Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: AUSCAM Medical Field Pack

Happy Australia Day! In honour of this auspicious day, I wanted to do a review of another piece of mystery swag my mysterious benefactor connected with the Australian Defense Force delivered. This is what the package insert listed as "Field Pack Medical, Camouflage Pattern". For all impressions, a fairly standard looking rectangular backpack, not unlike a hefty school bag and just as exciting looking, (apart from being in the much loved "hearts and bunnies" AUSCAM). There are hidden delights, so stick around and we'll get to them. Firstly the pack is made from the same rough wearing nylon as the previously reviewed Raven backpack. On the front of the pack are two external pockets, both fixed with twin Fastex buckles and webbing straps. The pockets are fairly shallow but probably good for documents and snacks.

The pack also has a fairly standard backpack style set of shoulder straps, padded with nylon straps. A sternum strap assists with stability and load bearing. There is a nylon handle on the side, for carrying the pack like a briefcases, which is an interesting variation from most carry handles, found on the top. A zippered pocket lines the whole of the back, and a cunningly designed pocket in the top conceals a waterproof cover. The pack is 445mm x 300mm x 190mm and whilst may appear to be Volvo-designed, the magic is all on the inside.

The interior of the pack is home to four pouches, each with a clear plastic face to see the contents, and webbing handles at each end. These pouches are all held in place by hook-side hook-and-loop backing, with the entire of the back wall of the pack being loop-side. Each pouch is fully zipperable and comes with a ID pocket for labeling. I'd estimate that each of the pouches has a 2-3L capacity and being removable, can be configured as you see fit. How I love the modularity of this set up!

I was fortunate enough that the pack came to me partially filled, as it had been retired from active use on the static range it was intended for. Inside are a number of bandages, gauze packs, tapes, gloves, sutures and the like. Pretty awesome as a starter kit. Some of the items seem to have passed their "best before" date, and will need to be replaced, but its a great windfall nevertheless. The included package insert tells me that a there is room for quite a number more items, which I will endeavor to accumulate or substitute.

Inside the front flap of the bag are some interesting features. A series of elastisised loops allow the retention of a number of items or tools, I'll put some more Cyalume sticks in them, and perhaps some labeled centrifuge tubes filled with medicines. A wide mesh pocket makes for storage of larger items, and the roll at the side is a waterproof mat that unfolds to give a large, "clean" drop cloth for laying out supplies in the course of treating an injury. Far better to place bandages on the mat from within the kit, rather than the muddy forest floor you might find yourself treating an injury on.
Having a big, well equipped first aid kit, with a wide range of consumables, ready for a range of situations, is a very good idea, especially when considering the needs that may arise following a disaster or catastrophe of some kind.  Regular supply lines will become strained if not cut, and those sterile and medicated products that we use to counter infection and treat injury can and will make a big difference, especially in the hands of those trained in their use.

So, Happy Australia Day, I hope nothing bad happens to you, your culture or civilization. Today.
Twice on one day would be annoying and lead to conflicts on my calendar.

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