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Hands-on Gear Review
Surviveware Small Review
Cons: No medications, no first aid manual
Bottom line: A great choice for those in rugged environments where durability is a concern.
The Surviveware Small first aid kit easily won our Editors' Award thanks to its high-quality contents, durable and well-organized case and general usefulness. This is the most rugged of all the kits we tested and contains enough supplies to be appropriate for a group on a short trip. This is a good all-purpose smaller sized first aid kit that can be further customized with over the counter medications. For those planning on a longer expedition style trip, we would recommend a pairing with a more supply-heavy kit, like the Best Bang for Buck winning Adventure Medical Kits Adventure 2.0 that contains a greater number of supplies and includes medications. For more information, read our article on How to Choose the Best First Aid Kit to find the product that is right for you.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The SurvivewareSmall first aid kit consistently scored high in our review metrics and was one that we reached for often when on trips that required the extra durability that it became known for.
With a score of 9 in this metric, the Surviveware kit was one of the top performers in terms of overall quality. The next best kits regarding quality both came from Adventure Medical Kits and both earned Top Pick and Best Bang for Buck Awards.
Opening up the rugged case to see a well-organized and labeled interior, we were able to find what we were looking for easily and put it back once we finished using it. Good quality components are found inside sealed packages if they are single-use items and inside resealable pouches if multi-use.
Useful tools such as hospital grade trauma shears and splinter probes are included, as are more advanced tools like the tourniquet (for which we would emphasize the need for higher level training). A non-woven triangular bandage is present, similar to the TripWorthy bandage, but unlike that one this resisted tearing and held up to rigorous use.
The Surviveware kit was the highest scoring product in this category. High marks were earned with a good ratio of everyday supplies like wound closure strips and alcohol swabs to more specialized items like pressure bandages and a space blanket.
Including over 40 wound closure strips of varying sizes as well as gauze pads and a large abdominal pad, the Surviveware kit is poised to tackle small to moderate sized wounds. We really liked the large roll of 25mm width hypoallergenic tape, which is wide enough to adequately tape an ankle. There is no information booklet included in this kit on how to administer first aid like the AMK Adventure 2.0 comes with, but the handy removable CPR pouch does have a durable step-by-step CPR guide attached. We really like this small CPR kit and it is easy to put on a keychain and take with you on a dog walk or short hike since you never know when you might need to administer CPR.
Topping the charts with a score of 9, the Surviveware kit was without a doubt the burliest and most durable of all the kits we tested. With a high denier nylon case and large zippers, you won't likely find yourself performing any first aid kit on the kit itself.
Inside the case, the contents are protected in either sealed or resealable packaging, though for users in wet environments like temperate regions or on river trips, we still would recommend a dry bag to keep things dry and unspoiled. The tools like trauma shears and tourniquet are of high quality and will last throughout many trips, unlike some of the lower quality items found in other kits. The 4-inch wide elastic pressure bandage was certainly stretchy enough to use a few times but it seemed to lose its elasticity over a shorter time than we would have expected.
The Surviveware Small first aid kit again scored high in this category, leading the pack as the most versatile kit we tested. With a wide range of supplies and implements, you should feel prepared to administer first aid to a range of situations.
One of the first things you will notice about the Surviveware kit is that it is very organized and streamlined. No bells and whistles like rain ponchos are included, just what might be needed in most common first aid kit uses. The fact that unnecessary items are omitted allows the space for higher quality tools and a good, useful CPR kit that is removable and able to be put on a keychain for short jaunts. We would have liked to see an included instructional manual of some kind, beyond just the quick step by step CPR process, as some of the items, like the tourniquet (which makes this product as versatile as it is) are only recommended for people with advanced training to not misuse them. We also missed seeing any cotton swabs or antibiotic ointments — there are antiseptic towelettes and gauze swabs, though the application is messier and less precise.
Weighing 13.6 ounces, the Surviveware first aid kit is surprisingly light for how robust the kit is and how many useful items are included. While not the lightest in the group, it scored very well in the weight category since it is quite light for a group sized kit.
For shorter trips, solo trips, or small groups, the weight may be worth carrying if you are going to be quite far from definitive care. However, we would probably tend towards a lighter kit, such as the Top Pick Award winning Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7, that while not nearly as versatile or durable, is almost half of the weight and size.
The Surviveware Small first aid kit is an excellent stand-alone kit that includes enough supplies to cover a small group for several days. For those seeking a kit for a longer trip, it includes enough quality implements that it would be easy to add extra gloves, dressings, and medications to make this a kit capable of handling a week or more in the wilderness. It has a low weight when compared to its high level of usefulness, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a first aid kit for the car, RV, boat, bike or backpack.
With an MSRP of $44, but available at online retailers for much less, we feel that the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit is a tremendous value when compared with most of the other products in our review. High-quality components in an exceptionally durable case will allow you to depend on this kit.
This model was one of our favorite first aid kits, and we felt that the value was so great that we awarded the Surviveware kit our Editors' Award. Quality supplies, well thought out organization and the inclusion of useful tools give us the confidence to recommend it as a top tier first aid kit for any individual or group looking to stay safe and be prepared.
— Ryan Huetter
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Most recent review: August 12, 2017