Today we’re going to take a quick look at another COOL “grab and go” pre-made survival kit... the SOL Origin Survival ToolKit... Along the way, we’ll compare it to a few other pre-made survival kits, like those in the Bear Grylls line, and before we’re all done well talk about who this kit is for, and who should look for another kit. Let’s jump right in... The best survival or emergency kit is the one you have with you when you need it... So regardless of how prepared you are at home, or how awesome your bug out bag is, if it’s not with you 24/7 and especially when an emergency or crisis strikes it’s all but useless.
So, it’s not a bad idea to have some sort of small, self-contained, “grab and go” survival kit with you all the time. The SOL Survival ToolKit attempts to fill the void and be a general, catch-all survival kit that you can take anywhere. Overview The SOL kit weighs only 6.1 ounces or 172 grams and is a slightly larger-than-palm-sized tough and generally well thought out basic survival kit that, at 3.9 inches or 9.9 centimeters in length, by 2.8 inches or 7.1 centimeters in width, and 1.5 inches or 3.8 centimeters in depth, is small enough to grab and stuff into a pocket, pack, bag or vehicle glove box.
At the foundation of the Origin SOL Survival Kit is a nearly indestructible molded ABS plastic case.
On the top of the case there is an orange hinged flap that lifts up to reveal one of the best quality signal mirrors that we have seen. It’s cool that the “how to” instructions are printed on the box right there as you hold the mirror. On the bottom of the SOL Survival ToolKit you will see 3 integrated tools that are solidly stored, yet immediately available without opening the kit case.
The Firestarter First we have what Origin calls the Fire Lite Sparker which easily slides out of the case base. This is a fire starter system that is very similar to a butane lighter, without the butane. You simply hold this little guy in your hand and quickly spin the striker wheel with your thumb or forefinger so that it rubs against the small flint that is permanently affixed in- side the tool. The SOL Fire Lite Sparker throws off a pile of hot, fire-igniting sparks capable of setting good tinder ablaze.
The only problem I encountered was in cold situations with cold hands. It’s hard to use this tool with gloves on and the dexterity of very cold hands makes the Fire Lite Sparker a little hard to handle. If your tinder is not dry, your hand may fatigue before you get a blaze going. The good thing is that this is a fire-starting tool that requires only one hand to use. So if you are hurt and only have one available hand or arm, you can still start a fire with this tool.
Oh, one more thing about this fire starter, Origin says that It’s waterproof... I’m not sure what they mean by that... but in our testing, when the kit was submersed for a few minutes, the Fire Lite Sparker did not work at all. It took about 30 minutes for it to dry out before it threw sparks again. But for a very compact, one-handed, reusable fire starting tool... it really is pretty cool!
Next to it they have enclosed a small water damped compass that can be used while in the case or can be easily removed for stand-alone use. Although this compass is a REALLY good idea and one of the things we often penalize other survival kits for NOT having... my SOL kit compass is often quite slow to point North and at times requires me to rock it back and forth to encourage it. It really wants you to hold it perfectly level at all times, which is nearly impossible. Although it’s not perfect, I’ll take it in an emergency... although I do wish that it more confidently spun around to North every time I check it...
Oh, and one more thing that I noticed about this compass - the top of the rounded compass sticks out a fraction of an inch beyond the base of the case and with it being exposed on the bottom of the case and facing down, the top of the compass has gotten scratched up quite a bit from just a day or two of testing. I’m certainly a little concerned whether this compass might break over time.
3-in-1 Combination Tool
Next there is a 3-in-1 combination tool that includes a folding knife, emergency whistle and LED light.
The combination tool is released from the base by pushing a slider lock. The orange part of this tool is the handle for a 1.75 inch or 4.4 centimeter, fine-edge, drop point folding knife blade... that’s made out of AUS 8 stainless steel. My knife came razor sharp which is a bonus.
The knife locks in place with a simple frame lock and opens easily using the thumbstud. And there’s a little bit of jimping on the spine for thumb grip. The overall length of the knife with the handle is just shy of 5.5 inches or 14 centimeters. There’s no wiggle in the blade, and for emergency use, it seems like a decent tool. For sure... I’m not going to trade my SOG Force, Buck Hoodlum or Gerber Gator 154CM for it, but if it’s all I have in a pinch, I’m happy to have it.
Next, the butt end of the knife handle is also a durable and loud whistle. We tested the whistle and it averaged 101 decibels which is equivalent to the noise level in a subway or of a diesel truck... so it’s pretty loud and should prove helpful in an emergency.
Next, check out the LED light that is integrated into the knife handle. It is turned on by clicking on the bottom section of this gray area. Now this LED light is certainly not the brightest light we have tested... So don’t expect to see far with this light. In total darkness you’ll be able to see 10 to 15 feet or 3 to 5 meters max. With fresh batteries the light should last 10 - 12 hours. The flashlight, takes two small watch-type batteries that can easily be replaced by removing one small screw and the battery cover. And as a bonus, the flashlight even worked fine after being totally submersed for a few minutes. In fact there wasn’t a drop of water in the in the battery compartment.
