Medical/Emergency Kit Page 1 Page 2 Page 3


EMDOM/MM Dragster Strap

2/21/10 - The EMDOM USA/MM Dragster Strap is designed to be an ultra compact emergency drag/utility strap that would be worn on a rigger's belt or vest. Carried in it's own pouch, along with carabiners or snap links (not included), the Dragster Strap is compact enough to be carried by anyone, and can be accessed at a moment's notice.

Background - The idea behind the Dragster Strap is to provide a readily available drag strap that can be used by one or two people to assist in dragging a wounded or immobile person who is in immediate danger, a short distance to safety or cover. Many people wear riggers belts, even if the safety aspect of a riggers belt isn't really needed. There are also many well-designed and made extrication straps, harnesses and kits available, but they are usually carried by specific personnel, and for some situations, may be more bulky or heavy than the user wants to carry. There are many situations where a length of strap can come in handy, for hands-free extrication, hauling up a load over a wall, as a strap to lower down to someone to help them over a wall, up stairs, for securing a load etc. In case of emergency, if no safety line, or rope is available, the Dragster Strap can be used as long as its limitations are recognized.

The Dragster Strap is small and light enough to be carried by anyone/everyone on their riggers belt or vest, which makes it readily available when it's needed. Carabiners and snap links are not included with the Dragster Strap.

The Dragster Strap is not intended for extended/daily use in place of a proper restraint/safety harness or strap, or as climbing equipment/rapelling.

Design criteria - Here are some of the criteria I came up with when designing the Dragster Strap:

  • 6 ft long strap - I tried different lengths and 6 ft struck the best balance between length and bulk. It can be doubled over into a shorter 3 ft length.
  • Loops at both ends for carabiners
  • Pouch can accommodate strap and a carabiner, with attachment point for an additional carabiner on the outside.
  • MOLLE and belt compatible.
  • Small and light weight - this was the driving factor; to keep the entire package small and light enough so that people would consider the value of having it with them much higher than its size.

Key Features of the EMDOM/MM Dragster Strap and Pouch:

  • Pouch is PALS and belt compatible - The Dragster Strap pouch can be installed onto PALS webbing as well as belts up to 2" wide. There are three rows of webbing on the back for use with a short Malice clip. There are also two overlapping velcro straps which can secure it horizontally to a rigger's belt.
  • External carabiner stowage - The pouch has a short length of webbing on each side, to which an ITW Web Dominator can be installed. A second, external carabiner can be stowed there, when not connected to a riggers belt.
  • Sizing - The Dragster Strap pouch will hold the Dragster Strap, and a full size carabiner/snap link. The pouch measures 4" tall x 2.1" wide x 1.75" deep and has a velcro-secured flap/lid.

Dragster Strap pouch

Side view

Web Dominator installed

Malice clip grid

Velcro straps
  • Dragster Strap - For the Dragster Strap itself, 1" nylon webbing was chosen. Many different options were considered, like rope/cord, different types of webbing like tubular webbing (which is very popular for climbing and extrication) etc. Tubular webbing would have doubled the bulk/size of the package. The 1" webbing chosen is definitely strong enough for its intended usage. The Dragster Strap is 6 ft long, with 2" sewn loops at each end. 5.5" of webbing is doubled over to form the loops, with six bartacks and box stitches. An ITW Ghillietex metal triglide suppliments the stitches, as a backup (even though it's really not necessary).
  • Strap testing - A sample of the Dragster Strap was sent out to an independant consultant/contractor that tests lifting appliances and gear. The strap was installed on a hydraulic test setup and pulled apart to failure. The webbing eventually failed at 1,995 lbs while the threads/stitching held fast. Note that this is a static load; meaning that the webbing supported a static, non-moving weight of that much before failure. It is not a dynamic load (like a weight falling from a height, then being stopped by the webbing).


Dragster Strap

Close up of loops/ends

Carabiners attached (not included)

Malice clip grid

Strap and carabiners in pouch

External carabiner stowed

Large carabiner stowed


Mounting - The Dragster Strap pouch is shown below, mounted horizontally to a Cobra riggers belt. Mounted hozirontally, it stays out of the way and is less obtrusive then mounted vertically. The pouch can be mounted on the V-ring side, or the side opposite, with the strap spanning the buckle.


