Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Cool...

Not a huge review today but a strong introduction for a new section of products. After working out the details we have added hemostatic agents to our medical line up. We have QuikClot products (ACS+ and Combat Gauze) on the shelf as of today and Celox Products (Celox-A and Celox Gauze) enroute with an expected arrival of early next week.

Hemostatic agents are not a new concept. Throughout history different substances have been used to encourage clotting in moderate to severe hemorrhaging, including pepper, salt, powdered liver, and just about anything else you can imagine under the sun. The first hemostatic agent I carried was horse liver that had been ground up and packaged in an aerosol can, marketed in Greece and significantly less expensive than the options available at the time. While it worked fairly well it was difficult to apply to deep wounds and wasnt easy to pack due to the size. The most popular option at the time was the original formula of QuikClot which as many know had a reputation for being quite hot when it came into contact with liquids, even to the point of causing 2nd degree burns in patients. This effect can be reduced by integrating a few steps into the application process although that is basically unnecessary due to the development of so-called cool formulation which are available from a number of companies. These new cool formulation hemostatic agents are a significant step forward, providing excellent hemostatic effect with minimal side effects and easier application through a move from granular powder type form to sponges, gauze, and even a syringe type delivery device (Celox-A) allowing you to get the agent into the base of the wound.

While hemostatics should not be considered a panacea for trauma patients or a replacement for effective training and conventional techniques for stopping moderate to severe hemorrhage they are an excellent tool to add to your tool box, aid bag, personal med kit, or any other med setup.

QuikClot Combat Gauze available at Austere Provisions Company

QuikClot ACS available at Austere Provisions Company

In other news, this upcoming week we will be closed from Tuesday the 2nd until the morning of Monday January 8th. I will be out of the office getting the first phase of my 6 million dollar man transformation done (translation: orthopedic surgery). You will still be able to place an order but it will not ship until Monday.

Any orders placed by midnight on Monday will be shipped prior to closing for the week, all other orders will ship the following Monday. I expect to be available for email late in the week if you have questions or need assistance.

I would also like to take a moment and say thanks to all my friends and family for the support during this down time and while it is not the most convenient time for this break it is necessary. As well I would like to thank all of my customers who have helped to kick this business off.

Thanks Everyone,


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back from SHOT

Got back this evening and wanted to do a weekly release. Due to SHOT Show we will not have a specific product of the week but instead discuss some of the upcoming additions the gear line up that came out of meetings at the show.

Going into SHOT Show I had quite a few meetings with manufacturers to setup accounts, preview new gear, provide feedback on current production, or to con them into building the gear the way we at APC want it. In the never ending pursuit of finding tougher, lighter, faster, more economical, and whenever possible American Made I stayed busy and found quite a few exciting new products. I dont want to give away too many secrets before final discussions are worked out and products are on the shelf but we are looking to add some awesome new gear for keeping gear dry and protected from the elements, professional grade survival and signaling equipment, gear for going on rope in the recreation and tactical environment, numerous new low light options including a weapon light with options that I feel like came from someone reading my mind (look for a review shortly, working on it now, followed by product on the shelf), and much much more. I am currently working on fleshing out some prototypes for new concept gear ranging from hardware to tactical nylon so keep an eye out for those.

In addition to all the new gear scoped out at SHOT a number of items are on order or have arrived while at the show including Vitalyte oral rehydration products in individual packets and liter packs which are in stock as well as the H&H TK-4L in bound now. Look for these to be up shortly.

As for the Austere Provisions Company kit naming competition, the name has been selected and the lawyers are doing what they do to confirm due diligence and make sure all is clear before release. Sorry for delay, a certain someone is still getting a freebie so no worries there.

That is all for today, check back next week for an awesome new product that I am very excited to offer.



