Originally published in Fall of 2013:
I spent three days testing out the Food-Fire-Filtration Bucket. Because there were so many items to discuss, this review might seem a little rushed. Each item is rated between 1 and 5, with 5 being the best.
Harvest 6 Grain Cereal – 3 by itself, 4 with Milk and Refreshing Orange Powder added
Pretty bland, but it was palatable. If you add some sweetener or some flavor to it, it goes down easier. It does take a while to cook, so you have to be very careful with your fuel and time management. However, it was very satisfying!
Rotini a la Marinara – 5
Tasty and filling, even when cold.
Texas Sunrise Skillet – 5
Also took a long time to cook (watch your fuel), but very worth it.
Rio Grande Beans and Rice – 5
Long and fuel-intensive cook time, but delicious.
Nantucket Potato Soup – 3
Basically tasted like a $1 packet of instant potatoes with a lot of extra water. It was adequate.
Artisan Oatmeal – 1
Very bitter, it was the only meal I couldn’t bring myself to finish.
Instant Milk – 3
Orange Drink – 4
First Aid kit – 3
I only used a band aid and alcohol wipe. The Alcohol Wipes aren’t very big, but when the largest wound you can deal with is covered with a band aid, the wipe is sufficient. The band aid held on surprisingly well, even through repeated hand washings. I also tested the medical tape, but it didn’t stick near as well as the band aids. For anything other than minor scrapes, the kit seems a little inadequate, but what little it had was functional.
Box of matches –Matches get 4, the striker on the box gets 2
The matches themselves were very nice. Very water resistant, if not entirely waterproof, lit and burned well. However, the matches are the “Strike on Box” style and the striker pad wore out before I was halfway through the matches. Without a better striking surface (or at least a spare), these matches were dangerously deficient.
Folding Utensil Set, i.e. Pocket Knife – 3
This tool had several indications of poor manufacturing. The utensil came apart as I was initially handling it, the knife had a rounded point, and the spoon had an irregular edge. However, the spoon was usable and the knife blade was sharp enough. It also came with an awl and can opener, but I didn’t have a need for them in this situation.
Instafire – As a fuel, 3; as a firestarter, 2
I wouldn’t call it “ideal”, although it’s better than nothing in an emergency. It lit easily, but it required a lot of stirring, and it’s real messy (more smoke and soot than from burning wood). The packaging says that it’s non-toxic, but it doesn’t smell safe to me. Also, the packets didn’t seem like they had enough fuel to bring water to a full boil and to simmer for 12-15 minutes, which many of the food pouches require.
I’d call it below average as a firestarter. While it did start with a single match when dry, it lacked other qualities that I consider essential in a firestarter: 1) it did not light with a spark (even when crushed to a fine powder), 2) it did not light when even slightly moist, 3) it did not burn hot enough to dry out more than the thinnest damp sticks (less than pencil lead thickness). Furthermore, it was bothersome to keep sticks on top of the Instafire, because you had to keep stirring to produce enough heat to light the kindling. I ended up laying the kindling across a larger stick (a “brace”) and stirring the Instafire in the space underneath. Not difficult to do, but not something an average Joe might have thought of.
Cooking Pot – 5
Worked perfect, fit together nicely, especially with the pot grip and lid. It feels very sturdy, yet lightweight.
Stove – 3
Worked adequately, but could use some improvements. For starters, a smaller stove probably would have been more efficient (less heat loss around the much smaller pot). Additionally, if the bottom of the stove was rounded, the Instafire would have stayed together better. However, it did have angled sides, which probably helped to reflect the heat towards the bottom of the pot.
Seychelle Filtration Bottle – 4
A very convenient water filter, just scoop and sip. The suction of drinking draws the water up through the filter fairly easily. My only complaints are 1) the bottle is small and the filter displaces a lot of water, and 2) there’s kind of a weird taste for the first gallon or so. The first complaint isn’t a problem as long as you stay near a water supply (which is a priority if you’re in a survival situation) and the second complaint is minor, considering that the bottle will filter up to 100 gallons of water.
While there were quite a few subpar items in this kit, there were also some good ones, and all in all, this could make a huge difference if you had nothing else.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received FSD Food, Filter Fire Bucket for free from Survival Based as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Retailer Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication.