Sorry for the delay, I was (and still am) out of town and barely able to keep up with my day job <g>. Your IR is very, very nice! The HTML looks good.
Other than three tiny edits, you are good to go. Remember to delete your test file.
EDIT: Jerry has been vocal about not using large amounts of text directly from the manufacturer. You did such a great job of describing, in your own words the product's separate components below that I can't tell you to put the description in you own words. It would be best to just delete the quoted section and maybe just use "bullets" to list the included items.
In fact, WetFireT tinder burns longer when its WET!
EDIT: Change to "it's" with the apostrophe to denote a contraction - "it is"
The Wetfire tinder cubes are a white, wax looking material.
EDIT: Should be "WetFire".
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 8:31 PM
Subject: [backpackgeartesters] IR - UST - BASE Kit. - Shawn Wakefield
I got the IR done over the weekend. The fire starter broke, so I have contact CS about a replacement. This is noted in the report.
Ultimate Survival Technologies BASE Kit
Test Series by Shawn Wakefield
Initial Report: November 28, 2009
Name: Shawn Wakefield
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email: shawn AT wakefieldsoft DOT com
City, State, Country: Tishomingo, Oklahoma, United States
Backpacking Background: I started camping and backpacking about 25 years ago as a teenager in the Boy Scouts. I am enjoying backpacking again, and I really like going lightweight now and covering a lot of miles. My wife and I take frequent backpacking trips together, and our kids (all under 13) go occasionally. We like to hike in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas for short trips, but enjoy Wyoming and Colorado for longer trips. My current pack averages 16 lb (7.3 kg) including water and three days' food.
INITIAL REPORT: November 28, 2009
Manufacturer: Ultimate Survival Technologies
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Listed weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Weight as delivered: 2.7 oz (76 g)
MSRP: Not Listed
This product is a basic survival type kit including a fire starting device, two fire starting tenders, a signaling mirror, and a loud whistle. All of these, including an instruction sheet, fit into the included ALOKSAK for easy storage. I will include below the descriptions of the items, exactly as described on the UST website:
SparkieT Fire Starter: This lightweight emergency fire starter boasts one-handed operation! It generates intensely hot sparks and works in any weather. SparkieT weighs only 0.8 of an ounce.
WetFireT Tinder (2 cube): You will love this amazing fire starting tinder. It is non-toxic, odorless, and virtually smokeless. You can start a fire even in the driving rain. In fact, WetFireT tinder burns longer when its WET! A small pile of tinder shavings is all you need to start a roaring fire.
StarFlash® Signal Mirror: This signal mirror is unbreakable, can be aimed precisely, floats and can signal for communications up to 100 miles away. You can use it hiking, camping, or backpacking for communication or signaling, or to apply first aid or camouflage. StarFlash® was chosen as the premier signal mirror of the U.S. Air Force and other government agencies 10 years ago.
JetScreamT Whistle: This whistle is one of the loudest in the world, any louder and it would cause physical pain, literally. You can hear JetScream'sT amazing 122Db ear-piercing shriek, above most natural or man-made noises. It is equivalent to the sound of a rock concert or a jet at take off. You can use JetScreamT in the city or woods for communication and personal protection.
Waterproof Storage Bag: This lightweight bag is waterproof to 200 feet!
In researching this product, I was impressed with the UST website. It had a lot of information on each item in the package. Since items in the kit could be removed and carried separately, I will work through my impression of each one:
Fire starter: This item appears to be a flint and steel type fire starter, all combined into a package to allow one handed operation. The flint cylinder is spring loaded, and stores inside the handle. Squeezing the end of the starter releases the internal latch holding the flint. The fire starter alone weighs 26 g (0.92 oz). By squeezing the end of the starter with the flint released, a metal edge is pressed against the flint. By placing the end of the extended part against the ground or another surface and pushing the handle of the starter down, it causes the metal to scrape across the flint and produces sparks. More information on this in action is below.
Tinder cubes: The kit came with two tender cubes, each individually packaged in a grey plastic wrapper. The cubes are white, and can be broken or cut apart. Each cube in its package weighs 5 g (0.18 oz). The tinder cubes are listed as non-toxic, non-petroleum based, smokeless, and are not supposed to leave any residue when burning. However, no information about the ingredients is available. The website lists this as a trade secret. UST did send an extra package of 8 tinders for testing. This was very nice, as trying to test with only 2 tinders might be difficult.
Signal mirror: The signal mirror was in its own small plastic bag. I assume this would help to prevent the mirror from being scratched while stored or carried. The mirror weighs 22 g (0.78 oz), and is 2 x 3 in (5.1 x 7.6 cm). The website says that the mirror will float. It has a star shaped hole in the center to look through, and it made of two layers of plastic. There is a small hole drilled in one corner, perhaps to carry it on a cord. There are instructions on how to use the mirror printed on the back. I thought that this was a good idea, so that the instructions would always be on the mirror for reference.
Whistle: The whistle is a black plastic whistle with a short black cord attached to one end. The whistle and cord weigh 10 g (0.35 oz). The body of the whistle is 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long and 1.3 in (3.3 cm) wide.
Instructions: The kit does include a paper instruction sheet that is 6 x 8 in (15 x 20 cm) and weighs 2 g (0.07 oz). It gives well detailed instructions on how to use the tinder, whistle, fire starter, and mirror. It folds up and can be stored in the plastic bag.
Storage bag: The kit comes in a 5 x 4 in (13 x 10 cm) ALOKSAK storage bag (internal dimensions given). The bag is supposed to be waterproof to 200 feet (61 m) under water. All of the items fit neatly into the bag for storage or transport.
The Sparkie Fire Starter broke after less than ten test uses at home trying it out. The plastic end of the spring loaded part holding the flint cylinder broke off when squeezing it to release the mechanism. I sent an email late Friday, November 27th, but they will probably not see the email until Monday. I am contacting them as if I had received it as a gift to see what they say. I am able to manually release the flint extension to try it out initially. I was able to ignite the following: alcohol stove with denatured alcohol, dryer lint, and Wetfire tinder shavings with one or two strokes of the fire starter. I tested this inside my wood stove at room temperature, dry, with no wind. More extensive testing will be done in the field. The picture shows the small plastic part that broke off during my initial testing.
The Wetfire tinder cubes are a white, wax looking material. It is roughly in the shape of a cube, and shavings can easily be cut off with a small pocket knife. They do not feel dense, are slick feeling on the surface, and have very little odor out of the package. I cut off a few small shavings into a pile and was able to light them with two tries of the Sparkie fire starter. They burned fairly slowly.
The signal mirror could not be initially tested due to the outside weather conditions. It is plastic, and has a very clear reflection. It could be used to inspect my face or eyes, perhaps in case of an injury or something in my eye. The mirror is flat, not curved, and I was able to reflect light from my overhead light fixture onto the wall. I also put it into water, and it does float as advertised.
The whistle was tested outside, and it was very loud. My ears were ringing slightly after blowing it several times. The cord allows the whistle to be attached to a pack strap, and the plastic grip on the whistle cord should allow it to be handled more easily while wearing gloves.
The plastic storage bag will hold all of the items in the kit. It is mostly clear, with some printing near the bottom. The top portion of the bag is dark blue where the closing strip is located. I did fill the bag with water to verify that it is leak proof. I also put considerable pressure on the bag while it was layout flat, full of water, and the seal did not pop open nor did it leak at the seal or at any seam.
1. Tinder works well
2. Whistle is very loud
3. Lightweight kit
1. Broken fire starter
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.
Thanks to Ultimate Survival Technologies and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
- Shawn Wakefield
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