Mountain biking takes a lot of different forms and for some of it means being way “out there” in the wilderness with a many-hour hike back to civilization if something goes wrong. For these types of adventures having some survival tools in your pack is a good idea. Today we’re taking a look at a prepackaged survival kit from UST.
The FeatherLite Survival Kit 2.0 comes in a 6″ x 8″ nylon zippered bag. Keep various items in different bags inside of your pack can be great for organization so it is nice that one is included. The contents of the back are as follows:
- Mini flashlight
- Light stick
- Survival towel
- Button compass
- Survival card tool 0.5
- Emergency blanket
- Micro sparkwheel firestarter
- Emergency Poncho
- Micro signal mirror
All of this weighs in at 7.3oz. Let’s cover each item individually.
Overall a whistle is only good if you expect to have someone searching for you. It won’t help you in any way with self-extraction. That being said it is a good tool for signaling over long distances. In my particular case, I bring an Osprey Daylite pack on my longer rides which has an integrated whistle in the chest buckle. So, in my case a independent whistle is redundant.
Having a source of light that allows you to continue to extract yourself / see your surroundings after dark is extremely helpful. Flashlights can also be used to signal rescuers if you are immobile.
The included flashlight is pretty small, but it does throw off a fair amount of light. You won’t be riding your bike out by this light on a dark night, but it would be better than not having a light at all. It is activated by a twist motion which means it will be less likely to be turned on by accident.
A lightstick provides a bit of waterproof chemical light. Honestly, in most cases, I would rather use the weight of a lightstick to carry a backup flashlight. A lightstick will not throw enough light to allow you to follow a trail or otherwise extract yourself. Lightsticks are one-time use and they’ll only last for one night. So after your first night out in the woods, it will be a paperweight.
This is an interesting item to include. A towel or section of cloth in general can be useful for a number of different purposes. Using a cloth to apply pressure to lacerations will slow bleeding and pain. It can also be used in conjunction with a stick to mobilize an area. Any sort of cloth or towel can also be used for cooling or sun protection in a pinch. These towels will work for this purpose but a bandana also will.
The button compass included in this set is a very basic affair. A compass is only going to provide you with the most rudimentary navigation assistance unless it is paired with a map and some more advanced navigational skills.
Survival card tool 0.5
This is where this kit really kind of went off the rails for me. This “tool” is more of a novelty item than a functional tool for survival scenarios. There is no knife blade and the saw it saw is a pitiful 2 inches long. Several of the included functions like a can opener and rulers won’t help you at all. Something like a Gerber Dime would prove infinitely more useful in survival scenarios.
This is something that I almost always have in my pack. Hypothermia is a very real danger, especially if you are stuck somewhere overnight. An emergency blanket like the one provided in this kit is extremely light, but it could save your life.
Micro sparkwheel firestarter
This was another big miss in my book. There is a tendency when looking at survival gear to overthink things. Why include a weirdly complicated flint system in a beginners survival kit?
The micro sparkwheel is a little bit better than a lighter without an fuel and much worse than one with fuel in most situations. I had trouble getting a fire to start with the sparkwheel in controlled conditions. I’d hate to think how frustrating it would be to use in the field. A much better option? Just bring a lighter.
The poncho included in this kit is basically a thin plastic bag with some holes in it. It would provide protection in an emergency. However I would recommend mountain bikers who are in the wilderness to carry a proper lightweight windbreaker / shell like the Cotapaxi Teca Windbreaker.
Micro signal mirror
Signal mirrors when used properly will allow you to aim light very accurately. However, you need to make sure you understand how to use this item. Unfortunately, the signal mirror included in this kit does not have instructions printed on the back like others I have seen. They oddly provide a link to a website with instructions instead.
So is the UST FeatherLite Survival Kit 2.0 worth it? I would say you’ll probably find about 50% of the items useful. Having some survival tools is a great thing to have in your pack. If you are willing to take the time to piece items together for yourself you will come out with a better end product for sure. But, if you just want to minally cover your bases, this kit is one way to get started.
This product was provided to us for review.