Attached to riggers belt

Carabiner attached to V-ring on belt


Attached to armour

Hooked onto drag handle


Usage - The Dragster Strap was designed to be used with a carabiner or snap link attached to each end. When worn on a riggers belt, the pouch contains the Dragster Strap and a carabiner. The other carabiner is attached to the V-ring or D-ring on the riggers belt. To deploy the strap, the tab on the flap is grabbed and the carabiner inside pulled out, which automatically extends the strap. I found that simply doubling the strap over multiple times is the easiest way to stow the strap in the pouch, so it deploys without unrolling. The other carabiner is then attached to a person's drag handle on their gear or armour to pull them. The full length of the Dragster Strap used, or it can just be looped through the drag handle, and attached back at the belt carabiner, for a shorter strap.

During testing, I found that doubling it over for a shorter strap worked better as you're also pulling up when you're closer to the person. Dragging a person horizontally on rough ground is tough, with the gear catching every bump and snag. Grabbing a person's drag handle with your hand is probably the fastest and easiest way to pull them along the ground, but if you need both hands free, then the Dragster Strap can be used. I weigh 155 lbs, and pulled a 200lb 'volunteer' wearing gear over the dirt, and I'll admit that it was tough! But, it left my hands free. Someone stronger will obviously have an easier time.

Attached to riggers belt

Snapped onto drag handle

Strap doubled over

Not easy, but possible

While the Dragster Strap was originally conceived to serve as an emergency extrication strap, its uses are endless.

One end of the Dragster Strap can also be thrown to someone to help pull them scale a wall, or obstacle, or multiple Dragster Straps can be attached to each other in a chain to create one long strap. The strap can be used to secure equipment, as a tether, a line between two trees for a shelter support etc. The main advantage is that it can be carried almost unnoticed until needed.


Mil-Spec Monkey Blood Type Patches

12/29/09 - Our buds over Mil-Spec Monkey are now offering neat little blood-type patches in their typical wide selection of MSM colour schemes to match a wide variety of clothing and equipment.

Description - The blood type patches are 2" x 1" and come with hook velcro sewn on the back. The blood type letter is large and the charge is displayed in both symbol and text. All 8 blood types are available in 7 colour variants. Price is per patch. The colour variants are as follows:

1. Desert - Medium brown letters on tan background with tan border.

2. MultiCam - Dark brown letters on tan background with green border.

3. Forest - Black letters on OD green background with brown border.

4. ACU-dark - Black letters on foliage green/grey background and border.

5. ACU-light - Light grey letters on foliage green/grey background and border.

6. SWAT - White letters on black background and gery border.

7. Medical - Black and red letters on white background with grey border.

Illustrated below are some of the patches against various backgrounds: Crye MultiCam, Propper Tan (EMDOM CBDU), USMC MARPAT and U.S. Army UCP. I actually found that l like the 'Forest' patches on MultiCam instead of the MultiCam ones.




Propper Tan (EMDOM CBDU)




Shown below are the patches on a TAD Gear Merino Stealth Coat, which is dark-medium grey, an OTTE Gear foliage green jacket, the grey L5 PCU soft shell, a Khaki 215 Gear hat and the Ops-Core Bump shell.


TAD Merino Stealth Coat

OTTE Foliage green

PCU L5 soft shell

215 Gear hat

Ops-Core Bump Shell

Mil-Spec Monkey Medic Square Patches

5/10/10 - I occasionally get emails asking where I got my little medic pouch patch, and after looking around, discovered that there aren't a whole lot of choices. I asked my bud over at Mil-Spec Monkey about the possibility of making up some medicsquare patches just like he did with the blood type patches shown above, and viola! Here they are. They're offered in the same colour schemes as the blood type patches and are available in 1" and 2" squares.

Description - The medicsquare patches are 1" x 1" or 2" x 2" and come with hook velcro sewn on the back. Price is per patch. The patches are offered in a variety of high-vis and subdued colour schemes. The seven colour variants are as follows (click on the thumbnail above on the left for the number key):

1. Medical - Red cross on white background with grey border.

2. ACU-light - Light grey cross on foliage green/grey background and border.

3. SWAT - White cross on black background and gery border.

4. ACU-dark - Black cross on foliage green/grey background and border.

5. MultiCam - Dark brown cross on tan background with green border.

6. Desert - Medium brown cross on tan background with tan border.

7. Forest - Black cross on OD green background with brown border.

Illustrated below are some of the patches against various backgrounds: Propper Tan (EMDOM CBDU), Crye MultiCam, and TAD Gear U.E. Gray. I found that l prefer the 'Forest' patches on MultiCam to the MultiCam patches.


On Tan

On MultiCam

On Grey

On Grey


Shown below are the patches on an ATS Small Medical Pouch, and EMDOM TNT bag in SDU Grey, and a 215 Gear Khaki Hat.


