I recently ran across Gear Pods in an article on ITS Tactical. After seeing the pro and looking over their website, I decided they might be worth checking out, especially for specific applications where you want a durable kit that won't take up a ton of room. I'll talk about that more in a later post.
The idea behind Gear Pods is simple - ram as much needed survival equipment into a small, durable tube. What options you decide to go with will vary largely on what you plan to do and where you will keep the tube. They have varying sizes of interlocking tubes, many of them already configured for use. I opted to get their Survival Pro as the base, having read about their small but powerful stove. I added to that their Bivy for a simple shelter option. I then chose to tie it all together using an interlocking ring, which you can buy separate from the core kits. Here's what it all looks like just out of the tube.
Everything fits pretty snug into it's container, though there is a little space in the bivy one I might fit a tiny Altoid can into. I'll fill it with spare meds like Advil and Claritan. Otherwise, not a lot of space is left unused. You can see why here.
Let's break it down a bit more. The bivy fits in the small container. It's the emergency model from American Medical, not a multi use option, but good in a pinch. The sack it comes in might prove useful as well. Not much excitement here, and something I hope never to need. Still, a body-sized waterproof and thermal bag isn't a bad thing to have.
There's a lot more to ogle in the Pro itself. There are 2 major divisions here; the items in the stove, an those in the mug. We'll start with the stove.
Gear Pods is apparently fond of stuff sacks, and I'm OK with that. The stove fits neatly into one and helps keep everything in place when you take it out, so you don't dump all your valuable survival gear (value on such inexpensive things going up considerable when you need them) all over the ground. The obvious item in the bag is the stove itself. Small, compact, but sturdy enough to get the job done. I haven't tested it yet, but it's a heat tablet stove, so no great mysteries to be found. Gear Pods does offer a denatured alcohol adapter, but for an emergency stove that seems above and beyond for me. If I were to use it for backpacking I might feel differently.
The stove itself holds the heat tablets for cooking, some emergency tinder (great stuff, used it before), emergency whistle, compass, thread/fishing line, snare wire, nylon cord, and an LED keychain light. The quality on most of these items seems solid overall. Yes, the keychain LED light is limited in what it puts out and the nylon cord is far less useful than paracord, but all good items to have around. I've seen much cheaper in kits. I'd say it's all on par with those items found in any of the kits American Medical puts out, and I mean that in a good way.
Now, onto the mug...
I'm pretty impressed by the mug itself. The construction is solid and includes a strip of (I assume) kevlar around the top to grab the mug when it's hot. The bottom of the mug is somewhat concave which slightly limits its storage space, but will aid in cooking. The capacity with the lid is just over 9oz, so not enough to make many freeze dried meals. You could move half of my meal into the storage bag or a tube and cook it in stages with little problem
This is also where the bulk of the supplies are stored, and there's some good stuff here. Outside the mug and it's lid, everything is wrapped up in the windscreen enclosed in plastic to protect the mug's non-stick coating. "Everything" includes: a pencil and some sheets of paper; a signal mirror;fresnel lens; plastic bag for water; storm matches with striker; folding knife; folding saw; 6 water-purifying tablets; a vial with a needle, fishing supplies, and safety pins; duct tape; and a flint striker. All this is a little tough to pack into the mug and you need to do it fairly specifically with the pencil in the center, but it does all fit.
While there might be a fey items I would add, there really isn't anything I would take out to make room. Together it makes for a pretty sweet kit, and the tubes themselves are valuable for protecting the goods inside and transporting and/or treating water. I do plan to try out the stove and report back on how it works, but this is going immediately into the side case of my motorcycle, in the hopes I never need it!