Though I'm an academic and businessman, I know how to rough it, and have survived hostile terrain across the world.
Why the Wild Frontier Survival Kit?
I won't lie to you. I'm not a hardened pioneer of the rugged trail. I'm an occasional camper and hiker, and in England camping and hiking are usually not like they are in America.
However, I do know a thing or two about the outdoors and survival and, many years ago, I did the Appalachian trail with our party arriving in Maine after six and a half months. I've also spent several months in the wilds of the Argentine Pampas, in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and a brief foray in Australia where I had an unpleasant encounter with a brown snake.
As anyone who is reading this knows, the boy scout motto is correct: being prepared is everything. A friend of mine recommended this kit to me last time I was in the U.S. and it looked like a pretty cool and useful thing to have. Besides, you can't buy them in England. For the price, I was quite impressed with what I got.
Here's my impartial review.
Components of the Wild Frontier Survival Kit
This kit comes in ten pieces. There's a folding knife, a flint and steel, an adjustable torch, a key-ring torch, a credit card tool, a tactical pen with glass breaker, a compass, a wire saw, a survival blanket and an emergency whistle. The whole thing comes in a shockproof, watertight box 6.5" x 4" padded with synthetic sponges. Let's look at each component one by one.
This folding stainless steel knife is extremely sharp. It has a 6.5cm/2.5" black blade that locks in place and is ideal for fishing or for skinning game. Obviously, if you're out in the wild it will be secondary to your Bowie knife, or whatever survival blade you prefer, but still a useful asset to have. It also has a belt clip.
OK, it won't cut down a tree (unless it's a very small one), but the wire saw is pretty strong and will do even reasonably big branches quite well. It's a good idea to coat it in Vaseline when you use it and use twigs through the loops on either end to make it easier. It's a tiring process but will give you the wood necessary for your campfire.
A compass is always a lovely thing to have and this pocket-watch type one is pretty stylish and traditional looking. It glows in the dark, has a brass case, which is useful for signalling by reflecting light, and is extremely accurate. It points north anyway, which is what you want from a compass.
Flint and Steel
This flint and steel lit my tinder on the very first strike. This throws up sparks like a firework and because it's made of ferrocerium, it even works when wet too. The steel part has a bottle opener and a ruler incorporated. The butterfly handle makes it almost foolproof to get a good strike. Scrape off some of the coating on the flint first though. If you do it over your tinder it makes it even easier to light. It is held together with a nylon cord, which stops the steel bit getting lost (this actually happened to me on a hike once with another flint and saw type striker). I found it eventually but it was extremely inconvenient at the time.
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With a strong clip, airplane grade metal body and a glass-breaker in case you find yourself underwater in a car (pretty unlikely when you're on a hike but it's still worth keeping one in the glove compartment), this pen is mightier than the sword. It isn't affected by temperature and can also be used as a defensive weapon. It writes beautifully, too.
Windproof and waterproof, this emergency blanket will retain 90% of body heat. It can be used as a blanket, a shelter or as a signalling device for reflecting light and radar. As you can see from the picture, it folds up into a tiny oblong package. An essential item to have anywhere. Touch wood, I haven't actually had to use it yet, but I'm reliably informed that it is as good as the advert I've just given it.
Adjustable Beam Mini LED Torch
This torch is one of the best I've ever used. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hands and yet it has an extremely powerful LED beam that can be adjusted from panoramic to narrow-focus via a sliding lens. One AA battery is all it needs but unfortunately, this isn't included.
Micro LED Key-Ring Flashlight
A strange inclusion considering there is already one torch in the kit, but this tiny LED key-ring flashlight is probably the strongest key-ring torch I've come across and the batteries for it actually are already fitted. It can be used as a signalling light or the beam can be lit as solid like an ordinary torch. Tiny but very very useful.
Credit Card Tool
These are available for less than a dollar anywhere and are excellent things to have. The direction indicator works by putting the card tool on a floating item. The tool is magnetised and will swing round and point north. However, I personally prefer to use a compass and have never actually tried the direction indicator on one of these. They do have plenty of other uses though, indicated in the photo.
Six blasts on this very loud aluminum whistle could rival morse code as far as an international emergency signal. Hope that you never need to use it.
And Finally, the Box Itself
At 6.5" x 4", the Wild Frontier box has a clip lock mechanism so it locks tightly and makes it impossible for anything to fall out. The plastic is highly durable and it also has plastic loops which enable it to be fitted on a lanyard. It is padded with synthetic sponge inside top and bottom. Small enough to fit into a jacket pocket too, at 15.8 ounces with the kit inside it will not burden its carrier. It is waterproof when locked and will withstand most impacts short of bullets.
In conclusion, this is a very useful addition to any camping trip and also a good thing to keep in your car. I hope you never have to use but you'd be glad you had it if you ever did need it. If you bought each item individually you are looking at quite a bit, but for the price I got it ($25.99), this is excellent value for money.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.