Short and sweet. This product works just as it should. Its well made, and well put together. The lanyard cord you may wish to replace with something heavier if you feel the need, but I found the one it came with to work just fine. As for the little whistle that comes with it I could take it, or leave it. Its not that loud of a whistle and sounds a little " cheesy " That being said, the fire starter itself works just fine. I like the way the two pieces fit together when not in use and have a very good water resistant connection point. The striking rod and steel are small but more then enough to do the job. On my first attempt at using I placed a small cotton ball dipped in vasoline under some fine tinder and small dry sticks. Two short quick pulls ... full review
Potassium iodide. This was actually not my idea, and on the paranoia scale I think this one’s pretty high up. During the George W. Bush administration, my former boyfriend’s mother, a M.D. who had trained to care for people who’d survived war and other traumas, insisted we keep a packet of potassium iodide, which provides some protection to the thyroid in the event of a dirty bomb. After the breakup, I kept the Le Creuset, and he kept the KI. So it’s paranoid, whatever, potassium iodide is cheaper than Le Creuset.
What’s the bare minimum you need to navigate across land? For most people, that would be a compass and map. A basic road map is sufficient to get a rough approximation of the lay of the land. More detailed relief maps can help plan for elevation and estimate possible water sources but they also take up more room in your pack. Waterproofed or laminated maps are also extremely helpful. Lensatic compasses are the most reliable for little money. If possible, a compass and protractor are also extremely helpful for route planning. Obviously, not as essential but nonetheless useful.