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Life+Gear 72H Grab & Go Survival Kit

Life+Gear 72H Grab & Go Survival Kit

– Received Life-Gear “72 hour Grab and Go”..

First thing I noticed was the weight, a bit heavy so may be hard to hike go long distances, but comparatively, not bad weight for having so many items one would need to survive for 72 hours. If in an urban environment one may use a vehicle to transport G&G, provided roads are not closed. Seems like a good bug out bag one could use to supplement with other essentials items, like knives or tools, which one should have anyway. Packaging and pictures suggests survival in most disaster conditions with heavy implications on extreme climate and weather.

I noticed it was a local company, which I liked immediately.  Provided this G&G is up to par, this is something that could be used to promote disaster awareness by San Diego Sheriffs Office or other local and Federal Agencies. I also noticed the kit appears to contain FEMA recommended supplies, and then some.

( http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist_1.pdf )

Survivability requires key elements of Shelter, Food, Water, Fire, Health, and Emotional Strength. Just by observation of the packaging, I feel confident already. What makes me feel confident is the truncated yet informative packing list located on the box. The box tells me a lot about a product that would potentially cost me a couple hundred dollars. With financial strife being what it is and the cost of living in California, I find it really hard to justify expenditures like the G&G. However, given the packaging and what it suggests, I would buy it in a heartbeat. I am already excited by what I have read on the packaging. Looking on the website, I was able to find great information about the product and it was very user friendly.

The Kit;

Putting the backpack on was comfortable, however, if straps were too tight would dig into the armpit and chest area (Brachial Plexus and armpit /triceps).   Standing at 6 feet in height, the pack was really comfortable on my back.  I am confident it would be easy for me to carry over long distances. It can be worn a little loose to provide comfort yet still stable enough to move about with out the pack moving too much.

I noticed that the straps are slightly padded and are adjustable for comfort. (Could use a breast strap)

Bag is waterproof 30L dry bag. Seems to have room for more than was provided and I might have more ideas of things to put in there for disaster. However, stitching could be better where the straps attach to the bag

I had my wife try the bag on. She is 5’6 with a long torso and the pack was hitting and digging into her sacrum, which could cause rubbing and bruising over prolonged hikes or bugging out. Also digging into Brachial Plexus and Bicipital Groove, but she said she would not have a problem, should the need to arise, to carry it over long distances.

Bonus feature: the pack provides great support for reclined rest. Very comfortable!

Pool test….

I dumped it in the pool and used it as a flotation device. At 235 lbs., I am very pleased that it held me up with out any trouble. Certainly could be used as a flotation device. I have no doubt it could hold two people up for a length of time until safety arrives.

Not completely waterproof. I was a bit concerned to see air bubble escaping the pack where it closes. This tells me water was getting inside. When I opened up the bag, there was some water but not enough to be concerned about. Some items where moist but nothing that would cause failure in equipment or worry that your gear would be hurt. As I pulled the items out, I was pleased to find every item with exception to the radio to be in some type of protective plastic. So even if water did get in, nothing would be damaged or make the survivor any more vulnerable to the elements.

The opening and closing of the bag reminds me of the Sea to Summit bags, however, when the top is rolled down the ends are snapped on either side of the bag and not together like you find with Sea to Summit. I’m not sure if this design makes the bag less or more waterproof. I am leaning towards less.

Opening the bag was like Christmas morning. As light it was, I was surprised to find so much gear with enough room for more. The first thing I found was packing a list, which I used to account for all the gear. As I mentioned before, to survive you need food, water, shelter, fire/heat, first aid, along with some health and comfort item that help with emotional survival. Let’s get on with what I found.

FOOD

Comes with 3 packs of food with 3600 calories per pack.  Nothing I have expected or experienced before. Taste was not bad, a bit sweet which is fine and quite crumbly so hold it over a napkin to eat the crumbs. During survival, it is definitely what you would need. Lots of calories one needs to maintain strength and energy while on the move. Packed with vitamins and minerals with a shelf life of about 5 years. For two people, splitting each pack of food will give each person 1800 calories a day. Each square within the pack is 400 calories. There is plenty of food for 72 hours. Breaking it down, one could have 600 calories for each meal. Kit also comes with an aluminum lightweight stove and fuel tabs. Just in case one finds other food to with what’s provided.

