I love the mailman. Wait! No… I love getting a package in the mail. It’s like getting a mini Christmas present. A few days ago I was lucky enough to get a package from Precisionriflesupply.com . They sent out a Solkoa S3 Pro Survival Kit for evaluation and it was burning in my hands for a few days before I could get out to test it. I love camping. While primitive survival skills haven’t ever been my forte’, ever since I was a wee little child I’ve been building shelters and playing Cast Away minus the volleyball bromance. Trying out a professionally assembled survival kit is much like shooting a quality factory built rifle. If you ever need one, you’ll be mighty happy you brought one along. As a commercial fisherman, helicopter pilot and hunter, I have seen firsthand why having a good kit available is important. I’ve often assembled little grab bags for whatever calamity seemed most likely. Having dodged any major disasters thus far, they have always proven sufficient for the minor ones. The real question here is, “Should I really shell out some big bucks for a survival kit?” If you’re in a high risk occupation or enjoy off-the-beaten-path recreational activities, the answer is worth your life. Much like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, if something goes wrong, you have the rest of your life to come up with a solution. Whether that’s 30 seconds or 30 years, might just depend on what you brought with you.
Solkoa Inc. was incorporated in 2005. A service-disabled-veteran owned small business, Solkoa has more than 30 employees. Despite being relatively small, they have quickly garnered respect within military and government circles as a go-to provider of survival solutions. Look over their website and you will find a bevy of government organizations, military school and military units using their products. Being so thoroughly vetted by warfighters and the rescue angels who pull folks out of harms way speaks volumes. But I don’t get paid the big bucks to report on someone else testing this out! It was time to break down the S3 Pro.
To put the Solkoa Pro to the test, I took it out on a 2 day camping trip. While I won’t pretend I was in an emergency, I did have ample opportunity to check the different aspects of the S3 Pro. My initial impressions were favorable. This bag weighs in at 3 lbs and measures 9″x 7″x 3″. This isn’t huge and for all it offers, isn’t very heavy. The Pro counts out at 56 pieces with multi item pieces (such as the 4x heavy wax kindling tabs) only counting as one. As I pulled bag after bag, tool after tool out I felt like I was seeing some kind of a magic clown car act. The sheer volume of tools in the Pro was mind boggling. The included gear index card was very useful as I sorted out all the tool into 8 piles, one for each of the major survival tasks. While I wasn’t able to test every item (no trout in the nearby streams), I was left feeling very confident in this bag’s ability to bring order to the chaos of an emergency.
I started with navigation. A Suunto compass came out first, a good start! Suunto has been in the business for a while and their A-30L compass shows that in it’s ease of use. A pace cord (also called Ranger beads) is here as well. Time to measure out your pace count again if it has been more than a few years. A 4x fresnel lens, waterproof paper, waterproof map pouch, pencil and space pen round out the navigation module in the Pro.