Friday, January 15, 2010

The smell of iron

To those who have smelled blood in the air in any substantial quantity will always recognize it. It smells like iron, in fact I have been caving before in some areas where iron content in the water was high and once I smelled it I thought to myself that someone must be bleeding. If you spend enough time putting yourself in rigorous situations you will either be injured or present for someone else's opportunity. Whether it be travel, training, deployments, or day to day life you have a very good chance of being exposed to a situation where it is good to have a minimal amount of medical gear to compliment medical knowledge. For this reason one of the very first products on the shelves of Austere Provisions Company was The Austere Provisions Company Basic Blow Out Kit. While the market seems to have been flooded with everyone's take on the concept there are some very good options and we feel that we supply one of the better kits at a reasonable price. In that light, it has come to our attention that a company has registered "The Blow-Out Kit" as a trademark phrase and in order to be fair we will be changing the name of our kit. After all we feel that the contents of the kit and company behind it are just as important as the name on the label. So, this weeks product of the week will be a detailed introduction to our basic kit and the kick-off of a competition to rename the kit.

Competition outline:
Starting at the publication of this blog we will be taking suggestions in the comments section here as well as on the forums that we advertise on (LMS Defense,, On Monday the suggestions will be compiled and the new name will be selected. The winner will receive a free kit and some of the new logo gear we have made up for SHOT.

Onto the kit:

From Blog album

From Blog album

Description from the product page:

This kit is designed as a well rounded load out for addressing the major causes of preventable death on the battlefield: Major bleeding, Occluded airway, and Tension pneumothorax. The kit contains the following:

1-Cinchtight H Bandage
1-TK4 Tourniquet
1-Primed Gauze
1-Combat medic reinforcement tape
1-30fr Nasal Airway
1-Packet waterbased lubricant
1-14gax3.25" decompression needle
1-alcohol wipe
1-Iodine wipe
1-1.5" blue Cyalume light stick
2-Large safety pins
2-medium nitrile gloves
2-large nitrile gloves

As with all kits built by APC the contents are the distillation of years of experience, as the old saying goes "the more you know, the less you carry". In holding true to that statement we encourage all purchasers to seek out training in each item or the kit as a whole. Should you be interested in referrals for high quality training relating to this and other kits we build please contact APC by email and we will direct you to a program appropriate to your skill level and background.

NOTE: A number of the items included in this kit are intended for invasive medical use. When purchasing you assume full liability for your actions.

Each of these items are selected because they are either very efficient in functioning one specific task or they are easily adapted into other uses. As an example, I want to cover some of the ways each item can be pressed into service outside of it's designed intent:

1-Cinchtight H Bandage
Designed to be used to control mild to moderate hemorrhage through direct application. The elastic bandage works as a good athletic wrap on sprained joints or as an improvised sling. The entire bandage can be used as an improvised wrap tourniquet by simply adjusting placement and wrapping to the point of constriction.

1-TK4 Tourniquet
Designed as a full occlusive tourniquet for veinous and arterial blood flow. Can be use as a sling, or compression bandage in conjunction with primed gauze.

1-Primed Gauze
Multipurpose by design. Couple with duct tape for small wounds, use as drainage packing in infected wounds, use as padding or to secure splints. Also works as a good wicking material when soaked in a flammable liquid for fire starting.

1-Combat medic reinforcement tape
All the uses of duct tape from securing bandages to holding vehicles together.

1-30fr Nasal Airway
Easily used as an improvised cric tube.

1-Packet waterbased lubricant
Whatever the imagination can lead you to, dont blame us if you get caught putting this stuff on your boss's door knob

1-14gax3.25" decompression needle
Intended for needle decompression of the chest but can be used for removing splinters/foreign bodies, or draining abscess and blisters.

1-alcohol wipe
Clean up any surface before sticking a needle through it or help start a fire.

1-Iodine wipe
A secondary method for cleaning before dropping a needle in someone OR as an improvised irrigation solution. Fill up the bag the kit comes in, drop the iodine pad in it and you have a quick and easy way to reduce the chances of infection in nasty lacerations, also safe to drink with a suitable dwell time for the source.

1-1.5" blue Cyalume light stick
Just big enough to provide a little light to search a body for a wound or mark a downed colleague but not big enough to be a target indicator to the plain eye. Blue shows a better contrast to blood than red or green and is intended to not distract from follow on triage which is generally red, yellow, green, and black.

2-Large safety pins
Safety pin mangled tissue out of the way, immediate closure technique, manage an airway, create a sling with a shirt, dig a splinter out, a million and one uses only limited by your imagination.

