As we head into a new hurricane season, I thought it might be timely to review a 72 hour emergency kit. Even if you don't live in an area prone to hurricanes these kits seem to always be timely in some part of the country. After all we just experienced one of the worst tornado seasons in history. This food, fire and filter kit is by Food Supply Depot and it can be purchased at one of my favorite online survival gear merchants: SurvivalBased.com.
Everything fits in a 6lb plastic bucket. This is the view before we took anything out. (I say "we" because I had help from my boys and my husband. It wasn't hard to entice them, they're up for any activity that involves starting a fire........:)
Contents of the kit:
Food (ours came with all vegetarian entrees):
Artisan Oatmeal - 4 servings
Harvest & Grain Cereal - 4 servings
Texan Sunrise Skillet - 4 servings
Instant Milk - 4 servings
Refreshing Orange Drink - 8 servings
Nantucket Potato Soup - 5 servings
Rotini a la Marinara - 5 servings
Rio Grande Beans and Rice - 3 servings
Instafire and matches:
The kit contains 6 packages of InstaFire, a blend of recycled wood, inert minerals and shielded with a patented blend of paraffin. The manufacturer says it doesn't contain any harmful chemicals of vapors, but we'd still be hesitant to burn it indoors. Each package is supposedly good for 15 to 20 minutes; more on that in a bit. You also get a package of waterproof matches, but they're not the strike-anywhere style.
First aid kit:
This is a small kit in a hard plastic case. You'll probably wind up adding a few more items to it, but fortunately there's plenty of room left in the case.
There's a lightweight aluminum pot and lid and a plastic drinking/measuring cup.
The kit also contains a collapsible grill.
At first glance the grill seemed a little flimsy and unstable, but once we got it assembled correctly it held the pot full of water just fine. It's large enough that you could use different sizes of pots, or even cook directly on the grill, and there is enough room under the grill that you can use the InstaFire or build a small wood or charcoal file.
A lightweight stainless steel tool with a knife, fork, spoon, corkscrew and bottle opener. We wonder how many people ever use the corkscrew on a camping/survival tool?
Unlike some multitools that have utensils in them, this one can separate into multiple pieces, so you can actually use the fork and knife at the same time.
This is a plastic water bottle with a built-in filter, that claims to remove 99.999% of all contaminants. We didn't test it, but we would assume it works similar to other brands of filtered bottles.
Putting everything to the test:
We decided to try cooking one of the entrees on the portable grill using the InstaFire mix. We chose the Rio Grande Beans and Rice for our first taste test.
You simply pour the mix out and drop a match on top, and it will light. This is where we ran into problems with the InstaFire - it simply didn't last long enough to cook the entire meal. Our first package was almost completely burned out before the water was boiling, so we started a second. The meal then required 12 minutes of simmering, and package #2 ran out before that, so we lit #3. So we're already halfway through the entire fuel supply on just one meal. You'd either want to add more fuel to the kit, or use the InstaFire as a fire starter and supplement your fire with wood or charcoal. Additionally, you'll need to stir the InstaFire occasionally to keep the flame going, so you'll need something long and skinny that will reach down through the grate of the grill.
Place the pot on the grill with appropriate amount of water, and bring it to a boil. With most dehydrated meals, we like to add less water than the directions call for, we figure we can always add a little more if it gets too thick, but you're out of luck if it gets too soupy.
Take it off the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
We also cooked the Rotini a la Marinara, but did this one on the stove rather than using up the rest of the fuel.
Finally, we mixed up the Refreshing Orange Drink. It was fine, and tasted basically like Tang. But, we discovered a logistics problem. The drink mix makes 8 cups, so unless you have some other type of water container, you'll need to mix it in the main cooking pot... which means that until you drink it all you won't be cooking anything else. You could pour some into the water bottle, but you want to make sure to drink it without the filter being attached, or most of the mix will be filtered right out.
The meals provide a total of 5980 calories, so if this is a 72-hour kit for one person, that's about 1933 calories per day. You'd have to do a little planning on what to eat when, since with 6 items there's obviously not enough for 3 meals per day (unless you stretched each entree over both lunch and dinner). The meals actually tasted good and our kids loved them!
So, what's the verdict? It's not a perfect kit, but in our opinion it might be worth purchasing if you don't have the time to put together one yourself or have no idea what to include in a 72 hour kit. We would add some additional fuel, as well as some sort of collapsible water bottle similar to this one.
Enter below to win a 72 hour kit from SurvialBased.com! The prizes will be shipped to residents of the US only. Residents of other parts of the world can still enter but will be responsible for paying shipping. Winners must respond within 24 hours to claim their prize. Good Luck!
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Disclosure: I was provided a 72 hour kit to review for this post however, this is a non sponsored review. In other words, I did not receive any money for writing this post.