Pocket Survival Kit Reviews: a New Series on ITS Tactical - ITS Tactical

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Pocket Survival Kit Reviews: a New Series on ITS Tactical

By Mike Petrucci

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a new series we’re starting on ITS Tactical all about survival kits.

Rather than review typical full-blown survival kits, we’ll be focusing on the survival kits that fit in your pocket.

Most of these are given as stocking stuffers and we want you to know which kits are qualified to be called true “survival kits.”

Over the next few months you’ll see overviews and opinions on a number of kits. Some of these kits may look like simple novelties, but we’ll be answering this important question.

“Can you depend on them for your survival and that of your loved ones?”


I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of survival expert. I’ve actually been known to use more than one match to start a fire! I know there are many others out there who are in the same situation that I am, which is why we wanted to create this series. I’ll be learning right along with you!

While we have a number of kits we’re already planning on reviewing, we’d like your input on which pocket survival kits you may have seen out there that you’ve always wondered about.

We’ll be unboxing each kit and showing not only its contents, but how to best use the items to survive and address their strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also be rating the kits on these different criteria:

  • Cost
  • Waterproofness
  • Size/Weight Portability
  • How well does the kit perform/provides in these areas:
    • Shelter
    • Water purification
    • Food
    • Fire starting
    • Signaling

If you have any recommendations for the kits you like to see, or suggestions for testing criteria, throw them up in the comments and we’ll definitely take them into consideration. We want this series of articles to have strong input from our community and address what you guys want to see.

What we hope that you’ll be able to take from this series, is that all survival kits are different and you truly need to know how to best use all the different items within the kit before you get into a real survival situation. Also, that no one kit is right for everybody and you need to carry the best option for your abilities.

Stay tuned for our first article in the series coming soon, where we’ll be reviewing one of the “sardine can” style survival kits without the bad smell…

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  • David

    Looking forward to the review. Prior to my deployment to Afghanistan I built one using a combination of ideas from Doug Ritter’s site and the Pocket Pro Survival Kit.

  • John Hodgkins

    Not sure if these qualify but I’d love to see a review.


    • Steve

      @John Hodgkins – Thank you for sharing gearpods! Excellent idea.

  • James Engel

    Never paid much attention to the over-the-counter pocket kits. Always seemed full of sub-standard crap. Be interesting to see the reviews and to be hopefully proven wrong.

  • waykno

    In my opinion, one of the premier survival sites out there is:
    It’s ran by a retired Army Ranger and quite a lot on it.

  • Gregg

    I think the main survival kit in a can that I keep seeing is the one from Coghlan’s. Definitely include that one.

    I have a custom made small kit I carry. It’s for fire making only, but it’s more or less pocket sized. To me, the most important part of survival (especially being in Canada where it can get cold) is fire.

    It’s made in a tough little energy drink shot container I can get at a local store, and I put in two lighters, some dryer lint, a hexamine tablet, some strike anywhere matches, and wax paper. Anywhere I go, if I have that, I have some redundant ways to make a fire, in a waterproof container.
    The only disadvantage is that if I lose the container, I lose it all.

  • Christian Nadeau

    Along with the typical hiking/camping survival kit, I think it would be a good idea to review kits that could be used in an urban setting as well if there are any out there

  • Tony

    On the whole water purification thing, I’m sure most of the kits use purification instead of filtering, but it would be nice to keep in mind which threats the purification method used is effective against, and which ones it isn’t.

    • Yeah, water purification could be done through boiling, filtering, tablets… it’s really up to the individual kits. Some may seemingly offer any! We’ll see!

  • gunner74

    I would like to see the WETSU pocket survival kit from Tactical Response Gear.

    • John Garrett

      I have a couple of these and they are fantastic! A professional review would be outstanding!

  • Daniel Garcia

    You have to add the Adventure Medical Pocket Kit and their S.O.L. Kit as they seem to set the standard in the industry.

  • drlanders

    Peter Kummerfeldt is a former USAF survival instructor and has been teaching wilderness and outdoor safety courses in Colorado for over 20 years. His philosophy in simple and no nonsense (KISS). His website http://www.outdoorsafe.com contains tons of information. His survival kit is likewise “lean and mean.” He also has suggestions for added equipment.

  • Seems like most “survival” gear is more for the company to make money than anything.
    I’m looking forward to the reviews.

  • Steve

    I’m sure many of ITS readers have dogs, cats, etc., My EDC and bug out kit includes things my dogs would need as well. I suspect many of you would at least attempt to take your animals with you so I’d like to see some information or suggestions on what others might have put together for our canine friends.

    • mattp28

      Not to get to off topic…

      I try to pack food items that my dogs can safely consume as well. Also have a K9 specific FAK from the AKC, it’s pretty basic. But better than nothing.

      I’ve been looking into getting dog boots and Doggles just to have for certain situations.

  • How about the Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST) Deluxe Survival Kit? It’s the ultimate (LOL) and I quote “The Deluxe Survival Kit is a collection of some of the world’s finest camping and survival gear, containing what you need to start a fire, cut limbs for shelter, and signal for help.”

    This would be a good kit to test out. I recently did a review on my blog of the UST JetScream Whistle, which is part of this kit, and found it to be not so good.

    There are a lot of manufacturers selling their wears out there as survival equipment, doing a real life test of them on here would be very interesting and quite an eye opener I bet.

    Product Link: http://www.ultimatesurvival.com/camping-hiking/DeluxeSurvivalKit.php

    Kit Video Link: http://www.invodo.com/Aqua-Deluxe-Survival-Kit/p/Z2CG1006

    Kit Spec (pdf) Link: http://www.ultimatesurvival.com/camping-hiking/images/PDF/UST%20Survival%20Kits%20Spec%20Sheet.pdf

  • Dustin

    I am anxious to see how an AMS Pocket Survival Kit goes up against a Ranger Rick keychain survival kit.

    I only recently came across the drama between Ranger Rick and Doug Ritter!

    I think the biggest gaps will not only be quality of materials (maximization of profit margin) but “what you get” versus “what you need.”

  • Rob Martin

    +1 for John’s plug to include Gearpods. I’d never seen these before, but it’s an interesting concept. We could either look at their prebuilt solutions or their modular products.

    I have UST’s kit, btw, though I’ve never had to rely on it. It’s (theoretically) a very cool kit IMHO. Can’t say I’ve actually tried the whistle…

  • Will Comptis

    Coghlan’s = Made in China. I recently went to a local Army/Navy surplus store and saw on of those. Stuff looked low quality. I’d like to see any kit reviewed that’s made in the US. I’m really trying to keep my $ in the US. Just my 2 cents.

  • Well, I for one am looking forward to checking out your reviews! There’s so many different survival kits on the market, it’s really hard to figure out which ones are actually useful. I love the pocket survival kits!

    We’re actually going to be releasing our own pretty soon, we’d love to get your thoughts on them once they are out!

  • SF Don

    Listen, there are a lot of survival kits out there on the market. And so you can either carry an ultra-light survival kit will all the basic, mininum essential survival items – a knife, signal mirror, whistle, compass, fire starter, flashlite and wire saw. Or you can spend a lot of money on a super-duper, over-price, survival kit that contains a lot more stuff than what you need, plus the weight of it too. And so I’m a pro-Ranger Rick “ultra-light” survival kit lover and own several of his kits. If you can’t carry in your pocket (or small pouch) what you need in an unexpected emergency survival situation, then you should either stay out of the woods or carry a big rucksack with everything you would need to go camping instead. In other words – STAY HOME home and out of the woods if you can’t survive on just a few basic essential survival items.

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