30 August 2013

Survival For Sale

     You will always see people with the latest survival or preparedness gadget, kit, tool, or whatever else. I'll even occasionally talk about those that I really like or don't like on here. With increased interest or curiosity in preparedness due to television shows like "Doomsday Preppers," or increased awareness of emergencies or disasters, there is no shortage of people that will sell you a little piece of mind...or maybe a little piece of horse puckey. Let me give an example:
     I went to Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and was strolling through the sporting goods department when I stumbled upon a neat little find. It was a survival pack with first aid. It was orange and caught my eye. I find the different kits interesting, so I picked it up for a closer look.

Wow...First Aid, Survival, AND an emergency fishing set?? A 15 piece kit! This sounded awesome, maybe even too good to be true, so I turned it around and I could see what was inside.

     Wait a second...hmm...I'm not so sure about this. Where's all the cool stuff they talked about on the front? Here's a list of the contents, and remember, it's a 15 piece set.

     Yeah, that's right, 10 of the 15 pieces are bandaids. It also comes with a whole 3 feet of duct tape. The fishing set could be handy and it's pretty cool, if you can catch a fish without a pole. Okay, here's the kicker, the biggest reason I really have a problem with things like this...

     $20 for that kit! Does that seem like a good deal?
     Let's think about this. If you bought all the contents, including a whole spool of fishing line, a whole roll of duct tape, etc., you would end up paying about $12 at retail prices without the bag. So the bag is alright, but it's not amazing. It folds at the top, so it's not the best seal, but it's better than nothing. Since you won't be opening and closing this all the time, it doesn't need to open and close all the time; no bonus points for accessibility. I found a similar pouch for almost seven dollars, but a different one that would work just fine for 2.50. So maybe this will be worth it to you if you really want that pouch, and maybe it's worth it to you to not have to walk around the store to find the contents, but this is not worth it to me. That makes a total of less than $15 if you want to buy all the stuff on your own. Plus, you'd get more of almost everything. Now, if you divided everything up to what they give you, which will be closer to what it costs to make it, but still more because you're paying retail price, this is about what it looks like:    

.49-Waterproof matches
.13-Duct tape
.07-Fishing line

Total= $3.73 + 6% sales tax= $3.95

That's without the bag. If you want to use ziploc bags, we'll double, no, triple layer it, so we'll add about 15 cents to it.  That's quite the difference.

     If I see something in a kit, I always use a little extra caution. Sometimes kits are great. In fact, there are a lot of kits that I think are a great deal. I try to look at kits using roughly these criteria:
  • Container
  • Content
  • Quality of Each
     So for the container, you need to think about what you're going to use it for. If you need it to be rugged and durable, then get a hard case, or even a tupperware bowl with snapping lids. If you need it to be waterproof, that would work. The Ziploc bags work well, especially if you double or triple bag it then put it in your pack. This kind of kit is for emergencies only, so you won't likely be messing with it a lot. If you were to buy the kit above, you would be buying the bag. It is the most expensive part of it. The quality of the bag seems good enough, but do you really need it?
     The contents are trivialities, and you probably have most, if not all, of the stuff in your house already. You can see in this kit that they aren't selling you the best stuff. They are selling you the cheapest whistle, not one that has other functions, and not a metal one. You are getting three feet of cheap duct tape. Three feet. That's not going to do much for you. As far as first aid goes...if your survival plan is a bandaid, you're probably in a little trouble...or will be if you ever get hurt. This isn't for an injury, it's for an inconvenience. I think the thermal blanket is a great idea, and I usually buy a few and add one to whatever kit or bag I have. There are a lot of uses for those, which we'll talk about later. Matches are always good to have, too. At least they are waterproof matches. Overall, the content is lacking terribly and the quality of it is nothing special at all. Imagine if you bought it all on your own, then spent an entire $20 to make it worthwhile and stocked it with the things you would really need.

     So in conclusion, if you are buying a kit(or anything for preparedness or survival), don't get caught on one part of it, such as a cool bag or a nifty tool. Make sure you get items that won't fail you. Try to compare prices and see how much it would cost you to make your own or buy the part that you really like or need. Most of the time you know what you need more than they do, so customize your kit. That includes kits you buy and kits you make. If I buy any sort of kit, I open it up, see what it has, put in a few things I think it needs, maybe even take out things I think are useless, and I make it my own. There are plenty of kits out there that could really help a person...then there are kits that are trying to make money off of people who just want to be a little more prepared. The kit above is just trying to make money. Please don't buy it. If you want to have a survival/first aid/fishing kit, I'm sure we could work up something much better for a decent price. A good idea would be to gather things like what this kit has and start putting them together in your own kit. If you're into fishing, try it without a pole sometime. Let me know how it goes.

1 comment :

  1. Interestingly enough, I was contemplating contacting you this very day to see what your thoughts were on this sort of thing. Great minds think alike, eh? Great job!!!