Not something I would normally have considered adding to my blog, but someone has posted a question about the suitability of a First Aid Backpack on the St. John Ambulance mailing list I subscribe to. As the mailing list doesn’t allow attachments I’m adding a review here and will post a link on the mailing list.
This review is of two backpacks available from www.stjohnsupplies. St. John Supplies sells first aid and emergency related products, and supports the charitable work of St. John Ambulance.
The first backpack is known as the St. John Backpack. This is a large backpack typically used as a response bag for ambulances, community first responders or first aiders without additional skills such as Medical Gas and AED qualifications. It is priced at £95. There are larger backpacks available, but this one is realistically the biggest that most will want to carry (and for some too big already). The bag is tall enough to take a CD sized oxygen cylinder (the lightweight cylinders with integrated regulator), although an additional board is needed (cost about £13). The backpack has a large main compartment with velcro on each side which holds several different sized pouches. There is also an equipmentboard that connects in between with elastic loops on one side, and pouches on the other side. This is a useful addition which improves the value for money as some alternative backpacks don’t include these and they can cost between £20 and £25. Also included in the main area is a thin space suitable for storing paperwork, or extrication collers. There is a single pocket on the front of the bag that is large enough to accomodate an AED (e.g. Heartstart FR series) and a Bag and Mask. It has two straps to use as a backpack and handles on the top and side to allow the bag to be carried in one hand. The backpack straps include quick release buckles which can be useful, but can also be triggered by accident if not handled correctly, although once you are aware of this it is possible to avoid.
The backpack is of good quality and feels very strong. I have not had any problems in the last two years of use.
If the backpack has a oxygen cylinder in then it can get very heavy which needs to be taken into consideration.
The key point about this backpack is it’s price. Even without taking into consideration that it includes the equipment board it is a competitive price. The fact that it does include the equipment board makes this an excellant buy. The bag is branded as a St. John Ambulance product and includes room for an additional label.
The second is known as the Small Backpack. Although the name is quite deceptive as it’s not much smaller than the St. John Backpack (above). It is about the same height and width as the St. John Backpack, but it’s not as deep so doesn’t protrude as far when on ones back. The bag costs £132.
There is a large main compartment with velcro to hold 3 pouches on each side. It also includes a equipment board with elestic tool holders on one side, and a thin transparent pouch suitable for holding paperwork on the other side. The pouches are quite large, which is good for the larger items, but can make smaller items hard to locate when needed.
The front has two large pockets, the top one includes loops for holding scissors etc.
The backpack is of good quality, with good strong zips. It includes two straps to carry on the back, and a handle on the top and one of the sides to allow it to be carried by hand. It includes quick release buckles on the straps.
There is no St. John Ambulance branding on the small backpack.
It is more expensive than the larger backpack, but if you don’t want to carry as much equipment then it is easier to carry around.
Click the images for more pictures