WATER

The kit comes with 12 water pouches, containing 4.255 fluid oz each. Combined total water makes up 1.49 liters. You will only have 2 packs per day per person. Generally you will want more water on hand, especially if you are in dry areas like here in San Diego. However, L+G supplies the ability to collect and purify water, provided you are able to find some. First they have what looks like a gallon jug that folds up nicely for storage and easy to carry when full of water. They also have Aquatabs that are top quality and trust worthy for water purification. The pot included can also boil water for purification. If one didn’t need the respirators, they could be used as an additional filter should the need arise. I would only recommend providing a “Life Straw” with the kit.

SHELTER

In survival, shelter isn’t just a roof over your head; it’s also the clothes on your body. For the L+G, I see they recognize this. They supply a giant, blue, waterproof tarp. It is big enough to cover two people comfortably while less than ideal weather passes over, or provide much needed shade in the hot sun.

L+G also provides plastic ponchos to keep you extra dry and somewhat warm under the tarp. They will also help block the wind from getting to your core. Emergency blankets have also been provided and work in obvious ways, but also can be used to reflect heat from fire to persons, to help insulate body from ground, etc. It is important to know that they will not make you toasty warm, but they will keep your vital organs functioning.

FIRE

Kit comes with matches, easy to use with strong sticks!  Kit also comes with fuel tabs to help ignite tinder and kindling. One would also find it helpful by looking in the first aid kit for alcohol wipes, which start up nicely and put off a lot of heat, which is also good for moist tinder and kindling.   The fuel tabs will work nicely as they burn for a decent amount of time, which is great. Used properly one could wrap them with an emergency blanket and light a fuel tab to place in blanket with themselves in dire circumstances. Using the magnifying glass provides another way of lighting fire with the emergency whistle and compass combination. One will need a good amount of sunlight, but works nonetheless and shouldn’t be discounted in survival situations. I would only add a firesteel to this kit, as matches only last for so long.

RESCUE

First thing I noticed was a bright yellow whistle, which is great for getting the attention of rescuers nearby. The advantage of using a whistle is so that one doesn’t blow out their voice when yelling for help, not to mention that voice often gets lost in the wind. A whistle is loud and easy to use.  One could also use fire at night and smoke during the day to indicate one’s position in areas where search and rescue (SAR) may be looking.  The Mylar emergency blankets may also be used as a signaling device much like a signal mirror, not as effective but an option nonetheless.  In some areas the blue tarp could be seen to indicate the presence of a survivor. At night the headlamp provided may also be used to signal the presence of life and the need for help along with the flashlight provided in the multi-tool. The kit comes with a small manual for survival, which also gives information on signaling procedures. The bright yellow bag the kit comes in can be used for signaling as well.  I would only add an actual signal mirror to this kit

FIRST AID.

Great BASIC first aid kit, plenty of gauze, bandages, Band-Aids for minor to major cuts and wounds. Lots of alcohol wipes and soap to clean infected areas. CPR mask, which I thought, was brilliant. Safety pins, forceps and scissors to help cut clothes, hold clothes together, and extract objects that have entered the body. Two sets of medical gloves to protect against bodily fluids and bacteria. However, by all means this is not and advanced medical kit, it appears it was designed to keep you alive until proper medical attention is received. This kit may not have enough gauze to last 72 hours if one is shot or seriously wounded. Of course it is always advisable that one maintains CPR and first aid certifications to prepare for events for which this kit was designed. Keep in mind that the kit suggests complimenting the gear with items one also thinks they should have based on their relative knowledge and experience. Personally I would add quick clot, some aspirin, a suture kit, and an eye dressing.

HEALTH AND COMFORT

There are some extras to this kit, which I love and can be used in a multitude of ways to aid in survival. Some are comfort items, which help with morale and emotional survival.

