Last week I wrote about the only medical bag that you will ever need to buy. Today I wanted to highlight a few more medical bags that are highly suited for preppers, search and rescue, tactical medics, military medics, or any person that is interested in having a durable medical kit. These bags all exhibit great function, durability, quality of materials and craftmanship, and suitability for austere conditions. I listed them in my order of preference from most preferred to last preferred.
1. Tactical Tailor M5 Medic Pack – I still have my Tactical Tailor M5 bag. It is an awesome bag, but doesn’t hold the most gear compared to some of the other bags. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in versatility. It is a well constructed bag that I used on my last deployment. The best part of all is that Tactical Tailor stands behind their work. If you ever have a problem with your gear, it can be sent back to be repaired or replaced. One of the unique features of the M5 bag is that the inside is configurable. The internal dividers are held in with hook and loop tape that is strong and well suited for the task. As a result of the almost endless configurations for this bag, it can be adapted to be used as a general medical bag or even for other applications. The outside of the bag has MOLLE webbing on three sides which allows for additional storage in the form of removable pockets.
2. BLACKHAWK S.T.O.M.P. II Medical Pack – One good look at this bag and it will be apparent that it is almost identical to the London Bridge Training Coverage Medical Bag. The great thing about that is the London Bridge bag is very well designed. Perhaps even better than that is the fact that the Blackhawk bag is significantly less when it comes to the purchase price. The big downside to this bag is that it is cheaper in the way that it is put together. It is still suitable for a combat environment but may not hold up for quite as many years as some other bags.
3. TSSi TACOPS M9 Assault Medical Backpack – When this bag was introduced it became the go to bag for many special operations forces in the Middle East. It is a small bag but it fits so nicely atop a set of body armor that it can almost be forgotten about. This makes it ideal for wearing in vehicles and transitioning from aircraft which led to it’s popularity. The outside of the bag also features webbing that allows the addition of external pockets. It is also capable of carrying everything required to save a life from a traumatic injury in the field.
4. StatPacks Stealth – StatPacks is a company that has established itself in the fire and EMS community for their medical bags. In recent years, StatPacks has realized that many of their products, if properly colored, could be adapted for use in a tactical setting. This has lead to the adoption of StatPacks products for use not only in the military but in police agencies as well. The Stealth is modular for maximum versatility, includes space for a hydration bladder, and features webbing for the addition of external pouches.
One of the most important aspects of deciding which bag is best for you is the size of the bag. A good basic rule with medical bags, and any bag for that matter, is to gather all of the items that you intend to pack into it and see what size bag that you need. Whatever you do, don’t get a bag that is too big. I am not a fan of large bags. In the Army, we called them “tick” bags, referring to the fact that you could fill them until they were about to explode and looked like a tick. Overloading a bag can be a nightmare. The last thing you want to do is haul around ten extra pounds of gear that you don’t need. With that being said, it can be even worse to have someone’s life in your hands and not have the stuff to save them. Packing a medical bag is a delicate balance and you must determine what will most suit your needs for the task at hand.
Alternatives to a purpose built medical bag should also be considered. There are many awesome bags out there that I would readily use for my gear. My top 3 alternative bags to use for a medical kit would be:
1. Kifaru International Marauder – Kifaru is another great company that puts out a product that speaks for itself. Well, not literally speaking for itself but one look at the bag and you will know that it is top notch. The Marauder is a versatile pack that can be used for anything that you can imagine.
3. GoRuck GR1 – The guys at GoRuck are sticklers for quality and all of their bags are made in the United States. These bags are relied on by a number of U.S. Special Operations forces for duty across the globe as well as for personal use.
In the event that a duty grade bag is not an option for you because of budget, practicality or another reason, don’t let it stop you from putting a high quality kit together. I have seen some great kits that were put together using tackle boxes, a plastic tote, and even a tool box. Rule number one should be to have a kit. Once you have something together, it can be improved going forward. There is no replacement for a purpose-built medical bag though. In the event of an emergency, a durable bag that is designed to keep life-saving supplies neat and organized can make all the difference.