Bear Grylls. The man, myth, and legend in the survival industry. Noted for his extreme survival antics (Repelling down a cliff with bailing wire anybody?) and his complete willingness to drink his own urine at a moments notice. Bear has amassed a large following in the survival community prompting his marketing crew to release a plethora of survival products with his name stamped straight in.
One of his most popular products is his signature Bear Grylls ultimate survival kit. The kit contains a collection of 16 survival tools to aid your extraction from a survival situation. Let’s explore what is in the kit and determine if it’s worth the cash.
What’s in the kit?
There’s a total of 16 gear items in the kit including 2 survival related instruction manuals:
- Gerber Miniature Multi-tool – A surprisingly capable multi tool comparable to a mid grade Leatherman. The best piece of gear in this kit by far.
- Waterproof Bag – Everything in this kit fits conveniently in the waterproof bag. There’s also enough room left to add some gear of your own which I address later in the post.
- Miniature Light – Fairly bright light. Good enough to find your way around camp and navigate around your gear. No substitute for a decent flashlight or tactical light however.
- Hand Saw – Leaves more to be desired. Basically useless.
- Signaling Mirror – Good signal mirror. Bravo Bear, Bravo.
- Survival Blanket – Not the best in the business but made out of the same material is any other standard space blanket. I figure you could a weeks worth of use out of it before it begins to fall apart. These are cheap enough to replace with something better like the Survival Frog Tact Bivvy.
- Fire Starter – High quality fire starter better than most. I actually recommend the Bear Grylls fire starter any chance I get.
- Waterproof matches – Good stuff. Hard to go wrong with these.
- Cotton Ball – Fire Tinder – Basic cotton ball. Not much to say.
- Snare Wire – Meh. Somebody with proper snaring skills might balk at the quality but could still catch something with them. Useless unless you have snaring skills.
- Emergency Cord – Shoelaces? It’s definitely not paracord which is the industry survival standard. Would have been nice to see paracord but I guess that would have gone over budget.
- Waxed Thread – I’m assuming used for sewing and patching up clothes.
- Fishing Kit – Once again, worthless unless you know how to fish and not exactly a comprehensive kit.
- Sewing kit – Good if you know how to sew. Useless if you don’t.
- Lanyard Whistle – Standard survival whistle. Surprisingly loud and useful.
- Lightweight, ripstop nylon bag with waterproof zipper – High quality pouch.
- Land to air rescue instructions – Comprehensive and detailed instructions for signalling aircraft and other vessels.
- Priorities of Survival – Pocket guide contains Bear’s survival essentials – Essential survival advice and wisdom.
If you’ve read my recent review on the Les Stroud survival kit you know I had a couple concerns about the contents. The Bear Grylls survival kit will receive the same scrutiny. I believe there are a few fundamental mistakes made with these types of prepackaged kits. There are a number of items in this kit I believe will be no use to the types of people buying this kit which brings me to my first point – this kit is being marketed to people who understand very little about survival. That being the case, why include a fishing and snaring kit which require serious skills and knowledge to use? This type of gear is worthless unless you know what you’re doing. Those who do know what they are doing in this area of expertise would never use the inferior gear found in the Bear Grylls kit.
It’s funny to even think that somebody brand new to survival could catch a fish even if his life depended on it. Give him the right gear and bait and my bet is he still wouldn’t catch anything. If he can’t even do it with the proper gear how the hell could you expect him to do it with the dinky little hooks found in the Bear Grylls Ultimate kit?
One more thing to gripe about is the cordage included. It’s not even real 550 paracord and there’s not even enough of it to do anything useful. It’s laughable really.
Okay Bear, I’m done bashing your kit…for now.
Aside from these gimmicky type of inclusions there are a few pieces of gear I really like. The Bear Grylls Multi tool is actually very high quality and comparable to any decent Leatherman. Considering a Leatherman Wave will cost you nearly $20 dollars more than this kit you can see why the Bear Grylls kit is probably a good investment despite some of the gear leaving much to be desired. The waterproof matches, firestarter, and signalling mirror are also top notch. The included survival manuals are also decent enough and include detailed information.
I also love how the kit is highly portable and self contained. The waterproof case is roomy enough to add some of your own gear if you wanted. You can easily buy this kit and shove it tightly away for a rainy day.
This brings us to the next section of the review…
What I would change about the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit?
For a measly $60 bucks you can’t really complain too much about this kit. As I mentioned before, A decent Leatherman costs more than this kit and the Bear Grylls multi tool is honestly just as good. Sure, you could build this kit yourself for much cheaper but do you want to take the time?
There’s a few things I would change about this kit. First, let’s get rid of the fishing and snaring kit completely or replace them with high quality alternatives. Once again, unless you have the skills to use this gear you are wasting space and in for a world of frustration as you spend all day trying to catch food to no avail.
Second, this is an “ultimate survival kit” but where the hell is the knife? Really Bear? You’re going to sit there and pawn this off on us as an ultimate survival kit and not have the decency to throw in your signature knife? No survival kit is complete without a good knife and it’s laughable that this kit doesn’t have one.
Also, how about let’s throw in some real paracord and include enough length to make it useful? As far as I can tell the cordage might as well be shoe lace and it’s seriously lacking in length. Cordage is far too important to skimp on and this kit fails to include anything useful.
So, is the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit worth it? Taking the points I have mentioned in this article I still think the kit is worth the money. If anything this is a great kit to purchase if you simply don’t have the time to go out and find each individual piece of gear yourself. However, if this is something you want to do I recommend reading my post on Les Strouds survival kit. Not only is it a more comprehensive kit but I have links to each individual item for purchase.
This kit also makes a great gift idea as a stocking stuffer or birthday present. All in all, I think the kit is mostly well rounded if you add the gear I mentioned above.
What do you think about Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit? Let me know in the comments below!