> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Public Service Announcement: Premade 72 hour kits are Crap

Pages

9/25/12

Public Service Announcement: Premade 72 hour kits are Crap

I wanted to throw this public service announcement out there for any newbies: pre-made 72-hour kits and bug out bags are, almost universally, complete and utter crap.

Why?

They are a bundle of cheap, made in the least-skilled factories in China stuff, with a huge markup slapped onto 'em. Photos might look ok, but trust me -- flimsy materials, shoddy construction and all around crappiness abound. Contents will be broken on arrival, break after their first use and just generally fall apart on you.

Really, you say?

Really. The makers of these kits find the absolute lowest costs junk, bundle it together and call it some variety of survival kit. We're talking stuff that's so crappy they'd have a hard time selling it in a dollar store. It's a borderline scam.

These kits prey on two traits that most of us have: laziness and cheapness.

Laziness because, hey, you buy 'em once and you're done, right? 

Cheapness because, hey, you can get a kit for under $100. You'll probably never use any of this stuff, so why invest a big chunk of change into this stuff.

Don't do it.



We're talking about equipment that you would be relying on in an emergency, a crisis, a potential life-or-death situation. That's not a role you want to trust this extra-low quality of stuff to fill. Because very of little of it works worth a darn off the shelf, let alone in an actual, real world, big, bad scary scenario. And it's not like you can pick out a quality item or two from the bunch. It will all end up thrown in your trash at some point.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I worked for a company that, amongst other things, sold a bunch of pre-made in China 72 hour kits. I was happy to help people out with the company's other products--food storage, MREs, camping gear and such--but never sold one of these survival kits. I'd seen 'em, handled the contents and could not in good conscience let someone buy one. People came in and asked about them often, and I would tell them straight up, it's junk, don't waste your money on it and certainly don't think to depend on it in a bad situation. I think I was able to stand working at that job for about a month before quitting.

You don't have to go broke preparing for an emergency, the end of civilization or whatever is concerning you. Take your time. Make a budget. Spend your money wisely, on quality stuff that will last years or a lifetime, not fall apart right away.


This has been your public service announcement.

17 comments :

  1. Agreed, premade kits suck. All though I do think they fill a nitch market. The old lady who is concerned about earthquakes is not going to compile her own kit, probably. So for some people, in some situations I think they are better then nothing at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lil' old lady can hopefully spend the $100 better elsewhere. Some food storage, water bottles, used rolling suitcase, etc.

      Delete
    2. And if you have a lil' old lady in your life, help 'em out!

      Delete
    3. I agree with you but from my own observations a premade kit is as far as many people are willing to go down the rabit hole. I'm active in my city's CERT program and big classroom presentations always attract a lot of people who only want to know, "who's going to take care of me in the event of a disaster".

      That's why I say these kits fill a nitch.I don't think many of the lil' old ladies out there will spend the $100 on something better. Yes, they should and it's not very hard to do, but they wont do it.

      Delete
  2. I agree, better than nothing, but not a WHOLE LOT better. You can get better quality shopping at megamarts and dollar stores. You can still do even better at most outdoor/fishing/hunting places.

    Spend the same amount getting stuff that won't fall apart on Day One, THEN hit the dollar store for extra crappy plastic ponchos, shower curtains as tarps, an extra junky crescent wrench and a couple books as trade goods, and you're already ahead of the game.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Would say it is actually worse than having nothing because a crappy kit is actually giving you the false sense of security that you have what you need...until you need it and it turns out you don't. I would rather know what areas I'm lacking in than assume some "Made in China" crap is going to work when I need it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Public Service Announcement: Premade 72 hour kits are Crap"

    Yep. Plus, you've probably have most of what you need for one laying around your house anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have to remember one thing -- if I could just rely on "what's laying around my house", I, and maybe my grandkids, would be be OK for years. If I have to choose quickly, and GTFO Dodge in a half-hour or so, I better have the BOB-kit pre-prepared. I may be strange, but my #1 "disaster scenario" is "drunk-ass redneck driving his truck into any number of rail tankers full of toxic crap 4 blocks away and FEMA black choppers show up"

    Be ready to "grab and go" or become a statistic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I laughed when I got read this. I had been thinking over the last few days of making a list of the contents of one of the more popular 72 hour kits and then building my own using that list, but substituting components that I considered quality gear, then comparing the price. Your post just adds fuel to that fire. I'll probably start that this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amen! Build your own or don't bother to build one at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I actually have built all the kits my sons and I use. BOBs, Get Home Bags, First Aid Kits and Biohazard response kits. The kit I mentioned above was just for a fun exercise to see what one of the popular kits would cost if it contained decent gear.

      Delete
  8. If you want a cheap, common man kit it can be done for very cheap. Your stuff isn't going to be top of the line but for well under $100 you can put together a fairly usable BOB. Instead of those cheap unusable wire saws get a cheap real life saw from a hardware store for $8. Instead of a $40 Gerber axe (or a $100 Gransfors), again find something cheap but usable at a hardware store. Buy a few large mouse traps for your trapping needs. Instead of a lightweight titanium cooking pot go get a metal dog food bowl for $1. Instead of a fancy Camelbak bottle with a folding sucky straw use an old 1 quart gatorade bottle (those things are indestructible!) Instead of Tinder Quik get some cotton balls and dip them in Vaseline. Instead of a $70 leatherman go buy some $1 pliers. Instead of spending thousands on 30 year shelf-life premade meals, start out your food storage by just buying a few big bags of rice--something you'll surely use anyways. Most of us blow lots of money (myself included) on survival stuff because we want the latest and greatest. There is nothing terribly wrong with that--an investment in quality will probably pay off given time--but the point is you can take of a lot of survival priorities/emergency-prep for very cheap if needs be and you can still have decent, usable stuff. Check this out if you haven't seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAPNtca7RGQ&feature=plcp Its Dave Canterbury building a "discount bushcraft kit." Very good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I couldn't agree with you more!! I have seen these kits myself and reviewed a few of them and they are comeplete and total crap in a bag! Follow their advise and put one together and know that if you need it it will work the way it is supposed to. Your life and your families lives depend on it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I thing this would be a good time "to fill the un met need" as Ross Perot would say. Some one could sell kits with a "good", "better", "best" type of class. Have the same stuff in them, but each kit ups the quality of the items.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You know what I've always thought was stupid about those pre-made kits? They are all geared for rescue and drawing attention to yourself. If there comes a time that I actually need my BOB's, I wanna "disappear". Not draw attention to myself....LOL

    I started my first BOB with a rigid frame pack that I bought off of an old scout-leader at a yard sale. (that's the wife's pack now) Everything that I wanted for the pack, I already had on hand. Just not consolidated, and ready to go at a moments notice. Since then, I have updated with more specialized equipment, but I could have gotten by on my old pack just fine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a lot of them are geared towards people getting by for a couple of days until they can be found or rescued. Thats probably why the attention-getting lean. Marketing to the people who aren't prepared or don't have any intention of doing anything but waiting until they are found by the authorities and escorted to a FEMA camp gives the companies a larger potential customer pool. Money, Money, Money.

      Delete
  12. So just what would you gentleman suggest go into a kit for a family of 6? I have 4 kids 10 f, 6 m, 5 m, & 1 f. Hubby works out of state mon - fri. And I live in small town hell. My kids are accident prone so I have a montster first aid kit and we camp so I have some general camping gear but i am otherwise at a loss... Help please?

    ReplyDelete