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Surviveware Small Review

A very useful, high-quality, and durable choice for individuals or small groups heading into the backcountry
Surviveware Small
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $40 List | $36.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Very durable, quality tools, removable CPR kit
Cons:  No medications, no first aid manual
Manufacturer:   Surviveware
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 3, 2020
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 13
  • Quality - 20% 9
  • Usefulness - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Weight - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Surviveware Small first aid kit easily wins our overall appreciation and recognition thanks to its high-quality contents, durable and well-organized case, and general usefulness. This is one of the most rugged 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. It's also 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.

New look, same kit
If you noticed this kit looks a bit different these days, you have a keen eye. Surviveware updated their graphics, but everything else about this awesome first aid kit remains the same.

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Pros Very durable, quality tools, removable CPR kitCompact, lightweight, quality materials, handy wilderness first aid guidebookLightweight, minimal packaging, waterproof, quality components, compactVery well organized, usefulLight, compact, useful first aid book
Cons No medications, no first aid manualLimited medications, no CPR maskLimited group size, minimal quantitiesBag is only moderately weather proofNo gloves, no CPR mask
Bottom Line A very useful, high-quality, and durable choice for individuals or small groups heading into the backcountryThis kit is a great choice for short weekend trips, containing the essentials to guard against many trailside emergenciesThe best choice for trips where weight matters, without compromising on qualityA cleanly organized first aid kit for small groups and short excusions, this kit anticipates the medical needs of most backpackersThis compact and well-organized kit is great for a weekend getaway, with quality implements at an affordable price
Rating Categories Surviveware Small Mountain Series Hiker Ultralight/Watertig... Mountain Series Bac... HART Health Weekend
Quality (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Usefulness (20%)
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (20%)
8.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Surviveware Small Mountain Series Hiker Ultralight/Watertig... Mountain Series Bac... HART Health Weekend
Total Weight (oz) 14 oz 10 oz 8 oz 14 oz 10 oz
Dimensions (inches) 3.1" x 6.2" x 6.7" 6.5" x 5.5" x 3" 7.5" x 10" x 2" 7" x 6" x 3.5" 6.5" x 5.5" x 2"
First Aid book No Yes No Yes Yes
CPR Mask/ Face Shield Yes No No No No
Type of Gloves Nitrile gloves 1 nitrile gloves Nitrile gloves Nitrile gloves None
Medications No Yes - acetaminophen, ibuprofen, asprin, antihistamine Yes - antihistamine, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen Yes - acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamine, diamode, sting and bite relief wipes Yes - acetaminophen, ibuprofen, asprin, antihistamine
Splint No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Surviveware 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. Throughout our testing, our reviewers were impressed by this kit's quality and functionality, whether on short hikes or long trips deep into the mountains.

Performance Comparison


The contents of the Surviveware Small kit laid out- a lot of items...
The contents of the Surviveware Small kit laid out- a lot of items get packed into a compact case
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Quality


Scoring high in this metric, the Surviveware kit is one of the top performers regarding the overall quality and does so by providing good supplies in reasonable quantities without skimping on a weak case or by using mediocre tools as found in some competitor's kits.


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 in sealed packages if they are single-use items and inside resealable pouches if multi-use, which we found to be a small but very helpful feature.

The durable thick nylon was one of the most rugged in the test.
The durable thick nylon was one of the most rugged in the test.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

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). This is a kit that has everything that a layperson responder would need to control an emergency situation, but also extra items that first responders and medical professionals can use and appreciate. A non-woven triangular bandage is present. It proved to be quality too, resisting tearing and holding up to rigorous use.

It is easy to find what you are looking for in this well-organized...
It is easy to find what you are looking for in this well-organized case.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Usefulness


The Surviveware kit is a top product concerning usefulness as well. 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. This kit is going to be very useful for treating everything from common cuts, scrapes, and burns to more serious wounds and injuries that require more immediate and decisive care.


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 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 as other kits include, 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.

The removable CPR kit easily clips to a keychain and has good...
The removable CPR kit easily clips to a keychain and has good detailed instructions sewn in.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Durability


The Surviveware holds its own regarding burliness and durability. With a high denier nylon case and large zippers, you won't likely find yourself performing any first aid 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 expected.

The best scissors of the review, Surviveware uses the same trauma...
The best scissors of the review, Surviveware uses the same trauma shears you would find in a hospital
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Versatility


The Surviveware Small first aid kit again scored high in this category for its versatility. 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. 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.

Although this kit includes a tourniquet for major bleeding or...
Although this kit includes a tourniquet for major bleeding or certain types of snakebites, its requires training to use properly.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Weight


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 most lightweight model tested, 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 lean toward a lighter kit for most day hikes and short solo trips.

With such a reasonable size for an overnight kit, it became our...
With such a reasonable size for an overnight kit, it became our favorite for 2-4 day trips with small groups.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Value


We feel that the Surviveware Small is a tremendous value when compared with most of the other products in our review. High-quality components in an exceptionally durable case allow you to depend on this kit. It's also frequently sold online at a discount, furthering its value.

The Surviveware was the smallest of the overnight capable kits and...
The Surviveware was the smallest of the overnight capable kits and had the best quality implements for the price.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Conclusion


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 top honor. Able to treat all manners of injuries and illnesses while close to home or far from the trailhead, this kit is your lifeline should the unexpected happen. 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