Rocky Brands S2V Survival Grenade - Bonus or Bomb?
With the growth of the survival market, Rocky Brands started Rocky S2V and have come up with some cool, high-end clothing and footwear gear. To go with many of their clothing items as an EDC survival accessory, they came out with a pretty cool-looking survival grenade which is basically a few hard-to-improvise, survival items wrapped in about 10 foot of paracord that can clip onto stuff with a consumer-grade carabiner. It also comes with a cardboard sleeve that houses a Survival Priorities Guide by Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School.
Here’s What’s Inside...
When I took the Survival Grenade up on the mountain, it took me about 2 minutes to unravel it since it was quite cold out. Here’s what I found inside... There are two sections of what seem to be high-quality paracord with 5 yarns, each yarn easily separating into three smaller strands. I like that.
Total length of usable cordage is anywhere from 10 feet if you keep the paracord together, 60 feet if you separate the yarns and the outer casing, or up to 160 feet if you separate the yarns into strands, including the outer casing. For more information about the basics of paracord... and what the heck I’m talking about with yarns and strands... see my Survival Quick Tip video called Paracord Basics.
NOW one thing I need to mention before I move on...
Once you pull the survival grenade apart... there are no instructions for putting it back together, so this is a “break glass and use contents in an emergency”, OR one-use type of kit.
On the inside they have included a mess of thin foil wrapped around survival gear. Of course I tried to save this foil but in cold weather, and as balled up as it was, saving this foil was difficult. I did it... but not before I put 3 or 4 holes and tears in it. This outer foil is about 5 x 6 inches or 13 x 15 centimeters.
Now inside, there is another roll of foil that was rolled up nice and did not rip or tear when I opened it. It also seems a bit thicker than the stuff on the outside. This piece is just shy of 12 x 12 inches or 30 x 30 centimeters. Of course foil is good for many improvised tasks like cooking, using as a signal / reflector and for creative stuff like forming it into a makeshift cup.
Next, it has a small and medium-sized fishing hook. These are actually pretty good quality hooks, unlike the ones we’ve seen in some other kits... and there are also two small sinkers and swivels. There’s no fishing line in this kit per se... but if you know what you are doing, paracord strands should do fine.
Then we have 6 feet or 1.8 meters of pretty flexible and easy-to-work-with wire for traps, snares and other things. Like I said, this wire is very flexible, so my guess is that it has aluminum in it, so it will not be as strong as some other wires, but should be fine for rabbit and squirrel snares. Anything larger, and I think you will be disappointed.
Next, the grenade has a large needle which could come in handy if you need to stitch anything up using paracord strands.
For a blade... the folks at Rocky S2V included a No. 22 X-Acto-style blade. It has about a 1 inch or 2.5 centimeter edge. It can be used as is or improvised onto a stick for a little more control and leverage.
Fire Starting Kit
For starting a fire, the kit includes a small but sufficient bundle of tinder which looks like the stuff burlap or bailer twine is made out of. And last but not least, there’s a ferro rod that’s just shy of 2 inches or 5 centimeters.
Let’s Start a Fire with this Kit Now, since it’s cold out, and because fire is important for so many survival tasks... the first thing on my mind was starting a fire... So I grabbed the ferro rod and the only viable striker in this kit, the X-Acto blade. That’s when my problems started... I grabbed some pretty dry dead grass seed heads for tinder and some birch bark to put under it... First... because of experience, I know that many ferro rods have a dark outer coating, to protect them until use, that needs to be scraped off to get a good spark... So I did this on a nearby rock...
Then I attempted to get a spark using the back of my little blade... after a few minutes I was still NOT able to get any worthwhile sparks... So, I reluctantly turned the blade over to use the lower end of the blade, in hopes that the edge would produce some sparks from this rod. Honestly, I really didn’t want to use the blade edge because I knew the hardness of this ferro was going to dull and likely damage the blade... but I was desperate. Now I was getting a few sparks, but not many... so I persisted and 2 minutes and 5 seconds later... I got a spark large enough to light my tinder... Honestly I was a bit frustrated. And yes, I did seriously dull about 2/3s of the blade. The tip end was still sharp by the rest of the blade was not.
So the combination of this small ferro rod and dinky blade could be a real problem for someone who is not very experienced using firesteel. Now I will say, that making a fire with a bow drill or fire saw could have me taken hours in the snow with moist or wet materials - AND cost me hundreds of valuable calories... so really, 5 minutes of frustration is not that intolerable... but ZERO frustration would have been better.
