The survival gear industry has come a long way in the past five years, especially in the realm of emergency kits and bug-out bags.
While I like assembling my own kits, there are times when you may want to simply purchase a ready-to-go bag knowing you have everything to take care of your needs for the next three days while weathering out an unexpected crisis. That’s where a quality survival pack like the one from NitroPak comes in. I have tried out some of the company’s gear on field courses over the years and have always been pleased with its attention to detail and the fact that it has above-average items in its lineup. The new USP (Urban Survival-Pak) Level 2 Kit shows the same well planned assemblage of critical items for handling a wilderness or urban survival situation.
I tell my students that a survival kit should contain items that are multipurpose and handle the “big five priorities” of shelter, water, fire, first aid and communication. Having tested numerous survival packs, I find that most kits fall short, with either not enough pertinent gear to handle these priorities or containing untested, generic items. As I went through each piece of the USP kit, I could see that Nitro-Pak had taken great strides to make a high-end kit that contained above-average survival gear for an extended crisis.
All of the items come in a ballistic nylon backpack from Voodoo Tactical. The pack has four compartments that easily contain all of the enclosed survival gear while leaving room for a few layers of clothing or extra food. On my trial hike, I was able to fit in a fleece jacket, hat and two liters of water in addition to all of the provided items.
Water purification is addressed with two methods: an Aquamira water bottle with built-in filter and 10 Micropur water purification tablets. Redundancy with water purification gear is something I recommend to my survival students and I was pleasantly surprised to see this demonstrated in the pack contents. On a related note, the kit also comes with a small Esbit collapsible stove and fuel tablets that can be used for boiling water in the stainless-steel cup that is included.
The medical kit is basic but covers the essentials. I would augment this with additional ibuprofen and Benadryl along with two to three pairs of extra nitrile gloves. For food and water, there are six Datrex water packets and nine Millenium Energy Bars. The latter pack 400 calories in each bar and, unlike most survival rations, don’t taste like powdered chalk but have a pleasant flavor instead. The bars don’t provoke thirst and have a considerable shelf life in both hot and cold weather.
As far as tools, the pack came with a Gerber Suspension multi-tool and a McNett tactical knife. The former is about all you need in a multi-tool and can take a beating. As I am a knife guy, I would prefer something a little heftier than the McNett knife, but I understand the reasoning for including this particular blade with its combination of serrated and plain edges.
Defensive items include a 3-ounce pepper spray canister, tactical pen, heavy-duty pry bar and battery-operated door alarm. The company website indicated that some of these items will vary depending on what state you reside in.
Following the old advice that two is one and one is none with critical gear, the pack comes with an LED headlamp and an LED flashlight. I would replace the batteries with lithium batteries for a longer life. A palm-sized AM/FM radio is also included, which is something you don’t see in most survival packs and a handy means for picking up local intel during a crisis.
As with any survival pack, I would augment this gear with some of your favorite comfort foods along with maps of your region and pertinent contact information to truly tailor it to your specific needs.
If you are looking for a comprehensive kit to handle an extended survival situation, a roadside emergency or an imminent zombie uprising, then the USP Level 2 Kit provides a good foundation in taking care of the basic priorities with quality, field-tested gear.
PRODUCT: USP LEVEL 2 KIT (item #5810)
Backpack: This is a ballistic nylon, mil-spec tactical backpack with fully adjustable padded shoulder straps. Features multiple compartments designed to keep all your gear protected and organized. Also comes with a removable hook-and-loop USP logo and American flag patch.
Gerber Suspension Multi-Tool: No lightweight toy here; this is the real deal, not a cheap knock-off! Includes patented Saf.T.Plus locking blade system and ballistic nylon protective sheath.
- Spring-loaded, needle-nose pliers
- Fine-edge knife blade
- Serrated-edge knife blade
- Rough-cut saw blade
- Wirecutter – Scissors
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Small and medium flat-blade screwdriver
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
Personal Protection/Defense Gear:
- Police 3-ounce pepper spray
- Firemaster top with 15-foot reach (may be substituted with McNett Samish Tactical Knife in states not allowing pepper gas)
- Swimming goggles (tear gas eye protection)
- Three 3M-brand Flat-Fold N95 Respirators (dust, disease and tear gas protection)
- Two Sudecon tear gas decontamination wipes
- Dead On Tools Exhumer multi-function “tool” (defense, window breaker, door “opener”)
- Tactical spiked kubaton self-defense tool with writing pen and pocket clip
- Self-defense, powerpunch, key-holder tool
- One pair of black nylon covert, rubberized gloves
- Covert, black, sixway-wearing balaclava/cap
- Personal alarm and door alarm attachment with five-year shelf life and 9v battery
- Two handcuff keys (standard and covert)
- Six heavy-duty, black, 16-inch zip ties
- Rear-viewing covert “sunglasses”
- 100 feet of trip wire
- Two single-sided razor blades
- Soft-foam ear plugs (one pair)
Water and Food:
- McNett Tactical Aquamira water filter bottle
- Six 4.2-ounce Datrex Emergency Survival Water Pouches with five-year shelf life
- 10 Micropur water purification tablets
- 0.5-liter water container
- Nine 400-calorie, five-year shelf-life Millennium emergency food bars
- Two rolls of Life Savers hard candy
- Three Emergen-C drink mix packets
- Three herbal tea bags
- U.S. Military medic wound bandage
- Six Germ-X antibacterial sanitizing towelettes
- Three antiseptic wipes
- Two ibuprofen tablets (200 mg)
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- After Bite insect sting relief wipe
- Two fabric knuckle bandages
- Tincture of benzoin swab
- Four fabric adhesive bandages
- Two safety pins
- Two butterfly bandages
- Sterile gauze dressing (2×2)
- Three insect-repellent wipes
- Splinter picker/tick remover
- Keychain pill-container
- Nitrile gloves
- Wound closure strips (10-pack)
- Storm Whistle
- Two 6-foot folded duct tape
- HD nylon poncho
- SOL emergency blanket
- Emergency sleeping bag
- Dental floss (multiuses, including trip alarm)
- Black vinyl (electrical) tape
- Map compass
Light, Heat and Cooking:
- Energizer headlamp
- High-power LED flashlight
- Two 12-hour light sticks
- Red flashlight plastic film with two rubber bands (for nighttime covert use)
- Six eight-hour hand warmers
- Scripto butane lighter
- Three tub candles
- Stainless-steel cooking/drinking cup
- Esbit Star stove
- Three Esbit fuel tabs
- Storm matches
- Waterproof matches
- P-51 can opener
- Coby compact AM/FM radio with three AAA, 10-year SL batteries
- SOL signal mirror
- Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook
- Writing pencil
- Sharpie marker
- Ballpoint pen
- 12 wet wipe alcohol towelettes (good fire starters, too)
- Three rolls compact toilet tissue
- Black trash bag
- Facial tissue
- Super soap tube
- Playing cards
- 50 feet of 550 parachute cord
- Sewing kit
- Plastic shovel
- Tyvek envelope (for cash and local map)
- Lip balm
- Re-closable plastic bag (9×12)
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2014 print issue of American Survival Guide.