A bonus of reviewing the Henry Survival Rifle was that I got to review the Henry Repeating Survival Kit they sent along with it. I was a teenager in the 80s. Let me tell you, it was pretty awesome. And not just because of the great hair and even better music. No, for anyone who was a kid growing up in a rural area during that time, you probably knew all about the “survival” craze. Today’s prepper” are little more than Johnny-come-lately to those of us who were living in lean-to’s tied with natural cordage when Rambo: First Blood hit the screens in 1982.
I was certainly one of those kids. Even considering how far out in the country I was, I might have taken things to extremes. In my backpack at school I always had a good knife, a small survival kit, and a copy of the SAS Survival Manual.
At an age young enough to get any parent arrested for neglect today, I was spending a week or two alone or with a friend out in the woods, with no one else around for miles. I like to think that “we were fine”, but in fact I still have some sizable scars from those days, and some of my friends have them too. Benefit of all the injuries was that I learned how to sew myself up with nothing but a fishhook and line. By the time my buddy Walter put a hatchet blade through his own knee, I knew how to bandage and splint the wound, make a travois, and drag him out of the woods to get help. Those were all skills that proved extremely valuable later in life.
Those skills are important. With some knowledge and experience, water and weapons, there isn’t much you can’t handle in the wild…if you have time. And you’re healthy. The reality is that you can freeze to death, bleed to death, and starve to death fairly quickly, depending on your circumstances. That’s why a small amount of quality gear can make a huge difference in a life or death situation.
Good gear gives you options. You can handle yourself fine all by yourself when things are going well. When they aren’t, you need to tool up.
For the past several months, the books in my truck included the Henry Survival Kit. I haven’t been disappointed. And commercial survival kits usually disappoint me.
They often contain Band-Aids, some alcohol prep pads, thin twine, and tools that are likely to break under almost any hard use. That’s why I was impressed with Henry’s kit. It wasn’t the number of items included, it was the quality of those items and their usefulness.
First off, the multi tool included isn’t a cheap Chinese knock-off. It’s a small, but versatile tool made in upstate New York, and it’s of the same quality you’ll find throughout the kit. That goes for compass and the Photon Micro Light, too — quality tools that will actually work when you need them.
The kit includes few things that many others don’t. The water-tight bag is something every single kit should have. Not only does Henry include one, but it’s surprisingly sturdy. The same thing goes for the coffee filter. Sure, you should sterilize your water if you have time, but how are you going to get all that dirt and mud out of it in the first place? With a coffee filter. Cheap, easy, and super useful, but left out of most kits.
Also appreciated is the 20 feet of snare wire. In lots of survival situations, hunting is done the hard way and snares are where it is at. Twenty feet is enough to make several snares, which you’re likely to need. On top of that, I’ve had great luck using wire wrapped around a piece of curved wood with a hook on the end as a lure for bass. Just throw it out and pull it back fast and the small mouths just can’t seem to resist it.
The Henry Survival Kit includes an item I have always considered vital, but is conspicuously absent in many other store-bought kits today…surgical tubing. This is one of the most versatile and useful items in your kit. From straws to shelter to slingshots and beyond, you will be glad you have it.
And there’s a lot more. Sure, waterproof matches are waterproof matches, a candle is a candle and a razor blade is a razor blade. But the razor is housed in a folding handle, those waterproof matches come with a striker, and the candle is made of bees wax (instead of paraffin) that you can use as a wound sealant. Just about everything here is the best version of what’s available, and was clearly thought out by someone who’s spent a few nights tired and cold out in the sticks.
Not everything here is perfect, though. The wire saw is one of the few disappointments. It’s the simple spiral wire type, which will in fact cut through lots of different materials — really anything wood or plastic — eventually. But there are much more aggressive saw types out there that will cut much faster and with less effort. No, they don’t last as long, but in an emergency situation where you need to cut down some limbs to build a fire to stave off hypothermia, you don’t need lasting power, you need wood right now.
The other disappointment is that the small trauma dressing should be replaced with a modern hemostatic agent, such as QuickClot Combat Gauze. That would, however, certainly increase the price of the kit and may not be safe for children. And Henry includes the necessities for trauma management…gauze and (basically) duct tape, and enough of it to get most jobs done. No worthless band aids and prep pads in this kit.
The Henry Survival Kit includes several ways to start a fire, and if you’re wet and cold, you might need every one of them. It also includes a 12-hour chemlight, an absolute requirement when your hands don’t work well from the cold or a concussion and your batteries are dead. And the space blanket? Most people have no idea how well one works until they’ve tried it.
One more big difference in quality is the case itself. Secured with easy-on-and-off claps, this case is made of anodized aluminum, not some cloth bag with SureToBreak™ zippers. In fact he case itself is a survival tool, and although “not recommended” for cooking by Henry, it will certainly do in a pinch.
Specifications: Henry Repeating Survival Kit
The Survival Kit contains:
Basic Survival Instruction Sheet
Aloksak Water Tight Bag
Personal Use Fishing Kit
Mini Map Compass
Mini Rescue Flash Signal Mirror
Beeswax Tea Light Survival Candle
Tinder Quick (10)
Type 1A Utility Cord (20 ft)
Photon Micro Light
Spiral Wire Survival Saw
1 ft flexible latex tubing
Trauma Bandage and Gauze Roll
Adventurer Compact Repair Tape
Adventurer Compact Fire Starter
Rapid Rescue Survival Whistle
Snare Wire (20 ft)
Adventure All Weather Matches (10)
Utica Kutmaster Mini Multi Tool
Flat Coffee Filter
MicroPur Water Tablets (05)
12 Hour Light Stick
Space Survival Blanket
Compact Signal Panel
Fresnel Lens Fire Starter
Derma Safe Razor Knife
The Survival Kit Box itself:
Hard Anodized Aluminum
Size: Appx 7.3″ x 4.6″ x 2.3″ (including clasps)
Weight: 6.2 oz
Fire and Water Resistant
Not recommended for cooking
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall * * * * 1/2
All in all, a great kit and a very good value. Not surprised, since it’s from Henry.