ATS small med pouch

TNT bag

215 Gear hat

Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW!

2/27/09 - The Trauma Kit NOW! from Blue Force Gear is a trauma kit pouch that is designed to give the user one-handed access to the contents in the shortest time possible. This is another innovative design from Stephen Hilliard (now with BFG), designer of ATS Tactical Medical Blow-out Pouches in the writeup below.

The TKN! pouch differs from the ATS Blow-out pouch by having a removable insert that is yanked out of the pouch, rather than having the pouch detach from the platform. This saves time as the contents are immediately available - no zippers to open or deal with. The TKN! is constructed out of 500D Cordura nylon for weight savings and utilizes Texcel solution dyed webbing for low IR and weight.

Trauma Kit NOW! Pouch

TKN! Pouch/Carrier - The pouch measures approximately 6.5" tall and 4.5" wide. It does not have a flap or lid - it's an open top pouch. At the back are two molle-compatible straps which secure at the bottom with velcro. The MultiCam webbing shown here is from Texcel. This will be changed to a solid colour on production versions as there's no need to use the more costly camo webbing for the attachment, as it's always hidden. The pouch tapers from about 3" deep at the top to 2" deep at the bottom, which facilitates the smooth extraction of the insert even when fully packed. There's a flat 6" x 2" side pocket with velcro-secured webbing flap designed for the Benchmade Model 8 Rescue Hook or a pair of EMT shears. I was able to fit a pair of large shear in the pocket, but could not close the flap unless I routed it through one of the eyes of the handle. It's more secure, but I couldn't pull it out in a hurry; I had to push the flap back through it first.

There are 'ear' flaps on the sides of the pouch that fold over to protect the contents of the insert when packed. There are also two straps that come from the rear of the pouch to the front that are used to compress the top of the pouch if it is not fully loaded. To use them, the straps are folded to the front as the pouch is compressed, and held in place until the insert flap secures them when it is folded over. Upon opening of the insert flap, the compression straps release. There is a grommet at the top front of the pouch for dummy cording the insert to the carrier.

TKN! Insert - The TKN! insert is a folding pullout that opens up when the insert is extracted from the carrier. The insert comprised of two stiffened panels, each about 6" tall x 5" wide. The bottom panel has a flat slot pocket and a grommet for dummy cording it to the carrier, or attaching a chem light or small LED light for illumination. The TKN! inserts is designed around the contents of the Army and Marine IFAK. Three 1" wide elastic bands are sewn across, forming 4 medium and and 4 small loops. The upper panel also has three bands of elastic on it, with 4 large and 4 small loops. The panels are connected by a non-stiffened section, and at the top of the upper panel is the flap with a stiff pull tab. When the panels are folded together, the flap secures them together. When the insert is placed into the carrier, the flap engages the outside of the carrier, rather than the velcro on the panel. To deply the insert, the pull tab is grabbed, the flap disengaged from the velcro, and the insert is lifted out of the carrier. Gravity unfolds the panels, exposing the contents.

The top of the flap has a velcro field on it for patches, and loops for the optional Tourniquet NOW Strap, available separately. The TKN! pouch can be purchased empty, or stocked with supplies (not shown here - it's pictured with my own items below). The supply kit includes the following items:

(1) Cinch-Tight Combat Dressing NSN 6510-01-503-2109
(1) PriMed Compressed Gauze NSN 6510-01-503-2117
(1) TK4 Combat Tourniquet NSN 6515-01-542-7696 (1) Combat Medic Reinforced Tape NSN 6510-01-549-0927
(1) Petrolatum Gauze Pad 3"x9"
(4) Nitrile Surgical Gloves


Insert flap open

Pouch without insert

Rear of pouch


Insert with supplies

Insert folded up and secured

Mounted on Crye blast belt


The TKN! Pouch deployment is a true one-handed operation. Even if you can't get a complete grasp around the pull tab, it's still easy to pull out. Replacing the insert in the pouch can be done with one hand, but the side ears and compression straps will not be used (these require two hands). BFG found that it is not as important to reinsert the insert quickly as it is to deploy quickly. In the case of the TKN!, BFG is making the assumption that after the traumatic injury is treated, the insert may not be replaced properly at all and if it is, then as long as it gets back into the carrier, that is sufficient (no need to properly adjust the compression straps). The ease and speed in which the TKN! pouch gives the user access to the contents saves valuable seconds that can make the difference when someone's life is on the line.

Thanks to MilSpecMonkey for generously passing along his extra pouch for this writeup.


