This $350 Backpack Will Keep You Alive
Everything you need to survive for 72 hours, stuffed into a single waterproof bag
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Survival is so hot right now. That means there are lots and lots of charlatans hawking crappy gear that won’t get the job done in an emergency.
This comprehensive kit from Uncharted Supply Co. claims to be different. We put it to the test.
What Is It?
“Everything you need, nothing you don’t,” reads the official blurb. With the Seventy2, Uncharted has packaged 30 items of survival gear into a high-quality, waterproof roll-top backpack—a single, easy-to-carry kit that handles everything you need (shelter, water, fire, and food) in an emergency. The name references the time, in hours, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency says all citizens should be equipped to care for their own needs following a natural disaster.
“Packing an emergency preparedness kit helps ensure the safety and comfort of you and your family members at a time when basic public services may be disrupted,” states FEMA Regional Administrator Phil May. The agency has prepared a list of supplies citizens should keep on hand for such an eventuality. The Seventy2 ticks most of those boxes, making it a general survival kit that should get the job done whether you live in an urban or rural area.
The Seventy2 includes basic gear like a first-aid kit, tube tent, knife, multi-tool, and water filter. You’ll likely be familiar with most of this stuff already.
What really sets the Seventy2 apart is the bag the tools are packaged in—and the way they're organized. Made from 60-denier tarpaulin, the 30-liter roll-top pack is completely waterproof and should remain so through plenty of abrasion and manhandling. That doesn’t just mean it’ll keep all the gear inside dry: it also turns it into something of a multi-tool. Need to haul a bunch of water? Empty the pack and dunk it in a lake. Need to get in that lake? The pack doubles as a flotation device.
What happens to all the stuff inside when you need to use the pack for another purpose? The interior organizer has its own shoulder straps, so you can carry it separately. That organizer separates all the items into pockets by use, then color codes them for easy finding later. The first-aid kit goes into a red pocket, the water filter goes into a blue one…. You get the idea.
The organizer insert really does make this thing a breeze to use. Survival kits are stored away in a closet or trunk for years, then grabbed in a rush and used in the dark, when you’re freaking out. Using a conventional backpack—and trying to remember which pocket your water filter is buried in—will add to your stress. With the Seventy2, you just whip the insert out, spread it open, and everything you need is right there in front of you.
That insert also includes two semi-rigid plastic sheets that work as a pack frame and can be combined with the included duct tape to double as splints. That helps make the pack comfortable to wear and secure even if you’re running or climbing.
As for the included items, they’re a reasonable compromise between genuine utility and cost. Yeah, you can get a nicer knife, a better shovel, and a more comprehensive first aid kit, but you’d spend a lot more money doing do, and everything included is totally adequate.
Who’s It For?
Think of the Seventy2 as the ultimate survival solution and you’ll be disappointed. Think of it as a reasonably comprehensive, nicely packaged selection of stuff that so easy to use you won’t need to think about it until you need it, and you’ll be happy you bought one.
While the quality and usefulness of the gear included in the Seventy2 is decent (especially given the price), experienced outdoors types will likely already have nicer equipment. If an emergency hit, for instance, I’d grab my ultra-fancy 18 Ounce Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid tarp rather than go with the Seventy2's mediocre tube tent.
- The pack body is high quality and simple.
- The included gear isn’t just highly organized, it’s also easy to use.
- A great one-stop solution for most people looking for a solid survival kit.
- Tools like the knife, multi-tool, and folding shovel feel cheap. I’d replace them with an ESEE, a Leatherman, and a plastic spade.
- No survival kit will ever be one size fits all. While the Seventy2 is a good start, you’ll want to add stuff like terrain-specific clothing and essential paperwork.
- Sawyer water filters work fine at first, but have questionable long-term efficacy. Fine for 72 hours, but don’t make the Squeeze your regular filter.
Should You Buy One?
This is where, as usual, we tell you that developing knowledge and experience will be more effective at keeping you alive than just buying survival gear. For fire-starting, for example, the Seventy2 includes both waterproof matches and a ferro rod. But do you know how hard it can be to build a fire in the wind and rain? While instructions for doing so are included, it’s only through starting hundreds of fires in real conditions that you’ll be able to rely on this skill.
The Seventy2 is a basic kit that will work pretty well in an emergency. Buy it, forget it’s in your closet until you need it, and it will arm you with just enough stuff to uncomfortably get through three days without help. But man, you’re going to be happy when that FEMA aid truck finally shows up.
If you’re already the prepared type and build survival kits out of gear you already own, then Uncharted will sell you the bag and its organizer insert separately for $200. It’s a better home for your bug-out gear than almost anything else out there.