review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival kit

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TurtleNomad
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review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival kit

Post by TurtleNomad » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:36 pm

AMK makes two intriguing pocket survival kits: the SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer), and the PSK (Pocket Survival Kit).

I've wanted one for years, but was conflicted as to which one was "better" for my needs (or whether I should just buy both!).

Initially, I was leaning towards the PSK, because it has a (single) Fresnel lens and a Spark Lite, however most of the other items were less interesting to me.
Eventually, I found good sources for Fresnel lenses (10 packs!), and a Spark Lite, so shifted my interest to the SOL, mainly due to the Heatsheet, but was still dithering (I'd already picked up a couple of Heatsheets).

During this year's REI Spring mega sale, I popped in to a store to pick up some Mountain House entrees, and (of course!) wandered by the gadget section. :) I noticed much of AMK's line had new packaging, took a closer look, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they'd changed the SOL.
It now has a Spark Lite instead of matches, and has been renamed the "SOL Scout".

The Spark Lite is (in many ways) a vastly superior fire starting tool than matches, so I now view this as the "best" AMK mini survival kit (IMO). :)

It was one of the items on sale, and was a great deal at $18.69, so I ordered one online (after checking other vendors - currently, Amazon has them for $20.37).

I've tried out all of the major components (not the mirror and micro fishing kit), and am very pleased with them.


If you've never tried a Heatsheet, they're worth the extra money!
Much tougher, and quieter than $1 mylar blankets.
3 1/2 years ago, I picked up my first (single sized) one at a Dick's Sporting Goods store for about $3 (on sale).
Currently, the usual price is about $4 for the single sized, about $6 for the double ("1-2 person") sized.
The single does not have "survival instructions" printed on it, the double does.
Both are colored the same "safety" orange on one side.


The Spark Lite can be operated one-handed, and is functional even with my multiply-damaged, RSI ("Repetitive Strain Injuries"), very weak, wee hands. :)
The one that comes in the "Scout" is cosmetically different from a regular Spark Lite, but works just the same, and as well.
The packaging refers to it as a "Fire Lite Sparker" - I did a quick net search, but didn't spot any obvious explanation for the name change. It works, which is good enough for me. :)


The compass, whistle, and duct tape are all pretty standard, and work fine (ok, I have not actually used the duct tape, but assume it's quality stuff and, um, works the same way as all other duct tape).
I have not yet used the tinder-quik, nor done a water tightness test on the Aloksak.


And now, some pictures...

front, full package:
Image

main items:
Image

top part of packaging:
Image

back of packaging:
Image

without packaging:
Image

sparker and tinder-quik:
Image

heatsheet:
Image

whistle, duct tape, compass, fishing kit, signal mirror:
Image

fishing kit:
Image

signal mirror & instruction sheet:
Image


Bottom line:
Highly recommended, if you do not already have the key components, or, like me, want duplicates. :)
I already had one of each key item, but all are core components to any good emergency kit, and it was the cheapest & easiest way to get another set.

If you don't own a Heatsheet, please consider buying at least that, separately.
In all my primary kits, I have two cheap mylar emergency blankets (for use as "expendables"), and one Heatsheet.

For a decade, I had a "Sportsman's Blanket" (a hybrid between a light tarp and a mylar blanket), but it gradually fell apart. I had been planning to replace it with a new one, but instead I've standardized on Heatsheets (still have a regular tarp in my car, of course). You can buy two large Heatsheets for less, and they take up considerably less space, with about the same heat saving benefit.

I've used one of mine to sleep in my car in the winter (on top of a fleece blanket), and regularly use it during winter on top of my blankets so I can keep the thermostat down.

