Ripoff Warning Feb. 15, 2011

Barnes & Noble Survival Kit

I was at B&N this evening, looking at the discount shelf.  Mixed in with the macrame and sushi kits, I found this "US Army Survival Pack."
All the kits on the shelf had ripped boxes, I suppose accounting for the discount status.  The marked down price was $19.99.  I don't know, but I'd guess $29.99 at full price.  It has a hand warmer, space blanket, waterproof matches, match container/whistle combo, compass, pouch (looked like a GI first aid kit pouch), canteen and cover.  It also included the US Army Survival Manual (FM 21-76).  All of it made in the People's Republic of China.  So, is it a good deal?  I don't think so.

Let's take it piece by piece...

FM 21-76, US Army Survival Manual Simply click on the link to download it as a free .pdf from my buddy Rourke over at ModernSurvivalOnline.  If you must have it as a printed manual, it is all over the Internet in the $5-6 range.

Hand Warmers 80 of them through Amazon for $22.95, so that's about 29 cents apiece and they are Hot Hands, name brand

Space Blanket 4 of them through Amazon for $2.13 - about 53 cents each

Lifeboat Matches 2 packs for $13.46 on Amazon (each pack is about twice as many as the B&N pack and are the NATO issue) - $3.37 for an equal amount,

Match Case/Whistle/Compass Amazon has it for $6.71

F/A Kit Pouch Our sponsor, Survival Gear Bags, has a MOLLE gear F/A pouch in the new digital camouflage for only $10.  If you really want the same style as the B&N pack, you can find a genuine GI one at a gun show or surplus store for about $2

Canteen & Cover Survival Gear Bags has a 2qt. bladder canteen with a MOLLE digital camouflage set for $15 ($4 & $11 respectively).  If you want a genuine GI 1 qt and cover, and don't mind used (if you were in the service, you didn't get a new one in your issue, and someone else got yours after you turned it back in), keep your eyes out at yard sales and gun shows and it's easy to find one for $2-3 for the set.

So, with a little shopping around, you can find all of these items for about $15 or even less.  And it will be better quality that what B&N sells. 


  1. Just another example of stuff for the "heat and eat" generation. A little work and a little less money and its better than store bought. I bought a nice little multi purpose pouch at HSO the other day. I am taking your EDC pouch to a different level. as I carry a day pack style bag with all my work needs daily. The EDC will have a few extra items as I don't have to carry it on my belt. If you would like i will send a pic and some notes when it is complete.

  2. The only advantage to the B&N kit is that some of the sheeple will get it and have SOMETHING if they run into trouble.


  3. ROBO - I have not been to HSO for years. Thanks for reminding me of them. I need to visit and poke around. Yes, please send me pics and notes. If you want to, write up a guest posting about it and I'll put the whole thing up.

    Steelheart - I did like their packaging of the kit and thought it might make a decent intro kit for a young teen. You're right, something is better than nothing.


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