Sunday, August 26, 2012

Car Survival Kits

Car survival kit, shown closed
My sister makes these great survival kits. She spent years in the Peace Corps in far corners of the globe, so she really knows survival. She brings a very disciplined and thorough approach to her kits. Everyone loves them. She makes several versions including the car kit which this post is about.


She has been making these great survival kits for about 10 years now. They come in three sizes that I know of: glovebox, car and home. Since I can't seem to hang onto one of the glovebox kits long enough to do a review, I figured I'd start with the next size up, which is the car kit.

Car Kit

This is the one from my truck, given to me by my sister. The car kit contains a few larger items not found in the glovebox kit, such as emergency blanket, poncho, tarp, bar of soap and 60 feet of rope. This one has an upgraded flashlight, which would make it a $75 kit before shipping.

I also keep a few spare items (not pictured) in my personal kit, such as extra AAA batteries.

"Sub Kits"

Her philosophy behind the kits is that in an emergency, you want everything readily accessible and clearly readable. It's the not the time you want to be fumbling around. So, she has neatly arranged everything and broken some items down to sub-kits.

There's a fix-it kit, a first aid kit and a water purification kit. Each kit is clearly labeled and easy to get to inside the larger kit. There's also a separately packaged eyeglass kit. With the magnifying glass on the eyeglass kit, that makes 3 ways to start a fire.


Car survival kit, shown closed
It comes in a zippered case with a LED carabiner, Sharpie & ballpoint pens clipped to the case

Car survival kit, shown with contents
It's a pretty big kit. I hope I can figure out how to put it all back so it fits in the case!

Car survival kit, shown with contents - alternate view
It's got 60 feet of decent rope, and pictured here is the upgraded flashlight, a Fenix E01

Car survival kit, sub-kits: front
Pictured here, the three "sub-kits", a fix-it kit, first aid and water purify/carry kit

Car survival kit, sub-kits: back
Back view of sub-kits. She really has great attention to detail

Car survival kit whistle, flag, multi-tool, folding knife, Fenix E01 Flashlight, Sharpie, poncho and hand warmers
Tools and flag shown with tarp, poncho, hand warmers and Sharpie pen. This kit has Fenix E01 bomb-proof flashlight

Car survival kit emergency blanket, eyeglass kit, soap and tissues
Eyeglass kit, emergency blanket, bar of soap and pack of tissues

Car Survival Kit: Rope, Light Stick, lotion, condom, bug repellent, post-it notes and towelettes
She's the only one I know who puts condoms in survival kits, but hey, that counts as an emergency, right?

Car Survival Kit: Multi-tool and folding knife
Tools are very high quality for cheap knock-offs. Knife on multi-tool is razor sharp! 

Car Survival Kit: Multi-tool
She only puts decent tools in her kits

Car Survival Kit: Multi-tool and folding knife 2

Car Survival Kit: Manifest, tea lights and matches
Tea lights and book of matches shown with manifest

Car Survival Kit: Manifest
Page one of the kit packing list
Car Survival Kit: Shown in an Otterbox with Fenix LD01 flashlight, Leatherman Squirt PS4 and Spyderco Dragonfly FFG
I got most of it to fit in my otter box ... with a few upgrades from Spyderco, Leatherman and Fenix!
Spyderco Ladybug shown with its knock-off from the car survival kit
Spyderco Ladybug shown with its knock-off from the car survival kit. The knife the from the kit is actually decent

From left: Leatherman Squirt PS4 multi-tool, Fenix LD01 flashlight and Spyderco Dragonfly pocket knife
High end tool upgrades, from left: Leatherman Squirt PS4 multi-tool, Fenix LD01 flashlight and Spyderco Dragonfly knife

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Pelican 1910 [AAA Flashlight]

About Pelican

The company was founded in 1976 in Torrance, CA. They are well known for their rugged gear cases and flashlights, which are now produced and sold worldwide.

Pelican 1910 AAA Flashlight

Peclican 1910 AAA FlashlightPrice: $20
Instruction Manual

The 1910 is a basic ruggedized, single mode AAA flashlight with a clicky switch on the tail. Mine was purchased from Amazon using my wife's prime account. This light is very similar to the Streamlight Microstream, which I have reviewed previously.

My review sample was purchased from

Official Specs

From the Pelican web site:

1910 LED Flashlight
1 AAA Alkaline (Included)
3.6"  (9.1 cm)
1.4 oz. (0.04 kg)
1 oz.  (0.03 kg)

ANSI/NEMA FL 1 Standards Definition

A few more tidbits of info:

Batteries: Can take NiMH rechargeable AAA batteries too.
LED Emitter: Cree XP-C
Modes: 1


This is a basic single mode clicky with a momentary on switch, meaning the light can be turned on just by gently pressing the switch without fully engaging it. The overall design is almost identical to the Microstream. Why mess with a good thing?

Just like the Microstream, the 1910's are reported to be durable in real life use. They are routinely run over with trucks and subjected to all manner of abuse such as wash/dry cycles. The design is simple and effective.

The clip is the standard bezel-down carry, and can be removed. The reflector is smooth, though it does seem to have some barely-perceptible texturing. The bezel has some grooves on it so that if you take the clip off, those grooves act as an anti-roll feature.

