Kryptek Flint and Steel Survival Bracelet


There are lots of ‘survival’ bracelets on the market made from woven parachute cord. While the 550 cord and it’s internal strands can sure come in handy in a survival emergency once unravelled and gutted, they don’t offer anything but cordage. However, the new Flint and Steel Survival Bracelet from Kryptek incorporates fire making tools into the clasp. So, you don’t just get a bracelet with a unique look but also both fire making and cordage to deal with extreme situations.

Suunto A-30 Recreational Compass

If you’re not a fan of the MCA sighting compass we previously reviewed, consider the A-30 Compass from Suunto. The A-30 is very affordable and offers exceptional value. Although it’s labeled a “recreational compass” it could quite easily be the only compass you’ll ever need (unless you’re traveling in a hemisphere it’s not calibrated for).

This particular model features a luminescent bezel and directional arrow, which helps not only with functionality at night, but also with general visibility of the compass itself in low light conditions. The A-30 also features a magnified glass, which can be used to start fires by concentrating sunlight. Though the MCA has a sighting mirror which can be used as a heliograph in a survival situation, it doesn’t have a magnified glass or luminescent properties for nighttime visibility.

It can certainly be argued that the luminescent features of the A-30 are frivolous as most people don’t tend to wander around at night with a map and compass (if you do, please pack a head-lamp and/or flashlight). Nonetheless, the bright yellow glow helps your compass stick out in the dark, reducing the chances of it getting lost, stepped on, damaged etc.

Like the MCA, the bezel is easy to grip and turn, but not so loose that it will turn on its own. The design of the A-30 is a very simple yet highly functional which will serve most of your navigational needs quite sufficiently without breaking the bank.

As with the MCA sighting compass, the red string that the A-30 came with was too small to serve as a proper lanyard. Instead, swap it for some Mil-spec 550 Paracord.

If you’re looking for a simple, functional, affordable and reliable compass – consider the A30 Recreational Compass from SUUNTO.

Extremely Lightweight and Thin

Sufficiently Durable

Simple and Easy to Read

Luminescent Bezel

Magnified Glass

Very affordable


Made in Finland

Cost: Around CDN $20

Paracord popularity

In recent years 550 military spec. parachute cord, aka: paracord, has become quite ubiquitous in the world of survival and bushcraft. Its popularity comes from its strength and versatility where normal cordage comes up short.

Genuine paracord is made of 7 inner yarns, each composed of 3 yarns respectively. Light, slender, and super strong (550 lbs breaking strength), paracord has become an essential piece of kit. It can be used as a reliable string for a bow-drill fire set, hanging up a tarp or hammock, tying up gear etc.

The usefulness of having 25 – 50 feet of paracord in your kit cannot be underestimated. One of the main reasons cordage is such a valuable piece of kit, is because like most essential survival items (knife, fire-making device, water bottle, metal container, whistle, signal mirror etc.), they are considered valuable not only for their usefulness, but also because they are very difficult to effectively replicate or improvise in nature. Can you make natural cordage? Absolutely. But if you pack a kit – that basically means you’d rather not make what you’re packing. If you can pack some paracord – pack it.

Cost: Around CDN $8 (50 feet)

Tip:  If you’re looking for an inconspicuous method of carrying paracord, try replacing your bootlaces with it. Use enough so you can wrap excess amounts around your boots once (or twice) before tying them.

Suunto MCA Compass

If you are looking for a reliable compass without spending your end-of-year bonus, check out the MCA compass from Suunto.

I’ve had this compass for a couple of years now and I recently used it to do some orienteering. I must say I’ve never had any problems with it – a very straightforward piece of kit.

Balanced for the Northern Hemisphere, this compass is perfect for newcomers to old school navigation, but will satisfy experienced navigators as well.

The MCA is extremely lightweight and relatively sturdy. The bezel is easy to grip and turn, but not so loose that it will turn on its own. Markings are well applied but non-luminous. This isn’t really an issue unless you plan on navigating at night. If you do plan on wandering around in the dark with a map and compass, please, wear a headlamp.

While it may not appear so at first glance, the MCA’s set up is actually quite simple and very functional. The mirror and sights are clean and very crisp. The cover stays open firmly at 45 degrees and shuts nicely.

If you’re debating whether or not to buy a compass with a mirror, consider this:

In a survival situation, the mirror comes in very handy for signaling, checking your teeth, injuries, bites etc. If you are a minimalist, or just looking to simplify your kit, it saves you from taking along a separate mirror.

The little red string it came with was useless – I couldn’t even get it over my head – so I swapped it out for some mil-spec 550 Paracord.

At roughly CAD $30, you can’t really go wrong. If you take care of it, this compass should give you years of faithful service.

Cost: Around CDN $30

Made in Finland