Essential Characteristics of a Medic Bag

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Characteristics of a Medical BagLet me tell you why the STOMP and Special Operations Medical Bag by Blackhawk is a piece of shit. A lot of medics will disagree with me. They will disagree because they used it in AIT. If that is what you learned with, you tend to think its the greatest thing ever. So you have no experience with it. Let me prove it…

If you look closely you this bag has no way to unbuckle the shoulder harness.

What that means is if you are pinned down in the prone you cannot easily take off the bag. It means you will be fumbling to get your bag off if you are wearing full kit.


What does every medic in the world say is the cure for everything?

Action Figure Therapy Knows…

Motrin and Water… It prevents the need of an IV.

So why is it that to access the hydration bladder you have to open up the entire pack and pull out all your supply to refill your hydration bladder… DUMB.

“Oh but Black you should have your own bladder on your kit.”

Yes you should… Have you ever gone out on a hike in the desert? carry as much water as you can. Seriously use both.

This shit screams SHOOT ME I AM A MEDIC!

Not only do you have that shiny piece of shit plastic that does fuck all but hold your moral patches it also is readily identifiable as a purely medical bag. Which makes you a target. The only way you could be more of a target is if you wear officer rank and hold a machine gun.

Big internal pockets and inserts that are not secured.

Which means they will get lost amid chaos. WIND happens when you are a medic outside… which means all your 4×4 and 2×2 in gauze will litter the area. If this doesn’t happen to you in training it will happen to you in real life. Which you will like get comments like “not used to working outside doc?”

Velcro your individual inserts or dummy cord them.

What TO look for in Medic Bags

Organization. Can you organize and label your treatment compartments. If your need to get someone who knows dick about medical treatment it helps to label each  thing in your bag so you can easily say… HEY grab me this ___ it is in ____ pocket!  and you will get what you ask for quickly. EVEN better is MESH pockets so you can see what is in each pocket.

Retention. Everything you put in the bag will fall out if you aren’t careful. Guess what. You will not always be careful. You will fuck up. So prepare for this. Take your bag. Fill it. Open it up and shake if violently… hell even throw it.

Final thoughts…

The best medical bag is the one you have with you. I can modify a Blackhawk Stomp if I need to! If you do not have that high-speed medical kit with you at all times then you will be fucked. You can’t magically conjure up medical supplies out of thin air. Guess what. You might need this shit driving down the road or walking through Walmart. Emergencies do not wait for SHTF or civil war to happen. 

So as a medic I always have a CLS bag… or manpurse with me at all times. It is probably 3x the contents of an IFAK with an either an IV kit or a saline lock kit and a SAM splint. A CLS bag is small enough to be easily carried and can fully treat a severely injured patient. A CLS bag is like your pistol. It is only there to fight your way to your rifle which should be your Aid Bag.

If you have any questions feel free to ask…


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About David Black

Trained and Certified: National Registry EMT, Wilderness EMT, US Army 68W, Tactical Combat Causality Care (TCCC), Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, US Coast Guard Medical Person In-Charge, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support. International Trauma Life Support. HAM Radio Technician. Trained and Certified to Instruct: Combat Life Saver Instructor and Community Emergency Response Team Trainer. CPR, AED, First Aid.

8 thoughts on “Essential Characteristics of a Medic Bag

  1. What do you guys this about the CLS (Combat Lifesafer) Bag by 5.11?

    Specifications: Tactical Medical Kit – Combat Lifesaver in ACU Digital Pack (Fully Stocked) The TMK-CL contains essentials for a combat lifesaver to administer medical attention. The pack for combat lifesaver medics. The TMK-CL Pack features four draw cord pockets and two large VELCRO® closure pockets. It features a removeable pouch that has numerous elastic loops on one side, a large clear zipper close pocket on the other side and a large VELCRO® closure pocket between the two. There are two internal retention straps that allow users to open the kit while on their waist or shoulder without it falling open. Carry handles or a concealable waist strap system allow for easy transport of the pack either on one’s back or front. Waist strap doubles as a shoulder strap for quick mobility and transfer of the pack. Also features 4 snap closures on one side for attachment to another pack or system. Contents: 4 Tactical Defender Gloves, Large, OD 2 SOF Tactical Tourniquet Wide, 1.5″ 2 Naso Airway, 28Fr 2 Surgilube, 3gr 2 Decompression Needle, 14g x 3.25″ 1 Bolin Chest Seal 1 Halo Seal (2/pkg) 1 EMT Shears, 7.5″ 1 Durapore Tape, 1″ 1 Duct Tape, 2″ x 5yd 4 Primed Compressed Gauze 1 Olaes Modular Bandage, 4″ 1 CoFlex UMAFD, 4″ Wrap 1 Blast Bandage 1 ChloraPrep Applicator, 10.5mL 1 SAM Splint, Gray 1 Triage Card 1 Tactical Combat Casualty Response Card 1 TMK-CL Pouch 1 TMM-IV: 2 Nitrile Gloves, OD, Large 2 IV Catheter, 18g 1 Saline Lock with Extension (Needle) 1 Clave Saline Lock with Extension (Needleless for use with Coil-IV) 1 Coil-IV Admin Set, 10 Drop 1 Syringe, 10cc 1 Needle, 18g x 1.5″ 1 IV Starter Kit: 1 Tegaderm Dressing 1 ChloraPrep Sepp Applicator 2 Gauze Dressing, 2″x2″ 1 Latex-Free Tourniquet 1 Medical Tape Roll 1 IV Site Label

