In this day and age, you hear all the time how essential it is to be prepared for the day when you will be met with worst case scenarios come to life. Radio, television, and print media frequently feature pieces on the lifestyles of preppers, educating and motivating some while scaring the bejesus out of others. For a long time, the idea of prepping was outlandish and even mocked, but that is changing at a rapid pace. Prepping is not only becoming more mainstream but is a movement gaining momentum, and members, more and more so each day.
Like all such movements, it was only a matter of time before some corporate entity took a good hard look and saw a money making opportunity. Sterling Publishing falls into this category and has taken a stab at joining in on the preparedness movement by offering the U.S. Army Survival Book & Kit. In this kit you can find not only the 256-page U.S. Army Survival Manual but also several items of gear to assist you in survival situations. They have been popping up at several of the big box booksellers like Barnes and Noble and Books a Million for prices under $20.
In addition to the manual, this kit contains:
1. Swedish Flint, which is used for lighting fires and works in all weather conditions.
2. Survival Blanket, which is solar powered and will keep your warm as well as blocking harmful UV rays.
3. Map Compass to help you find your way.
4. Multi-use Whistle with an internal storage area as well as a thermometer, mirror, and attached piece of string.
5. All Purpose Water Packs (2), which are reusable and hold 6 ounces with heating and/or freezing capabilities.
6. Dynamo Flashlight, which is powered by your elbow grease as you work the handle and requires no batteries to produce light.
Of course, if you are just looking for the good old US Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76, just do a quick websearch and you can find stand alone paper copies for around $10. There are even links to download the latest 676-page version of the thing free via pdf (but be sure to have a papercopy for when the lights go off!). After all, its written by the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the home of the US Special Forces, so even for a dry Field Manual, its good stuff!.
While this kit does have some useful items, it also leaves out the important stuff that you would expect to be staples in an Army survival kit. There is no paracord (we all know 'string' does not hold a candle to paracord), no delicious MREs (who doesn't love the chicken tortellini?!), and no knife or other multi-tool. That said, it is a good jumping off point in building your own kit, but not quite enough to embark safely into the unknown without fear of coming up short.