Coghlan’s Survival Kit-in-a-Can is a quirky product. It is a fun gift, a tin of trinkets and outdoors doodads that pour forth out of a type of vessel most often associated with sardines. Inside, there are “38 essential items for warmth, shelter, and energy in life-threatening situations.”
Indeed, in the tight space of the can you find a tiny compass, fire starters, utility wire, waterproof matches, fishing line, hooks, a needle, duct tape, a signal mirror, a whistle, and other items to help keep you safe in a worst-case wilderness scenario. Strangely, there’s also chewing gum and a single piece of hard candy.
The company (www.coghlans.com) touts the $13 tin of goodies as a serious tool for surviving in the wilderness in a worst case scenario. Just one problem: I peeled open a test tin last night, took out one of the most important items in there — the emergency whistle — and tested it out.
The result? Product failure.
While the whistle emitted a squeak, it did not register any shrill alert beyond a few decibels. It misfired, piffling almost no noise, and, theoretically, leaving a hapless hiker with two broken legs still stranded in the Sequoia Wilderness overnight and without rescue.
That’s a worst case scenario. But it could happen. My advice: if Coghlan’s is going to market the Survival Kit-in-a-Can as a true survival product — which it does — the company should look into better components. It’s irresponsible to skim with cheap products when customers plan to use them ostensibly in scenarios of life or death.