ATS Tactical Medical Blow-out Pouches

3/24/07 - Back at the '06 SHOT Show in Vegas, when Stephen at ATS Tactical showed me the prototype of this pouch, I thought it was a really good idea. Since then, he's refined the design and the final versions shown here are very well executed. There are two sizes offered, a Small and Large Blow-out pouch. What makes them different from a regular IFAK pouch is that they're quick-releasable/detachable from their platforms. With a standard pouch, access to the contents can be severely limited, depending on where it's located on the casualty. The pouch may be trapped under the casualty and his injuries might be exacerbated by rolling him over to gain access. Even when the pouch is accessible on the casualty, it's still not as easy as having a detached pouch right in front of you to find the needed items. For some injuries, every second can count, and might be the difference between life and death. The ATS Tactical Blow-out pouches put the kit in your hands, ASAP.

Medical Pouch - Small - The Small medical pouch is just the right size for mounting on belt kit, or on the side of a vest or rig. Seam-to-seam dimensions of the pouch are 6" tall x 4.5" wide x 3" deep. Add about an inch to all dimensions when it's full/stuffed out. The pouch is attached to a MOLLE compatible backing platform. The platform uses ATS's L-strap fastening system.

Small Blow-out pouch, front


MOLLE Compatible Backing Platform - The platform measures approximately 6" x 4.5", and is stiffened with a plastic insert. It takes up 3 columns of PALS on a belt or rig. The front of the platform is covered in loop velcro material. At top of the platform is sewn the top securing flap/strap, which is 5.5" long and 3" wide. This has an ITW flush-mount female buckle installed on it. At the bottom is a 1"-wide adjustable strap with male buckle. The pouch has hook velcro sewn to its back, which interfaces with the platform. The top and bottom straps wrap over the pouch and keep it secured until needed. To detach the pouch, the buckle is disengaged, the straps open, and you tug on the pouch's red carry handle and rip it off the platform.
This particular top strap has a 3" x 2" patch of loop velcro sewn to it. Stephen was hesitant to put one there, as he felt that the red strap on the pouch would identify it as a FAK, and there was no need for the tacti-cool blood type patches as you'd be typed and crossmatched before given a transfusion. However, he gave in and put one on there to try it out. So, I've put a small red cross ID patch on there since that's a universal symbol, and a NKDA patch. The user can always leave it bare. The good thing is that the info on the platform stays with the person it's attached to, not the pouch.

Pouch Details - The pouch has a red grab handle that was designed to designate the pouch contents as life-saving equipment. It is used to rip the pouch away from the platform and can also be stowed under the top platform strap if you don't want it to show (if you've already got some other feature identifying it as a medical pouch). Normally, it's arranged so that it shows out from the sides of the top strap . The pouch has a full length two-way zipper which allows the pouch to be opened out flat. There's a cord loop sewn into the top as a dummy cord anchor, and the bottom has a drainage grommet. The back panel has a single horizontal elastic loop. Inside the front panel is a slot pocket for small items, and double vertical elastic loops.

Loop velcro on top flap/strap

Strap released

Pouch and MOLLE back panel

Inside main compartment

Shown with items

Mounted on Crye blast belt

Medical Pouch - Large - The Large medical pouch measures approximately 8" tall x 7" wide x 2.5" deep at the seams (almost exactly the same size as a 200 round SAW pouch). Stuffed out, it's about 4" deep in the middle. It's large enough to accomodate a more comprehensive trauma management kit.

Large Blow-out pouch, front


Molle Platform - The large platform measures 8" x 6.25", and utilizes four columns of PALS webbing. Like the small platform, it's covered in loop velcro in the front and has an internal stiffener. Instead of the wider top securing strap, the large platform has 1" straps on the top and bottom, which meet in the middle. The extra width of the pouch does away with the need for a wider strap for stabilization.

Large Pouch details - The large pouch has the same type of red webbing grab/carry handle as the small pouch, but sewn wider apart at the base. It can be stowed behind the pouch if needed, or with a bit of it showing. There are two 2"-wide strips of hook velcro on the back of the pouch that attach it to the backing platform.
The pouch is designed as a quad-fold pouch, with overlapping flaps. The top and bottom flaps open out vertically, with the top flap overlapping the bottom one when closed, and secured with velcro. There's about 2" of adjustability in the overlap, so the flaps can be tightened or loosened depending on how full the pouch is. On the inside of the bottom flap are two flat pockets. The front one has a clear plastic window for 6" x 4" cards or notes. The velcro-closed pocket behind it measures 6" x 3.5" with a pull tab for easy opening.
The side flaps each measure 8" tall x 5" wide, and the right flaps overlaps the left, and secures with velcro. 1" double webbing elastic loops are sewn horizontally to the inside of the flaps. Large elastic loops are sewn into the back of the main compartment for organizing the trauma supplies. I've illustrated it below with the contents of a trauma management kit for both blood and air. When all the flaps are open, the entire contents of the kit can be accessed easily.
While larger than the small pouch, the Large pouch still isn't too bulky to fit to a vest, if needed, since it's the same size as a 200 round SAW ammo pouch. It'll also attach nicely to a pack.