They're not just human proof... they're manic kitten proof!
Recently, I stayed with friends who have a new kitten who sometimes "hung" with me (I work from home, so I was the only person around most of the day). Early on, she found the Heatsheet which I'd used during an early Fall cold snap (before we had the furnace on), and had subsequently fallen mostly off the bed. She prompted decided it would make a great "nest". :) When I realized she'd disappeared for an awfully long time, and "found" her, I was about to (gently) dislodge her when I decided to let her have carte blanche with it, as a stress test. :) Two months later, both kitten and Heatsheet are fine, despite several paw sessions reshaping "her" nest.
The important thing is the spices.
A man can live on packaged food from here til Judgement Day if he's got enough Marjoram.
- Shephard Book, "Serenity" (the pilot), Firefly
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Treesuit
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by Treesuit » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:47 am

TurtleNomad,

Do you have some reviews or products that have to do with medical kits? I have most survival kit items mentioned above but need something more in the line of medical, say incase I get a cut, slash, or gouge while being in the backcountry.

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Ruleryak
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by Ruleryak » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:30 pm

Treesuit,

I've ended up cutting myself quite badly a number of times when I was out back country camping or hiking and have found that the best items to have on hand (without adding much weight or taking up much space in your gear) are:

1. Duct tape
2. Compressable non-stick gauze
3. Iodine wipes (or Betadyne wipes)

My medical kit with the above items fits in an altoids tin and has been there for me for some rough times. I used the above to clean and patch a 3 inch laceration across my right arm (went down through fat layer to muscle) and hiked about two hours back out before I could get home and get it properly treated (roommate was an EMT at the time so we handled it at home and skipped the huge ER bills :mrgreen: ). For almost anything, including wounds large enough to be life threatening due to blood loss, the above combo works wonders. Just wipe and coat with iodine, then gauze, then duct tape as a compressing waterproof bandage. Just be careful not to wrap too tightly as you don't want to cut circulation to extremities "downstream" from the wound.

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Bypah
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by Bypah » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:54 pm

Ruleryak wrote:Treesuit,

I've ended up cutting myself quite badly a number of times when I was out back country camping or hiking and have found that the best items to have on hand (without adding much weight or taking up much space in your gear) are:

1. Duct tape
2. Compressable non-stick gauze
3. Iodine wipes (or Betadyne wipes)
You can also use electrical black tape. Is small, compact and can be packed away without adding any weight. :wink:
In the CERT training they teach to the vonlunteers to carry either ducttape or electrical tape and plenty of gauzes of different sizes. this can be used to deal with any cuts, lacerations and other injuries patch them up until the professionals and the cavalry arrives. :mrgreen:
"Live long and prosper..."

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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by hannonmc » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:20 am

Good post... Personly, I have the PSK designed by Doug Ritter, who has a great site Equipped To Survive

I've been thinking about getting the PSK+ which includes a mini knife (RSK-MK5), pico light (which I have one on my keychain), and some Katadyn water purification tablets. The PSK which I already carry in my backpack has been augmented with a small first aid kit as well as some other items like a Heatsheet. The concept of the PSK+ is that you put it into a pants / coat pocket and you have it with you... Always... You can be seperated from your pack so whatever you are carrying on you is it...

Doug Ritter worked with Adventure Medical to produce these kits. The Scout is their spin on it, with most of the components included due to his work on the PSK.

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Wookard
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by Wookard » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:25 pm

I have both of these Spark-Lites. Some of them even have a replaceable flint like a zippo lighter, others are 'permanent' and can't be replaced without damaging the unit. They are made to do about 1000 sparks though and that is more then a lifetime for most people! I know of a seller on eBay and I can get packs of 100 for about $25 before shipping of the TinderQuiks.

http://myworld.ebay.ca/3555cathys/ I have bought from this seller many many times. I get a ton of 'extra treats' whenI order as I buy a lot of different things at once! They like repeat customers a lot!

My friend's can't believe how fast I can get a fire going with them compared to a lighter or a match.

TIPS!!
1. Never twist the TinderQuick for storage. Keep them as 'stock' as possible!
2. Spread one end to make it as fluffy as possible just before use as this gives a better chance of grabbing a spark and holding it!
3. If possible melt wax and dip the other end to allow for a longer burn time.
4. You can use plain old cotton balls in place of TinderQuick and other pure cotton if its clean
5. They can stay lit for almost 3 minutes depending on how you lay it in the fire.
6. The TinderQuick can 'die' very easily if not stored propery, so be sure to put them in a nice container and try to not touch them too much!

