It's been a while since I started that thread and I wasn't able to put the time & thought in this last summer as I had planned... but I'm looking at this again hoping I can get that rolling before the spring. I made a post on DIYTactical about it... hopefully someone has tips. Here's a copy-pase of my post there with some more info. Lots is similar to the original post up here but I've added some more/refined ideas to it.
I'm in a local wilderness SAR team. Our issued gear is shit quality, doesn't fit me (too large), is not adapted for what we actually have to carry or for use with a pack (even though a pack is a mandatory piece of gear...).
Below is the vest we get... top left you basically have a flat pouch for ID, top right a radio pouch (that ends up being under the pack strap for me) and below two big-ass GPs without any organization whatsoever. In case guessing who's the gearwhore in that pic wasn't easy enough, I'm on the left. In my defense, I'm short but not THAT short, the guy on my right is 6'4'' if I remember right
Being kind of a gearwhore I wasn't satisfied with the "just deal with it" answers I've gotten when I asked if there were alternatives. In any case, I have no choice but to wear that vest (for high-visibility concerns, but mostly because they want us to look professional and uniform). To get around this, I've been thinking about designing a mini rig/panel that clips straight to the pack's straps, leaving the issued vest empty but within regs.
I do not have a lot of experience in making gear (neither do I have a lot of money to throw into having one custom made, SAR being a volunteer thing and me being a full-time uni student). My plan is to make a prototype/proof of concept to better define the idea. I'll use it for a while and see if I'm satisfied with the durability. If I am, I'll keep using it. If not but I'm satisfied with the design, I'll then see if I can have someone more skilled build a definitive product for me.
Here are the requirements I've set:
- Attaches to my pack (currently a Conterra Longbow Ranger)
- Has a removable harness for standalone use
- Good weight/ruggedness ratio (it's basically bushwacking so silnylon wouldn't hold for long... but not crawling either, so no need for 1000D Cordura)
- Carry (must be accessible quickly):
--- UHF radio (ideally fold-out pouch)
--- Garmin 62 (fold-out pouch so I can use it while keeping it in the pouch)
--- ID card (visible in front),
--- Pen light,
--- Small Rite-in-the-rain notebook + pen,
--- Small knife/multitool,
--- 3x AA batteries,
--- 3x AAA batteries,
--- 2x chemlights,
--- A couple sharpies,
--- Medical assessment summary sheet,
--- Car keys.
- Should carry if possible (handy, but not necessary):
--- Compass (will have to see if having the GPS or radio close to it messes with the magnetism)
--- Compact camera
I'm working as we speak on a paper mockup to see if my what I have in mind makes sense... I'll add some drawings later.
Any thoughts or suggestions?