Strap released

Pouch and MOLLE backing platform

Top and bottom foldouts

Inside main compartment

Shown packed

Platform on Kifaru Marauder

Pouch attached
The ATS Tactical Small and Large Medical Pouches are well made and thought out. They're secure on their platforms until needed, then in your hands almost instantly once you pop the strap buckles. They're also easy to replace onto their platforms - you don't have to line up the pouch with the velcro on the platform perfectly if you don't have the time - just slap it approximately in place and secure the straps. There are no cables to pull or reroute. These set the bar for medical pouches.


ITS Tactical Blow Out Kit

12/10/09 - The ITS Tactical Blow Out Kit (BOK) from ITS Tactical combines the best items to treat the three leading preventable causes of death in the field (Extremity Hemorrhage, 60%, Tension Pneumothorax, 33%, and Airway Obstruction, 6%) in a vacuum sealed bag. The kit follows TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) Guidelines which are developed by USSOCOM to train non-medics to deal with the preventable causes of combat deaths.

Description - The BOK contents are vacuum packed in a heavy duty poly bag that features and integrated zip-loc closure. This is to enable the unused contents to be secured for future use. The poly bag has starter tear marks on each side of the bag above the zipper closure to aid in opening. A vacuum sealed BOK ensures the sterility of the enclosed items in a water and moisture-proof, compact package.

The sealed BOK measures approximately 6.5" long x 5" wide x 2.25" thick, and I found that it'd fit in the small ATS Medical Pouch. It's compact enough to stick in a range bag, EDC pack, or in your kit. Each BOK is made as it's ordered and items a guarranteed at least a three-year shelf life when kept sealed.

Contents - (for full descriptions, please visit ITS's page) - refer to the photo below where items are numbered.

1. QuikClot Combat Gauze (1) - Quikclot Combat Gauze is impregnated with a hemostatic agent to treat life-threatening hemorrhage, stopping arterial and venous bleeding in seconds. It has no heat signature and it's easy to pack into any size wound. It can also be removed easily, unlike granular hemostatic agents. It can also function as a regular gauze for normal gauze applications. It is individually sealed within the BOK.

2. Decompression needle (1) - This is a 14 gauge 3.25" long decompression needle for treating a tension pneumothorax by inserting the needle into the 2nd intercostal space in the midclavicular line. It comes in a plastic tube to ensure sterility of the packaging and to prevent it from poking other items in the kit.

3. NPA (Nasopharyngeal Airway (1) - A 28 French Diameter Rusch MPA is included for use on a semiconscious or unconscious patient to secure an open airway. It features an adjustable ring that allows it to be sized for the patient and acts as the flared end to prevent it from sliding down the nasal cavity.

4. H&H Compressed Gauze (2) - H&H PriMed compressed gauze is highly absorbant and is used to stop bleeding and dress wounds, allowing air to circulate in order to promote healing. Vacuum packed to only 2" x 3", it expands to 4.5" x 4.1 yards.

5. Nitrile gloves (1 pair)

6. HALO Chest Seal (2) - The HALO Chest Seal/Dressing is used primarily as an occlusive dressing to treat a pneumothorax or penetrating chest wound. It can also be used to hold a bandage in place after packing a wound.

7. ACE wrap (1) - The ACE wrap can be used to stabilize a sprain, support and injury (splint) or as an additional pressure dressing.

8. Israeli Battle Dressing (1) - The IBD is primarily used as a pressure dressing to stop hemorrhage and achieve hemostatis. It is sterile and non adherent, and consolidates a primary dressing, pressure applicator, secondary dressing and closure apparatus to secure the bandage in place. It can be self-applied with one hand and can also be used as a field expedient tourniquet.

9. Combat Casualty Card (1) - The casualty card is used to mark what type of care has been provided, triage status/priority, and other patient information for higher echelon care.

