Premade Survival Bags
I'm not too fond of many premade survival bags. I can make a survival bag myself better than what I can find, and building your own bag means you will be more familiar with each piece, and you spread the cost out more by buying the highest priority items first, which helps get higher quality gear.
However, not everyone has the time to learn everything. They need to pick out each piece of gear and then put it together in a bag that can hold it all well. Some people need something they can buy that checks all the boxes of someone like me but can be used by anyone and for an affordable price. If this sounds like you, then the Rino Companion Survival System is what I would recommend.
Designed to sustain two people during the first 72 hours of any emergency. Adaptable, compact, and ready when you need it most.
Survival411 Review of the
Rino Companion Survival System
Overall review: 10/10
Where to buy: rinoready.com
About the Bag
The Shell: The bag is easily what sets this survival system apart from all others. When you first see the bag in person, the material's quality stands out and has such a great feel. Like canvas but instead of cotton it's a fire-resistant material and feels like it would be resistant to ripping if it manages to get a tear. The seems of the zipper make the bag look almost completely waterproof, which apparently it is.
Dimensions: 430 mm height, 320 mm width, 140 mm deep.
Attachment Points: The Hypalon attachment points on the side of the bag are also a nice touch that adds functionality to the bag without trying to cover it in Molle webbing to make it look "tacticool." Instead, they went with a sleek and minimalist design that I think adds to the overall functionality of the bag.
Weight: My bag is 21lbs with the prefilled gear, 6 of those pounds is water for 3 days for 2 days.
Shoulder Straps: The padded shoulder straps fit inside the sleeve on the back that also helps air circulate when the shoulder straps are out, and the bag is on your back. The big isn't too heavy, but it does feel solid. It feels best while wearing it, and the shoulder straps carry the weight well, but the hips straps take most of the weight and really make the difference, which is, of course, what they are for. The straps fit inside the back sleeve compartment, making the straps disappear, and the bag becomes easy to store or pack with other gear.
Weight Distribution: The bag feels a little heavy and awkward when you first pick it up, but that’s because the weight distribution is optimally designed to be carried on your back. The ingenious internal “modular component” bags have Velcro® backing, which means you can be extremely precise on where the weight in your bag is, and the bags can be removed quickly. This also means your gear won’t move or slide around at all, and everything will be right where you left it. The water is the heaviest and sits right at your shoulder blades closest close to your back, with the lighter gear on the part of the bag the is farther away from your back, which is right where you want the weight.
Internal Modular Bags: This is definitely the key point to the success of this bag. The bag opens like a book and lays flat, and has an interior lined with the soft side of the Velcro®, which means you can reorganize it how you want to. I didn’t feel the need to move anything in my bag because the layout was already correct, and the heaviest items were right where they needed to be.
Each internal bag is made of a durable material that feels good and has a water-resistant feel. The bags' seams look durable, and after a year of having the bag, not a single stitch has gotten loose. The gear fits well inside the bags, and they aren’t stuffed at all. The bags are also clearly labeled with items and a list of what is in each bag with large icons.
Bag Comparison: The bag itself with the modular bags is already in a class of its own because of quality and functionality. No backpack I could find really compares to it, but I did manage to find a few that are similar to look at a price comparison. The Kubility backpack is meant to keep your high-end camera safe while traveling, which retails for $197 on Amazon, and is flame retardant. There is also the Osprey Stratos which is your standard long-distance hiking backpack and goes for $169. And the Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack (which is one of my other favorite bags) for $199, which has the closest features to the Rino Companion for internal storage layout, how it opens up, and overall quality.
So a $200 price point for this backpack is right where it should be, if not a bit underpriced. And is superior to similar bags because it has more space, functionality and is purpose-built for survival. My thought is that RinoReady is selling this bag close to what it costs to make it and wants to keep the price at the $200 level so more people can afford it. Or they did an amazing job and creating a bag at this level and kept the costs down other ways.
Downside: The only downside of the bag is it can't really be used for anything else without the internal modular bags. You could fill it up with gear without them but opening it will be an issue. The bag opens like a book and lays flat. Which is great when the bags are inside. If it's empty however the gear will fall out a bit as you open and it's a bit awkward. This isn't a design flaw though in my opinion though. This bag is designed for the sole purpose of carrying the gear in bags that are all instantly accessible when you lay it flat. Which I love. It's just two sides of the same coin.