Image

http://bepreparedtosurvive.com/History% ... tarter.htm

This has an excellent history of the decades of changes to the Spark-Lite.

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Treesuit
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by Treesuit » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:40 pm

TurtleNomad,

This is in regards to my inquiry a few posts ago. I recently searched through REI and Amazon for smaller personal Aerican Medical Kits. I found some on REI that fit the bill, but even with some on sale and a REI membership, some were beyond my budget. So I looked on Amazon and sure enough I found the AMK .7 pretty cheap and since I had some credit I went and bought it. The AMK .7 is good for 1-2 people for 4 days and is filled with simple stuff.

AMK. 7 has a really tough bright outer pouch and also has a nylon ripstop weave in it. The inner pouch slides right out and holds all your supplies in something called DRYFLEX, which is part plastic (non-PVC), part something else but is durable, lightweight and waterproof and has a re-closeable top to it. The contents are listed on the back and surprisingly you can pop it open and put more supplies in it. I did put some more items in my bag but you can go to the website and register your kit and get offers for purchasing more of their medical supplies. The website is http://www.registeryourkit.com.

According to the review on the REI website all were postive except for one, and from what I have seen so far it was well worth the money. The only complaint I have is that with Amazon shipping they shipped it through UPS and not normal USPS. I ordered my on the 12th of January and it didn't get here until the 24th supposedly because of adverse weather in California (yeah right). For what I paid, Amazon could have shipped it through Postal Service and it would have got here much quicker (and cheaper) despite the so called adverse weather.
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TurtleNomad
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by TurtleNomad » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:57 pm

Treesuit wrote:This is in regards to my inquiry a few posts ago. I recently searched through REI and Amazon for smaller personal Aerican Medical Kits. I found some on REI that fit the bill, but even with some on sale and a REI membership, some were beyond my budget. So I looked on Amazon and sure enough I found the AMK .7 pretty cheap and since I had some credit I went and bought it. The AMK .7 is good for 1-2 people for 4 days and is filled with simple stuff.
Treesuit, thanks for the excellent review! :)
If you get a chance, an exploded pic of the contents would be shiny (no rush).

Sorry I haven't replied. I've been thinking we should really start a separate FAK thread, mainly because we have some medics here, and it would be great to pick their brains. :)

I have bought two of the AMK kits, and found their contents to be well thought out, but didn't like their cases.
The one you bought is from a different "series" (their waterproof more boating oriented line), and seems to have a much better case.
I'll post up pics of the ones I have, eventually (the "First Aid Kit 1.0", and the "Women's Edition Outdoor Medical Kit").

hannonmc, yes I agree the PSK and Doug Ritter are fantastic. :)
I was initially leaning towards the PSK, but already had many of the items from my SAR days, but didn't have the nifty newish items, so went with the improved SOL.
Recently, the price of the PSK dropped at Amazon, so it's on my list of kewl adult-toys to buy. :)

Wookard, thanks for the great tips and picture!
What do you think of the plastic case as shown in your pic?
I'm planning an order of first aid items from "Rescue Essentials", and noticed they have a great price ($7.50) on the Spark Lite military kit, so I'll probably add that to my order (no rush on that - I'm considering taking a Wilderness First Responder course in the spring, to re-certify after a long training lapse).
The important thing is the spices.
A man can live on packaged food from here til Judgement Day if he's got enough Marjoram.
- Shephard Book, "Serenity" (the pilot), Firefly
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TurtleNomad
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new review: Adventure Medical Kits "Survival Medic"

Post by TurtleNomad » Sat May 26, 2012 4:38 pm

AMK has a brand new kit, the "Survival Medic", which has all the key items of the "SOL Scout", at a significantly better price point: $15 list, $13 at Amazon, $11 at REI (possibly just for their M-Day weekend sale?), as low as $10 elsewhere.

Just the Heatsheet and Spark Lite are worth about $13, so this is a great deal.

Here's pictures (front & back) of the package:
Image
Image

The key difference is no signal mirror, no fishing kit, and the addition of a tiny but reasonable micro first aid kit.