The Survival Guide
Lastly, there is a kinda wonky cardboard pouch with a hole punched in it that houses the Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School “7 Survival Priorities” guide. Okay... although this 9 x 12 inch or 23 x 30 centimeter guide looks cool... it’s really pretty useless if I can be quite honest. The front side is a cool-looking design but is largely wasted with awesome wilderness photos and bullet point, survival sayings and tips... This is a lot of real estate that could have been filled with practical “How To” survival information. On the other side we have the fairly useful summary of 7 Survival Priorities, that takes up about 25% of the total guide.
But it’s interesting... when you read this guide it actually talks about gear and supplies that are NOT included in the Survival Grenade... which really makes the guide about useless. It’s kind of a tease of how you could have been prepared, if you had really been prepared... Weird stuff... Now under Priority #4 - in the Firecraft Section there finally is a mention about the Survival Grenade that says, “the S2V Survival Grenade includes tinder and magnesium, a superior fire starting material...” But as far as I can tell this is the ONLY mention of the gear that’s in the Survival Grenade, in this guide... AND they actually got it wrong. Check this out... The rod that comes with the Survival Grenade is a ferro rod that is meant for creating sparks but is NOT magnesium. Yes, Magnesium IS a great aid in starting a fire. It lights easily and produces a fire core that is very hot... but these is NO magnesium in THIS kit.... at least not in mine.
Here’s My Biggest Beef About this Survival Guide...
Survival Guide. Kinda makes you think it should be a guide to suvival, no? This guide doesn’t show you how to do anything to survive... It doesn’t even tell you how to use the ferro rod to start a fire... It does talk a lot about a positive attitude and the right mindset for survival but a positive mental attitude alone isn’t going to keep you alive if all you have is this survival grenade when things go bad in the wilderness... You are going to need some basic knowledge... and this guide totally FAILS at providing any practical help on that front. Next, this guide is just too big. It travels in this stiff, cardboard pouch that’s bigger than the survival grenade... and it just looks dumb.
PLUS because it’s cardboard, it’s probably going to fall apart in the first rain storm if it’s clipped on the outside or your backpack. Also, the internal guide itself is made of paper (not plastic film - like some other popular pocket survival guides)... so it’s going to fall apart as well if it gets dunked in a river or soaked in a storm.
User Comments... Since the Rocky S2V Survival Grenade is a new release there’s not much out there in the way of owner comments... There are some quotes on the Survival S2V website from blogs and news sources, but we generally discount short clips from magazines and other publications.
So we rate the S2V Survival Grenade at a pretty low 2.5 stars. We would have MAYBE given it a 3 star rating if it wasn’t for the poor excuse of a Survival Guide that came with it and the fact that the ferro rod was hard to spark even after we realized that our only recourse was using the knife blade in the kit as our striker... which ruined 2/3s of the blade.
On a positive note... Rocky Brands is a very large and reputable company... that usually gets things right... So... This kit has a potential in future versions, if Rocky S2V develops a real survival guide that SHOWs the distressed adventurer how to use the Survival Grenade gear, AND and improvise using probable natural resources to stay alive... They also need to ditch the honkin’ big cardboard sleeve and print a future guide on a soft plastic film with permanent ink so that it will survival stormy weather and other rough conditional. Guys, call me, I’d be glad to help... Upgrading the ferro rod, roughing up the back of the X-Acto blade so that it can be used as an effective fire steel striker would be a big help and including a small chunk of magnesium like it says in the current guide, would be a bonus. I would also recommend that they including 1 or 2 waterproof matches just because fire is so important to wilderness survival for heat, cooking, water purification, morale and keeping animals away... so I like redundancy when it comes to fire starting. I would also try to fit a few inches of duct tape, rolled up small, into the survival grenade, And just weave the survival guide into the outer layer of paracord.
So Who is the Survival Grenade for?
The Rocky S2V Survival Grenade is priced at just under $20 U.S... and is best suited for those who already know the basics of survival, but want the low weight and small footprint, basic survival kit that they can clip onto a pack or bag and just forget about until they need it. This kit is not well-suited for those who do not have at least some basic survival skills and knowledge, since the survival guide that comes with this kit is all but useless. However, this kit is better than nothing and is easy to clip and leave on a bag or pack.