Friday, May 16, 2014

Shotgun Shell Survival and Fire Lighting Kits

I am usually not a big fan of prepackaged fire lighting kits, or most survival kits for that matter, but these were just too much fun not to share with you guys. The two kits I will look at in this post are by a small British manufacturer called Polymath Products. Both kits are designed to be contained in a 12 gauge shotgun shell. When I first saw them, I knew I had to have them. Shipping cost from the UK was about $6, the service was prompt and polite.


To be honest, when I first ordered them, I expected something that a guy had put together in his garage. When they arrived however, it became clear that this was a professional business. Great attention was was paid to detail and both kits arrived packaged with good instruction booklets.

Let’s start with the survival kit. It costs about about $15 at current exchange rates, and weight 1.6oz.


Using a 25mm split ring, the kit is attached to 1m (3.3ft) of braided paracord. You can select several colors for the paracord. On the bottom of the shell you have a liquid filled button compass.


By removing the split ring, and pushing on the top of the ferro rod, you can remove the contents of the kit.


There is quite a bit of stuff packed into this small survival kit. The contents include:


  • 1m (3.3ft) Paracord, 550lb
  • Split Ring, 25mm
  • Cartridge
  • Ferrocerium Fire Steel Rod, 6.5mm Ø
  • Liquid-filled Compass (on the outside of the shell)
  • Water Carrier (Condom)
  • Scalpel Blade, #10 (contained in a package with the hooks and swivels)
  • 2x Water Purification Tablet
  • Fire Steel Striker (piece of hacksaw blade)
  • 2x 1m (3.3ft) Brass Snare Wire
  • Glow Stick
  • 8m (26ft) Fishing Line, 6lb
  • 2x Swivel, Size 10
  • Hooks: 2x Size 10, 2x Size 8
  • Sewing Needle
  • 2x Safety Pin

Now, is that what you would want in your survival kit? Probably not. Everyone has different ideas. You can certainly make changes to it though.

Let’s move on to the fire lighting kit. The kit costs almost as much as the survival kit, coming a bit under $15. It weighs 1.4oz.


The fire lighting kit is set up the exact same way as the survival kit, except that to the split ring is attached a striker rather than paracord. Additionally, on the bottom of the shell, instead of a compass, you have a small button thermometer, both in Fahrenheit and Celsius.


The kit opens the same way, but contains much fewer items than the survival kit. In all honesty however, the items are much more practical. The kit contains:


  • Fire Steel, 6.5mm Ø
  • Super Alloy Striker
  • 8x 6cm (2.4in) Tinder Stick (waxed jute twine)
  • 1g Fire Powder vial
  • Cartridge
  • Split Ring, 25mm
  • Liquid-filled Thermometer
  • Mini Glow Stick

Again, some of the items are not what I would have chosen, such as the glow stick and the striker, but the rest of the kit is quite good. I’m a big fan of the waxed jute twine tinder, and there is a good amount of it in the kit. I would probably replace the tinder powder and glow stick with some matches.

Here you can see the kit compared next to a 3in 12 gauge shell. Clearly it is a little longer, probably the size of a 3 1/2 in shell.


Overall, I am very happy with the kits, and I think they are just plain fun. The shells make great containers in case you want to build your own kits and store them in a shell holder on your shotgun.

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