2-medium nitrile gloves
2-large nitrile gloves
While one pair of gloves in a standard size works ok for most we want you to be as functional as possible as well as being able to recruit the helping hand of a colleague who may not be as prepared as yourself so we have included two sets of gloves. In addition to the obvious use as a barrier between you and your patient, gloves make an excellent bladder for irrigation, a hasty CPR mask, bit of entertainment for children during a disaster, occlusive dressing, impromptu collection bag, and many more uses. Obviously the usefulness is limited if you only have one pair of gloves, ours are color coded so that you know which size is for you and which is for improvising. Medium Gloves are BLUE and Large Gloves are VIOLET (indicated on label as well).

These are in stock now and the name has been temporarily changed to The Austere Provisions Company Basic Medical Kit which will not be the final name obviously so dont submit that. Get your suggestions in and we will make an announcement on Monday January 18th as to who the winner is.

On a separate note: Austere Provisions Company will be attending the SHOT Show, we will be closed for shipping orders after 1100 January 17th so that we have time to get all orders submitted up until that time shipped before the show. All orders after that time will be shipped January 25th when we open back up. As thank you for being patient all orders from now until the morning of January 25th will receive 10% off the order with the coupon code: SHOT .

Austere Provisions Company Basic Medical Kit

Friday, January 8, 2010

Aqua est vita...

translated to "Water is life". As we know, the amount of time we can live without food can be counted in weeks whereas the amount of time we can live without water is counted in days or sometimes hours depending on the environment we are operating in. Because of this, the ability to purify, store, and transport water is paramount to not only survival but maintaining a high level of physical readiness. Since the original lexan and poly bottles were brought onto the market there have been many variations on the theme. Relatively recently a new trend has hit the market, metallic water bottles. With links to the old aluminum Boy Scout canteens some have proven to be solid performers while others have proven to be better suited for the mall or the hands of some teenie bopper.

Not the Klean Kanteen. Basic specs for all Klean Kanteens from the manufacturer:

  • BPA-free & eco-friendly
  • Made of 18/8, food-grade stainless steel, no liner needed
  • Doesn't retain or impart flavors
  • Rounded corners are easy to clean with no hard angles where dirt, germs or bacteria can stick
  • Stainless steel threads

The original Klean Kanteens, now called the Classic, were made with a smaller opening as shown in some of the field use pics you will find below. These were and continue to be excellent bottles however Klean Kanteen has just released a new bottle with a larger opening that matches most screw on water filters and other accessories designed for use with standard sized water bottles further increasing the use of a single bottle.

This is all fine and good but why do we at APC like Klean Kanteen so much? Durable, high quality products are great but what makes them even better is when they are multipurpose or can be pressed into use outside of the original purpose with limited detriment to long term service life. Along with being durable the Klean Kanteen makes a good vessel for boiling water either for sterilization/pasteurization for drinking or for preparing food, try that with your BPA free poly bottle and let me know how well it turns out. In addition to all this, your Klean Kanteen wont stick out at the gym and you will probably have to keep your teenie bopper niece from trying to nab your "cool water bottle".

During a teaching trip earlier this year I took along two Klean Kanteen Classic 40oz bottles to put through their paces.

Here is our water source. This trip was during the dry season so many or our normal flowing water points are not usable during this time, this low volume spring fed puddle was our source for water during this FTX.

From Blog album

While fairly clean, some care was necessary to reduce large particulate matter and of course we wanted to take steps to kill off as many biological threats as possible. We accomplished this by using the Klean Kanteens as shown below:

From Blog album

Now some of you may be wondering, how do we get these things out of the fire since they dont have a handle like a pot or even a mug? I travel with a wool watch cap everywhere I go, which makes a handy pot holder among other things (see pic below). A tip, allow the water to cool for a few minutes before transferring to zip style baggy or your water will end up on the ground and you will have a hole in your bag.

From Blog album

This method was used to provide water for the four person instructor cadre throughout a multi-day survival section.

The pictures above show the Classic model which is all that was available at the time of this trip, however we recommend the wide mouth version show below. These are produced in 12, 18, 27, 40, and 64oz models, we find that the most useful sizes for day to day use are the 27 and 40oz models.

From Blog album

From Blog album

From Blog album

A few notes about using your Klean Kanteen in this manner...

From the Klean Kanteen FAQ section--
In a pinch, single-walled Kanteen™ Classic and Wide bottles with the Brushed Stainless finish can be placed on a fire or a stove as long as you take the cap off. Do not do this with a colored bottle, as it will damage the paint.