Now Let’s Look at the Rest of this Survival ToolKit
The Origin SOL Survival ToolKit case locks closed with a latch. The lid closes tight and seals water out using a silicon gasket. Origin says the case is waterproof... so we took our case out on the back 40, put a dry paper towel inside (to see if any moisture would seep in) and threw it in a watering trough. Because it wanted to float, we kept it submersed with a brick for a few minutes.
When we opened the case we found that the paper towel was a little moist but not soaked. So we repeated the test and got the same result a second time. So our case was not waterproof. I’ll have to admit I was pretty disappointed about this. Now the case wasn’t filled with water by any means and should be fine in a rain storm, but the water seepage made me realize that I need to add an additional zip lock bag and put any gear that I don’t want to get into the ziploc. This is fine since including a pint-sized zip lock bag adds a portable water carrier to this kit.
Inside the Case
In the small main compartment of the case there’s a braided nylon cord that is rated to hold 150 pounds. The cord appears to be 5-strand, so it could be pulled apart and used as individual strands for traps, snares and other things if needed. Next ... 4 pieces of Tinder Quick. Tinder Quick is a compressed fibrous and flammable substance for starting fires. To use Tinder Quick, make sure you pull one end apart and aim the sparks from the FireLite Sparker directly into this widened area. If you do not pull one end of the Tinder Quick apart it will be very difficult to get it to ignite... as I learned the hard way... Also inside the case is a round of mil spec stainless steel wire for a variety of tasks and for use as snare wire. . Then we have an emergency fishing and sewing kit and about one square foot of foil. Last, but not least... clipped to the inside of the case lid, we have a helpful survival guide by outdoor expert Buck Tilton.
This guide covers wilderness survival basics like: finding and making a shelter, finding food, making a fire, signaling for help, finding drinkable water and some basic medical stuff. And I like that this guide shows you how to use several of the items that are included in the kit.
Oh, one more thing... the guide seems to be made out of some sort of plastic film so it seems to be weather proof. When we soaked it in water it did not fall apart or absorb water... which is good.
As with most “grab and go”, pre-made survival kits there are those who love and hate this kit. Most seem to like the thoughtfulness of this kit as a catch-all basic survival kit. Some complain that it is not complete enough. On average this kit is rated a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
We Rate this Kit at 3.5 Out of 5 Stars
We like that the Origin SOL Survival ToolKit covers the basics and has a serviceable knife, LED light, whistle, fire starter, compass, a good survival guide as well as fishing and sewing gear. However, we were disappointed that our kit was not waterproof. We also hate that the compass gets stuck if you don’t hold it perfectly level and that it is vulnerable to breakage because it is stored face down on the bottom of the kit case. Plus, although the integrated flashlight is VERY welcomed, it’s about the weakest flashlight we’ve tested. I think I would have taken a few more lumens in trade for less battery life. This being said, the Survival ToolKit at least has the major survival basics covered. One last thing... Although the inside compartment is really small and tight for space, we were able to fit an extra cotton ball, waterproof matches, 12 water purification tablets and a few bandaids into a zip lock bag that can double as a water carrier in an emergency.
So Who is this Kit for?
The Origin SOL Survival ToolKit is NOT for the serious survivalist, avid outdoorsman or adventurer or those who have the time, money, patience and knowledge to build their own compact kit. This is a kit that’s made for the masses who want a quality, ready-to-go kit that can help them stay alive in an emergency situation... The size, durability, completeness and thoughtful design of this kit make it a great everyday carry item for snowmobiling, and 4-wheeling, hiking, biking, backpacking, canoeing, hunting, fishing and vehicle emergencies. And at around a $35 US online the Origin SOL Survival Toolkit may be a practical gift for someone who wants to be a little better prepared.
For more grab and go emergency kits, check out our reviews of the Bear Grylls Scout Essentials, Bear Grylls Basic, and Ultimate Survival Kits. And for the Cadillac of Emergency Survival Kit’s check out my review of the GearPods Wilderness Adventure System. I’ve also include a list of survival kit items you can buy to make your own kit, in the Video Description on YouTube and down below this article. So... we’ve just taken a look at the Origin SOL Survival ToolKit.
AS PROMISED...BASIC SURVIVAL KIT Component Suggestions: EVERY DAY CARRY Items: IN YOUR WALLET:
- Personal ID
- Debit / Credit Cards
- Cash - $25 - $50
- Safety Pin
- Small Ferro Rod
- Survival Tool - Credit Card Sized
- Cell Phone
- Energy Bars
- 3 Pieces of Hard Candy (For Instant Energy Boost)
- Sun Glasses (Sun Glasses Hide Fear & Deter Criminals)
- Steel Pen
- Pocket First Aid Kit
- Belt Clip Survival Tool (Knife, Fire Steel, LED Light Whistle)
- 8 ounce Water Bottle
- Large 3 mil Contractor Trash Bag (Makes a great: Shelter, Poncho, Ground Tarp, Dry Bag, Floatation Device, Water Carrier, Solar Still)
- 12 Water Purification Tablets
- Emergency Radio
- Sewing Kit
- Pepper Spray
- 550 Paracord
- Survival / Combat Knife
- Survival Blanket
- Multi Tool - Best I've Used
- Leather Gloves
- Duct Tape
- Best Survival Book
- Tactical Bag (to put it all in)