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#251332 - 10/02/12 12:58 AM Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review
W4XEN Offline

Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Colorado Springs
Greetings everybody. I'm just going to give a quick review on a piece of gear I tested lately. This wasn't under actual survival circumstances, but given then simplicity of the experiment, it may as well have been. I give you the Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring:

The key fob (which is a better description) is sold at REI and I bought an orange one. I carried it around but thought since it's wrapped in 550 cord, never to be reconstituted if opened, I figured I'd like a little confidence in a piece of survival gear I toted with me pretty much any time I had my keys. So I opened it up and said if it's worth it, I'll drop another $15.00.

Before we unwrap the 550, let me just say that the fob itself is light and doesn't add too much (but some) to a key ring w/ keys. It's woven pretty good and after about 2 months of carry, it didn't fray open. That's not to say it won't ever. It just didn't on me. It is designed to open with only the hands.

And now, the inner contents (lighter not included, for comparison only):

This is how the contents appear directly out of the key fob. The process to open it is not a piece of cake. Unweaving the 550 is easy and produces two lengths (more on that later). The insides are then wrapped, very tightly, in a length (3") of black duct tape. Getting this tape unwound was hard. It's duct tape! Sticky and strong. It also doesn't fare to well wrapping around such a small diameter. You can see the end of it is stuck to itself.

Now, the packaging does give a description as to what's in it so you don't have to open it and find out. I read the contents before I purchased it and concluded that it is nothing more than a fire starter. Yes, I know there are a million uses for duct tape and 550. The 550 is two, 2-foot lengths. The REI website says two 4 ft. lengths. You look at the pic and tell me if it's two 4 ft. lengths (barring gutting the 550). And besides maybe a field bandage, 3 inches of duct tape isn't exactly a lot of duct tape. So for all intents and purposes, I'm calling this a fire starter. Here are the fire starting components minus one 5-inch piece of thin jute twine:

From left to right: ferro rod, "knife sheath", and "knife". The ferro rod produced sparks with the included "knife", so right there, it kinda passed the test. If this were Mythbusters, producing sparks with the included gear would already get this kit a "Plausible". Next I tested it with the included jute twine. Since the twine is not in the picture, you can guess the result. I frayed the super thin piece of jute into about a Quarter sized mess of jute hair. With a couple strikes of the ferro rod, it was ablaze. So does this kit function as a fire starter? Yes, it sure does. But 4 feet TOTAL of 550 and 3 inches of duct tape is better than nothing I suppose.

You probably noticed the black thing between the ferro rod and the knife. That is the knife sheath. It was badly damaged when I was opening the kit. The duct tape was really stuck to that thing and sorta ripped it apart. I'm not sure why there's a knife sheath in this kit. Even in functioning form, it seems like it would simply fall off. At first I thought it was char cloth but was like no, this is vinyl? A question I can answer right now is how sharp the knife is. Sharp enough to cause sparks. It's not sharp enough to shave my arm hair, but with enough pressure, it feels like it could cut. Well, that sums up my review. Hope this helped if you were thinking about getting or not getting this piece of gear.

P.S. Would I buy another one? If I happen to find an extra $15 in my pocket when I'm at REI, I think I would. I rate this a 7/10.

#251333 - 10/02/12 01:26 AM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7307
Loc: southern Cal
If I need a fire in an emergency, there's a good chance I am bordering on hypothermic already. Untangling a fob to get at essential tools seems like an unwelcome task. I would much rather simply flick my Bic, or strike a match.

Although rather ordinary, matches have always worked quite well for me, even in very low temperatures. Before long, I have achieved a roaring fire or a nice loud stove.
Geezer in Chief

#251335 - 10/02/12 01:48 AM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: hikermor]
W4XEN Offline

Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Colorado Springs
I agree with you completely. It would definitely be a hard task in the cold with bare hands. The thought went through my mind as I was prying the duct tape open.

#251336 - 10/02/12 02:04 AM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
UrbanKathy Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 43
Loc: Queens, NYC
I saw this or a knock-off at (I think) goFASTandLIGHT.com a while ago (in black paracord) and was very curious about it. That site gave very little info and I don't think they have it anymore. Now I know exactly what it is. Thanks very much for the post!

Urban camping = one roll of toilet paper in your hotel room

#251368 - 10/02/12 04:05 PM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2442
I think key-fob & zipper pull tools are a great idea...Just not this one.

#251375 - 10/02/12 08:01 PM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
IMO - gimmick to seperate people from their money.
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile


#251381 - 10/03/12 12:47 AM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: ]
leemann Offline
Soylent Green

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 623
Loc: At the soylent green plant.
Agreed will not be buying that.

It's the year 2022...People are still the same
They'll do anything to get what they need.
And they need Soylent Green.

#251395 - 10/03/12 03:02 PM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
Quietly_Learning Offline

Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 164
I thank you for taking the time to review the product.

Your review brought up two very good points:
Always know how to use anything you own.
After testing is the product really useful?

I would not want to tell anyone how to spend their money but your problems opening it call into question it's usefulness, especially in an emergency. I do not think it could be opened if someone was cold and / or injured.

For less then $15 there are a number of small firesteels and strikers that are designed to attach to a key chain.

A homemade solution would be to put a small firesteel into a tube or keychain pill bottle and attach it that way. Wrapping Jute around the firesteel first gives you tinder. Depending on the size of the tube you could wrap duct tape around it as long as you don't hinder opening the tube. The striker can be attached on its own small split ring so it can be pulled off by stepping on the keys and pulling (if you have to remove them one-handed.) Four feet of paracord can be braided into a key fob.

#251396 - 10/03/12 05:25 PM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
UrbanKathy Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 43
Loc: Queens, NYC
You could also probably fit a small blade into a pill job like a Spyderco Bug.

Urban camping = one roll of toilet paper in your hotel room

#251400 - 10/03/12 09:57 PM Re: Bison Design Survival Pod Keyring review [Re: W4XEN]
Andy Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 378
Loc: SE PA
To interested parties one of my favorite vendors (no affiliation, etc.) has 8" paracord bracelets on sale for very limited time (today) for $4.99 with free shipping.

Occasionally these folks have some really good bargains and always good service.


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