Gear Review: VSSL Supplies utility light and survival kit

The VSSL utility light survival kit is a compact flashlight and outdoor survival kit packed in one.

VSSL Supplies came on the market a few years ago. VSSL specializes in powerful flashlights that hold items in canisters in the flashlight housing, and they range from a flask, to outdoor survival, to emergency shelter supplies housed within the flashlight.

The name VSSL is short for “vessel” which is exactly what this is: a vessel stocked with supplies. 

This flashlight conveniently packs useful survival equipment in a rugged, waterproof container. This utility light and survival kit is a unique product that you can’t find anywhere else on the market. The ability to stow items away neatly in little canisters to keep them organized is original and creative. 

VSSL utility light review

The VSSL utility light weighs 18 ounces, or 0.5 kg.


A flashlight packed with gear

Everything you need stacks easily into a neat metal tube that also doubles as a flashlight and compass. This is a simple and convenient item that could prove quite useful, if not life-saving in a backcountry emergency situation. 

The flashlight runs for 20 hours, and 40 hours on flashing SOS mode.  The flashlight is powered by 3 N-type (or E90 Energizer type) batteries, which are included. For those that don’t mind the weight (18 oz, or over 500 grams) and like the idea of a flashlight, this is a practical item to take in your pack on backcountry trips.

What’s neat about this is the compartmentalized design is that these little containers can be replaced individually if you use them, lose them or wear them out. Refills cost about $6 each to replace. 

The VSSL Supplies utility light and survival kit in box

The VSSL Supplies utility light and survival kit in box

Importance of outdoor preparedness

The importance of outdoor emergency preparedness simply cannot be overstated. If things go wrong and you’re out in the backcountry where it can take a long time for rescuers to help you, being prepared is vitally important. Having a kit such as this one at your disposal can make all the difference between discomfort and a real emergency.

We recommend taking a few key items into the backcountry at all times, and many things included in this kit fall into that category. Along with the VSSL kit, take extra warm clothes, extra food, and a way to call for help (satellite phone, VHF radio or SPOT if cell coverage isn’t available) and you’ll be much safer out there should things go wrong. 

This item is not meant for the ultralight backcountry crowd since it is very heavy and there is usually no need for a flashlight when a headlamp works much better, due to ability to be hands-free. Headlamps are also much lighter. The disadvantage of this item is weight.

Compact design 

The image below shows how the items pack away tightly in their individual containers. In the image, the fishing tackle kit is expanded to reveal fishing line, hooks, bait and more. 


An example of how items are packaged in small containers. Here, the fishing tackle kit is shown.


The VSSL outdoor utility survival kit is very compact. All these little items fit tightly into eight little waterproof canisters. Each canister contains twelve items that are to be used for wilderness survival and emergency. They are packed close together, for example, the lid for the first aid kit doubles as the holder for the athletic tape, the lid for the fire starter kit doubles as a mirror, and so on. Along with the flashlight and the compass, there are a total of fourteen items packed in the VSSL.

Survival kit includes:

  • LED flashlight with 3 modes
  • Oil-filled compass
  • Beeswax candle with 6 hour burn time
  • Razor blade
  • water purification tabs
  • Wire saw
  • Emergency whistle
  • Fire starters
  • Fishing gear
  • Mirror for signalling
  • 25 feet of marine grade rope
  • Reflective trail markers
  • Can opener
  • Mini first aid kit.
vssl outdoor utility flashlight

Reflective trail markers are packed in with a whistle.

About VSSL

VSSL was founded by Canadian Todd Weimer, who spent a lot of time outdoors and realized how important it is to be prepared for emergencies in the backcountry with proper lighting. The company started out by support from crowd sourced funding on Kickstarter. 

The first item VSSL introduced wasn’t for survival, but more of a fun item, a flashlight that holds your booze. This flashlight  has a glass-lined reservoir for holding alcohol and a couple of small cups for sipping. The item was designed to be taken into the backcountry. After initial success the company introduced the emergency survival/preparedness kit, which is a flashlight, compass and survival kit in one.

How to use

The items have many uses, from tending to injuries that require first aid to starting a fire in case of being stuck out in the cold, to having a light to signal for help or to find your way around in the dark. The only thing really missing here is an emergency shelter, such as a rain cover/shelter/siltarp, but this is now available as it’s own stand-alone vessel- the VSSL Shelter, which retails for $59.50. Some things in there are really cool, such as the trail markers, which can go a long way to helping out in an emergency especially if you get lost. These trail markers are also reflective. 

Recommended uses

This item is recommended for day trips and backcountry trips where weight isn’t an issue. If you want to save weight, you could always pack the small canisters into a ziplock bag, leave the outer flashlight and holder behind, and just take a headlamp. 

The VSSL survival light would make a perfect gift for someone outdoorsy. What we really like about this VSSL is you can just throw it in your pack and go – all of the items are ready to use, and you don’t have to think any more about creating your own survival kit.

Where to buy

The VSSL utility light and survival kit retails for $99.50. VSSL survival tools and accessories are available for purchase at select retailers

Check our coupon page for the latest sales and discounts on VSSL



Alicja is an economist, enjoys climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, cycling and gets out into the backcountry as much as possible. See all of Alicja's Blog Posts

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