Take a watertight polycarbonate container and cram it full with gear. That's the gist of a GearPod, the namesake new product from GearPods Corporation of Polson, Montana.
The company (gearpods.com) offers a line of ready-made adventure and survival kits. Each one uses screw-shut polycarbonate vessels about the size and shape of a water bottle. They fit unobtrusively in a backpack and protect the gear and small items inside until needed in the outdoors.
A customer can pick from more than a dozen pre-made kits, including collections assembled for first-aid, survival, cooking, and shelter. Inside, the company packs bandages, matches, cord, fire starters, water-purification tablets, whistles, blades, and other small items for a task.
The larger kits, including the GearPods Wilderness, which I tested out, offer a stock of essentials for first aid, survival, and shelter. The Wilderness package costs about $165 and lets you "effortlessly carry the gear and tools you need to manage contingencies and stay prepared--even during unplanned nights out," as the company puts it.
Total weight of the GearPods Wilderness kit is 1.8 pounds. It measures about 14 inches long, and the screw-together tubes are about three inches in diameter.
But inside that small package is an amazing amount of gear. The components are of high-quality, including name-brand first-aid implements, tightly packed fire-starting tools, survival items such as fishing line, a thermal blanket, small saw, mini compass, and a signal mirror.
For making an ad hoc shelter, the kit comes with a thin, rip-stop nylon tarp that weighs scant ounces. There's even a small stove inside the Wilderness kit. It burns chemical tablets and boils water in an included thin-wall metal mug.
Overall, I am impressed with the GearPod idea. The cases might seem bulky at first to the ultra-light crowd. But on a scale, you can see that they are indeed light. When empty, the larger polycarbonate case tube weighed 3.5 ounces on my scale.
The Wilderness kit has more than I would bring for a backpacking trip. There are a few items I would consider extras in the case. But they are minuscule things that weigh mere grams and almost don't warrant taking out.
As a concept, GearPods offers the convenience to buy one product--they start at less than $20 for the most basic kits--and have all or most of what you need for an activity. They keep gear safe from moisture and rain in a watertight case. They are stout and protective, stowing all your small items away, safe and ready until the day you need them in the field.
--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear atwww.gearjunkie.com.