Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit Review


On Christmas morning of 2012, I was happily surprised to receive a Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit from one of my kids. My initial impressions of the kit left me dutifully impressed with what is inside such a small, lightweight package, and I still share that sentiment. In fact, I now own four of these kits.


This eight piece kit includes a waterproof bag, Gerber Mini-Paraframe Knife, a sturdy emergency whistle, waterproof matches and cotton ball for fire tinder, snare wire, 121 inches of “emergency cord”, land to air rescue instructions, and Priorities of Survival (a pocket guide to survival authored by Bear Grylls), all contained in a bright orange ripstop nylon bag. The whole package weighs 4.2 ounces, with the bag measuring roughly 5.5″ tall, 5″ wide, and approximately 1/2″ thick.


The survival matches work quite well. While this package is sealed, I have tested them before and they do exactly what they say they will. They work fine when wet, and produce fire on demand. The one thing I think is deficient here is that the striker is not as durable as I would like to see. While this may seem somewhat nitpicky, in a true survival scenario I certainly wouldn’t want that to fail. The cotton ball is just that – a cotton ball. It would prove worthwhile to soak the cotton ball in Vaseline and wrap it in a small piece of plastic prior to storing it in the survival kit.


And here we find the “emergency cord”. Not sure what to say about it beyond the fact that it’s thin, lightweight, nylon rope, and I doubt that it is terribly strong. It would be nice if they had used paracord instead of this, and I have in fact replaced this with paracord in most of the kits I own. It’s definitely better than nothing in a survival scenario.


I really like this emergency whistle. I’d forgotten how loud it is until I tested it in the car yesterday. A word of advice here: Don’t test it in the car. Test it in the woods, or anywhere else not enclosed. I’m pretty sure this could carry at least a mile, depending on how big your lungs are.


The snare wire initially looks like a ball of dental floss, but it is much stronger than it appears at first. This would allow you to snare small animals, but I don’t think many people have the knowledge necessary to build the snares, which forces me to question the usefulness of this being in the kit as far as an average person is concerned. If you do know how to build snares, or can learn quickly, this could help provide necessary calories while lost in the wilderness. Or the suburbs, come to think of it.


This is a nice little firesteel. I’m not sure how many strikes it is good for as that isn’t listed, but it performs just as well as some more expensive firesteels I have. It is somewhat small though, as you can see in the picture of my 13 year old daughter holding it. It’s not so small that it’s difficult to use though.


And here we are at my favorite part of the kit: the Gerber Mini-Paraframe Knife. Incredibly lightweight and wicked sharp out of the box, even my wife loves this knife. At 1.4 ounces with a 2.22″ locking carbon stainless blade, you don’t even notice it in your pocket. The fact that it sells for $13 alone and is included in this kit which sells for less than $20 makes it a great value as well. Although it’s not seen in this picture, it does have a pocket clip on the opposite side of the knife as well.


While basic, the Priorities of Survival fold out included in the kit has some good information in it, with sections covering Protection (shelter), Rescue, Fire, Water, and Food. As all good preppers know though, skills are the most important thing to have in a survival scenario, so you should know how to do all of this ahead of time. With that said, this could prove to be a life saving addition for anyone who doesn’t take that advice ahead of time.


Overall, this is a fairly well rounded kit. While it could use some aftermarket upgrades, I still recommend it for almost anyone. It’s small and unobtrusive enough that it easily fits in a glove box (this one actually lives in my wife’s glove box), purse, or everyday carry bag without noticing it, but provides a fallback in the event that you don’t have easy access to your larger survival kit. It’s definitely worth the investment.

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  1. how big the kit compared to your hand? Would it fit snug in the leg pocket of cargo pants and not annoy me? is this something you carry with you daily or have it tossed in a BOB ?

    • It does fit in the pocket of my cargo pants and as long as you don’t mind four ounces I don’t think you would notice it. I will take a picture of it in my hand shortly but I can tell you that it fills most of my hand but not all.

    • And yes, I do carry one daily. My lovely wife has one in her purse as well. 🙂


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