout kit was close when it came to what was included but didn’t feature a mirror, cable and a few other items. Of course, no way to cook.
GearPods sells all of the items found in their kits separate when its time to refill your pod. REI sells the same fuel tablets for $1 more. Just an FYI in case you’re in a hurry.
When I started looking into portable stoves, I of course ran into the Jet Boil systems, MSR and Snow Peak options. All of these are great but require much more room and a constant fuel source. I could not find anything available at REI, Sports Authority or Bass Pro Shops (when I looked online) that compared to the GearPods system.
As you’ve read, I am thoroughly impressed with the GearPods system. So much packed into a small package. I like it. I can see myself throwing this Survival Pro pod into my pack when camping or hiking, and it will definitely come with me when I start bike packing next Spring. At $69, I don’t see how you can’t afford to have one of these just in case you need it. Even if I were glamping with a loaded truck, I would still pick up a GearPod. What if your group decided to wander away from camp on a hike and something happens? You get lost and now you have to spend the night in the woods. Don’t be the “I should have” or “That won’t happen to me” kind of guy/girl. Be prepared, be smart, pack light and be safe.
Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Please join us in welcoming Jordan May as a contributor on ITS Tactical. Jordan is a journalist and photographer that has traveled the world following his passion. When not on assignment, he’s often riding his mountain bike or out running and preparing for an adventure race. You can find Jordan on Twitter and on his website, A Gentleman’s Word. We’d also like to thank Jordan for allowing us to republish his review of the GearPods Survival Kit.
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if you look closley in the sol survival kit it does have a mirror but still gearpods is the way to go
Looks like a well thought out kit that has that one step further than any other mainstream version out there by including the equipment to cook with also. I'll have to take a look at it closer, maybe get one to play with. The hard case tube for it could also serve for water storage besides keeping everything from being smashed up in your bag.
From the looks of the stove, you could easily add your own popcan type stove and alcohol, as mentioned in the article, to change up the cook system. Also, there is a stove made by Esbit and others, primarily seen in Surplus stores, designed for the various solid fuel tabs. The unit generally runs around $10 and is a little bigger than a deck of cards. It can store about four of the fuel tabs. Weight depends on whether you get the steel or aluminum versions.
Looks like a well thought out kit that has that one step further than any other mainstream version out there by including the equipment to cook with also. I'll have to take a look at it closer, maybe get one to play with. The hard case tube for it could also serve for water storage besides keeping everything from being smashed up in your bag. From the looks of the stove, you could easily add your own popcan type stove and alcohol, as mentioned in the article, to change up the cook system. Also, there is a stove made by Esbit and others, primarily seen in Surplus stores, designed for the various solid fuel tabs. The unit generally runs around $10 and is a little bigger than a deck of cards. It can store about four of the fuel tabs. Weight depends on whether you get the steel or aluminum versions.
Just wanted to say thanks for all the pictures. I looked around Gear Pods' site for a while before reading the review and I was itching to see more photos of what the kits look like when they're not packaged all nice up in the tubes.
Howdy, Just wanted to say thanks for all the pictures. I looked around Gear Pods' site for a while before reading the review and I was itching to see more photos of what the kits look like when they're not packaged all nice up in the tubes.
I must say, I'm somewhat impressed with this kit. Usually, pre-packaged kits are packed full of fail and contain almost nothing useful, but this one covers many necessities that are normally skipped. For its size, it has quite a few survival necessities. Most notable to me is the inclusion of something besides matches as a fire-starting implement. The only people who think matches (even waterproof ones) are a reliable way to start a fire are those who have never tried to use one in inclement weather when everything is soaked, and I'm pleased to see the inclusion of alternate means of starting a fire.