While geared towards combat casualty care, the BOK isn't just meant for those who are expecting to go into 'combat'. Folks who work in law enforcement or security fields that might need to help stabilize patients with gunshot wounds, or civilians at firearms training classes (or just at the range) can benefit from having a BOK on hand. Treatable injuries are not limited to incidents involving firearms or combat situations - some of these injuries can occur in auto accidents, at construction sites etc.

Needless to say, proper training/knowledge beyond basic first aid is recommended for the use of some of these items, as with any medical product. Even if you don't have the training to use this kind of BOK on an injury victim, it may be used by someone who knows what they're doing to save YOUR life, if you end up being the victim. By the same token, someone else who's present might have the know-how to use the contents of your BOK to stabilize a victim other than youself. In any case, it doesn't hurt to have one with you and the ITS BOK makes it all the more convenient.


Contents list inside BOK

Combat casualty card

M4 mag for scale

BOK thickness

Contents of BOK

Fits in small ATS med pouch

Trauma Packs 'TAC-PACK'

6/1/06 - The single-use TAC-PACK from Traumapacks.com was designed by a leading trauma surgeon in NYC for a government agency as a trauma management kit small enough to be worn with a suit yet still capable of providing what is needed for treating ballistic trauma. It's meant to be used to minimize blood loss until the victim can be taken to the nearest trauma center, not keep someone alive out in the field for an extended period. Out of the many blowout kits available, this one is actually small enough to be an everyday carry item, as the contents are vacuum packed for the smallest possible package.

The Standard TAC-PACK contains (refer to the photo on the far right):

  1. Protective gloves
  2. 5" x 9" ABD (abdominal) Pad
  3. 2-3/8" x 2-3/4" Tegaderm transparent dressing.
  4. Kimberly Clark N95 respirator mask (more info here)
  5. 4" x 3" gauze/cover sponge
  6. 4" x 4.1 yds stretch bandage (roll)
  7. 1" and 2" tape (12" each)
    Note that the "Advanced" TAC-PACK contains the above items plus an angiocatheter and tourniquet

The steps to using the TAC-PACK are as follows:
Step 1: Open Tac-Pack by Tearing along Tear Notches
Step 2: Pull out contents
Step 3: Apply Protectective Gloves
Step 4: Break open sterile Gauze/cover sponge and apply to wound
Step 5: Apply Large dressing (ABD pad) on top of Gauze
Step 6: Open sterile Roll bandage to secure dressings or use 1 or 2 inch supplied tape
Step 7: Apply transparent dressing to gunshot or stab wound.
Step 8: Apply N95 Respirator mask in smoky conditions or if particulate matter is floating in the air

As mentioned above, to make the package as small as possible, the entire contents are vacuum sealed in the package, which reduces the bulk to about one-third of the uncompressed size. It's a great idea. Unopened, the package measures about 5.5" x 3.5" and only .75" at the widest point (less than the thickness of my thumb). Since it tapers towards the edges, the package is flat and light enough that it will slip almost unnoticed in just about any pocket, until it's needed.

TAC-PACK with M4 mag for size comparison

Package thickness

Contents of standard TAC-PACK

TAD Gear Life Capsule, TACTICAL

8/26/06 - Another unique offering from Triple Aught Design (TAD Gear), is the Life Capsule, Tactical. It's meant to be worn on your person as a last-ditch, bomb-proof container for a few survival essentials when you've run out of everything else.
The LCT consists of three main components - a body and two end caps. Overall length when assembled is 4.25" with a diameter of 0.88". It's machined out of 6061T6 aluminum and Type III hard anodized in a AR-type matte grey.

The body is knurled on the outside for a secure grip. The inside of the body is divided into two compartments. The primary compartment is 2.6" deep with an inside diameter of about .575". Endcap 1 has a lanyard hole and adds no additional volume to the compartment. The lanyard hole is sized for 550 cord.

A liquid-filled Brunton button compass is included and sits in the mini-compass compartment at the other end. Endcap 2 adds about .3" of additional depth to the compartment and has a threaded hole on the outside for future attachments.

Both end caps have scallops machined into their tapered ends to aid in installation and removal. The endcaps are interchangeable and will fit on either end. The "Fast Thread" design refers to the fact that the threads have 3 starting points instead of one, so you'll catch the threads within only a 3rd of a revolution than 'finding' the one starting point when you install the endcaps. This makes the endcaps quicker to put on. Solvent-resistant O-rings on the body compress when the end caps are installed for a water-tight seal.

