Posted on Leave a comment

McNett Gear Aid Cuts & Bolts Kit Review

IMG_3756cIt’s pretty much inevitable that if you spend enough time outdoors eventually something is going to go wrong.  Whether its a slip of the knife, a scraped knee, or a gear malfunction you’re eventually going to run into some bumps along the way.  It pays to be prepared for these eventualities so that it doesn’t ruin your whole trip. Being able to deal with the issues when they come up is critical to a good trip or one plagued by problems.


IMG_3775aLuckily the folks at McNett have got you covered with their Cuts & Bolts Kit, a way to fix both you and your gear when you need it!  Woods Monkey looked at the McNett Gear Aid Guide Kit back in May of this year, and I’ve had a chance to check out their Cuts & Bolts Kit over a number of trips throughout the summer.  Whereas the Guide Kit is designed specifically for your stuff, particularly when traveling with a large group, the Cuts & Bolts Kit is a combination first aid kit and gear repair kit for a solo and small group trips.  The Cuts & Bolts Kit is packaged much like McNett’s other kits in a light but rugged  ripstop nylon zippered pouch which  is 6.5 inches wide by 5 inches tall and 2 inches thick.  It weighs in at 9 ounces. It’s small enough to fit into the outside pocket of my EMS internal frame pack, the outer pocket of an ALICE pack, or other similar areas.  This kit has two separate zippered pockets, one on either side of the kit.  One is a space for gear to fix you, the other is for gear to fix your stuff! Let’s take a look at the contents:

1 Splinter Picker/Tick Remover w/Case
2 Butterfly Closure
3 Adhesive Fabric, 1×3
3 Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle
1 1/2″ x 10yd Cloth Tape
2 Gauze, Sterile, 3 x 3
1 Non-Adherent Bandage, Sterile, 3×4
1 Conforming Gauze 2″ Nonsterile
1 Moleskin, Die-Cut, 1 Sheet
3 Antiseptic Towelette
2 Nitrile Gloves Large

1 Expert Field Repair Guide
1 Seam Grip, ¼ oz
1 Tent Pole Splint, .5″
1 Glue Stick
1 Duct Tape, 2″ x 50″
1 Paracord, Black Nylon, 60″
1 Webbing, 40” Flat Polypro, 1″
2 Cable Ties, 8″
2 Cable Ties, 4″
3 PDI Alcohol Towelette

Buckle Kit
1 Quick Attach, TensionLock, 1″
1 Quick Attach, Side Squeeze Buckle, 1″
1 Sliplock Buckle, 1″
1 Slik Clips, 1″
1 Posigrip Cord Lock
1 Siamese Slik Clips, 1″

Adhesive & Fabric Patches
1 Nylon 420, Denier Patch, 4″ x 6″
1 No-See-Um Mesh Netting Patch, 4″ x 6″
1 Dark Blue Tenacious Adhesive Patch, 3″x10″

Sewing Kit
1 Sewing Needle, #18, Chenille
2 Sewing Needle, #16, Yarn
2 Safety Pins
1 Sewing Thread, Bobbin #69
1 Button, Black, #20
1 Button, Black, #24

IMG_3763aAs you can see the Cuts & Bolts Kit breaks down its contents based upon the intended repair.  Since people are more important than gear, lets start with the Cuts side of the kit.  McNett does a good job of covering basic first aid needs in this kit.  Right up front though let me say that this is snivel gear, not a trauma kit!  The Cuts & Bolts Kit isn’t designed to take care of serious injury; it’s designed to help you deal with the bumps, scrapes, splinters and blisters that can make a trip to the wilds annoying and less enjoyable.  It isn’t designed to deal with a broken bone, or the arrow from your compound bow that you fell on while hunting.  With that said, it does a good job of covering the bases for minor injuries.  I know some folks who sneer at basic first aid items such as band aids and seem to think that it isn’t worth dealing with minor injuries.  I suppose in a true survival situation, you can deal with this stuff and it isn’t a “big picture” issue.  However, for most outdoors trips, why be miserable if you don’t have too?  If you can pull out a splinter, bandage up small cuts, or deal with a blister, and move on with your trip why wouldn’t you want to?  Plus, the quicker you treat a minor injury and get it cleaned up, the less chance it can get infected or become worse and really ruin your trip.

IMG_3767aThe kit comes pretty well stocked to handle most things you’ll run into on a short trip.  The tweezers for use on ticks and splinters I found to be an especially nice touch.  This is something that I’ve added to most of my first aid kits in the past so I was glad to see it included here.  Also included is a short but well laid out pamphlet on wilderness first aid by Dr. Eric A. Weiss.  Dr. Weiss is the author of “A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine” which is a must read book on wilderness first aid.  If you don’t have it in your collection yet, get it now!  I was really pleased to see his addition to this kit as his book is my go-to guide for field first aid.  Aside from the supplies and the pamphlet, there’s room enough to beef up the supplies if you plan on being out longer, or want to add something like antibiotic ointment or the like as well.

IMG_3773aMoving to the Bolts side of the kit we find the repair items for your clothing and gear.  This assortment covers everything from patching packs, tents and tarps, to fixing buttons and zippers.  You run the gamut from a simple duct tape or zip tie repair to really being able to sew, glue, or swap out broken components.  With specialized items like the tent pole splint and variety of clips and cordlocks, you can make sure that a piece of broken gear gets you back home again and doesn’t cut short an otherwise enjoyable trip.  Once again this side of the kit contains a pamphlet to help you out when making repairs.  You can tell that folks at McNett have used a lot of feedback from the field and put a lot of thought into what they included in the kit.  I can’t think of too many likely gear malfunctions that can’t at least be addressed with what they include here.  I’m not saying that you’ll be able to make your gear factory new while sitting around the campfire, but you should be able to patch things up enough to continue on your journey, and that’s the whole point of things.  Like the first aid side of the kit, there’s a little extra room on the Bolts side to add some extra gear if you see fit to.  Honestly though, other than possibly a tube of super glue, I can’t think of much I’d need to add!

IMG_3771aAt only 9 ounces McNett manages to pack a lot of gear into a pretty light package. It might not be something you take with you on a short day trip, but if you plan on being out for a few days, and away from the car, you may well want to give serious consideration to adding a Cuts & Bolts Kit to your pack. If you’ve ever slept under a leaky tent, had a pack strap break on the trial, or needed to deal with a bad blister or other annoying ailment when you still have many miles to travel on foot, you’ll appreciate having the tools on hand to be able to cope with these situations on the spot.


Leave a Reply