The PHLster Flatpack
By: Frank H
By now, many of you have begun integrating a tourniquet into your everyday carry (EDC) systems. While EDC medical items were once a missing and overlooked component of preparedness, they have now become the new standard. Many are aware that it is much more likely to encounter a medical emergency than to have to use your firearm, and therefore are adding medical gear to their daily routines.
The most common, and usually the first item people want to carry is a tourniquet. You do the research, and you decide on a vetted, proven tourniquet such as the CAT or SOFTT-W. Great! You make the decision to carry it daily and then it hits you: how can I comfortably carry this? How can I reduce its signature so that it remains low profile? How can I carry it in a way that allows for immediate access, by either hand? What method can I use so that it integrates seamlessly regardless of my style of dress, so that I don’t need multiple carry methods depending on the clothing? Enter the PHLster Flatpack! Let me start right here and say: I love this piece of my medical kit!
The PHLster Flatpack is a solid piece of plastic, with two elastic bungee cords attached to it. It comes with two adjustable and removable belt loops made of a pliable plastic. MALICE clips can be purchased separately for attachment to MOLLE webbing. The belt loops are adjustable to fit a variety of belt widths. Adjustments are easily made and the process if very straightforward. Removal of the belt loops is just as easy. Doing so allows the Flatpack to slide easily in and out of a pocket, your bag, onto your car’s visor, etc.
The elastic bungees secure quickly and easily to one side of the Flatpack. In my testing, they never popped off or came free unless intentionally removed. They serve the additional purpose of compressing the tourniquet providing an even slimmer profile. The bungees can be individually adjusted to increase tension to improve retention and or to compress the tourniquet further. To carry your tourniquet, you will first need to flat fold it. After this is done, simply undo the two elastic retention bungees, place your tourniquet on the Flatpack, and then stretch and secure the bungees back onto the Flatpack. Adjust the tension as necessary.
When I was first testing the Flatpack, I wore it on my belt just as it came from the manufacturer. When on the belt I found it to be very comfortable, and relatively low profile. I tend to wear clothing which is a little more fitted, and as such the Flatpack did print through my shirts. However, under a looser fitting shirt or light jacket it would not be noticeable at all. Nevertheless, I found that I preferred to carry it without the belt loops, in a pocket.
I removed the belt loops and used the Flatpack to carry my tourniquet in my back pocket. This worked out great for me. I had tried a number of different carry methods in the past, and none have impressed me like the Flatpack. The simple, minimalist design concept is what really sets the Flatpack apart and lets it shine among the competition. Other pouches and holders are bulky, blocky, and really designed for use on a duty/battle belt or plate carrier. Trying to use them for plain clothes, duty work or EDC systems just doesn’t work well. The other pouches do not seamlessly integrate into whatever clothing you are wearing, forcing different methods of carry for jeans, shorts, business attire, etc. They print very noticeably, and additionally they typically lack versatility in that they are not interchangeable from belt mounted to other methods.
I carried the Flatpack daily in my pocket with zero issues. I wore it in the back pocket of jeans, the cargo pocket of cargo shorts, the back pocket of flat front, “dressier” shorts, and the pocket of slacks with casual attire up for a party. It slipped in and out of my pockets easily but never fell out or creeped up in the pocket. Despite periods of extended outdoor work (splitting and hauling wood; cutting the grass, etc); repeated daily bouts of standing; sitting; crouching; and rolling on the ground playing with my kids; the Flatpack stayed in place and the bungees never popped loose.
I loved being able to throw the Flatpack into my pile of EDC gear and know that regardless of what I wore the next day I could carry it with no issues. Deployment of the tourniquet is intuitive and extremely fast. The tourniquet can be released one handed (with either hand), and then it can be re-secured one handed as well.
For a retail price of just $24.95, the Flatpack is affordable to most everyone. Available in both black and orange, you can choose a color to suit your taste or to provide slightly higher or lower visibility. If you’re looking for a way to integrate a tourniquet into your EDC (and you should be!), look no further than PHLster’s Flatpack!
If you feel this is a great option for you, you can conveniently shop for it on Amazon: