Military Issue Survival Kits
In Part 1 of our series we covered some of the basics of survival kits. In Part 2 of our series we showed you a few examples of the minimalist DIY “Altoids Tin” type survival kits. In Part 3 of our series on survival kits we are going to look at one of the survival kits that is now issued to US and NATO Special Operations troops in Afghanistan and Africa.
We tested the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin over a 4 day period in the Rocky Mountains from 9,500 -10,000+ ft elevation during the early Spring when daytime temperatures were mostly in the low to mid 40’s and overnight lows were in the upper 20’s and lower 30’s and some areas still had snow on the ground.
NOTE: During our testing we did catch fish and snare small game and have included pictures in this article.
Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin
The Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin (the manufacturer’s name for it) is manufactured by Best Glide/ASE for US and NATO forces under contract and issued to troops either just before deployment or once they arrive in the operational area depending on the unit. The kit is sometimes issued with a 600 denier cordura carry case that is either OD or Desert Tan depending on the operational area.
The Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin contains:
1) Weather Resistant Tin Container (Includes Rubber Seal)
(1) Mil Spec Outer Packaging for maximum protection of the survival kit (Mil-Prf-81705 Type 1)
(1) Adventurer Button Compass
(10) All Weather Survival Matches
(1) Derma Safe Razor Knife
(1) Sewing Kit w/6 Safety Pins
(6) MP1 Water Purification Tablets
(1) Adventurer Survival Whistle
(1) Mini Survival Fishing Kit
(1) Vinyl or Rubber Tape Waterproof Kit Seal
(1) Type 1A Utility Cord
(1) Brass Snare Wire
(1) Emergency Signal Mirror
(2) Beeswax Candles
(1) Compact Flint Fire Starter w/Striker
(3) Fire Starter Tinder Tabs
(1) Fresnel Lens Fire Starter
(6) Band Aids/Butterfly Bandages/Blood Stop
(1) Pocket Wire Saw
(2) Industrial Grade Tie Wraps
(1) Water Bag
(1) Survival Instructions
(1) Silica Gel Desiccant (Moisture Absorbent)
All of the items in the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin are Mil-Spec that have been tested to meet the rigors of survival in hostile areas.
The Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin comes double sealed. First inside a sealed mylar pouch and the tin itself is sealed with either a rubber tape or heavy nylon tape.
At 6.3 oz and 4.5” x 3.3” x 1.2” the tin doesn’t weigh much and will fit in just about any pocket or rucksack pouch.
The Fire Starting components of the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin are comprised of:
- Fresnel Lens
- Storm/Water Proof Matches
- Beeswax Candles (2)
- Fire Steel
- Tinder Tabs (3)
The Fresnel Lens has a 4.5 power magnification and acts as a magnifying glass to focus sunlight to start a fire. During field trials of this kit it took an average of 5 minutes @ 10,300 ft to get a fire burning using natural tinder and an average of 3 minutes 30 seconds to get the Tinder Tabs included with the kit burning.
The Storm/Water Proof Matches took an average of 3 strikes on the included striker to light and once lit burned for 1-2 minutes under clam and dry conditions. Under wet conditions it took 5 -6 strikes to get them lit and they burned for the same 1-2 minutes. It took 5-6 strikes to get them lit in a high wind (25 mph sustained-35-40 mph gusts) and they burned for about 1 minute 30 seconds with minimal shielding (a cupped hand).
The Firesteel is smaller than most at only 2 1/2 inches but it functioned flawlessly using both natural tinder and the included Tinder tabs.
The Beeswax candles burn slowly and during testing one candle lasted for almost 4 hours. I thought they gave off a pleasant smell but my buddy said I was crazy and he didn’t smell anything. They can be used to start a fire or for a small light as needed and are a great addition to the kit in our opinion.
The Tinder Tabs are quick to grab and hold a spark and can be cut up into small pieces for more uses. During field trials under calm and dry conditions a full-sized Tinder Tab burned for just under 4 minutes. In wet and windy conditions they burned for 3 minutes or more.
The First Aid component of the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin is by no means comprehensive. It consists of 4 band-aids, 4 “butterfly” closures, and 2 Blood Stop packets.
The Blood Stop packets are a newer addition to the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin, older kits I have seen did not include them. Blood Stop packets contain small “sponges” that have a proprietary clotting agent infused into them that will stop even arterial bleeding in less than 1 minute.
The Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin has 6 packages (MP1) Chlor-Floc water purification powder and a sealable 1 liter water bag. Each packet will purify 1 liter of water.
We used the pouch and MP1 purification powder on water we gathered from the Platte River and aside from a slight aftertaste from the purification powder we found the purification method included in the kit more than adequate.
The food gathering component of the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin consists of 50 ft of brass snare wire and a fishing kit that has 150 ft of 10# test monofilament on a small holder, a number of split shot weights, various hooks, a small jig, a small spool of 25# test leader line, and an instruction booklet.
During field tests we used the fishing kit and some grubs we gathered we were able to take a number of pan sized Rainbow trout from the Platte River without too much trouble. Like anything survival related fishing with a kit like this requires practice to have any chance of success if TSHTF and you find yourself in the position where it means eating or not.
Using the snare wire in the kit we set snares for squirrels and rabbits about 100 meters from where we had made camp. We emplaced a half-dozen loops on a “Squirrel Pole” and set it in an area where we had seen lots of squirrels on our way in. We set 3 other snares along a small game trail we found while exploring around our chosen camp.
We checked the snares every couple of hours throughout the first day we set them without any luck in any of them so I got to eat a little trail mix I had while my buddy had trout (I am allergic to fish though I love to fish… go figure). The next day we followed the same pattern from the day before, checking the snares every couple of hours throughout the day. Around lunch time we found a rabbit in one of the snares we set on the game trail.
I reset the snare and left to have a nice lunch of spit cooked rabbit. After eating lunch and continuing the process of checking the snares every couple of hours we found we had snared a couple of squirrels for dinner.
Shortly after this picture was taken we found another rabbit in one of the snares we had set along the game trail.
Like fishing with a small survival fishing kit you should practice setting and checking snares long before you have to rely on them for food. Make sure you follow your local laws (I carry a small game license and a Fur Bearers Trapping License for CO) while doing so, so you don’t get into trouble during a training session.
We used the Mil-Spec wire saw quite extensively for cutting branches for both shelter and firewood without too much issue. To extend the life of the saw and make it easier to use for longer periods of time we took an Aspen branch that was still fairly green and springy and made a “Bow Saw” out of the wire saw.
The Derma-Safe knife was handy for gutting fish, skinning and cleaning the rabbits and squirrels, and cutting cordage. The fact it is literally a razor means it is not suited for heavy-duty chopping or cutting which is why you should ALWAYS have a good quality knife for those types of chores.
Type 1A Utility Cord
The kit has 25 ft of Mil-Spec Type 1A Utility cord included that was more than enough to build a two-man shelter, lash up a spear point, and run a small-clothes line so we could dry socks and such by the fire. While it is not as strong as 550 cord with a maximum working load of 85-100 lbs it is more than strong enough for the uses outlined above.
The Sewing Kit
The sewing kit contains a pre-wound bobbin with 75 ft of Kevlar® thread that has a 188 lb test strength, 6 safety pins, a needle threader, various sized sewing needles, and basic instructions on hand stitching.
The signal mirror included in the kit is about 3 1/2″x2″ with a sighting hole in the center. It is made of a flexible material that will tear if you aren’t careful. During field tests I was able to see the flash of the mirror from over a mile and a half away so it does a good job of reflecting sunlight.
The kit also has a 130 db signal whistle that can be heard for a great distance and up close it is deafening.
The kit has a Mil-Spec 14 mm luminous button compass to aid in navigation. The compass does a good job orienting you to the cardinal directions and compared to a lensatic compass was off by one degree or less as near as we could tell. It won’t allow you to follow a specific azimuth (it wasn’t meant to) but it will keep you moving in the right general direction.
Once the sun had set we wanted to see if it would stay luminous for the 6 hours set by the Mil-Standard. We “charged” the compass with a small flashlight and then checked it once an hour for 6 hours. We conducted this test all four days we were in the field and the little compass did a great job staying visible. The first night we got 7 and a half hours out of it with 6 and a half hours of luminous goodness each of the next 3 days.
The kit has 2 – 8″ heavy-duty zip ties that can be used for gear repair, securing limbs for shelter, or to restrain an EPW (if you happen to have an enemy prisoner that is). We tested them on a damaged rucksack strap as a repair and though a little uncomfortable they held up really well during the 15 mile hike out of the woods at the end of our field trials
There is also a small pencil in the kit, the kind you get at a mini golf course, that you can use to write a note or two if you have your Rite-in-the-Rain® pad with you like you should.
Though we each had our “Bug Out Bags” with us, and all the gear we carry in them, we stayed true to the purpose of our test (and this article) which was to use the contents of the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin for our “survival”. As with the DIY “Altoids Tin” survival kit in Part 2 of our series, the Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin is a minimalist survival kit, unlike the DIY “Altoids Tin” survival kit this one is filled with Mil-Spec gear and issued to Special Operations troops in case they find themselves in a survival situation.
While I personally like having as much support in my “survival kit” as I can get in there, this little kit will surely help keep you alive in a survival situation and should be considered a ” the minimum survival kit” in our opinion.
If you would like to get your own Military Scout Pocket Survival Tin click here.
I look forward to seeing your comments and as always, Train to Survive!
©2014 Vanguard Survival, LLC
All Rights Reserved