Given the popularity of prepping today, it stands to reason that many companies would jump on the bandwagon and try to cater to that market. You can now find pre-made survival kits at places like outdoor stores like REI and even at discount retailers like Walmart. But is buying a pre-made kit a good idea?
Problems with Pre-Made Kits
Well, like anything else in life, it depends. The first problem I’ve seen with many commercial kits is that some or all of the components are of poor quality. If you are staking your life on an item, you want it to be up to the task. Some kits are nothing more than cheap, dollar store quality items tossed into a sub-average knapsack. You really aren’t saving much money with those kits. Sure, the package says the kit contains 200+ survival items. But, they also count each adhesive bandage as a single item.
The second problem I’ve seen is the kits are often incomplete. They are almost always lacking gear for at least one major category. Maybe it has food, water, and shelter covered but it has nothing for first aid. Or, it is missing any sort of fire making equipment. Few kits on the market today truly cover all of the major categories of survival needs:
- First aid
A third issue with many pre-made kits is the container they use, such as the backpack or duffel bag. Typically, these are cheaply made and aren’t going to hold up in any sort of realistic survival scenario. If you’re hoofing it to your bug out location, you don’t want to discover a hole in the backpack halfway through your journey, a hole through which much of your gear has managed to leak out from over the last several miles.
Why Bother Buying One?
In most cases, you are far better off assembling your own kit from the bottom up, taking into account your own skill sets, your needs, and your overall situation. What works for one person might not be the best idea for another. However, commercial kits can serve as a starting point. If you purchase a kit with that in mind and take the time to become familiar with each provided item, you’ll be in a far better position to decide what else needs added to the kit.
Personally, I like the products sold by Echo Sigma as well as those made by Survival Resources. Both companies take great care in selecting gear that actually works under real life conditions. Of course, the kits they assemble and sell aren’t cheap, but neither is your life.