– NOAA wind radio. NOAA doesn’t just notify of weather conditions, they also notify of natural disasters (i.e. earthquakes, volcanic eruptions), as well as terrorist attacks and power outages that occur in areas detrimental to those experiencing these occurrences. Information is key when it comes to survival and when to come out of your “holes” so to speak. As for morale, provided the airwaves are working,you also have an AM/FM band to listen to other information and music. During the power outage in 2011 here in San Diego, people were either listening to the armageddonesc info being given on the radio or the Packers vs. Chargers game. Albeit the power outage only lasted about 6 hours, people were either confused and concerned or excited and having fun. Reports of looting were even being broadcast, which is important information to help protect your family.

 

– Toilet paper and napkins!

YAY!  If there’s one thing that I don’t like to worry about it is, in fact, toilet paper. Good amount of it too! Some say take it with you after use, but in survival, environmental concern goes out the window. Napkins to wipe your face or clean your hands and great to get fires started!

-Easting Utensil

Great for eating and digging. Having a digging tool can be immensely helpful (i.e. digging traps, water stills, trenches, etc.) Better than using your hands!

-Duct Tape!

“The Handy Man’s Secret Tool” –Red Green. Duct tape is one of those great survival tools to have. It can be used for an infinite number of things. Provided one had enough, they could build a house! It can seal leaks and tears, bandage and seal cuts and grave wounds, make tools and use for lashings! Keep this on your person and never lose it!!! L+G has provided a generous role, but use it wisely. One can never have enough!!

-Nylon 550 cord.

The rope version of duct tape. They have provided 20ft, however there are 7 more strands inside the shell, ergo combined with the strands inside and the shell outside, there exists about 160ft of useful cordage to make lashings, traps, to use for medical or sewing purposes. Keep this on hand or at the top of your pack. It will come in handy quick!

-Headlamp

Not a good idea to travel at night, but if you find yourself in danger or forced to move for any reason, the head lamp will light your way. Not a high amount of lumens, about 40, but enough to get you a little further. Great for signaling as well!

-Multi Tool

Good to have around! Screwdrivers, knife, serrated blade/saw combo and bright led light to go with it! I would only add a commando saw along with this tool.

-Cooking stove and pot

Stove comes with fuel tabs but can be supplemented with kindling and holds the pot for making food and boiling water. The pot is lightweight aluminum and can act as a container for other items in the kit.

-Water Proofing

I did happen to find some grocery bags, which can be used to put dry clothes in when crossing a stream, which is what I was looking for. However, including large trash bags in the kit couldn’t hurt and may be a bit more waterproof. In the military, we would put everything in a trash bag inside our waterproof bags to ensure our gear stayed dry, ESPECIALLY clothes. Remember to supplement this kit with things you think are also essential! The kit also comes with a document protector and a few zip lock bags, so waterproofing is good but not great. As I mentioned before, when I submerged the bag a little moisture got in.

Final Thoughts.

Survival isn’t just about having a bag full of gear, although it helps. It’s also about a mindset, study, and research about how to keep you and your family alive. Buying this bag means that you have accepted the idea that there may come a time when your life, however brief, is going to ultimately suck and there is nothing you can do about it. This gear is not intended to make you comfortable; it’s to keep you alive for 72 hours, which is supposed to be that projected length of time that survival situations last. Sometimes, they last longer. Remember, if you have every thing you need, you’re not surviving, you’re camping.

It is important to remember that when L+G developed this bag, they did leave out certain items to maintain affordability of the kit. They also supply a leaflet with information and recommended gear to supplement this kit with. When you buy this kit, pull the gear out and get to know the items, study them. Make your own list of uses for when it comes time to use it, then place that list in a zip lock back and put it in the kit. As mentioned before, there are some items I would add, but that is of my own opinion with nothing against L+G.

So the real question is, would I trust this kit with my family’s safety?  The answer is, undoubtedly, yes. I am truly confident that this kit, combined with minimal knowledge of survival, common sense and a calm mind, could absolutely survive for up to three days. It would be a hard three days no doubt, but exponentially harder without it.

For more information or how to order visit Life+Gear’s Website  http://www.lifegear.com/survival-kits/72-hour-survival-kit

 

 

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