Monday, 10 April 2017

Ryker Nylon Gear AFAK (Ankle First Aid Kit)

Ryker Nylon Gear AFAK

After trying and ultimately finding myself unsatisfied with various methods of IFAK equipment portage as part of my EDC, I decided it was time to try a purpose made ankle medical kit.  In full disclosure, I’ve never truly considered carrying any part of my EDC gear on my ankle.  In my mind, it was reserved for deep cover concealment of small, backup firearms, and nothing else.  In that respect, even, it seemed like a carry method of last resort, and certainly one that wasn’t conducive to ready access, especially for something as important as a firearm.  To put it bluntly, I’d written it off without much thought.

When I came across the concept of an ankle medical kit in a Facebook posting, I was intrigued.  Due to the nature of my day job, I am able to carry a fully TCCC compliant IFAK with me at most times, but in an off body carry method; my daybag/assault pack.  When out and about with the family, there is no shortage of bags to keep my EDC medical items in, between my wife’s purse and the baby’s diaper bag.

But what about those in between areas when we find ourselves in an environment where bags are not an option, or unfeasible?  What about uniformed or plain clothes law enforcement personnel on foot, or who have an already full duty belt?  What about the biggest hindrance for most people to their EDC: the limitations of their clothing?  We all know those people who either end up looking like “Tactical Timmy” with their bulging cargo pockets and “shoot me” vest… or the exact opposite: the person who is inconsistent in their carry of important gear because it “just doesn’t fit” with their clothing choices.

Ryker Nylon Gear AFAK (Ankle First Aid Kit) stood out from the few other options in the marketplace for a few reasons.  First, it wasn’t an elastic based system like many of the other offerings.  I wasn’t initially sure if this was going to be a benefit or a drawback, but in the time I’ve been carrying it, it has not been an issue.  The kit is constructed of typical tactical nylon, with hook and loop closure, which secures firmly, but thankfully does not cut off the blood supply to the foot, even after all day wear.  The kit has three vertically oriented pouches; two larger pouches, measuring 4.25 inches long x 4.5 inches high, and a smaller central pouch which seems appropriate for a pen, a thoracotomy needle, or some trauma shears (a pair of which was incidentally included with the AFAK when I received it).  The inner face of the AFAK has an approximately ten inch long flat sleeve, with suggestions from the manufacturer for use in storing a chest seal (HALO seal shown on manufacturer's website as an example).

With the limited, but surprisingly adequate, space available in this kit, creativity is a must when divining which most crucial gear it should hold, and then how exactly to make this happen.  In keeping with TCCC/TECC standards, I knew that the first and most obvious item would be something to stop massive arterial hemorrhage on an extremity: a tourniquet.  I chose the SOFT-T Wide from Tactical Medical Solutions, due to its excellent performance in evaluations and in real world incidents, and its ability to be folded flatter (at least by me) than the next best option, the CAT tourniquet.  The SOFT-T fit easily in one of the two main pockets, with enough of the securing strap making contact with the hook and loop.  The CAT’s plastic windlass securing hooks printed enough to discourage me from using it with this kit.

Second on my list was a good pressure bandage.  A small Israeli bandage, even field stripped, will not fit in this kit.  I would recommend sourcing a flat pressure bandage, such as the H&H mini compression bandage, as it fits perfectly in one of the main pockets.

I was also able to include a 14 gauge chest dart, some medical duct tape, a pair of gloves, and one set of HALO chest seals, and still have the kit remain slim enough to not excessively print, nor be a weight burden to the leg I put it on.

Comfort was attainable, even with the kit fully stocked, and with wear times of up to 12 hours daily.  Depending on how big your ankle is, or what type of shoes/boots you wear, you may or may not require the extender Velcro flap (which comes with the device when you buy it).  After about three months of near daily wear, the Velcro has not lost any considerable amount of retention.  One of my favorite aspects, which relates to the Velcro itself and the retention method of the contents, is that this kit can be accessed and removed one handed, while also keeping all the contents contained.  It could then be folded on itself and easily tossed to another individual without losing its contents in flight.  The fact that each pocket has individual retention straps allows access of individual contents, instead of requiring an “all or nothing” approach, as some other kits on the market do.  It also allows items to be accessed without having to remove the kit from the leg in the first place, another advantage over some other kits on the market.

As for clothing choice, it should be pretty obvious to most that skinny jeans are a no-go.  Standard boot cut jeans and trousers will fit over the kit just fine, but some uniform pants I found to be too tight to accommodate the kit when fully packed.  Propper brand pants were one of them.  Also of note, I found it impossible to wear the kit while maintaining proper wear and appearance of OCP uniform as dictated by AR 670-1, and would assume similar about USMC uniform regulations.  If you blouse your boots, the kit will not fit above the blouse line without looking like your leg has a tumor, if you’re even able to get the Velcro to connect around your calf.  That being said, since this was for civilian/off duty wear, I found few if any of my clothing choices limited my wear of this kit.

Overall, I think this is a fine choice of kit when considering an ankle based EDC medical device carry method.  It was comfortable, versatile, and carried an acceptable variety of necessary items for immediate self/buddy aid, without being overly bulky or uncomfortable.

J. Hill

No comments:

Post a Comment