Problems With Buying Low Cost Survival Gear Off Ebay

   03.26.18

Awhile back I got an idea of doing a series of reviews on low cost survival gear bought off Ebay. Sometimes Ebay can be a wonderful source for deals, sometimes not so wonderful. The plan was to start at the very bottom of the list, cut out the middle man, and go straight to the source. This meant ordering straight from China.

One goal was to see if low cost gear was just as good as the slightly more expensive stuff found in big box stores. Another goal was to find the price point for reliable gear. For example, how much more reliable would a twenty dollar compass be over a five dollar compass?

To kick the project off some pocket compasses were ordered off Ebay. It took them about a month to arrive. Upon arrival and testing the pocket compasses seemed to work pretty good, given they cost .50 cents each.

Compasses

Then the project moved onto map compasses which cost  around from $1-1.75 each. After ordering two different types of map compasses, both had pitiful construction. The compass pointed north, but the face with the degree markings turned at the slightest touch. Setting the map compass, hiking, then expecting the compass to stay on the setting would not be realistic.

Ok, so let’s move up the price range a little bit. Those same compasses which sold for $1-1.74 were listed all the way up to $8 from different sellers. Which means, if someone did not shop around and take the time to sort by price, someone could pay $8 for a compass that sold for $1 from someone else.

As depressing as the compasses have been, there have been some gems in the form of pocket knives.

Backpack Knives

One such knife has a clip to it can be attached to the outside of a backpack, is only 2 3/4 inches (closed) and weighs just 0.80 ounces.  Considering the knife cost $1.92 each, these would be ideal for a handout pack. The knife is just big enough to open an MRE pouch, or to cut some cord.

The pocket knives have been typical convenience store quality. Rather than paying $10 from a corner store, they may cost $8 and have free shipping.

Shipping time on the knives is the same as on the compasses, around four-five weeks.

Backpacks

There was a certain lost-cost made in China backpack which looked nice. However, when it arrived, it was a childs pack.

However, there are some great deals on military surplus packs. Couple examples are the patrol pack, and the three day assault pack.

So far, I have not been that impressed with the overall quality of the straight from China backpacks.  When the packs get to the size someone may want, prices are in the military surplus range.

Final Thoughts

So far, the project to test low cost survival gear straight from China has been hit and miss. A few gems have shown up, but the rest has been hit and miss.

Then there is the shipping time. On average it takes about a month to get a small letter size package from China. Sometimes, it can take the seller two-three weeks to ship the package, Which means the order may not arrive until five or seven weeks after the purchase.

I am going to continue looking for low cost survival gear on eBay. Hopefully the gems will keep showing up from time to time.

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