|WSI Gold Label Wilderness 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|
|Metal Whistle (Taiwan)|
|Metal Tin (bright, but unpolished) can be used as improvised signal mirror|
|EMERGENCY DEVICES GROUP|
|CRKT "Badger" Lockback Folding Knife, 2 1/2 in. (64 mm) drop point blade, 50/50 serrated (Taiwan)|
|WSI Hot Spark Flint w/ Magnesium and hacksaw blade scraper|
|Petroleum Jelly Infused Cotton Tinder, in zip-lock|
|Book of Paper Matches (see text)|
|Small Game Snare|
|Slingshot Rubbers with pouch|
|WSI Fishing Reel w/ 60 ft. (18.23 m) Braided Fishing Line (18 lb. (6.7 kg) test)|
|Fishing Kit in plastic zipper-lock bags
|Betadine - povidone-iodine 10% solution, 1/2 oz. (14 ml) (in zipper-lock bag)|
|Gauze pads, 2 x 2 inches (5 x 5 cm)|
|Adhesive Bandages, 3/4 inch (19 mm)|
|Aspirin caplets, 500 mg|
|WATER & FOOD GROUP|
|Chicken Bouillon packets|
|MISCELLANEOUS & MULTI-PURPOSE GROUP|
|Sewing Kit (2 needles and thread)|
|Plastic Tape, 1/2 wide, green (seals tin)|
|550 Parachute Cord, OD, mil-spec, slip braided, bound with rubber bands (7.62 M)|
|Braided Nylon Line, bound with rubber bands (7.62 m)|
|Surveyor's Tape, yellow|
|Round Tin (4 inches (102 mm) diameter x 1 1/2 inches (38 mm) deep)|
|Plastic Zipper-Lock Bags, 4 mil - assorted sizes|
|Emergency Survival - A Pocket Guide (4 x 6 in. (102 x 152 mm))|
|Instructions - Using The WSI Survival Kits|
|Survival Fishing Gear Improvisation Instructions|
|Instructions - Food Procurement: Snares|
|Instructions - Inprovised Survival Tools and Weapons|
|Instructions - Use of Povidone-Iodine Solution (water purification and medical use)|
|Weight:||14.6 oz. (414 g)|
|Size:||9 x 10 x 1 3/4 inches (154 x 229 x 44 mm)|
|Price (06/2002):||$70 ($5 S&H)|
|Manufacturer:||World Survival Institute|
The World Survival Institute "Gold Label Wilderness Survival Kit" developed by Chris Janowsky is marketed as a "pocket system," an apt description. The kit includes a number of discrete pocket-sized components that combine to offer more capability that you could fit into a mini-kit.
The centerpiece of the kit is a slip-fit round tin, 4 inches (101 mm) in diameter and 1 1/2 inches (38 mm) thick. This is sealed waterproof with 24 inches (61 cm) of 1/2 inch wide (13 mm) plastic tape. The contents list above notes which kit items are inside the tin.(view kit unpacked layer by layer) Total weight of the tin is 6.5 oz. (184g), the entire kit weighs in a 14.6 oz. (414 g) In addition, there is a 25 ft (7.62 m) skein of mil-spec 550 parachute cord,a 25 ft. (7.62 m) skein of braided nylon line, 1/2 oz (14 ml) plastic bottle of povidone-iodine solution, a small pack of bouillon and seasonings, some medical supplies, a WSI fishing reel and a variety of survival instructions in a booklet and photocopied pages from Chris' survival manual. This stuff can be distributed among pockets or would fit in a single large cargo pocket.
Some might prefer it all packed in a single pouch, but this arrangement isn't unlike how we normally carry our don't-leave-home-without-it gear. More so than most other small kits we have examined, there is a focus on food procurement. We normally don't see this until you get to much larger kits.
I suspect the reason can be found in the normal environment in which Chris lives and works, Alaska. In most areas of Alaska water is plentiful year-round and colder weather demands more energy that can be replenished from the generally abundant wild animal and fish of the area. The priorities might be different in other environments.
