|BCB International Ltd. "Military Survival Kit"|
|Contents List||Photo of Kit||Specs & Ratings|
|Explanation of Survival Equipment and Supplies Ratings|
In most cases the reason for the rating given a particular item will be obvious based on our normal evaluation criteria which can be found by clicking on the Group Heading link and reading the relevant text regarding that item. In cases where a low rating is not obvious, for example, if an otherwise good product is damaged due to poor packing, the reason will be given in the listing. Further explanation and the overall rating of both quality and value for the Survival Kit will be found in the written evaluation which follows the kit contents listing.
Excellent (superior quality and/or performance)
|Qty.||Survival Equipment & Supplies||Rating|
|British Lifeboat Whistle|
|2.312 x 3.187 in. (5.9 x 8.1 cm) metalized reflective material affixed to interior of Storage Tin Lid serves as Signal Mirror|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|Folding Lockback Knife, 1.75 in. plain edge cip point blade|
|BCB Ranger Flint|
|Sharpened Hacksaw Blade, 3.5 in. (8.9 cm) saw edge (* See text for rating explanation)|
|Cotton Ball (tinder)|
|NATO Wind/Waterproof Matches with striker strip|
|BCB Commando Wire Saw (w/ swivels and finger rings)|
|Single Edge Razor Blades|
|Brass Snare Wire|
|Fishing Line, monofilament|
|Fishing Hooks, small|
|Fishing Weights, large|
|2.75 in. (7 cm) Adhesive Bandages|
|1 x 1.5 in. (2.5 x 3.8 cm) Patch Adhesive Bandages|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|"Aquaclear" Water Purification Tablets (Chlorine Based)|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Safety Pins, assorted small sizes|
|Pencil (golf style)|
|Plastic Tape (seals tin)|
|Waterproof Survival Instruction Sheet|
|Accident Evaluation Form|
|Handle for Storage Tin|
|Weight:||8 oz. (227 gr)|
|Size:||4.5 x 3.375 x 1.375 in. (11.4 x 8.6 x 3.5 cm)|
|Manufacturer:||BCB International Ltd.|
BCB International Ltd. from England offers the "Military Survival Kit" ($??), a somewhat improved version of their basic "Combat Survival Kit." This small kit is loosely modeled after that described by John Wiseman in his well know survival book, "S.A.S. Survival Guide."
The kit is vacuum packed inside OD colored foil packaging that adds a bit of bulk to the included tin itself, approximately 4.5 x 3.375 x 1.375 inches (11.4 x 8.6 x 3.5 cm). While ti still fits in a pocket, it isn't a compact as the tin by itself. In our sample, supplied by the manufacturer in retail packaging, there was a puncture in this packaging, so the vacuum was no more.
Inside this outer packaging are waterproof survival instructions and a non-waterproof Accident Evaluation Form (see below) as well as the the rest of the components inside a small metal "tobacco" tin, 4.25 x 3.125 x 1.125 inches (10.8 x 7.94 x 2.86 cm), same as used for the "Combat Survival Kit." The hard container can be a bit uncomfortable in a pocket, but does a good job protecting the contents. While the tin has a seal in the removeable lid, since it is not itself vacuum sealed, as it is when used to hold tobacco, it really relies on the tape to seal it. So, it isn't quite waterproof, but highly water-resistant. If the outer protective packaging is not breached, the whole package would be waterproof until opened.
The contents are not all of the very highest quality, but the basics are all covered and the quality of most items is adequate or better.
Principle among these is a decent flint style fire starter, NATO Wind/Waterproof matches, the included hacksaw piece which can be used as a scraper (it does require two hands to use, unfortunately), button compass, whistle and BCB's effective wire saw with swivels and split-ring handles.
The inside of the tin has affixed to it a piece of metalized reflective material to for improved reflectivity, resulting in a moderately effective signal mirror. In our sample, this was adversely marred by some of the contents, reducing it's actual effectiveness. Not great, but better than no mirror at all, though it too requires two hands to use.
The tea candle included will melt in extreme hot climates, such as the desert southwest where we are located, so we'd suggest removal if you anticipate carriage of the kit in a summer desert environment.
There is a small lockback folding knife, Pakistani produced, and of abysmal quality. We found the lock release extremely tight and difficult to operate. One female tester was unable to unlock the blade to close it. The frame is brass with wood inlay. The clip-point blade, 1.75 inches with 1.375-inch sharpened edge, is of unknown stainless steel alloy, but not very high quality based on our experience trying to put an edge on it, and was so poorly sharpened as it came that it was hard pressed to cut some cardboard, it barely made a cut even using substantial force. When we tried to make a feather stick using a piece of dry pine it was like trying to use a butter knife, virtually useless. We tried sharpening it, reprofiling from scratch with a diamond stone and then going from there using ceramics, and it would still barely take an edge. Better than before, but still not acceptable under any circumstances. Unfortunately, with the vacuum packaging, there's no way to either sharpen it or replace it with a more effective small knife.
The short portion of hacksaw blade is meant to be used as a saw, to be a striker for the flint and it is listed being "sharpened." In this case, sharpened is definitely a misnomer. The angled end is, indeed, ground in a manner so that it might be used for slicing, but at such an obtuse angle that it would be impossible to cut anything with it. Thus we rate it as Good for its primary purposes, but as far as slicing, it is rated Very Bad.
The ten NATO Wind and Waterproof matches are excellent, but their packaging left something to be desired. In our sample, one match had much of its flammable coating chipped off, significantly reducing its effectiveness. Better packaging would prevent this. A strip of striker material is included as these are safety matches and must have to proper material against which to strike them in order to light.
For water purification purposes Some "Aquaclear" chlorine based water purifier tablets are provided, along with two condoms (they are labeled as "Ultrasound Probe Covers 34 mm dry") for water storage. The tabs were marked with a 2008 expiration date, the condoms with 12/2007 expiration. The packaging for the kit was marked with a 12/2007 "EXPIRY" date, which is excellent. Anytime there are life-limited supplies in a kit, this should be marked on the exterior.
The kit also contains a waterproof sheet of generally well written survival instructions, though they do include instructions for the generally counterproductive desert water still and a few other less than useful suggestions. There is also an Accident Evaluation Form with directions and space on which to make notes.
There's a travel style sewing kit like you get in your hotel room, a useable fishing kit, snare wire and an assortment of small safety pins along with a few other odds and ends that would be useful.
The plastic tape used to seal the tin's joint can be carefully removed and there is plenty of room to add other items. Afterwards, the tape can be reapplied. The tape itself might well be useful in a survival situation.
There is a metal "handle" for the bottom part of the tin, to make it easier to use for cooking or boiling water. It's not secure and it is very easy for the tin to come loose. With the prevalence of multi-tools these days with included pliers, I'm not sure it hasn't outlived its usefulness.
The BCB "Military Survival Kit" is a mixed bag. The packaging compromise in terms of size and protection is one of the better available commercially and it contains generally adequate, if not stellar, contents. The poor quality knife, lack of waterproof tinder, and no good signal mirror are definite drawbacks, but the flint fire starter, saw, condoms and vacuum packaging (if not punctured) are positives. With the vacuum packaging there's no way to remedy some of the poor items by replacement, which is a significant downside. We rate this kit as "adequate."
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: November 21, 2004
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