Ever since our daughter was born I've clung to the idea that I need to be prepared for the unknowable. Sure, when I was a single woman following the horrific events of September 11 I went so far as to create a phone tree list to track family and friends in a potential emergency and I started stockpiling water (more on that to come) but other than doing those things I didn't think beyond what might happen and how I might need to be prepared to protect myself. Enter motherhood. Now I have a visceral need to protect my daughter at a moment's notice from everything and anything no matter how inconsequential or menacing. So when The Parent Bloggers asked for volunteers (and their spouses/significant others) to review the Sequoia Survival Vehicle Kit, I knew this overly cautious mommy just had to check it out.
I asked my husband (who is the complete opposite of me when it comes to emergency preparedness...and when it comes to just about anything else, come to think of it) to review the kit with me and his "astute" take on it is below. I must warn you that he's taken a few liberties where descriptions of me are concerned so be sure to read it with a grain of salt. I mean, there's no way I'm as neurotic as he makes me out to be. Ahem. And he's certainly got his share of faults. Although I do admit to having trouble finding them sometimes. As it turns out, he's pretty great and I'm pretty lucky. But enough about that. On with the review!
As for my take on the kit, my first impression when it arrived in a huge box was that it would be too big to fit even in my sizable SUV. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when upon open opening it I realized it was packed in a large box but the kit itself was perfectly compact and would easily fit in my car (it's even much smaller than it appears in the photo on this page of the Sequoia web site).
As I unpacked the kit I saw nearly everything we'd possibly need in the event of an emergency: water, food, an awesome hand-crank flashlight that also serves as a radio and cell phone charger, first aid kit, waterproof and windproof matches, gloves, blankets, rope, rain ponchos and much more (for a complete list of what the kit includes visit this page).
This kit contains just about everything I need--and in one handy, compact place--to ease my
neurotic concerned mind. What I would have liked to have seen in the kit (or had the option to purchase separately on the web site) were things that parents of young children can't live without: diapers, wipes, kid-friendly snacks, ziplock bags for containing dirty diapers, and even a few kid's books or coloring books and crayons. God forbid our family is ever stranded in a dire situation but if we were the last thing we'd need would be a bored, hungry toddler, stewing in a dirty diaper. That, my friends, is a true emergency situation. Yes, these family-friendly items are things that I could easily amass and throw into our car in a separate care package but the ability to purchase them on the site at the same time as the vehicle kit would save this busy parent even more valuable time.
I am married to the world's most neurotic woman. Each time we go to Sam's Club, we have to buy another six gallons of water, enough Ramen to feed a college campus, and yet another box of energy bars. The water sits in the garage, exposed to grueling southern Texas summer heat. It leaks, it stinks, and it ruins everything around it. But, by God, when the terrorists come at least we'll have rancid water for the entire neighborhood.
When my wife asked me to help her review the Sequoia Survival Vehicle Kit, I agreed but was pretty cynical about the concept. My idea of a Vehicle Survival Kit is a 24oz cup of coffee and a week-old piece of beef jerky hiding under the seat. Given my sweet wife's multiple neuroses, I was sure she'd quickly be quite enamored with the Vehicle Survival Kit. I expected the kit to be a laughable excuse for something useful. She's given you an overview about nearly everything it includes, but here's my quick take on some of its highlights:
- A first aid kit. Surprisingly, this is nice little first aid kit. I expected something cheesy. This is a handy item and should probably be in every parent's car.
- Work gloves. Very handy to have in your car.
- A very cool little multi-tool. You'll not get much done in the Serengeti with this like the Survivorman does, but it's cool and surprisingly well-built.
- A couple of lightsticks. When my wife saw these her eyes lit up. She thought they were emergency lipsticks.
- 50' of ¼" nylon rope, a cheap ink pen, and a small little notepad. While not labeled as such, near as I can tell, these items are included should you be so desperately lost that your only recourse is to prepare to meet your maker.
- A pack of matches, a blanket, and a deck of cards. I'm sure these are included so that, if you're lucky enough to be stranded with someone moderately attractive, you can play strip poker in the dark until you get rescued. Or until you need the rope, the pen, and the notepad.
- Two hand warmers. As I mentioned we live in south Texas. These, I think, will only be used after the strip poker to keep us from feeling each other up with chilly hands. Remember, too, that if the hand warmers don't work, you can take turns wearing the gloves.
Overall, I was surprised with the both the quality of bag in which the kit is packed and the quality of the most of the contents. A little Price-Is-Right math tells me that the sum of the kit, purchased separately, would probably cost as much as the kit (which retails for $99). So, it doesn't appear to be overpriced by much, if at all. In fact, if you need a combination first aid kit, a Kervorkian kit, and pre-sex interlude kit, the package is a great deal. (For the latter, you might also want to carry an emergency bottle of Chardonnay around.) Me? I'm gonna sneak the multi-tool out of the kit when my wife isn't looking and otherwise stick with the coffee and beef jerky.