Thursday, 22 July 2010

Maxpedition FR-1 First Aid Pouch

The Maxpedition FR-1 is one of two medium/second line first aid pouches I have. (The other being the Emdom B.O.M.B.)
The pouch as I have it, with additions and revisions

But let’s have a look at the interior first.
The front. A zippered compartment and a double 2" layer of elastic divided into 2 3" channels. One obvious and simple change I made was an orange fob to replace the zipper pull.
The back. A mesh compartment, a 6" wide 1" elastic band with one right on top of that divided into two 3" channels, a single 6" wide 2" band with a single 1" band atop it divided into 3 2" channels. At the top is a loop to tie a roll of tape into.
The other four sides. The bottom of the pouch features a drain hole. The dimensions of the pouch are 17½ cm (7") x 12½ cm (5") x 7½ cm (3").
The interior with the supplies.

Another change I made to it was the hold open cords. Originally it was a loop with a cord lock. It allowed the pouch to be opened to whatever setting the user wanted. Flopped all the way down, opened just a bit, whatever. I found it a little too fiddly and knew that I just wanted it to open about 90°. Cut two pieces of 550 cord to the right length, knots in the ends, and presto. If I decide that I do actually want it back to the way it was, no big deal. Grab a length of cord, a cord lock and set it up the way it was. But this works to my liking.
One of the modifications/additions I made is a system to secure the crash shears in behind the pouch.
One of the changes necessary was that the PALS was originally two channels wide, as evidenced by the bottom two rows. I wanted three channels. I would have liked to do the bottom as well, but the way the pouch was laid out, made getting down into the bottom to sew very difficult. I left it at just the top two rows. Which works just fine. A piece of ½ inch webbing is woven between the webbing.
To complete it, I added a fur coat closure system. (They’re called “fur clips” (pelzhaken in German). Prym makes it, and the product code for it in black is 416502, although it is also available in brown and beige.) The ring was sewn between the two ends of the ½" webbing, and the metal clasp was sewn to the top of the pouch. Works beautifully. Easy to flip open, even with gloves on. Getting the shears back in, the webbing and eyelet through the handles and closed again is smooth and hassle free. 
Something else I altered was a carry handle that sat on the top. (Check the link at the top to the manufacturers website to see what I mean.) There were also two D-rings associated with this carry handle. I knew I was never going to want to carry it by hand or on a shoulder strap, so I just removed it.
The crash shears can also be put in the PALS webbing on the side.
One other addition are the red zipper pulls, to help identify it as a medical kit. The front also featured some shock cord and a cord lock above the PALS webbing. Not sure what I could really do with it. I suspect the thinking behind it might be a tourniquet is meant to go there. I took it off. There is a pass through behind the velcro, that Maxpedition calls a Torch-Cave. If you have it mounted on the side of a belt, you could clip a flashlight there, and have it point forward. I don’t know...clever, but I can’t see myself ever using it.
On the front I have an old LC-1 compass pouch that I put PALS on the back of, that holds 5 pairs of nitrile gloves. I think of making another pouch to hold gloves, but wider (wide enough to cover the whole front) and flatter. Or alternately another pouch roughly about the same size to hold a 4" Israeli dressing.
Here I have it mounted on a S.O.Tech Go-Bag.
And this is what I have in it:
  1. Crash Shears
  2. Biohazard Bag
  3. WaterJel 10 cm x 40 cm (4" x 16") Burn Dressing
  4. 3"x3" gauze
  5. QuickClot (the older granulated formula, not made any more)
  6. Finger Dressings
  7. Tensor Bandage
  8. Pill Pack
  9. H&H Primed Gauze
  10. Abdominal Pad
  11. Iodine Ointment
  12. Benzalkonium Chloride Pad
  13. Iodine Prep Pad
  14. Insect Sting Relief Pad
  15. Alcohol Pad
  16. 10 cm (4") Gauze 
  17. SAM Finger Splint
  18. Blister Pads
  19. Irrigation Syringe
  20. Triangular bandage
  21. 5 cm x 5 cm (2" x 2") Pressure Dressing
  22. Knuckle Bandages
  23. More 3" Gauze Pads
  24. Transpor Tape
  25. Tourniquet
  26. Finger Cots
  27. Ocular Pad
  28. Laerdahl Face Shield
  29. Fingertip Bandages
And a larger, unlabeled version if anyone wants a closer look at anything.

Great pouch, very well thought out and very well made. Admittedly I made a few changes/additions to it, but they in no way take away from the stock pouch. Of the two I have, I think I prefer the Emdom B.O.M.B. a little more, but only just. Anyone looking for a first aid pouch, something more substantial than a booboo kit, would be very well served by this.

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