So what do you carry in the Life Capsule? It comes with a couple of basic essentials, like self-strike matches and a mini-candle, but it can also accomodate some of the mini fire starters like the Spark-Lite. Other items like a scalpel blade or fish hook can be carried as well. Obviously, it's not meant to be a comprehensive survival kit, but to carry the last essentials that might make a difference. Emergency medicine and pills can also be carried inside.
It's light enough to be carried on your person at all times - either in a pocket or on a 550 cord lanyard around the neck. Or, on a lanyard around the neck but placed in a chest pocket, if it feels uncomfortable under gear or armour. A machined aluminum capsule may seem like overkill when a cheap little plastic container would probably work (until it cracks). It's the same argument when people wonder whether an overbuilt $475 Strider folder gives you that much more than a knife half the price. What it boils down to is the situation/job that you're in and how much your life depends on your equipment to work when you need it.

Note: A couple of people have suggested that the Life Capsule might be used as a kubotan or yawara stick (pressure point/impact weapon). It's a tad short to be used as a kubotan (based on standard length kubotans), but at 4.25" it's viable as a yawara stick. It's up to the user to determine whether it'll work for them. I definitely wouldn't want the end of it pressed hard against any part of my body or whacked in the skull with it.

Capsule with SF C2 for size comparison

Capsule components

Main compartment

Inside main compartment, end cap 1

Compass/small compartment and endcap 2

"Fast threads"

On a lanyard next to Strider SMF

TAD Gear Survival Spark

12/11/08 - The TAD Gear Survival Spark is a diminutive emergency firestarter, inspired by the Vietnam War-era emergency Spark-Lite fo aviators, which was made of brass. Current Spark-Lites are made of plastic, and TAD wanted to make one that was a homage to an era when things were made to last, rather than the plastic-disposable mentality of today's society.

The Spark comes in a translucent box with four Tinder-quik tinders. These tabs are waterproof, odorless and will burn for a couple of minutes. They can be cut in half if a full one isn't needed.

The Spark itself is made from solid brass billet, and consists of a hollow brass shaft with an end cap on one end, and a hardened striker wheel on the other. It measures only 2.375" in length with the widest part of the wheel diameter at 0.43". The end cap is grooved for secure purchase and also is also slotted for a small screwdriver if over-tightened. The end cap is removed to reveal and internal spring with plunger on one end. This spring keeps the replaceable flint in constant contact with the striker wheel. Standard lighter flint is used.

The shaft starts out with a square cross section, then the middle section is turned down to a necked-down rounded portion. A groove is provided on the side for the storing a sewing needle for creation of an emergency sewing kit. The idea is to store the needle in the groove and wrap thread around the necked down portion of the shaft. Electrical heat-shrink wrap is then put over the shaft and the thread portion effectively 'shrink wrapped'. TAD's page illustrates how to do this. I discovered, however, that an extra needle can be stored within the spring inside the shaft.

The Survival Spark and tinder fits inside the TAD Gear Life capsule compartment, reviewed above. It's easy to use as shown in this video where I ignite a piece of bathroom tissue. There's no excuse for not bringing it along just about anytime you're in the field.


Box contents

Survival spark

Spark components

EOD Robotics Pocket Grappling Hook

8/17/06 - The EOD Robotics Pocket Grappling Hook offered by County Comm was designed for military EOD as a compact, lightweight grappling hook to snag trip wires or command detonation wires on IEDs.

The PGH is machined out of T6061 and is Mil-spec Type II anodized in a black finish. Overall length with cap is 5.5" and the tube diameter is about .85". The cap diameter is 1". It weighs 5 oz.
The PGH body is hollow, and stores the three 303 stainless steel spikes. It's open at one end, and solid at the other. A foam spacer at the bottom of the tube helps prevent the spikes from rattling inside. The compartment dimensions are about 3.5" deep and .625" in diameter, and will accomodate any small emergency items without the spikes. The cap has an o-ring to keep the compartment water resistant.
Near the rounded end of the tube are three holes into which the spikes are threaded. The spikes protrude at a 45° angle to the body and are spaced equally at 120° apart. The spikes themselves are 3" long not including the .35" of threading. Two knurled bands around the spike body aid in hand tightening and looseing the spikes from the PGH body.
The solid aluminum cap has a .25" diameter hole for attachment of the line. 550 cord can be passed through the hole twice.

The EOD Robotics logo and a warning are laser engraved on the body. The warning states that it's 'NOT A LIFE SAFETY DEVICE'. County Comm has informally strength tested the PGH to 350 lbs (I'm not sure how it was supported), but I'd agree with the warning and NOT try using this to support body weight. Unless the spikes are hooked over something right where they attach to the body, they'll be put under too much stress and bend at the transition between the shoulder and threaded portion with someone's weight.