    • This is a good question and I am glad you brought this up. So there are two components to this purchase. 1. The Bag 2. Contents. Sometimes you can get good deals on both… Sometimes they will jack up the price. So before you buy this stuff it might be a good idea to price out the contents and the bag before making the purchase. Looking at the contents I can tell that there is plenty of great stuff here. I like the SOF Tourniquests, the Olaes, Coflex, The NPAs. Halo and Bolin chest seals are both good. Sam Splints also great.

      As far as the NCD needles and IV kits… MAKE SURE MAKE SURE MAKE SURE you are SUPREMELY confident in what you are doing. The complications can be grave. I have seen an LPN give a guy an Air Embolism to a medic with an IV that could have killed him. The NCD needles out side the the Military can only be used by Doctors. That being said both are good to have because you might come along a Doc who can use that stuff. IV’s and syringes can be used to irrigate wounds, eyes, ears, you name it. They are good to have for that reason alone. So it is important to know your limitations.

      Now if you price this out and you find it is a good deal I would add some additional stuff into it.

      Now. 3″ Tape is superior to 1″ Tape because you can turn 3″ into 1″. You cannot say the same for turning 1″ into 3″. 2 pairs of nitril gloves? No… That ain’t going to cut it. You need at least 10 pair. Because Nitril gloves are so multi-purpose it is ridiculous. (2 each) 2×2 gauze pads… Those are cheap and they go fast. I would have at least ten. Now I have seen a guy take a 25ml syringe, remove the plunger, cut off the tip, stick an NPA down in it and make a suction device…

      Add some Aspirin, Tylenol, Benedryl, Oral Re-hydration Salts, Moleskin, Imodium, tweezers, and chapstick.

      Now as far as the bag goes… I cannot form a solid opinion one way or the other. I haven’t “played” with it. I haven’t used it. I haven’t put it through it’s paces.

      Bags I can endorse (although I am not getting paid to 🙁 ) is the tactical tailor first responder bag

      or the 5.11 Rush Moab 6.

      • Two things; first is there anyway two starter lists could be made for aid bags? One without any Rx items and one for those areas or people who might have a little more freedom in obtaining it?

        And secound.. as far as NCD needles only being used by docs outside of the military… what do ya think we use for decompression? Both swat ems and regular. My agencies even carry ones made for the military for the simple reason that they are packaged more compactly and in a hard plastic tube instead of a long half paper/half plastic wraper. And somehow while IV catheters are Rx only the decompression needles aren’t controlled that much. (At lest from the people I order from) so I can get them based off the sale of the week without having a prescription authorization form on file, southeastern medical supply and usually EMP keep them in stock, but I see them elsewhere.. even usCalvary has them from time to time

        • I can do that as far as putting together a list. Just give me some time to put that together. I am going to be out in the field for the next week.

          The NCD issue is really a state by state issue. In my state it is not allowed outside of prolonged pre-hospital care or Wilderness EMS unless your county medical director specifically gives the okay. So you are correct I shouldn’t have commented on that for the nation as a whole or even as a state as a whole because every jurisdiction has it’s own scope or practice and EMS protocols.

          If you were treating a K9 member of your unit you might find it easier to obtain veterinary medical supplies. I am NOT advocating K9 Medical supplies for HUMAN use. That would be SO SO wrong of me.

          • Haha, because none has ever used veterinary supplies or medicine on a person….

            “If its stupid but it works……”

          • Come to think of it our WMD protocol calls for us raiding the VETs offices

  2. Here is my bag

    It has the same main issue as the stomp about not being able to drop it off my back in a hurry, and its huge… to huge.

    Organisationally its great, I was even able to attach two blackhawk pouches (for airway kit and dignositic tools) on the flat panel. As a civilian medic it works great (for large events , special assignments, and intercepting other crews) but its to awkward to be part of a kit, it still ks out farther than my rucksack.

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