It’s in the bag…

Or in this case the container, The SUMA Container that is. This weeks product of the week is The SUMA Container from Fastfire, a division of SOLKOA.

Some of you may be thinking to yourself, as you often do when reading the APC Blog, “self, SUMA seems like an odd name, I wonder if it means anything?” You would be correct, it stands for SOLKOA’s Ultralight Multi-purpose Aluminum container.

From Blog album

So let’s see what the manufacturer has to say about this thing:

Solkoa’s Ultralight Multi-purpose Aluminum container is engineered to withstand the worst of conditions and to be used for multiple purposes. Designed for the minimalist, the ultra-lightweight enclosures are machined out of billet 6061 aluminum, which makes them four times lighter than stainless steel and half the weight of titanium. Protect the contents of your expensive survival tools with the best enclosure on the market, used by adventure professionals worldwide.

  • Hard anodized, suitable for cooking
  • Can also be used for digging
  • Outside dimensions: 2-1/2″w x 4″l x 1-1/2″d
  • Weight: 3.1oz

My thoughts:

When I first saw the SUMA Container I thought it was pretty slick. I have been carrying and building survival kits for various travels for well over a decade and I have never been satisfied with the containers for smaller kits. I have used everything from the mint tins, to super duty zip baggies, small Pelican style cases, mini water bottles, plastic soap dishes, etc. You name and I probably tried it. While I do like the Witz Sport Cases that I use to build the Austere Provisions Company Survival Kits out of they are limited in functionality beyond use as a case and while holding true to the ideal of finding gear that has multiple purposes I kept looking for the ultimate survival kit container.

So far, the SUMA is the winner. It is a tough little work of art and would not be out of place as the change holder for a luxury sedan with a sticker price of six figures but it is so much more. The weight is deceptive when you pick it up because it looks as though it is built like a tank but feels like a feather and the real deception kicks in when you start to abuse it. I am pretty sure at one point during my torture session that I heard a little snicker and something about “is that all you’ve got?” come out of this thing.

The packaging and description from the Fastfire website says that it is “hard anodized, suitable for cooking” followed by “can be used for digging”. So I said, “what the hey, lets hit the woods” and set out to see if this thing could hold up. As you will find in the video I started with a small amount of water brought to a boil over an Esbit stove using the standard Esbit fuel tabs. Result: a small amount of discoloration and residue from the fuel tab which washed off with a rinse in the stream and no obvious distortion or structural weaking. Next I upped the heat a little with a Jetboil stove to see just how tough the finish was and if the aluminum could handle the stress. As you can see, no problems at all.

The third portion of the video is the digging test. I save the digging for last because I wanted to use the heat of the boiling tests to strain the metal and see if it could handle some hard labor after the rapid heating and cooling or if that would weaken the material. I started with a good sized patch of brown matter roughly 1-2″ deep, not even a challenge to dig through, followed up with a few inches of top soil which didn’t even phase the SUMA. Not only that but I rinsed the container off in the stream and it looked good as new.

The vid:

Once I was done and packing up I stuffed the survival contents I had thrown together as I headed out the door and replaced the lid on the SUMA container and commented to myself how even after numerous takes using both the Esbit and Jetboil stoves and digging in the dirt the lid still fit like a glove giving no indication of distortion, warping, or other structural change.

The lid is retained by two velcro straps with loop on one side and hook on the other. A rectangle of hook on the lid is sized perfectly for an IR US flag or other unit patch aiding in identification during a recovery situation.

So, if you have been searching for the ultimate survival container, your search is over and while some may balk at the price I would ponder over this: Most survival gear is functionally disposable, this container is not and you should expect years of use out of it. Not only that but it is made from the highest quality materials right here in the USA.

I know you all love seeing pictures, I like taking them so here is a few more:

From Blog album
From Blog album

A basic kit I put together while heading out the door.

From Blog album

Fastfire SUMA Container available at Austere Provisions Company

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4 Responses to It’s in the bag…

  1. Izzy G. says:

    Hmm. Looks like a good and slightly roomier candidate to replace the Altoids Tin.

  2. I dont have a tin in front of me but it is at least 1.5x as big and obviously heavier duty.

  3. Izzy G. says:

    I did a bit of a plug on the product today in a post on my blog after I read your piece on it. So hopefully it'll give you some business.

  4. Thanks Izzy, I checked out the post. I think you will find these vastly superior to the altoids tins, and besides that I am throwing in some free Fastfire cubes with every order so you can try out another great Fastfire product should you decide to pick a SUMA up.

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