FATPack PRO Large Review (Direct Action Perspective)
This review is by Mike, an 18D Special Forces Medical Sergeant, ATP, EMT-P. The following is written from the perspective of a unit that specializes in Direct Action (DA) operations.
A medic in this unit is expected to be an Assaulter first, and a Medic second. This means that we are often burdened with a large amount of equipment to carry on target, and finding solutions to bring all the necessary gear is a common challenge and is constantly evolving with modern technology. It is all too common to carry a primary weapon system, secondary weapon system, a shotgun for ballistic breach, a radio, charges for breaching, saws or cutting instruments, ladders, an aid bag and a litter.
All this being said, finding the right bag with a slim design that doesn’t catch on car doors, doorways or hand rails and still has a decent carrying capacity is difficult, and I tend to rotate between a few different bags. I have carried this bag for a week of flat range training (daily use stuff), a week of CQB house work, and also along regular civilian activities (hiking, camping, in the truck, etc). I haven’t had the opportunity to run this bag through a medically intensive training exercise, low vis stuff or an actual operation, so I owe a follow-up review when I get around to doing that later this year.
How I packed this bag:
- Above my belt I wear a fanny pack that holds everything I need to do a basic MARCH on a single casualty. (x2 TQs, pressure dressing material, cric kit, chest seal, IO drill, IV starter kit w/ flush, x2 Hemostats, x2 TXA, x2 Calcium Gluconate). I also require that all my teammates carry some of this stuff and a set of trauma shears. This effectively gives me 2 full MARCH kits to work on a casualty without having to dig into an aid bag. I drop my aid bag in the first room or at breach so it isn’t always on hand and may take some time to go get and I’ll be honest, I’m a “messy medic”, if my aid bag is getting opened, things are getting messy- trash, syringes, whatever is going to be all over the place, so I try my best to work off of my belt.
- I packed this bag with excess MARCH materials, plus some diagnostic equipment and narcs. In reality, we also have truck bags (we plan and pack bags for Ruck, Truck, Air and Clinic) that hold some more obscure and rarely used items (crush kits, AED, laryngoscope, etc).
- This bag makes more sense to me for MARCH related activities in a DA environment.
Pictures of how I packed and prepped this bag:
- No “real” pockets on the outside, just sleeves to insert some things. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it prevents snagging or catching on things but it costs space. The sleeves are pretty tight so all I could get was a set of shears in one and a couple TCCC cards in the zipper pocket.
- Molle on the sides is good for some quick tourniquets.
- Tear away three pouch system is awesome. I haven’t labeled any pouches yet, but this keeps it simple to pack things in an order from top to bottom.
- Tear away is great, I can tear out the panel and lay it next to me in the truck or on a table or something. Keep that!
- The molle style elastic packing inserts on the bottom are good, but there isn’t much space in the bag to really cram anything in there. I use them for spare lines, quick reference material and a roll of tape. I always rig tape like this in my bags.
- I’m not sure if this was done intentionally, but the bright orange interior is actually awesome. It stands out and is easy to see at night, keeping people from accidentally kicking it around or stepping on it. If needed it can be used as a type of marking system as well.
- Back up pressure dressing stuff and an eye shield. I carry a decent amount of guaze and ace wrap on me already, just figured this would be excess.
- Basically a back-up airway pouch. X2 Cric kits, x4 chest seals, x3 Needle Ds, NPA and a Finger Thoracostomy kit.
- I am not a fan of premade cric kits, so I make my own.
- X1 Scalpel, Cric hook, ET tube (cut short), 550 tie, 10ml syringe and alcohol prep.
- I confirm placement using a Capnograph or breath sounds for analog.
- Back up access materials in here. X1 IO drill with connector and needles, FAST1, NAR IV starter kit, Tegaderm and alcohol prep.
Back panel storage pouch:
- This pouch is the game changer for me. I normally cram all my diagnostic stuff in a bottom pouch (Mystery Ranch Bag) and in order to access any single thing I basically have to dump everything out. This back panel is wide and shallow and allows me to see all my diagnostic tools and pick what I need.
Back Panel Storage Pouch contents:
- All of my diagnostic equipment, suction and drugs. I try my best to carry at least the most basic of every diagnostic I need. If I carry a high tech device, then I have a back up that is simple and doesn’t require batteries.
- X1 Stethoscope, x1 BP cuff, x1 Pulse Ox, x1 EMMA Capnograph, x1 Squid Suction ( I attach IV tubing to suction an ET tube), x1 emergency blanket, Narc box w/ albuterol, x1 mask ( I attach this to unconscious patients and leave the capno plugged in for easy monitoring of respirations).
- I included this photo to show how crammed this little box is. I don’t have much room for syringes or needles in here.
Space to fit stuff is obviously a limitation, however it is normal to carry an additional “Truck Bag” or duffel bag loaded with excess to dig into if needed, so it isn’t too big of an issue. The pouches are near max capacity and the bag is pretty loaded.
Some things I am missing that NEED to get into this bag:
-Fresh Whole Blood collection and administration materials
-Hard needles and syringes
-Specific pelvic binder
-Fluid warmer (Buddy Lite)
With a lot of these things I can get creative or I can make use of other things to make it happen, for example:
Using a SOF-T for pelvic binder or junctional TQ, packing the buddy lite with the Golden Minute box that is attached to our litter system, cramming loose syringes and needles in pockets ( I do tend to carry a couple already) and putting the FWB collection and administration stuff loose in the bag or with the litter.
Currently the Bag Valve Mask I carry fits loose in the large compartment. There isn’t a pocket that can hold it well, so if I get into the bag then it pops out, not too big of an issue but it would be nice to have a pocket that fits a Cyclone BVM.