GearPods Wilderness Modular Survival System
Walking Accessories and Gift Ideas
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Wilderness Modular Survival System
Walking Accessories and Gift Ideas
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GearPods Systems are a series of kits containing items useful if you find yourself having to deal with an emergency and/or an unplanned night out in a remote area. There are kits for first-aid, survival, shelter & cooking. Each kit is packed into a small container that can be used on its own. However the individual kits can also be connected together to make more comprehensive survival 'systems'.
We've been looking at one of the integrated systems - the GearPods Wilderness. This comprises the Health (ie First Aid), Survival Pro and Shelter kits.
At this point I should say that (fortunately!) I've not had to use any of the kits in a real emergency situation so have been looking at them as part of my standard mountain walking kit.
A first observation is that the pod containers themselves are a little heavy, a bit bulky and have some sharp edges. However - they are robust, waterproof, protect from UV, are useful in keeping everything from each of the kits together - and very compact. Opening them and getting out the components of each kit is easy. However - it is really quite difficult to pack the items back down into the Shelter and First-Aid pods. Each of these two kits is in its own waterproof sack (which is a nice bright orange) so it's very tempting to leave these two out of their respective containers altogether - but it may be that re-packing becomes easier with practice!.
The Health kit is a pretty comprehensive first-aid kit including 2 pairs of plastic gloves, a triangular bandage, safety pins, tweezers, sticky tape, medium size sterile dressing, low adherent dressings, sterile swabs, waterproof plasters, a resuscitation face mask. It doesn't include a scissors - but you'll probably have that on your multi-tool or swiss army knife. Apart from that there appears to have something to cover most emergency situations to administer first aid until the emergency services get to you.
The Survival Pro kit is perhaps the most innovative and intriguing. The components are cleverly packed into a Cook/Mug and a Stove. The Stove, which comes with instructions and a wind-shield, uses solid fuel tablets. The Cook/Mug has a lid plus insulated band near the top and holds just under 300mls. The rest of the kit is packed into two black, waterproof sacks that fit into either the Cup or the Stove. There you find items for signalling (whistle, mini-light, mirror), collecting and purifying water, fishing (line, hooks and weights), small compass, tinder/waterproof matches, folding saw/knife, heavy duty needle/thread, safety pins, wire, duct tape, weatherproof stationery plus pencil. There's also some helpful hints/tips on signalling, fishing!, food selection and incident management.
The third kit is Shelter - basically a 4.5m x 6.6m silnylon tarp with tie loops, line tensioners and 25ft of braided nylon cord plus a thermal blanket ... plus instructions on how to use the tarp etc to erect a simple lean-to shelter. And it is pretty simple to use this to construct a shelter that if correctly orientated will indeed provide protection from wind and rain.
The GearPods concept is a good one in that it provides a compact, comprehensive set of high quality tools in a series of kits that can be mixed and matched.
The Wilderness system in its entirety is a tad expensive but if you're planning a lone trip say to the north of Scotland it could be a very good investment.
The First Aid kit is extremely useful for standard walking trips (assuming you have a scissors as well) - and certainly if you're a walk leader.
The Shelter kit I'm adding to my backpack for my next trip to Assynt and The Far North in Scotland - where I don't expect to see many others even in high summer!
GearPods orginate in Montana .. where backwoods trips are common. Whilst I don't envisage having to resort to trapping or even fishing in the UK, there are some elements in the Survival kit (saw, knife, signalling tools) that are certainly useful. So even this component is worthwhile having at the bottom of your backpack.
What do you think?
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