What is a Survival System? Something that contains all the primary elements of survival for a specified amount of people for a specified amount of time, requiring no other input for functionality. The Rino Companion is a survival system because you don't need anything else to survive. Water is a primary element, a water filter is a secondary element. To be a true survival system, every primary source of survival should be included. The primary sources of survival are shelter, water, and food.
About the Gear
Warmth: 2 Pairs of Gloves, 2 Raincoats, 2 Blankets, 4 Warmers, Mylar Tent.
Tools: 5" Full Tang Blade & Sheath, Magnesium Ferro Rod, Multi-tool, 550 Paracord Rope, Duct & Signal Tape.
Sight+Air: 2 ANSI Approved Reflective Goggles, 2 Masks.
Light: 2 Chem Lights, Rechargeable Flashlight, Headlamp, All-Weather Matches.
Comms: Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio Flashlight.
First Aid: 100+ piece First Aid Kit, 4 large Body Wipes.
Food: 2 x Datrex 2400Kcal Food Rations.
Water: 10 Water Purification tabs, 1000ml Stainless Steal Bottle, 18 Datrex water sachets.
Guide: A Waterproof Survival Guide.
So, let's get into the gear.
Baked into the DNA of this bag and its gear selection is a commitment to the survival fundamentals. Below I will go over each piece of gear and describe which of the survival fundamental it supports.
Three minutes without air.
Sight & Air
N95 Mask: These are pre-Covid masks, and Rino has since come out with a much better mask The Guardian. These are still good survival masks, however. They fit well and are N95 masks, with a vent that helps when you are breathing heavy. The strap attachment point can be a little weak and may need to be reinforced with heavy use.
Goggles: These are pretty basic one size fits all goggles with a good balance of quality and affordability that we will see throughout all their gear. They fit well and make a good enough seal to keep debris out of my eyes.
Three hours without shelter.
Mylar Tent: All of the Mylar products have a good feel. They are still prone to the normal wear and tear that all Mylar is. The tent will fit two people, but if warmth is needed, that is a good thing.
Raincoat: The plastic is a pretty good thickness and again has a good feel. You may sweat if you wear it for a long enough time and it's warm, so removing layers may be needed to stay dry.
Blanket: This blanket is big enough to wrap up easily and will keep you warm. In Texas, during the 2021 ice storm, I put this up on my bedroom window to keep the warmth in when the power was out, and it helped a lot.
Gloves: The gloves are okay. They aren't great work gloves, but they also have to be close to one size fits all as they can. So I understand they won't fit anyone perfectly. They will keep your hands warm and dry in the snow or rain and will help keep your hands from getting cut and scratched when collecting wood or doing small chores. But they won't help much with thorns. They get the job done.
Warmers: The hand warmers work as intended. Though I wouldn't recommend using them on your hands if you are freezing, it would be better to put them in your armpits and neck to keep your core warm.
5" Full-tang Knife + Sheath: The knife is great. Full tang steel with a good grip and balance. The handle has a good grip when wet and in the cold. The sheath carriers both the multitool and the Ferro rod.
Magnesium Ferro Rod: The Ferro rod is basic, and a bit small and could be bigger. The handle is long enough to get a good grip, though, and it all needs to be small enough to fit in the sheath, so I understand.
Multi-tool: The Multi-tool is excellent. They clearly spent time on it. It feels good, and mien opens well and locks in place well. It feels solid in my hand and seems to be up to be put to work.
550 Paracord Rope: This is a decent, standard paracord. The color works to help you stand out as well.
Duct & Signal Tape: The duct tape feels like standard duct tape, if just a little on the thin side. It worked well when I used it in tested and would be fine depending on it. The signal tape is awesome. It is strong, and it is very reflective. This would be great when marking gear to help find or to use to be found by Search & Rescue. You could put it on the top of your shelter, the top or side of your car, or on your backpack.
Headlamp: The headlamp has an adjustable strap with good attachment points. It feels like it would put up well with use. It uses 3 AAA batteries which I think is good to have as the other flashlight is rechargeable.
2 chem lights: These are normal chem lights; break the inner glass, which mixes the chemicals inside.
Rechargeable flashlight: USB rechargeable, 300-lumen with a good feel.
Matches: The matches feel and perform like standard wind and waterproof matches. They strike easy and stay lit. These types of matches tend to burn faster than traditional matches, and these are very similar. The case they come in is great and has a good rubber O-ring to keep them dry.
First Aid Kit:
4 Body Wipes:
Solar & Hand-crank Radio:
Three days without water.
1000ml Stainless Steel bottle:
Water Purification Tabs:
Datrex 2400Kcal food rations: