As the title says this is a review of my new TCCC/CLS shoulder bag, or as I have dubbed it "The Med Murse".
When I found out that I would be one of the TCCC's for my section I spend a lot of time humming and hawing about how to carry my medical supplies. I kicked around a bunch of options weighing the pros and cons. I am by no means an experienced medical provider, these are just my thought so what does not work for me may work for others, as always YMMV;
Drop Leg pouch - We have been issued drop leg pouches for our kit. The brand varies from the TT med pouch and platform that I got to the CTOMS pouch and platform. All of the non mat tech produced bags that I have seen are good quality and well designed I just dont like the concept of drop legs. Although none of the medical supplies are heavy, they are quite bulky and make for some large pouches. The issue that I have with the drop leg is several fold. Firstly, I strongly dislike having pouches attached to my legs. I find that they are hot, rub on my leg, swing around and fatigue my leg, are a pain when sitting in the back of the LAV and finally get caught up on doors and all kinds of other things. Additionally, their clam shell design has a habit of dumping your crap when you pull it open if it is not packed just right, as well it makes it difficult to transfer back to care under fire from tactical field care. For these reasons I discounted drop legs. I still have the issue one and may end up using if I need to.
Back Pack - Although an option I discounted this right away as I am not a medic and in no way have enough crap to fill a dedicated medical pack.
Fanny/*** pack - I looked into the Emdom recon pack and several other fanny packs. I liked the concept as it was off my legs and would not interfere with movement through doors, and in the back of the LAV. I eventually discounted this option after trying one on with armor and vest. It was impossible to even see into the fanny pack with all of my battle rattle on. This would mean that I would have to remove the waist pack every time I needed to treat someone. Not as much of an issue in the tactical field care portion of care, but definitely an issue in care under fire, trying to find TQ's and such.
Shoulder Bag - I liked the concept of a shoulder bag, similar to what medics used to use, ala WWII med bags etc. I liked the concept because, again like the fanny pack, it would not interfere with my movement and I could remove it in the back of the LAV. Unlike the waist pack I would be able to swing the bag to my front and access it without removing the bag, thus allowing me to treat someone with out any issues. This is the concept that I decided to go with.
After having decided on a concept I went about trying to action it. I could not find a commercial style bag that would meet my needs and be low profile enough so I went to ICE tactical and got a custom bag. Here is the result;
I wanted a bag that was low profile and somewhat contoured so that it would not swing around and bounce when it was slung behind me.
Additionally I wanted pockets on the outside for TQ's, shears, and gloves.
Shears, and Gloves
2x CAT TQ's
TCCC's are issued, at a minimum (at least this is what I was told on course), 2x CATS, shears, 2x Israeli dressings, 2x Kerlix, 2x Asherman Chest Seals, 2x 10g Needles for decompression, 1x triangular bandage, 1x Quickclot and 2x NPA with lube. I wanted the bag to hold all of that kit in an organized manner, and if possible have room for more. I am quite happy with the result. The bag is broken into two compartments. The main pocket with elastic loops throughout, and a small flat rear pocket. My version of the bag does not have elastic in the rear pocket, but the more recent bags do.
All told I am currently carrying comfortably; 2x TQ's, shears, gloves, 4x Israeli dressings, 3x Kerlix, 2x triangular bandages, 3x Asherman seals, 8x tagaderm, 3x Israeli packages for 3 sided dressings, 4x 10g needles for decompression, and 2x NPA with lube (missing is the quickclot as we dont get issued it until arriving in theater). The interior of the bag is organized and I have room to spare.
The bag rides extremely well. I dont even notice when it is slung behind me, the outer pockets on my chest rig keep it from swinging forward. When I need to treat someone it is very easy to sling the back to my front and access the contents. Because the bag is not a clamshell design the contents do not spill out, making it very easy and quick to transition back into care under fire from tactical field care.
The bag cost me $60Can from ICE tactical and all in all I am very happy. The only change that I would make would be adding elastic loops to the rear compartment, which is being done to the 5 bags ordered by other guys in my platoon. Although this option of med carriage is not for everyone it works quite well for me. ICE tactical and Derek were a pleasure to deal with both on my original order for the bag, and the subsequent platoon order that I put in. I would definitely recommend them, and this bag for other TCCC's.