Don’t trust your first-aid and rescue supplies to anything less than the best. We test out the latest from the gear professionals at Vanquest, the sturdy and versatile FATPack 7×10.
Rick is a member of Eugene Mountain Rescue, a specialized team in the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Program. He frequently uses outdoor gear in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. We asked him to put some gear to work and test it’s performance.
I carry a considerable amount of first aid equipment when on SAR missions. My kit will contain essentials for treating common back country injuries such as sprains, fractures and bleeding along with dozens of band aids and other small items for treating the small wears and tears that happen in the outdoors. On top of that, I will also carry patient packaging materials and survival equipment such as space blankets, hand warmers and small packs of emergency water.
As I expanded my supplies to fit my mission, my pouch started stretching and becoming more inconvenient to use. At the time I was using a Red Cross pouch that had so far proven to be a trusty companion. However, pulling it out of my pack in rainy or wet conditions started feeling more and more like trying to palm a basketball.
I saw the need for a new pouch and started looking around online. I was interested in a MOLLE system because I could attach it to the outside of my pack for security while using or to my climbing harness when moving in confined areas. Almost all the MOLLE Pouches I found were either small and designed to fit the essentials for treating a gunshot wound or other trauma or too large and lacking the organization that I needed.
Enter the FATPack 7×10.
Organized Essentials for Quick Access
I was curious about Vanquest’s latest first aid pouch offering because of its size and unique manner of organizing kit. The pouch has four pockets, elastic bands, a shock cord ladder and small zippered pouch for holding first aid essentials. The design of the pouch is essentially an expanded version of Vanquest’s FATPack pouches. Those and similar pouches had caught my eye earlier but appeared to be too small for my needs.
I was able to fit larger dressings and patent packaging material in the larger internal pockets and a small poncho inside a hidden external pouch in the front of the pouch. Smaller items such as alcohol wipes and band aids fit into the shock cord ladder. The small zippered pouch fits a set of gloves along with aspirin and small packets of antibiotics and hand sanitizer.
Another striking feature of the pouch is how it’s opened. When attached to a MOLLE surface, all you have to do is pull the top handle and it will open up to display all of your equipment. If you’re using the pouch as a stand-alone item, I recommend putting a non-locking carabiner on the tab on top of the back of the pouch to make a secure spot to grab the pouch and open it with two hands.
Durability to Endure Tough Climates and High-Pressure Rescue Operations
To top it off, the pouch is made of 1,000 denier Cordura fabric with a 210 denier orange rip-stop nylon interior. The Cordura is treated for water resistance, although I personally prefer to keep my first aid items inside at the top of my pack away from the elements.
This pouch is a game changer for me. My gear is more accessible and secure at the same time. It’s a far easier item to grab out of my pack even when wearing wet gloves.
Even though it’s a solid pouch, there are still some modifications to be made on my end. I’ll be adding the aforementioned carabiner at the top for easier two handed use when not carried on a MOLLE pack. While the pouch comes with two hook and loop tabs for securing shears, I find that these are difficult to use while wearing gloves and could cause issues in colder environments. I recommend buying a separate dedicated pouch for shears. This pouch can be attached to the FATPack via webbing on both sides on the pouch. An optimal setup would be shears on one side and a tourniquet on the other if those are necessary parts of your kit. I would also love to see the pouch in red or orange for first responders.
Overall, I’m impressed with this product. Expect a follow-up review sometime down the line after this pouch has logged some mission time.