As I started to really educate myself on the realities of emergency preparedness a few things stood out to me. One of which was the prepackage emergency bags or backpacks. What could be better than a bag all ready to go? All you would have to do is grab the bag and go! Man, that would be great!
I came across a sale on this item and decided to purchase one. The idea was to see what the bag could do by touching, feeling and using what the bag came with. Ordering the bag was simple and it came exactly when they said it would. Just for the record this cost me less than a hundred dollars, I think! I can't find the receipt right now, DUH!
First thing I noticed was the bag claims to hold food, water, first aid and warmth for five days if you read what is written the way most people read things.
Looking at the placard attached on the backpack one would think you are ready to deal with tornados, hurricanes, wildfires and floods just by having this bag! What could be better? Even the smaller print makes it seem as if this is what I need to be ready in the event of an emergency. This bag comes with 32 servings of gourmet entrees! Water, a stove, not any cup but a stainless steel cup, flashlight, survival whistle thing, matches, blanket, emergency poncho and even a set of playing cards! If they can put a set of playing cards in the bag the bag must be really loaded for a bad day! The 42 piece first aid and hygiene kit will come in handy if you have to survive out of this bag!
This morning I opened up the box the bag came in and was kind of like a kid at christmas! I couldn't wait to see what I could learn from this bag. They managed to get five days worth of supplies for one person into a rather small bag and I wanted to learn how.
The bag is about the size you would buy for an elementary school child. There are pockets and straps all over the bag which gives you options for packing gear. The material is a really thin type, the straps are not padded and do not seem to be made for any long periods of use. Inside the bag I found three bundles of supplies. As you can see one was filled with water packets, one with food stuff and the third had equipment.
Let's start with the water supply provided. You see these packets being sold as emergency supplies. One might think from the presentation of the bag five pouches of water would equal enough water for five days. After all the bag is labeled as a "5-DAY SURVIVAL BACKPACK".
The amount of water in each is 4.227 fl oz. or 125ml. "Well how much water is that? Must be enough if they are saying this bag will last you five days?" Let me see if I can put this in prospective for you. I emptied one of these packets into a regular sized glass from the kitchen, looking forward to a nice glass of water while I went through the rest of the bag.
Obviously I was disappointed at what the pouch held. Good thing I was not really thirsty, you know like after surviving a tornado or running for my life from a forest fire. This is some hard core rationing for even the hardest ones of us out there if this is all the water you get for one day! How about a few more visuals to help you.
That is all the water included in one of these pouches, half a drink glass or martini glass. No the pouch is not filled with liquor for either of these! Which might be a good selling point or marketing scheme to another company. "We got booze for your emergency kit!"
There is no way you are going to be doing much physical activity if these are supposed to be consumed one a day, for five days. Of course the bag also comes with water purification tablets. Issue is the bag does not come with anything I can use to hold the water in I want to treat? This was really the first WTF moment I had with this bag. If you are going to say this bag is a 'grab and run' or a bag you can use to survive for five days you might want to include items needed to utilize the supplies you put in the bag. Otherwise what is the point of putting items into the bag I can not use? Would suck to be standing next to a stream with no way of filtering water. And no the stainless steel cup does not allow you to follow the directions provided for the water purification tablets...........
The water purification tablets and other supplies were contained in a separate plastic bag from the water. Five tablets and their directions are located in the lower left section of the photo. The directions state to transfer the water from one container to another. Containers not provided in the bag... The plastic bag also contained a medical kit, matches and other items.
I am not sure what was supposed to be hygiene items in this bag or advertised '42 piece first aid and hygiene kit'. There are some tissues provided, the kind and size to blow your nose and I really hope they do not expect you to use those on your rear. But you should have enough q-tips to keep your ears clean for five days. Unless you get a small scrap or cut this first aid kit is almost useless.
Let's focus on the food stuff provided in the bag. Water and food would probable be the two top items of concern if you were suddenly stranded on a roof top or stuck up a tree during a flood. You know a flood like the one pictured on the placard. Water all the way to the roof tops of homes.
