For many years now I have preached about the need to build Bug out bags, Go Bags or - as I've now learned to call them - Get Out Of Dodge Bags (GOOD Bags). This week though, I am writing a review of a pre-packaged bag designed to provide a basic support system for two adults for two days (48 hours). Note that I said basic support system. The Sentinel Pack from ASAP Survival Gear contains a good foundational set of gear - and room to add your particular odds and ends to meet / answer your individual needs. By itself though - as a stand alone survival pack - it's an exceptional kit for rural officers and wilderness rescue workers.
Before I delve into the Sentinel Pack, I should list the other options available from ASAP Survival Gear. They also have available:
- The Sidekick: designed for one to two people for 24 hours. MSRP = $129
- The Sentinel: designed for two people for 48 hours. MSRP = $249
- The Survivor: designed for two people for 72 hours. MSRP = $449
- The SOS Marine: maritime focused (boating), designed for two people for 72 hours. MSRP = $559
The pack I was sent for evaluation - as mentioned above - is The Sentinel designed for two people for up to 48 hours. It's a good basic starting point and includes many items that folks tend to forget or not see the full value in. Let's go through the pack and its included equipment - some of which woudl be worth full evaluations / reviews themselves.
Red and black with the ASAP Survival Gear logo emblazoned on the front, the pack is actually manufactured by Mossberg (according to one online resource, ASAP Survival Gear is a subdivision of Mossberg). If I had to guess, I'd venture that the pack is actually manufactured by another company that does such "for a living" and Mossberg OEMs it. No matter the actual originating manufacturer, it seems well-constructed and thoughtfully designed. It has four consecutively-smaller main compartments along with six smaller pockets and a hydration system pouch. If all of that isn't enough, the sides and face are covered with MOLLE webbing so you can add pouches to customize it as you see fit / necessary. The main compartment measures 20"x14"x7". Doing the math that would be almost 2,000 cubic inches of storage space just in the main compartment. Add on the other smaller pockets and I'd venture the guess that you're looking at over 2,400 cubic inches total (plus whatever you add on in MOLLE pouches) The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded. The seams are double stitched. The three consecutively smaller compartments each have various zippered netting pockets for organizing and locating your kit. All in all this pack seems particularly well suited for this use: an emergency survival pack.
Shelter & Warmth:
The Sentinel contains two emergency blankets from Adeventure Medical Kits (AMK). It also contains two emergency bivvy sacks from AMK. The difference is this: the blanket is just that - a blanket that wraps around you. The bivvy is more like a sleeping bag you can get inside of.
Also contained in the pack is one package (two containers) of wind & waterproof matches. Each container holds 25 matches - so there's a total of 50 provided with The Sentinel kit. In the case of wet tinder there is also one package of eight wet fire tinder cubes. The directions for using the cubes indicate that shavings can be used to start damp tinder allowing each cube to last through starting several fires. If the material is more saturated then an entire cube can be used.
Food & Water:
The Sentinel comes complete with 24 emergency drinking packets from Mainstay. Each drinking packet contains just over 1/2 a cup of water (4.225 ounces or 125ml). Storage life is 5 years from the date of manufacture stamped on each drinking packet. The directions for emergency survival use recommend a ration of two packets per day. Only one cup of water seems a bit low to me - especially if you're on the go - but inevitably people will consume what they feel they need.
For food The Sentinel includes 12 emergency food rations, also from Mainstay. Each ration contains 400 calories, 23g of fat, 46g of carbohydrates and 3g of protein. In looking at the nutritional info regarding vitamins and supplements it appears that each bar - each 400 calorie ration - contains 50% or more of the recommended daily allowance of the major vitamins: A, B-6, C, D as well as calcium. The remainder are all rated between 10% - 40% (Iron, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, Phosphorus, Magnesium. Recommended adult consumption is different for marine-based versus land-based environments. On land the directions indicate one bar per typical "meal" - equalling three bars per day per adult (1200 calories per day).
Yes, technology. Can man get through a day without it? The Sentinel provides three things I consider technology:
- A solar powered radio with AM/FM/NOAA frequencies. It is also capable of recharging your cell phone via USB port.
- A "Gizmo" LED headlamp made by Black Diamond. Running on one battery and providing 24 lumens of light it is sufficient to navigate in the dark and to do chores around your camp.
- Four Cyalume Chemical Lightsticks - each rated for 8-12 hours of "burn" time. (they may not be electronic but they definitely represent a modern technology)
Other "Survival" Tools:
- A "Fuse" Multi-Tool & its nylong carry pouch by Leatherman. Multi-tool contains:
- a knife blade
- bottle opener
- can opener
- regular screwdriver - large
- regular screwdriver - small
- philips head screwdriver
- wire cutters
- 8" ruler
- one first-aid kit from AMK which contains:
- Assorted first aid items
- emergency whistle
- one "pea-less" whistle by Fox 40 (and this thing is loud)
There are two remaining items included. The first is a Sharpie - permanent marker. I've known many a person who raises an eyebrow at the inclusion of a Sharpie - but those who have lived under emergency field conditions never seem to question it.
The second item is probably one of the most valuable in The Sentinel: it's a copy of Your Survival - The complete Resource for Disaster Planning and Recovery by Dr. Bob Arnot and Mark Cohen. The book includes a DVD titled "Your Survival". After the ForeWord, Introduction and some other information regarding online resources as well as icons used in the book, the book is composed of three sections:
- Before Disaster Strikes
- During an Emergency
- After the Crisis
The physical structure of the book was designed to allow you to put your own printed resource material in the section dividers and an elastic band is mounted to the back cover so you can stretch it around the front cover and secure the book closed for packing. The book itself is an excellent resource for planning and preparation - and I'll likely do a stand-alone review of it in the near future.
So you can see, The Sentinel is a pretty complete basic kit for two people trying to survive a 48 hour time span. There is room in the pack to add in your own necessities - toiletries, medications, clean undergarments, etc. If you take the time to price out everything that is included you see that the MSRP is not only pretty reasonable but actually more affordable than buying everything separate AND it's already packed for shipping to you. All you have to do is unwrap the items and place them in the pack where you want them dependent on access or need.
After I pack a few additional items into this one I think it's going to end up semi-permanently located in the back of my wife's Jeep... or in the trunk of my car.