I’ve always had a love and hate relationship with all-in-one kits geared toward survival. One the one hand, I love the convenience of having a curated collection of gear assembled in one place for one easy purchase, but on the other hand, I’m really particular about exactly what it is that I like to carry when I’m in the field. Because most all-in-one kits are designed to cram as much cheap gear as possible into a small, marketable package, they tend to have a disposable feel to them… as though what you’re really purchasing is a mix of novelty and peace of mind, but not necessarily something you could really count on in a bind.
That why I was so interested in putting some of Stanford Outdoor Supply’s kits through their paces. There’s a B.O.S.S. kit for just about any situation you might find yourself in, meaning Stanford Outdoor Supply doesn’t expect you to buy into the idea that they can give you one little pouch that’ll solve all of your survival woes as other companies are often so eager to promise. Instead, each pouch comes with a specifically selected collection of tools and equipment aimed directly at a specific task or situation. In the world of survival, “one size fits all” really only counts for snow caps and shoe laces.
I was impressed at the variety of kits Stanford Outdoor Supply offered, so I reached out to them directly. To my delight, I soon found myself interacting directly with Alan Stanford, who loaded the whole B.O.S.S. product line in a crate and sent it my way for me to spend some time banging through the gear and getting a sense of just how useful these kits can be.
For a few months now, I’ve been incorporating these kits into hikes, road trips, and the sorts of general outdoor trouble I manage to get myself into through the course of other gear reviews. To my delight, the gear included in these kits is easy to access and pretty resilient to abuse. Of course, many of these products aren’t intended to serve as your EDC for the next couple of decades — they’re meant to be convenient sources of the stuff you’d need in a bad situation. So far, I haven’t had any of the gear I’ve tried out feel flimsy or break through use.
One of the best things about these kits are the resealable bags that they come in — and I’m as surprised as anyone to say that. Initially, I thought the bags would be nothing but a cumbersome bit of decoration I’d need to hack through in order to get what I needed. Instead, I’ve found that they’re malleable enough to be crammed into most packs with ease. On the occasion that I only want to grab a few pieces of gear out of a kit, they pop open just like a zip lock bag and close again just easily — allowing me to maintain a semblance of organization amid my ever-growing library of gear I’ve collected over the years.
I’m also really pleased with the variety of kits offered — many of which are kits I haven’t seen marketed by many other suppliers. The 22-piece shelter building kit, for instance, has everything you need to build a luxury home in woods (at least compared to how I usually camp) and stowed easily in my 3-day pack despite my concerns about how tight that pack is starting to get.
- 84×84″ OD Green waterproof tarp
- 6 Aluminum Guyline Tensioners
- 50′ 550 Paracord
- 6 Aluminum Tent Stakes
- 1 Mylar Emergency Blanket
- 1 Plastic Ground Cover
- 8 8″ zip ties
- 1 folding saw
Despite owning a plethora of IFAKs, first aid kits, trauma kits, and old surgical kits, their 12-piece Break and Sprain Kit doesn’t take up a ton of space and offers a number of first aid essentials my collection of other kits leave out. Things like a 24″ padded aluminum splint and finger splints would have come in handy over the years, as many of my most common field and shop injuries have included breaking my fingers and, on more than one occasion, a wrist.
Then there are the smaller, and I’d contend handier, kits like the Pocket Runner’s Aid Kit that’s got everything you need to make your trip back from the halfway point a bit more tolerable. Anti-chafing gel may not be something you often think of as a necessity, but chafing is not only a great way to make a hike or run miserable, it can become a serious concern in a survival situation – both in terms of limiting mobility and the threat of infection.
Other kits, like the 127-piece fishing and hunting kit, has so much function that I’ve yet to really see all of what it can do. To be frank, there’s so much great gear to be found in these kits, this is really just the first of a number of pieces you’ll see featured on this site discussing the various ways Stanford Outdoor Supply can make you better prepared for whatever you may find yourself facing.
These B.O.S.S. kits really do address both of my primary concerns regarding the “one stop shop” kits many other vendors peddle. Because they’re resealable and easy to pack, I can be just as picky as ever about what gear I carry with me, and I can even come home from the trails and sort whatever I’ve picked out back into the appropriate kits for easy organization. Further, because Stanford Outdoor Supply offers such a variety of specialized kits, you don’t need to break the bank to get exactly what you need for the types of situations you run into. Whether you’re looking for a little peace of mind while out for a jog, you’re in the market for an all-encompassing trunk of survival gear, or anywhere in between — Stanford Outdoor Supply has a kit that’ll do just what you need.
You can find their kits on Stanford Outdoor Supply’s website at prices starting at just a couple of bucks.