The threads are not anodized, so there is no tail lockout feature (where you unscrew the cap to prevent the light from accidentally activating) like some similar lights have. The tail cap doesn't get much travel with the clip attached, which is my only real gripe with the design. Though it's acceptable.

The Cree XP-C emitter is a budget class emitter, but its small die size is well suited to small flashlights like this. It's a nice balance between output and efficiency, and gives the 1910 some decent throw.

First Impressions

The unit is packaged in a small box, instead of the blister pack that the Microstream and similar flashlights normally come in. I can't stand those theft-deterrent blister packs, so it was nice to see a box.

Taking the 1910 out of the box, it looks ready for business. It's just the flashlight and an alkaline battery. There's no extra o-rings, switch boots (like the Microstream), lanyards or other swag.

I like the look of the 1910. It just looks more aggressive and high-tech than similar lights.

Fit and Finish

Overall, outstanding. The anodizing is flawless and there's no nicks or scratches. The Cree XP-C on my sample is almost perfectly centered. I can find no obvious defects or flaws in the machining. My only minor gripe is that the threading isn't as deep as I would like with the clip attached. I wish it had an extra quarter turn to it. But other than that, my sample looks to have outstanding attention to detail. Maybe even a little better than its competitor, the Microstream.


This is a very usable flashlight. It's idiot-proof and basically indestructible. I EDC'd it for a little over a week, and it did its job well. It's a little brighter and a little floodier than the Microstream. I would prefer a deep carry clip, but overall it's acceptable for front pocket carry. I didn't try pocket carry without the clip, but it should have a good feel if that's your thing.

This 1910 saw some heavy use and a camping trip and held up like a champ. I'm getting clumsy in my old age, so it's pretty much guaranteed I'll be dropping all these small gadgets.

Run Time Test

My own run time test with a second generation Eneloop gave me 1 hour, 11 minutes of light.


This flashlight is all that most people would realistically ever need. There's only one mode and nothing to figure out. Put a battery in, click the button and light comes out.

While the 1910 compares very favorably to the Microstream, I would still give the Microstream a slight edge. I prefer the switch and styling of the 1910, but the Microstream has the two way clip and replaceable switch boot with extra.

But the average user would never notice the slight differences between these two models, and either model would be a great flashlight for most people.


Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight in box
Pelican 1910, new in box

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight
Just the basics

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight closeup of reflector
The emitter on mine is centered almost perfectly

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight tail cap assembly
Closeup of the tail cap. There doesn't appear to be any way to disassemble the switch

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight threads
Closeup of the threads, which are not anodized

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight next to Streamlight Microstream
Closeup of the tails - Microstream on the left and Pelican 1910 on the right

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight next to quarter for scale

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight: closeup of reflector
Reflector seems to have a very slight hint of texturing but is mostly smooth

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight: closeup of tail switch
Closeup of the tail. Unlike the Microstream, the switch boot is not replaceable

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight shown with Spyderco Ladybug
Pelican 1910 shown with Spyderco Ladybug pocket knife

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight shown with Streamlight Microstream and Thrunite Ti
From Top: Pelican 1910, Streamlight Microstream, Thrunite Ti

Here you can see the anti-roll bezel

The clip isn't deep carry, but still sits nice
Pelican 1910 shown side by side with a Streamlight Microstream. Here you can see the two way clip of the Microstream

Peclican 1910 AAA Flashlight: another closeup of the reflector
Another closeup of the reflector and emitter

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cocolalla, Idaho: August 2012

We had a great time in Cocolalla, Idaho! We stayed at dad's ranch and explored the lake. It's a great little out of the way lake in the Idaho pan handle. There's so much great camping in the pan handle that I think this lake gets overlooked. Which is fine, because it's a nice little out of the way spot.

Dad's ranch Cocolalla, Idaho
My tent spot before I cleared it.
Dad's ranch Cocolalla, Idaho
I found an old deer stand

Dad's ranch Cocolalla, Idaho
Dad's ranch: An old logging trail maybe?

Mora Clipper Fixed Blad Knife
Got a lot of use out of these Moras

Dad's ranch Cocolalla, Idaho
There were some ruts, but otherwise a great shady spot to set up the tent

Dad's ranch Cocolalla, Idaho
Not a bad little spot for my tent

Dad's ranch Cocolalla, Idaho: Blacktail road
Blacktail Road

Lake Cocolalla, public access: notice
Uh, have fun swimming, guys!

Lake Cocolalla, public access: Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle checking out our little dogs

Lake Cocolalla, public access: train going by
It's beautiful but can be a bit noisy with the trains going by

Lake Cocolalla, public access: lake shore
A nice view of the lake shore, with highway 95 off in the distance

Lake Cocolalla, public access: public boat launch
Public boat launch

Lake Cocolalla, public access: Chihuahua
Bobby walking Smokey

Bobby enjoying the lake

Carving my love on a driftwood log

Lake Cocolalla, public access: sweet spot
The couple of spots on the end are the sweet spots

Lake Cocolalla, public access: sweet spot
There's a little path to the lake shore

My truck with Ryder next to it

Bobby and Jake taking a swim

Lake Cocolalla, public access: view from the shore
Cocolalla is a beautiful lake

Lake Cocolalla, public access: hot day
It got up past 90 degrees!

Lake Cocolalla, public access: sun going down
Sunset on Lake Cocolalla, Idaho