Just about every person I know that’s interested in survival and outdoor preparedness has tried their hand at making a small survival kit. And, most of those have scrounged around for the perfect tin to house their kit. Today, we’re going to take a look at the Suma Container from Fastfire, and it’s a little bit of an upgrade to what most of us have experienced until now. It’s not your father’s survival tin!
Personally, I have tried all types of tins for my survival kits. I’ve used old Altoids tins, Sucrets tins, Fossil Watch tins, tobacoo tins, etc. and ad nauseum. I’ve had a lot of fun making the kits over the years, but it’s been a bit of a search to find just the right tin for my purposes when building out my survival kits. Solkoa makes several products under their Fastfire brand and one specail purpose they produce is the Suma Container. Sized like a typical tin that you might use for a survival kit, the similarities end just about there. The Suma Container is machined out of a billet of 6061 aluminum and hard anondized. Billed as being 4 times lighter than stainless steel and half the weight of titanium, there’s no question the Suma Container is a step up from normal survival tins. It’s incredibly strong and robust, so it’s going to provide substantially better protection for your survival gear or other equipment. You can use it to cook or boil water, and you can employ it as an improvised digging tool if necessary.
Naturally, the first thing I did was put together yet another survival kit. As I’ve tried out various containers and styles of kits, I’ve built quite a collection of them over the past few months. The dimensions of the Suma are 2.5w x 1.5d x 4l inches so it’s more for a minimalist style kit. Even so, I was able to pack quite a few items that would come in handy on the trail. Among the items I packed into the Suma were 2 Cryo vials with Potable Aqua tablets and neutralizer tablets, a mini fire-steel and striker, 2 scalpel blades, 1 eGear Pico Light, a TOPS Knives survival whistle (very good performer), 1 Suunto compass, 1pouch of Tinder Tabs, 1 TOPS Knives folding survival saw, 2 safety pins, 1 bobbin of thread, 1 bobbin of fish line, and 6 fish hooks. That’s not a bad selection of items to have on hand in an emergency situation. Of course, everyone is different and will want to make their own decisions and personal touches.
Besides black, the Suma comes in other colors and patterns. You can get gray or red and you’ve got a choice between 3 camo styles as well. So, you can definitely pick one out that’s right for you and your enviornment. As I mentioned, I’ve got too many survival kits, so I got to kicking around the idea of making just a little fire kit for myself. The Suma is light enough and small enough for me to make up a separate fire kit and toss it into a pocket. I like having different ways of making a fire, but usually most of my smaller kits just have one firestarting method. Having a dedicated kit like this makes it easier to deal with different kinds of situations. For my first outing with the Suma as a fire kit, I packed a few different items into it. I didn’t have any other Fastfire products to review at the time so I put in a pouch of Tinder Tabs, a good portion of a Fire Fixins kit, a UST Sparkie fire starter, a Wetfire Tinder Cube, a Mini Fire Steel and striker, and a Ritter RSK Mk5 survival knife. While this was a good start, after using it in the field a couple of times, I definitely need to make some changes. I proably don’t need the knife in there since this isn’t a survival kit and I always have 20-30 knives on me at a given moment. And, I need to have another type of tinder or two as well. So, I need to do a little more thinking and planning for this type of kit.
Even so, I had no problems getting a nice fire going with the contents and the Suma did its part in keeping everything dry and protected from the knocks and bangs. What’s also helpful with the Suma are the 2 included velco straps that you can use to secure the lid and keep your contents from spilling out if you overpack a little bit. One thing you’ll need to know about the Suma is that it certainly isn’t cheap. You can find one online for around $45 to $50. Gulp! Yes, that’s significantly more expensive than that old Altoids tin, but bear in mind that it’s machined out of a brick of aluminum. Also, it’s much, much stronger and has more uses than those old beater tins we’ve used in the past. Aside from that, there are those of us that do enjoy top drawer gear. There are plenty of great knives under $100 on the market today, so why do so many of us feel the need to spend hundreds of dollars on a single knife? That’s just the way some of us are made! If you can get past that asking price, you’ll get a lifetime’s worth of service out of this great little container.
After using the kit outdoors a couple of different ways, I’ve started to second guess myself again. The fire kit is important to me, but because of the build quality (and yes, price) of the Suma, I hate to see it wasted on just housing tinder and a couple of ignition sources. So, I’m on yet another quest to build another perfect mini survival kit. This time, I’m going to focus on picking the best of everything to keep in the Suma from the fire steel to the whistle to the compass, and to whatever else I deem vital and necessary to round out a high end kit to have with me at all times. That will give me something else to research and test as I find the best pieces of gear around. It might be a little more trouble, but it’ll fun and worth it in the end. And, after all, doesn’t the Suma Container deserve the very best?