Better Blow-out Kit

I recently covered my first attempt at building a blow-out kit, and came up with something workable, but a bit too bulky for the missions for which it was intended. I decided to make another attempt, and version 2.0 seems like a winner – but only because I redefined the mission.

For the uninitiated, a blow-out kit (BOK) is a personal first aid kit with the tools and materials needed to plug up a major leak in someone’s circulatory system. They generally consist of a combat tourniquet, a compression dressing, some hemostatic agent, gauze for packing a wound, and possibly a nasopharyngeal airway for maintenance of a patent airway in the case of a major facial wound. You may want to review my original BOK post, and certainly a brush-up on my disclaimer is in order.

BOK 1.0 - capable, but bulky
BOK 1.0 – capable, but bulky

BOK 1.0 was built in a TYR Tactical SOF-IFAK pouch. While built like a tank, when fully populated it was just too bulky to wear on the shoulder strap of a small hydration pack. That was my main use case – I want a BOK to keep with me whenever I’m doing work with the chainsaw or tractor. I figured a small hydration pack with a few liters of water, a light snack, and some personal care items would go a long way to increasing the time I can work away from the house. Adding the BOK and a radio to talk back to the house might just save my life, too. Another use case was to have a BOK in every vehicle, plus one for the family trauma kit. The SOF-IFAK pack would have been a good form factor for a vehicle-based BOK, but at $45 a copy plus shipping, it was a little too pricey.

Then a couple of weeks back, Jack Spirko over at The Survival Podcast announced a group buy of S.O. TECH’s Slim Individual Medical Aid Pouch (SIMAP) in digital ACU camo. I guess they were doing a clearance sale, because I got them for $15 each. I ordered three right away.

BOK 2.0 - click for larger image
BOK 2.0 – click for larger image

First impressions were pretty positive. I’d say the construction is every bit as bullet-proof as the pricier TYR pouch, and I’d even say the material in the S.O. TECH pouch is thicker and sturdier feeling. The fit and finish is not as tight as the TYR, but only marginally so and just cosmetically. The S.O. TECH pouch is smaller, with only room for one tourniquet, but I can still fit everything I need in the pouch. It also has a pouch with a clear window that can be used for documentation or instructions. I stuffed the tourniquet instruction sheet in mine, but I could see a quick reference card going in there, to help rescuers render aid under stressful conditions.

Size matters, but they're pretty close.
Size matters, but they’re pretty close.

I’m pretty pleased overall, but BOK 2.0 is still pretty bulky for the mission I described above. I think the hydration pack deployment is just going to have to be a stripped-down BOK – tourniquet in a special holster, OLAES, gauze and Celox in one of the hydration pack pouches. It’s not optimal – having the BOK mounted centerline on your chest is the way to go – but it’s probably the only practical approach to homestead work.

Still, for $15 each, these pouches were a fantastic buy. They’ll be deployed in each car, and the spare will float in the house. Unless I decide to show my true colors at work and strap it to my computer bag. I can just imagine the conversations that would spark.

OK, maybe not.

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