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Sustain Review by Prepper Ralph

Survival kits come in many sizes and shapes with several companies offering various types. One thing many of them have in common is the use of the simple “snap light” or “glow stick”. Well, the folks over at Cyalume Technologies not only manufacture “snap lights”, they also make a 72-hour survival kit for those that may go into harm’s way. They just so happen to be the owners of “Sustain Supply Co”, a division that promotes self reliance and sustainability.

I was offered a gear review by a friend when I was browsing Facebook one day. He’s in several groups I am in and we kind of follow some of the same things. He’s a prepper like my wife and I are and is full of good information. He posted one day about needing to have a product review made and so a few weeks later, I received my box!

Glad to see this kit is assembled in the USA!

The box was rather large and needed to be so that it would accommodate a full sized backpack. Inside the box, there was packing paper, the bag wrapped in plastic for protection, and more packing paper. There was also a form that listed the contents.

Of course, the time came to head out and start the field review. In my area of the Carolinas, there are many parks and recreational areas that offer trails, hiking, dirt roads and primitive camping. One of my favorites is Kings Mountain State Park in the northwest corner of York County in SC. The park was created on the site of an American Revolutionary War Battle that took place between the British Army and the fabled “Over the Mountain Boys” who carried some of the earliest black powder rifles. Today there is a monument to the battle, living history farm, camping, hiking, and equestrian sites.

I pulled up to an area that is reserved for primitive camping. The sites feature a fire ring with a grill as well as a picnic table. Everything else is up to you including bathroom amenities and water.

The bag is decent quality. I liken it similar to some of the light duty camping or hiking bags you may get from a big box retailer. AKA good enough for what needs to be done. After all, this isn’t a kit you will be rucking in or carrying a laptop and textbooks every day with. This is meant to be bought, stored, and opened when needed. To that, I can say that it would exceed those basic needs. It is decently comfortable, has compression straps, an expanding zippered area that will actually make the bag more voluminous in the main compartment, and a sternum strap. It is, unfortunately, missing a hip belt. (Since this review the New Sustain Bags have padded hip straps.)

I think the biggest question folks might have is about the water. What does it taste like? Well, it tastes like water should. It’s a Coast Guard approved item that honestly tastes like water should. They are shelf stable for 5 years per Datrex specs on their website. HERE IS A LINK. The best part is that they are 8 oz individual packets that would be great to use for reconstituting your Mountain House meals which are included.

You get 12 servings of food contained in 4 pouches. My particular kit came supplied with 2 “macaroni and cheese” and 2 “chicken and rice” from Mountain House. Would these truly be 6 servings? Not if you are looking at caloric expenditure vs intake… But they will allow you to make it to safety within a few days with a tasty alternative to breakfast bars or emergency rations.

One of the mainstays in any survival kit is the ability to cleanse and use water. Cyalume provides a Sawyer Mini water filtration kit. These kits are HIGHLY recommended by me and just about every other hardcore prepper. They are better than the Lifestraw in my opinion and have features that most filters do not come with. These typically sell for $20 alone in stores.

The Mora… Is there more to say? Though this blade is one of the most popular camping knives IN THE WORLD, this was my first real experience using it. So what did I do with it? I batoned 2″ pine limbs, feather sticks, and tried using the blade to strike the included ferro rod that came in the kit. Overall, I was happy to see a real knife that is quality made. I do wish that they had included a full tang knife, but Mora’s version is near $100. I would rather this one than anything produced in China.

Cyalume Technologies in my experience is best known for their snaplight technology. They have dozens of uses from signaling to illuminating a campsite. My kit included 4 of them that are green. That’s my personal favorite.

The lantern was definitely different. It’s LED and battery powered. You just pull the top from the base and it slides apart to reveal the LEDs. They come on automatically and will shut off when the lantern is pushed back together. It does a decent job of lighting up a bedroom or your immediate area. The flashlight was also battery powered and LED, but did fail to impress.

The first aid kit is simple, and in my opinion, is best reserved for scratches and other “boo-boos” as children would say.

Also included is a packet of bath wipes, 2 emergency blankets, 2 whistles, as well as 2 packets of Instafire Tinder.

The stove and cookware did impress me. Included was a stainless steel camping style stove. It works just like an Emberlite which I’ve always wanted. Very lightweight and easy to assemble, I had to test it out. Using just ground litter, I was able to produce a very hot fire and with the design of the stove, will funnel the heat and flames to the bottom of your pot and cup that’s included making boiling water and simmering a stew very quick. The main pot is graduated making measuring water intake and usage very simple. There is also a pair of collapsible bowls for eating as well as a spoon/fork/knife combo. These are a polymer and are slightly flexible, but tough. I once had a “Light My Fire” branded version and this feels like the same quality.

The stove cools quickly and pops apart as quickly as it is assembled.

Overall, I found the kit to be of good quality and usefulness. This kit is perfect for the beginning prepper or for the person seeking that something extra to keep just in case. All survival kits are suited to the individual user so this one is meant to be added to. I would add things like a compass, maps, bundle of 550 cord and some other odds and ends.