The extensive fishing kit has a wide selection of hooks and lures, far beyond the few hooks and line we normally find. Chris' nicely done handmade wood reel, which is designed to be attached to an improvised pole, and plentiful line makes for much easier fishing, at the expense of some added bulk. The reel can be purchased separately for $13. (We have a survival fishing kit review in the works that includes the similarly equipped WSI fishing kit and a number of other such kits.)
All that para-cord and nylon line will certainly come in handy. We like the way Chris has done up the para-cord in a slip braided chain, making it easy to pull out what you need without tangling. That also adds a bit more bulk, it's always a trade-off.
Chris also makes the small game snares himself and sells them separately, if you're interested ($4 each, 6 or more $3 each). They are 7-strand, nylon coated, stainless steel wire, with an anti-twist swivel for attaching, 27 lb. (10 kg) test. There's also a short length of surveyor's tape to mark their location (or yours for that matter if you've gone to ground to stay warm).
We're told that Chris makes up or assembles all these items during the long Alaska winters, something to counteract cabin fever.
The flint and magnesium fire starter is a clone of our well-regarded Sparky. We were initially taken aback by the paper matches in the kit until it was explained that they serve primarily as something to wind the monofilament line around. As long as that was needed, and bulk is obviously a lesser priority in this kit, why not use a matchbook, which makes great sense. The flint remains the primary means of starting a fire.
The CRKT Badger lockback folder is a decent quality knife, a big step up from the blades we normally find in small kits, though there's that bulk again. We'd prefer a plain edge instead of the combo serrated and plain, but that's picking nits.
There's a preassembled commercial slingshot rubber with pouch, but Chris has added a ball bearing in the end of the rubbers so that it's a cinch to assemble. Just slip the rubber in a notch and it's not going anywhere.
We generally avoid metal whistles because of the potential problems with them in cold weather; the wet skin stuck on frozen metal sort of thing. Being careful will solve that, but we'd prefer something like a Mini-Fox 40.
The tea candle did what they all do in even moderate heat and sun when packed inside a tin; it melted. This on a day that just barely hit 100 degrees F ( C) and after only an hour left out. A word to the wise for anyone who might be tempted to take this kit where it gets hot.
The foodstuffs included are minimal, the seasonings another indication of the tilt towards food procurement. Not that having the seasonings is bad, mind you.
Included with the relatively minimal first aid supplies are a pair of aspirin caplets are included, which wouldn't be our first choice of a sole analgesic given how many people have problems with aspirin.
Chris intends the povidone-iodine solution to be used for water purification, according to the included tips and in with the zipper-lock bag of medical supplies is a slip with instructions on how to do so. We'd rather keep that for medical use and carry some Potable Aqua for water purification. Given the size of the kit, another small bottle wouldn't hardly matter. The zipper-lock plastic bag that the kit comes in is the suggested water container. A dedicated water bag/container might be better and less liekly to be damaged.
The "Emergency Survival - A Pocket Guide" serves as a reasonably good mini-manual. In addition, there is a contents list, a three-page "Using The WSI Survival Kits" tip list, three pages of Survival Fishing Instructions with excellent illustrations, and ten pages of instructions copied from Chris's very good text "Survival - A Manual That Could Save Your Life" on the use of snares and improvised tools and weapons. The problem is the poor organization, loose nature of these extra materials, all of which provide excellent information. It would be much better if Chris could combine them into a single neat package.
Overall, we rate this kit as "Good." There are a few areas where it could
stand improvement and few key items missing, we feel. A simple compass would be the sort of thing we'd expect in a kit of this price, for example. The concentration on food procurement may not be appropriate for all environments and then there's that tea candle. That
volume and expense might be better spent on other things for some environments.
While this kit isn't inexpensive, this is not a kit which you purchase and then
have to start replacing half the items which aren't up to snuff.
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: June 12, 2002
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