Friday, May 1, 2015

Wazoo Mountaineer Survival Bracelet: 3 Day Testing Trip- Part 1

I recently received a Wazoo Mountaineer Survival Bracelet to evaluate and decided I would put it to the test in an actual "survival" situation. So I decided to take it with me on a the opening three days of turkey season as my only survival tools (I did add Aluminum Foil, a clear plastic bag, fixed blade knife and some jute twine but most I did not use). While I have got by with much less for basic survival needs (i.e. a fixed blade knife and the clothes on my back) I thought this little boost in kit would be a fun way to determine how well this bracelet performs when put to the test. This will be a a multi-part article the first consisting of an overview of the kit contents and the 2nd testing the integrated ferro rod and striker. Subsequent videos will dig into the wire saw, shelter, and other survival tasks accomplished using the equipment within the bracelet. Below are the first two videos in this series 1) Contents and tear down of the bracelet and 2) First aid tinder burn time and fire starting.
Wazoo Mountaineer Survival Bracelet Video:

First Aid Fire Tinder Burn Time & Fire Starting Testing Video:

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Review In Pictures:
1) Here is the bracelet in its packaging from the factory, it is a good ascetic package.
2) The reverse describes the contents of the bracelet in detail.
3) Interior Describes various suggested uses for each material within the survival bracelet. The contents include: paracord, ferro rod buckle, ceramic striker, three ranger bands, two first aid tinder packs, surgical tubing, 30' spider wire fishing line, two fish hooks, magnetized needle, whistle, mirror, retro reflector and a straw.
4) Close up of the bracelet out of the package prior to use.
5) Survival bracelet in place on my wrist. I wore it for almost three weeks before conducting this test as I wanted to get a feel for how it did with metal detectors, functioning with my clothing and just general feel on my wrist. I received the XL version but if I had to choose again I would probably go with the large as it was a little loose on my wrist and I prefer a tighter fit, but even with the looser fitting bracelet it was never a hindrance and was quite comfortable to wear. I did have to adjust ranger bands a few times a day to keep the first aid tinder covered (I later realized they were basically glued in place and that I didn't need to be as worried about the adjustments). The larger clasp doesn't create any problems or leave you with any discomfort just be sure to keep the striker covered with a ranger band as that is the only piece of the kit that can cause any issues for you.

6) Take-down: This process is a bit of a bear. I was out in 28 degree weather which isn't bad for my area but it made a difficult task even more difficult. To get the bracelet apart you have to take the ranger bands off and under one side there will be two exposed ends to the surgical tubing and the other will have two ends of paracord tucked into the buckle. To get those two pieces of paracord out from under the buckle it took nearly 15 minutes of prying with my BHK Short Trail to get the strands loose. Once the two strands became loose I was able to get the bracelet dissembled in less than two minutes.
First Aid Tinder Testing:
7) Burn Time: The advertized burn time is 30 seconds but my test in the video above yielded a burn time of over one minute. While the intensity isn't as good as some other commercial fire starters on the market it is the smallest one I have tested and the only one which would fit on a survival bracelet other than jute twine which is more of a flash tinder.
8) This fire starter works best when paired with a tinder bundle as the burn time and intensity is not long enough to ignite wet smalls. Pair it with a good or even marginal tinder bundle and you will most likely have great success with this fire tinder. I processed it several times buy ripping it up to expose more fibrous inner material to easily catch a spark. 
9) Within a few minutes you will should have a sustainable fire even with a moist to wet fire lay. I was quite impressed by the little fire starter due to its small package but a burn time greater than some commercial products which are much larger. With two fire starters at your finger tips you should never be without fire.
The Wazoo Mountaineer Survival Bracelet has an excellent form and fit for everyday use. If you need to implement the cordage or any of the interior components of the bracelet it becomes a difficult and somewhat tedious task (at least with this particular bracelet as I only worked with one bracelet). When paired with some type of container and a fixed blade knife you have a significant amount of survival items at your disposal. If I had it to do over again I would probably select the Adventure Bracelet as it includes the following extra equipment: compass, split shots, safety pins and a handcuff key. Ideally the kit would also include at least some aluminum foil and possibly a clear produce bag (Possibly mark the fill line to use with water purification tablets) could be rolled into the kit as well. Add a clam shell container to the outside of the container and you could add a few water purification tablets to have a very rounded kit.  I believe the addition of at least aluminum foil is essential for purifying water in the field and that is one of the most critical tasks you have to survival. Sure you can try to find some bamboo or burn out a container in a log but those things take time and you may or may not have hours or a few days tied up in those tasks. So without touching on those items that I will cover in the next part of this article here are my closing thoughts on the Wazoo Mountaineer Survival Bracelet: 1) Form & Fit are excellent, it is not so large to be bothersome but still big enough to include a decent amount of kit; 2) the ferro rod/scraper combination work well for lighting natural and man-made tinder; 3) the content list is sufficient for survival so long as you couple it with a container and a cutting tool; 4) all of the contents are of high quality and work quite well for the application intended; and 5) adding this kit in addition to a key chain kit you will always have a minimalist type survival kit on your person even in those places which would exclude Altoids style tins (airplanes and building with anti-knife policies). So if you have the $77-$89 to spend on a piece of wearable survival gear I would recommend this product to you, if not they have several DIY options you can purchase and build your own survival bracelet.

Have something outdoor/bushcraft/trapping/preparedness/hiking/camping/fishing/hunting related you want me to make a post about? Leave me a comment and I will see what I can do! As always feel free to leave your questions and comment below! Also if you enjoy the blog please vote for us on the following websites to help us reach a wider audience:
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