The thing about these so-called Survival kits is that, unless you’re an 8-year old boy or genuinely in mortal fear of somehow becoming stranded miles from civilisation, they’re largely unnecessary.
Of course, there will be people reading this who will, at some point, have to resort to making a wire snare to catch rabbits in order to survive… but I’ll wager that they’re few and far between.
But that’s not really the point, is it. When you’re buying a Bear Grylls survival kit, it’s not because you might need it the next time you’re walking the dog, it’s because deep down, you desperately want to be Mr Grylls himself. And I count myself amongst those people who wish they had the knowledge and confidence to use a length of dental floss to build a storm-proof shelter, or use a signalling mirror to guide-in a rescue helicopter. I’d probably stop short of drinking my own wee though.
Gerber is a well known manufacturer of sharp, pointy things that can whittle a tree down to a moderately passable interpretation of The Angel of The North without much bother, and the Bear Grylls Ultimate Kit seems to me to be a vehicle for getting their very cool little Clutch Multitool into the hands of the survivalist masses.
The Clutch is a palm-sized tool with plyers, blade, screwdrivers and and tweezers which all work very well and feel solid. Alone, the Clutch will set you back around £20, so bear in mind that the rest of the kit is what you’re paying the remaining £25 for, and that’s less impressive.
A waterproof bag is housed inside a zippered nylon pouch. This pouch has a handy whistle built in to its zipper, but lacks the sort of attachment system to make it an externally accessible pouch. It is the sort of thing that lives in a pocket of your pack.
Inside the kit is a thermal blanket, a sewing kit, a set of waterproof matches, a fire striker, tinder and another whistle. All of these things are very useful, and of the type of quality that is required for the outdoors.
As well as that though, the kit comprises a few more specialist items like the aforementioned dental floss, copper snare wire, fishing hooks and line, a signalling mirror and one of those chain saws that require you to expend all your energy ripping through a log.
And lastly, Gerber have gone and spoilt the whole thing by throwing in a keyring torch of such appallingly low quality that mine snapped in half the first time I tried to turn it on.
Whilst I like the idea, and would be generally thrilled to receive this in a Christmas gift, I can’t help thinking that the more seasoned outdoors enthusiast could make up their own survival kit for less money and with more suitable spec for their own needs.
SUMMARY: The Bear Grylls Ultimate kit is straight out of the Dangerous Book for Boys. All you could ever need to survive, and more, which begs the question whether or not some of it is necessary at all… like the hideously low-quality torch.