Personally, as a former puddle jumper SAR pilot and lifelong uber-frugalist, that's an excellent trade off, in terms of bang for buck.

Frankly, IMO, a signal mirror in a non-military context, is all but useless for "rescue" purposes.
Particularly in a forested area, the chance of aerial SAR spotters noticing a mirror is very low. Smoke from a signal fire, and other signals are vastly superior.

The AMK fishing kit is "cute", but it feels more like a placebo than any thing practical. A tiny, comforting placebo, but not something someone is likely to use.

All the "old" key items are things that are essential or have a high likelihood of use.

Of all the AMK kits, I think this is the best, from a practical point of view.
The only thing I would change is to add a fresnel lens. That's biased by my middle-aged eyes, and my deep fear of the "Burgess Meredith scenario" (reference to a classic Twilight Zone ep). ;)

I'm sending one to Adrian, so I'll let him do a detailed current SAR guy review, if he feels so inclined. :)
I'll probably post more pictures, soon, including one of it in my cargo pocket. :)



I bought mine (plus extras as gifts) at a recent 20% off sale ($10 net) from Rescue Essentials:
http://www.rescue-essentials.com/SOL_Su ... 0-0647.htm

Here's a few other koolz toyz from that batch. ;)

"NAR" Emergency Trauma Dressing (ETD) vs regular civilian-white ETD:
Image
Image
I really like the red coloring at each notch point! That would be a great mental comfort in a severe emergency situation.

Blast Bandage vs NAR ETD:
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That's for Adrian.
I expect a review. :)
(Oooh, lots of pressure, bro! ;) )

Three (3) types of "high speed" vacuum-packed gauze, with a NAR ETD for size comparison:
Image
Of those, the H&H is the thinnest.
I'll post up more info and an angled shot (to help show the thickness) soonish.
I also forgot to include some regular gauze pads and a roll of generic Kerlix - I'll definitely add those.

I don't ever expect to need an ETD, however I am a birdwatcher, and have often been in nature reserves frequented by hunters, so I've wanted to improve my FAK with some GSW oriented items.

For years, I only carried gauze pads, duct tape, and regular FAK items, so this will be an interesting overhaul.

Ruleryak, what types of gauze do you normally carry?
Based on your recommendation, I've increased the amount of iodine/betadyne wipes I carry. I'd previously added one or two of each of the major kinds of wipes, but it's good to focus on the most useful types. :)


As a vendor, I am very impressed with Rescue Essentials!
I've only ever read good things about them (great customer service), and they have a superb mix of FAK items and kits oriented to "regular" home needs, all the way up to high speed professional trauma needs. Most of the "regular" FAK stuff is very reasonably priced, at or below Amazon prices (the more obscure items have similar prices but are only available at dedicated medical supply sites). They also have a decent selection of "prep" gear.

Nice Frugal bonus:
They have very fast flat rate shipping, only $5 and it took two days from order completion to arrival to me in the Midwest.

I had a problem with their website payment processing (clunky third party software, not something they have control over), and had a truly pleasant customer service experience, first by email, then by phone. I dealt with "Sarah", who has the calm, patient manner that is perfect yet very rare in customer service. :)
The important thing is the spices.
A man can live on packaged food from here til Judgement Day if he's got enough Marjoram.
- Shephard Book, "Serenity" (the pilot), Firefly
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ak70g2
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Re: review: Adventure Medical Kits "Sol Scout" mini survival

Post by ak70g2 » Sun May 27, 2012 7:05 am

I expect a review. :)
(Oooh, lots of pressure, bro! ;) )
Will be my pleasure :D I think my team will use them on First Aid contest, we have an "embedded" photographer, I'll ask for the pictures and post here. Also, a new addition on our team is an paramedic from Israel, as second instructor, he dealt more than us with explosions victims and I'll ask his opinion too. I saw in an new US Army manual the use of the Israeli bandage, seems to be a great improvement vs. what I did last weekend:

http://www.soldiercombatskills.com/chap ... alty-care/
380345_388463514538568_100001247694184_1118339_1110374066_n.jpg
That's me, looking for bandages to "fix" an head wound.
'cuz hunting ain't catch and release...

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