The PGH can be used with or without the spikes. Without the spikes, it can function as a throw weight to throw lightweight line like 550 cord to someone else in an emergency (hence I put it in the 'Emergency Kit' section). A heavier rope can be tied to the end of the 550. The empty body can be filled with water or sand to add weight. With the spikes, the PGH can be thrown from cover to snag lines or wires, as mentioned above, or also to retrieve equipment or gear beyond one's immediate reach. Visit the County Comm web page for more applications. How far and where it goes is entirely dependant on the user, of course. I'm lucky if I don't bean myself in the head with it. Actually, the PGH can be flung pretty far, either being thrown conventionally or swung from the cord in a circle (take care if the spikes are installed). I attached 550 cord to the cap with a knute hitch so it's easily attached and detached without having to mess with a knot. I was able to throw the PGH and snag a pack after a couple of tries from about 15 yards away without much effort. Take note when using it without the spikes installed - it's advisable to cover the spike holes over with tape or whatever's available, as a small rock or stone lodged inside the threaded hole could prove difficult to remove.

As shown below, the PGH is small and easily carried. I've shown it in one compartment of my 6o4 pouch. It'll fit most single pistol mag pouches. I can see the Pocket Grappling Hook being quite useful for a variety of applications.

PGH with .45 mag for size comparison

Stainless spikes

O-ring sealed cap

Spikes installed

PGH in 6o4 pouch

County Comm Mine Probe case

6/23/07 - The Improved Mine Probe Pouch offered by County Comm was designed for military EOD teams as a means of carrying their mine probes, however it can be used to carry other items as well. The black nylon case measures 8" tall x 4" wide and about 2" thick when fully stuffed. There's a zipper around the edge of the case, and when unzipped the case only opens up about 30° instead of all the way. This is to prevent small items inside the case from falling out if it were to open too wide.

The rear of the case has two MOLLE-compatible straps. On the front is a 3.75" x 2" patch of loop velcro. Inside the case are two slot pockets on each side about 5" deep - one is 1.5" wide and the other 2" wide. Six elastic loops on the outside of one of the pockets holds small items.

Pouch with .45 mag for size comparison

Back view

Inside pouch


Purell Military Hand Sanitizer

3/9/07 - Poor personal hygiene in the field, whether it be backpacker or soldier, can lead to illness or even disease. Purell now packages its instant hand sanitizer in a refillable, foliage green bottle that's perfect for BDU pockets. It's even got grips molded into the sides of the squeeze bottle for easy one-handed dispensing. Used without water, it kills 99.99% of germs that might cause illness, in as little as 15 seconds. The 'emergency' use for it, which is why I put it in this category is that it can also be used as an expedient fire starter/fuel. The ethanol in the gel will ignite with a small blue flame that can help start a fire on wood that might not burn otherwise. I tested it in a piece of wood bark and ignited it with a match. It burned with a blue flame until the ethanol had been used up - long enough to add a few more pieces or kindling. Available from County Comm.

W ith light for size comparison

Ignited on a piece of wood

ITW Warrior Wipes

ITW Military Products has packaged anti-microbial hand sanitizing wipes in a more military-coloured package, much like Purell did with their hand sanitizer bottle. Keep a few in your first aid kit for use before and after treating wounds. Convenient and used without water, contact sales@itwmilitaryproducts.com for details.

Purell Military Hand Sanitizer

3/9/07 - Poor personal hygiene in the field, whether it be backpacker or soldier, can lead to illness or even disease. Purell now packages its instant hand sanitizer in a refillable, foliage green bottle that's perfect for BDU pockets. It's even got grips molded into the sides of the squeeze bottle for easy one-handed dispensing. Used without water, it kills 99.99% of germs that might cause illness, in as little as 15 seconds. The 'emergency' use for it, which is why I put it in this category is that it can also be used as an expedient fire starter/fuel. The ethanol in the gel will ignite with a small blue flame that can help start a fire on wood that might not burn otherwise. I tested it in a piece of wood bark and ignited it with a match. It burned with a blue flame until the ethanol had been used up - long enough to add a few more pieces or kindling. Available from County Comm.

W ith light for size comparison

Ignited on a piece of wood


©opyright by MilitaryMorons.com. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, Duplication, Distribution Strictly Prohibited.

Unless mentioned otherwise, content and images are the property of militarymorons.com and are not in the public domain.
They are not to be used without permission. Please Contact me for permission to use any images or content herein.