The modern IFAK is a must have for police and military members. However, there are dozens of civilian applications for the platform as well. Anyone who likes adventuring, from rock climbing to hunting, an IFAK can be handy. Let’s not forget the average, everyday citizen who simply likes being prepared. Having an IFAK is the perfect kit to address a violent situation, a car accident, or nearly any of those situations that seemingly come out of nowhere. The IFAK of old was a big pouch that you stacked medical gear in. It worked, but was far from perfect, as I covered in our first look of the Blue Force Gear TKN pouch. This model is a little different, for the specs check out our first look here.
The Modern IFAk
The TKN is an ingenious design, that is superbly simple to use. Through a variety of simulated medical situations, we found the kit to be outstanding. The internal carriage holds a wide variety of gear, and can easily be customized to the user’s needs. Once pulled from the pouch the carriage acts as like an open table. You have immediate access to everything you need at the same time.
This cuts time significant time from having to dig through an IFAK to find just the right gear. It also prevents you from losing gear trying to find that one particular piece. This is incredibly handy in low light situations. The elastic straps hold the gear nice and tight. I packed this bad boy over a month ago and left it packed. The straps haven’t lost their taught nature at all. It’s the most rapid system available that allows full access to the kit’s content.
Now this is a double edged sword. One one side the gear stays put in a hectic and panicked situation. If you drop it, kick it, throw it, or whatever the gear is staying put. The downside is through some simulated wounded hand/arm drills I found certain pieces of gear difficult to remove. The gear that was difficult was the gear that took two bands to hold, which was tourniquets. The solution was to simply use one band to hold the tourniquet. It still feels quite secure.
One thing I really love is the fact regardless of having a hurt hand I can always use the other to remove the carriage and start patching myself up. Since the pouch itself can be left in place I simply pull the carriage out with my okay arm and I have immediate access to my entire kit. I used to carry my IFAK on a MOLLE belt purely for this reason. I’d take the belt off and put it where necessary.
Secondly, if the Blue Force Gear TKN pouch was on one of my guys I could easily access its contents. Meaning regardless of where the individual places it on his or her body, and regardless of where they are injured I only need to access their kit once. This mean I do not have to constantly rotate the wounded person to obtain their medical gear if they place in an inconvenient location. The less I have to move a wounded person the better.
The system is superbly fast to get into action. Equipped on both a belt, and my Spec Ops Go Panel, I had no issues accessing it. This was due to massive front tap. It’s simple to grip and rip with wet hands, or when wearing gloves, or with one hand. I could bring the kit into action in an instant. When seconds and minutes are the difference between life and death, then speed matters.
The materials used by Blue Force Gear is lightweight and extremely strong. I’ve found through excessive sweating while using the kit that moisture merely streak off it. The insides stay dry as long as the kit isn’t submerged. The stitching is top notch and done professionally. It’s very discrete, but extremely tight and very well done. The elastic bands are just as tight today as they were on day one. It’s certainly well built and made to professional standards.
Overall the concept of the IFAK hasn’t changed. It’s still there to treat a wounded individual. The Blue Force Gear TKN simply changed the delivery system. This is an excellent system that allows the user to customize their IFAK at a whim. Because the IFAK has a near universal use the contents of one are rarely the same as another. The hiker and explorer have different needs than the soldier or cop. The TKN allows the user to instantly customize their IFAK into almost anything. There are more elastic straps than you’ll ever need and enough room to fit the widest variety of gear. The Blue Force Gear TKN is a well thought out, well-built piece of gear. It’s unique but simple, and far from a gimmick. It could certainly set the standard for the future IFAK.