Rowen Manufacturing didn't start out in the knife business, but for...
It’s often said that good things come in small packages, and this is never truer than in a survival scenario. Although it’s always wise to have a 72-hour bug-out bag and a fully stocked pantry at your disposal, lugging around a 60-pound backpack 24/7/365 is essentially impossible. When SHTF, if something isn’t on your person and easily accessible, the odds are high that it’s going to get lost, stolen, or simply left behind.
This line of reasoning led one former military serviceman and current law enforcement officer to create Superesse Straps and the Bug-Out Bracelet Pro. While serving for more than a decade in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, he began crafting simple paracord bracelets as a way to pass the time and boost morale for his team. Over the years, the idea expanded to incorporate various tools into the bracelets — items that could prove invaluable to any military operator, survivalist, or outdoor adventurer.
After returning from deployment overseas and sharing photos of some of his creations on social media, Superesse Straps’ creator began getting substantial interest in his products, and the business was formed. Now he works full-time in law enforcement, serves part-time in the U.S. Army Reserve, and produces these bracelets at home with help from his wife. Each bracelet takes up to three hours to craft, and contains a selection of over 80 possible options. Buyers can choose from a number of pre-selected packages, or order a fully customized one-of-a-kind bracelet for more specific needs.
The bracelet featured here is Superesse Straps’ top-of-the-line model, known as the Bug-Out Bracelet (BOB) Pro. It contains an impressive 28 individual tools.
But does being jam-packed equal being effective and functional? Read on to see how the bracelet fared in our hands-on test.
Make & Model: Superesse Straps Bug-Out Bracelet Pro
Wrist Sizes: 6.75 to 8.75 inches
# Of Tools Included: 25 to 30-plus
MSRP: $125 to $195
The BOB Pro that we received features the standard 25-plus tools, as well as two optional extras: the navigation add-on and waterproof supply core. This brings us to a total of 28 built-in tools, nine of which can be accessed without disassembling or unraveling the bracelet. So, we’ll cover these nine items first, before getting into the bracelet’s internal components.
Immediately noticeable on the bracelet’s exterior is an impact-proof luminous compass, part of the navigation add-on package. Superesse Straps’ creator tells us he field-tested five different compasses via real-world military experience, and this is the one that got the job done every time. Also included in the navigation package is a luminous glow-light surface on the buckle, which allows for map reading in low light conditions.
Next, you’ll notice the trusty P38 can-opener held in place by two elastic ranger bands. Attached to this tool is a SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) reflector for long-distance signaling. Another ranger band holds a live fire wick tinder strand, ideal for starting fires in damp conditions. All currently produced BOB Pro models now also contain a Kevlar Utility Thread sawing cord beneath the fourth ranger band, although our test bracelet didn’t include this tool.
There’s more to the buckle than meets the eye — the male half has a whistle and ferro rod, and the female half holds a white ceramic fire striker with a razor-sharp cutting edge. The aforementioned elastic ranger bands are also combustible, and can be burned for smoke signaling.
To access the remainder of the bracelet’s components, you’ll have to unravel the paracord and cut open the core. Once this is done, you won’t be able to reassemble it yourself, but if you ever deploy your bracelet in a survival scenario, Superesse Straps will rebuild or replace it for a small fee. That said, disassembly is relatively straightforward — just start at one end of the paracord and unravel until the core can be removed. The waterproof option wraps the core in sealed heat-shrink, which we cut away using the ceramic blade in the buckle. Inside this, you’ll find the core contents rolled up in duct tape.
The BOB Pro is surprisingly light and compact given the number of tools it contains, and wears well without feeling cumbersome. It’s also nicely built, and easily withstood everyday civilian use in our short-term testing. Unwrapping the tightly rolled duct tape core does require patience and dexterity, especially since it contains several sharp items, but the contents are laid out carefully to minimize the risk of injury.
In a market filled with $25 paracord bracelets (and junky ones for $5), the generously optioned BOB Pro we tested (at $160 retail) seems wildly expensive at first blush. But as we’ve found when it comes to potentially life-saving gear, you don’t want to cheap out. Considering the quality contents and sturdy construction, we’d say it’s a solid value for the money — if you have the money to spare. The only available options our test bracelet didn’t have are colored/MultiCam paracord and the Fire Cord paracord with a combustible inner wick (both of which cost extra). For those looking to spend less, Superesse Straps offers other survival bracelets priced as low as $39.
And, of course, we also appreciate the fact that the company is veteran owned and operated, and that all of its bracelets are handmade in the USA.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. And with the BOB Pro, you get a lot.
– Paracord Type III, 550 lb, 10 to 15 ft
– Nylon strands within paracord, 35 lb, 125 to 250 ft
– Mini curved surgical blade w/ lanyard hole
– Fire steel ferro rod (inside male buckle) *
– Ceramic striker and blade (inside female buckle) *
– Survival torch, water- and windproof
– Four elastic rubber ranger bands *
– Jute string tinder – 1 ft, 3-ply
– Live fire wick tinder (under ranger band) *
– UCO strike-anywhere match head
– Small adhesive bandage
– Silver metal safety pin, curved
– Sewing needle
– Two duct tape patches
– P38 can opener (under ranger bands) *
– Two MSR water purification tablets
– Aluminum foil square – 5×5 in
– Small barbed fish hook
– Flexible bushman wire – 1 ft
– Black steel heavy-duty safety pin
– Steel finishing nail
– Shim pin/cotter pin
– Micro ink pen
– Emergency whistle (on male buckle) *
– SOLAS reflective surface (on P38 can opener) *
– Luminous compass, water- and impact-proof *
– Luminous glow-light surface (on female buckle) *
– Waterproof heat-shrink supply core
– Not pictured: Kevlar Utility Thread sawing cord, 30 in (under ranger band) *
Bonus 1: Water- and rust-proof 8-ounce storage tin
Bonus 2: Business card-size reference material listing bracelet contents, water purification instructions, and Morse Code signal reference guide.
[Note: Asterisk (*) indicates accessibility without unraveling bracelet.]