Six pouches of food items is provided. I am not sure but the items seemed to have just been randomly thrown into the plastic bag and tied off. Not sure why I think this just my impression of how the package was packed. Pasta, beans & rice, tortilla soup, two types of cereal and whey milk....... These are supposed to last five days.......
Here are the directions printed on the food pouch. Yeah, about that 3.5 cups of water, where do I get that? This is an emergency bag, bag implies the situation is bad enough I have had to leave or other wise can not use the comforts of my home. Isn't electricity one of the first things to go out? Followed by gas? I know in California if the Big One hit we can expect an interruption to the electricity and gas supplied to our homes. Guess that would leave you with option three, using an emergency heat source. They did provide me with one in the bag! I'll try that but first;
We have covered this in other post, you need at least 1200 calories to stay alive and over 2000 if you are being active. Total calories in this food pouch 1040? Guess this is what you get to eat for one day. Once you prepare the food plan on eating it right than because there is nothing provided to save your uneaten food with. If you manage to find 4 cups of water I guess you also can find a Tupperware bowl or something else to store your cooked food in.
For some reason milk was included but no other drink choices (should have included alcohol). Of course some how they figure I have procured water which was not provided to make the milk. Milk, really?
Having opened the box right before lunch time I decided to try and prepare a meal from this bag. I quickly found out I would need items not included in my 5-day survival backpack. Water, water in an amount not provided in the bag was the first thing I needed, along with a way to measure the amount of water in order to follow the directions.
Four cups is a lot of water to carry around in a measuring cup........ sarcasm intended. Next I took the items outside to cook up my lunch utilizing the items in the bag.
Took me a minute to figure out how to open the "stove". And just so you know I picked the tortilla soup for lunch, I really like tortilla soup.
Took four of my twenty matches to start one of my four fuel tabs. Wait, I got four fuel tabs in a 5-DAY SURVIVAL BAG? Twenty minus four, minus four, minus four, minus four leaves me four other matches to use for five days? Well maybe it does not take four matches each time to light the fuel cubes?
Found out my stainless steel cup does not fit on my portable stove....... Which means I had to find another way to heat up my 4 cups of water.......
I had to find an old pan in the cupboard. Did not want to get in trouble for using one of the new ones. I guess if a disaster struck and I had to utilize this bag finding a pan would not be a big deal. Especially since I already found a measuring cup, along with extra water.
The water never reach boiling as the direction wanted.
The fuel cube ran out of flame before the water boiled. I decided to just keep trying to make lunch and not use another of the three remaining fuel cubes.
Well the next thing I found out I needed was a spoon and a lid to follow the directions on the package. Really, not a single piece of this kit can help me eat the food I am trying to make? I guess if already found water, measuring cup, pan, a lid for the pan, there should not be any issue finding eating utensils.
Following the directions I ended up with this. A pan filled with flavored water sitting on top of uncooked rice. If there is any tortillas in here, you know to make it tortilla soup, I could not find them.
Well not wanting to waste food I took the "soup" inside the house. You know the house which I might have to leave carrying this 5-day survival backpack. I utilized the gas stove, which is lite via electricity and this bag of tortilla chips to try and salvage the meal. After ten minutes on the stove and the addition of the tortillas to the tortilla soup I had a decent lunch!
In all fairness I will report the soup was decent, even had extra I might take to work with me.
After the attempt at lunch I did not even try to test out anything else from the bag. I figured the quality of the the other items and thought put into the planning of this bag was determined already.
Why am I being rather negative in this review? Because I hope everyone reading this will understand a few things from this.
One, you are responsible for you! People will package and sell anything someone else will buy but at the end of the day they will not be relying on the items to survive.
Two, there are no prepackaged one size fits all answers. If there was a company selling bags which could do this I would be adding a link and filling my garage with them!
Three, you get what you pay for. As I stated this bag did not cost me much (still can't find the receipt) but is almost a complete waste of resources. I literally could walk around the house, with maybe a trip to the dollar store and make a more useful bag than this one.
(trying to end on an upbeat note)
If you have nothing else this bag is a starting point from which you can build a far better 5-day survival backpack............