I’ve got a friend who is turning his house in to an off-grid fortress for when – he says – the electricity runs out and the people turn on each other. Far fetched, perhaps, but ask yourself how long it would be before help got to you in the event of civil disruption and you start to realise that a little bit of preparation for bad weather or calamity is no bad thing. We keep two bottles of UHT milk in the cupboard for zombie apocalypses.
The folks at VSSL are catering to that preparedness market with a torch light that doubles up as a survival kit, and aside from being really pretty, if you know how to use the things inside it could be really useful in a pinch.
The first thing to note is that it’s a torch. And it’s a REALLY bright torch which throws out a very, very wide beam to act as a room light and illuminate a safe environment for multiple people. It’s quite unlike any other torch we have here in that there’s no central ‘beam’ at all. The light can also be set to an SOS strobe mode to attract attention from rescuers.
The end of the torch screws off (in fact, both ends do) to reveal that it is a machined hollow tube, filled with small canisters of well-labelled survival essentials.
Some of these are really practical, and some will be less useful for everyone. But, quality throughout is high and this certainly isn’t a Christmas cracker affair.
The canisters contain:
- Compass (oil filled)
- 4 hour pure Canadian beeswax candle (which sits in an aluminium bowl for safety)
- Razor blade
- 6 Aquatabs® water purification tablets
- Wire saw (unbelievably sharp and useful!)
- Aluminum beadless emergency whistle
- Waterproof matches
- Tinder fire starters
- Fishing Gear
- Signalling Mirror
- Marine grade rope (250lb breaking strength)
- Reflective trail markers
- Can opener
- First aid supplies (plasters, antiseptic wipes)
- VSSL priorities of survival and instructions, which are a good start for the ley person.
And not to be left out of the party is the ‘handle’ of the torch itself, which acts as a water container so you can hold your purified water safely.
The VSSL is a bit of a jack of all trades, and is only as useful as you know how to use it – so it’s worth taking time to read the little instructions book. It’s also worth noting that there are other flavours of VSSL – a 1st-aid version and an emergency shelter version – for more specific needs. And perhaps most useful of all for people who DO know what they’re doing, they sell an empty version which still has the torch and compass at each end, and is waterproof and drop resistant.
But, aside from its usefulness, it’s a darn pretty thing to have around. It feels solid and robust (it is!) in the hand and would fend off any bears you’d happen to come across in the UK.
It’s priced – with the full range of canisters – at $99 plus shipping ($125 total) it works out at £85 or thereabouts landed in the UK. The empty version of the VSSL is half the price.
Stop the press: We’ve just seen that they do one which can hold a drink. And has a bottle opener. And a torch. And a cup!