Since August, I have been testing AXP's Wilderness Hiking Survival Kit, which they provided me. After five weeks, I have to admit that I am impressed by all aspects of the kit, and would recommend it to any prospective purchaser.
Long time readers of this blog know that while I am the first to proffer a sarcastic comment, joke, or weird quip about everyday life, or some of my experiences in the wild, I take wilderness safety and preparedness very seriously. In my opinion, being prepared in the wild is the only way to live and survive. This belief was inculcated in me at an early age as I journeyed through the Scout programs; and only grew stronger during my time working for both the State and Federal Park systems when I was called upon on many occasions to rescue and aid people who were not prepared. Aside from my professional experiences, a lifetime of travels and adventures in the outdoors on several continents has convinced me that in order to be a successful outdoorsperson, people need two things: the knowledge of how to respond in an emergency, and the proper gear to do so.
With respect to the gear, for most of my life I've used a modified version of the "10 Essentials" that I had created on my own; but for the next month - or longer, I'll be trying something new, as I'll be testing out the Wilderness Hiking Survival Kit for AXP. In terms of full disclosure, I was contacted by AXP to test out this gear - but after doing my due diligence about AXP, I was excited to do so, because I could see that they were a company that shares my opinions about wilderness preparedness. Plus, they've got a pretty cool motto - "AXP:Anti-Extinction". At this point, I've received my kit, and have gone through it the safe, controlled setting of my house. What's impressed me so far about it are two things: a) the hyperlight AXP roll bag it comes in; and b) the compartmentalization and organization of the kit. In my experience, when a disaster strikes, you need to know where the tools are to respond to it, and you need to be able to get at those tools immediately. The kit I have clearly breaks out items in separate compartments based on different needs.
Obviously, reviewing a kit in a controlled setting is one thing, but to me, the real test of any set of gear is to take it into the wild, so stay tuned as I take my kit on a variety of adventures before issuing my final review in the next month of how the component items hold up under real life conditions. Until then - see you in the wild, be prepared, and don't go extinct!