Here at MilitaryGazette, we obviously review products. Most of the time, these are specifically military in nature -- rifles, ships, combat vehicles, etc. -- but the following review is on an item that somewhat crosses the divide. This is a three-day emergency kit, for two people, marketed at people with little survival training or experience.
Unlike our more usual reviews, this one will be very light on hyperlinks; the only hyperlink will be to the product page, itself.
The following views are of the author, alone, based on over 35 years of experience.
The "2-person, 3-Day Emergency Kit" from Emergency Essentials
I'm glad I got this on sale for US$30. It's now up to US$54.95. At that price? The Dollar Tree discount store is a better option.
NB: This first "nitpick" is not really a "nitpick", but more of an "object lesson": the shipping box was mangled in transit, and one of the water packets ruptured. This wasn't catastrophic, but it reconfirmed my dislike of retort-packed water...On the good side, the kit itself largely weathered the storm; I tried two of the matches from the soaked matchbox, and they both worked...of course, they were also Diamond© 'Green Tips', so I shouldn't have been surprised.
* I was actually very pleased with the included backpack. Although a jot on the smallish side, it definitely works for the contents. It is "Emergency Red" in color, and is constructed of very durable, near-Cordura Nylon -- it's not as stout as my ancient, nearly-dead, powder-blue Jansport student day-pack, but it will certainly hold up well...although I confess to a little worry about the straps, which seem very flimsy.
* The Daltrex food packs. At 3,600 calories apiece, these are very high-energy bars. A little different from the US Coast Guard Lifeboat Rations I've used in the past, but Daltrex is pretty good kit. It is all carbohydrates, though, so if you do buy this kit, be sure to come up with a protein plan to supplement it.
* The 5-in-1 Survival Whistle. Sure, it's neon orange, but this is an emergency survival kit, remember. It has a whistle (obvious, I know), a compass (that actually works!), a signal mirror, a waterproof container for matches...and a flint striker, built into the body. Now, I pondered the striker for a minute, wondering why there was no steel provided for it, when it occurred to me that they had also included a 13-function pocketknife (See below).....Did I mention that there was no instruction or inventory sheet?
Good thing this isn't my survival first kit.
* The hand-warmers. Four of them. This was a nice surprise, since I don't see a lot of store-kits that give you hand warmers.
* The 1st Aid Kit. Sure, most of it is BandAids (Cure-Aid's, to be precise), but there were some useful bits in there, like a couple of packets of triple antibiotic goop, a couple of packs of a no-name non-aspirin analgesic, the obligatory moist towelettes (9 of them?), a pair of alcohol wipes, and...four Providone-Iodine wipes? Neat.
Note: I do like the whole "not obsessing about fire" thing in this kit. Really - why do people think that they need eight ways to start a fire in a 72-hour kit? What?
* The two space blankets. They're space blankets.
* The 12-hour chem-lites. Okay. I guess...For an emergency kit. To help signal for a rescue.
* The matches. They're Diamond© 'Green Tips' - chances are good that they will fire up in a hurricane. I saved the strikers, although the box was ruined when the water packet burst. On the other hand, that did give me the opportunity to use the waterproof matchbox in the 5-in-1 whistle immediately upon opening.
* The "Swiss Army Knife that is NOT a Swiss Army Knife". It's certainly heavy enough for its size. The blades are incredibly dull, but will probably work for a while...Hopefully, they'll last long enough to strike a spark off the 5-in-1.
* The paper towel-like "hand tissues". These are what they are, both hand napkins, as well as toiletry items. Kind of hard to mess that up.
* The "rain poncho's"...and I use the term VERY loosely. Seriously, I would have been more impressed if they had tossed in a box of Hefty trash bags....I'm not kidding, here: I think these might work for collecting rain water - in a GENTLE rain - but only that.
* The "Emergency Whistle" (No, not the 5-in-1, mentioned above). Why? No, really -- why? There is a perfectly good whistle in the kit, already, and this sad, sorry attempt at a kazoo is basically useless for...any task that I can reasonably imagine.
* No cordage? Seriously? Not even jute twine? 550-Cord is dirt cheap. That needs to be addressed.
* No instructions. I know that sounds petty, but I've been at this whole "prepper/survivalist" thing since the early 1980's, and I have some idea of what I'm doing...The majority of people buying this kit, however, are buying it because they have no clue about what kind of disasters are out there, but want a little piece of mind. They don't know enough to question what's missing, and aren't going to get a primer from "Doomsday Preppers". Thus, why instructions need to be included. They're not, and I have a real issue with that.
* The greatest sin, however, I reserve for the water plan. Break out your calculator if you need to: 12 packets, each holding 4.2 ounces of water, equals 50.4oz -- or, less than a gallon of water. For two people. For three days....Both people would be too insensible from the dehydration by then to break the chem-lites, assuming that they actually heard the rescuers approaching.
Now, I wouldn't be as vehement about this as I am, had it been ameliorated by including some form of water purification system, like a LifeStraw, a carbon-filter hand pump, or even some water purification tablets -- any one of which would have made the inclusion of the water packets make very good sense, to use as a "starter supply", but no: once you go through your less-than-a-gallon of water (in about 3 hours...in winter), you're SOL.
Did I mention that there is no water bottle? No -- not a one. Better hope the disaster didn't break those packets...
I'm glad I got this for US$30; any more, and I would feel ripped off. This is a REALLY basic kit for ONE person, for about a day and a half, assuming not too difficult physical exertion. I'll use it, but I will be (immediately) adding a water bottle, some kind of protein (not Emergency Essential's fault, I hasten to point out -- protein is a tough one) supplement, a LifeStraw, a box of trash bags, some kind of boil-ready metal container (something else for water purification), some salt and pepper, and some 550-cord to finish out the kit.
And no -- there is no 'duct tape' in the kit. I actually have no issue with that. Too many people out there think that they are MacGuyver. They're not. Lose the tape -- Save the weight. Its only possible use in a kit like this is for securing improvised dressings to wounds; a trip to the discount store, to get some actual medical tape, would be a far better option. Duct tape is to be used that way only in extreme emergencies...although, using a full roll, it does make a dandy dry-bag and/or a purse.
I think the big wins in here are the backpack and the Daltrex bars; beyond those two, you can get most of this stuff out of the discount store, for cheaper.
My rating: 3 stars out of a possible 5