While the manufacturer says this should only be done in a pinch we have found no obvious wear and tear on the bottle after numerous uses you may get some staining, soot, or tar that builds up on the bottle. This can be reduced by using the bottle in clean coals or cleaner burning wood, wetter wood will put off more smoke and tar that can accumulate on the bottle. However, if you find that your Klean Kanteen becomes covered with tar or smoke we found that a quick scrub with steel wool, soap, and water removes all tar and returns the bottle to near new status with minimal discoloration.

In the consideration of full disclosure, a few other things to mention about these bottles:

-They are made of single wall stainless steel and while they may look like the old school coffee thermos they are not insulated, put something hot in this and you will feel it.
-The same applies with cold stuff. I have used these a number of times filled with ice water to massage cramped muscles, sprained/strained ankles and knees. Great tool as a number of team mates will tell you.

So, to the point, we at Austere Provisions Company really like the products coming out of Klean Kanteen. We like them enough that we carry them in our personal packs and feel comfortable recommending them to our customers for many applications from a go bag, bug out bag, or as an "Every Day Carry" item.

Klean Kanteen Wide 27oz Bottle at Austere Provisions Company

Klean Kanteen Wide 40oz Bottle at Austere Provisions Company

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Well wishes and the product of the week...

Since our last blog post we have seen the dawn of a new year and we at Austere Provisions Company would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and healthy and fruitful 2010. Onto the product of the week.

Is it sticky?

Yeah, it's STICKY. What am I talking about? The Bolin Chest Seal. I get this question a lot and there is some background to it. In 2005 at the Special Operations Medical Association conference, held annually in Tampa, Florida, numerous times it was mentioned by operators that current chest seals were not staying in place when applied to bloody, sweaty, and dirty patients on the current battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. When those complaints came out a number of people in the medical industry were listening, one of those people was Bob Harder of H&H Associates. H&H looked at the current options available and hit the drawing board to design a product that would effectively vent air and blood from open chest wounds without clogging or clotting the valve(s) and stay in place during extended field evacuation situations.

So what does the solution look like? Like this:

From Product Releases

Info from H&H:

Sucking chest wounds require an emergency first aid solution that is fast, direct, and effective: the Bolin Chest Seal (BCS) is specifically engineered to meet these critical needs.

The BCS is a sterile occlusive chest wound dressing for treating open pneumothorax and preventing tension pneumothorax that result from gunshots, stab wounds, or other penetrating chest trauma. The patented failure-proof triple-valve design of the BCS allows air and blood to escape while preventing the re-entry of either, thereby eliminating any unwanted gas or liquid exchange at the trauma site.

The large (6” diameter), rugged polyurethane disc structure of the BCS can cover practically any size chest trauma site. The thickness of the disc prevents any disc wrinkling from occurring during application. In addition, the wound side of the disc is covered with a thick layer of jell-based adhesive, strong enough to not only seal over hair and blood but also flexible enough to be removed and reapplied to the trauma site if required. These critical characteristics of the BCS to prevent the occurrence of tension can be accomplished quickly, directly, and effectively.

So, back to the original question: Is it sticky enough? Yeah, it is. The "jell-based adhesive" is very similar to an adhesive called Hydrogel which is used by breachers where the charge has to stick, every time no matter what. Hydrogel is purposely designed to stick to irregular surfaces that are wet which is why it was selected for use in the Bolin Chest Seal.

Now all this information is great but how do we know if it actually works? The failure of chest seals in the past became enough of an issue that The Naval Medical Research Center decided to test the original Asherman Chest Seal and the Bolin Chest Seal to determine capabilities through live tissue training.

PDF of report HERE

Quoted Conclusion Paragraph from report:

We have developed a standardized spontaneously breathing open pneumothorax swine model. Device testing in this model relied on hemodynamic changes that were easily monitored. The Asherman and Bolin chest seal valves have similar effectiveness in evacuating intrathoracic air, but the Bolin seal offers superior adhesive properties."

If you are looking for a reliable and durable solution for treating open chest wounds you will find a solution in the Bolin Chest Seal. Now available at Austere Provisions Company.

Bolin Chest Seal at Austere Provisions Company

Thanks for looking and check back next week. We are expecting some new items this week.