AFAK: Medical Essentials Close at Hand

Intended as a compact and low-profile aid kit, the Aptus First Aid Kit (AFAK) is a two-part, removable sleeve by Aptus Design Group that allows ambidextrous access to life-saving medical interventions when seconds matter. The AFAK consists of an outer exterior sleeve, which retains the included medical insert.

Exterior Sleeve

The 5” (H) x 7.25” (L) exterior AFAK sleeve is made of 500D Cordura nylon, with elastic tweave segments that provides compression and retention to the insert, and maintains a sleek and minimal exterior profile with no zippers to snag or jam. The outward-facing side of the exterior sleeve also includes a 2” (H) x 3.25” (L) hook-and-loop (female) panel for attaching medical or identification patches/panels.

Inside the AFAK exterior sleeve, at the rear-center, is a small 2.25” (H) x 1” (L) of hook-and-loop (male) panel that attaches to a corresponding hook-and-loop (female) panel on the rear of the medical insert that aids in securing the two components.

On the top and bottom of the exterior sleeve is a 4” elastic nylon band that can be used to secure tourniquets, shears, chem-lights, pens, or other items.

The rear of the external AFAK sleeve includes two outer nylon bands for threading horizontal belts, and two 1” nylon MOLLE bands (with attached securing bands) for attaching to corresponding vertical MOLLE fields on belts or plate carriers.

Though sold separately, customers can choose at the time of purchase optional Flexible Universal Pouch Adapter Kit that enables the AFAK to be utilized as a hanger pouch to carriers or chest rigs with corresponding hook-and-loop placard panels.


The overall 14” (H) x 17” (L) AFAK medical insert features ambidextrous pull handles, on a nylon quad-fold style pouch design that allows end-users immediate access to the critical items inside.

All four flaps of the medical insert are secured by hook-and-loop panels that can accommodate up to 3” in overall width (depending on medical items secured inside). The flaps can thus be reversed and secured as an armband to a casualty, whereby the clear medical card window can easily observed.

The interior of the medical insert features a 2.5” (H) x 6.5” (L) hook-and-loop (female) panel that attaches to an included elastic nylon organizer used for securing various medical interventions to the insert.

The AFAK is available in Ranger Green (featured), Multicam, Multicam Arid, Coyote, and Black.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): With an MSRP between $80 (w/o medical items) and $180 (w/medical items), the Aptus First Aid Kit (AFAK) offers the end-user an IFAK with immediate medical resources, and a pouch with enough storage space to address a single gunshot wound, laceration, or other significant injury. The AFAK itself is a two-part, tear-away design (with an outer sleeve, and an inner quad-fold insert) whereby a majority of the material used is 500D Cordura nylon, and hook-and-loop panels that secure all contents. Additionally, to attach an AFAK to a plate carrier as a dangler, Aptus’s Flexible Universal Pouch Adapter (FUPA) (selected at the time of purchase for $5) is required. In contrast, market alternatives to the AFAK (w/o medical accessories) would be the Slim Tear Off Medical Kit ($64.99) from Coyote Tactical Solutions, the Trauma Kit Now! – Medium ($89.95) from Blue Force Gear (which would still necessitate a separate Hammock TQ pouch at an additional $11.95 to be equal in function and cost a total of $101.90), or the MkII Med Pouch Horizontal  ($87.00) from Direct Action Gear. Given when all equal parts of alternatives considered, the AFAK was of good value to the end-user given the volume of fabric and design.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the AFAK outer sleeve kept good retention (via its elastic outer bands) that secured the inner quad-fold insert during movement and usage. The re-enforced nylon handles to the inner quad-fold took a good amount of sheer force to detach the insert from the outer sleeve. The quad-fold hook-and-loop fabric also kept the insert secured and enclosed when deployed, thus there was no risk of the contents spilling out. The FUPA also retained the AFAK well, but during doffing the plate carrier’s cummerbund panels, the FUPA bands themselves would occasionally lift off from the carrier and need to be readjusted. Opening the inner quad-fold, all contents were readily available and visually recognized easily.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): The durability of the AFAK centered around its 500D Cordura and hook-and-loop material, which is common for similar type products and gave the AFAK an appropriate (or average) level of overall abrasion resistance. But despite the presence bartack and X-pattern stitching at key stress points throughout, a stitch line to the hook-and-loop panel (on the exterior of the quad-fold that connects it to the inside of the outer sleeve) failed during the initial field trials while performing draw/insert. Closer examination confirmed the thread’s failure would become exacerbated with each use. Aptus was contacted and immediately replaced the insert, and the company Owner contacted the reviewer directly asking details for context, requesting the failed insert be returned for closer examination. Aptus responded stating that despite literally thousands of AFAKs being produced, this was the very first instance of thread failure at that specific point with only three other occurrences recorded since manufacturing of the AFAK began. So odds were that the stitching failure was a fluke in the manufacturing process, and not indicative to the product’s durability itself. But given that it was quickly and professionally addressed, with a suitable replacement provided, the review was able to continue without a reoccurrence of the issue.
  • Functionality – Good (4/5): The function of the AFAK to provide medical items at a moments notice, by connecting it to either the plate carrier or belt, proved to be an excellent benefit to the end-user. Other market alternatives typically are slightly bulkier or are a larger, square pouch design. As a quad-fold insert, secured by an outer compression sleeve, the AFAK kept the overall profile to a minimum on the kit or belt. The AFAK had the added benefit of enough material to the inner quad-fold to use it as an information cuff by wrapping it around a casualty’s forearm so that the casualty card or other information was easily displayed outward via the clear window panel. The associated FUPA for attaching the AFAK to a plate carrier did well to secure the aid kit while worn. But as noted above when doffing the carrier, the FUPA would occasionally separate with the cummerbund and necessitate readjustment – thus offsetting the AFAK’s overall final functional score. A recommendation to Aptus for improvement would be to make the FUPA a larger, single hook-and-loop panel vice two small strips. This would increase the overall hook-and-loop’s surface contact area to the carrier, and decrease the odds of the AFAK slipping.
  • Weight – Average (3/5): From a weight aspect, the AFAK outer sleeve (3.0 ounces), the  quad-fold insert (3.6 ounces), and the elastic organizer (0.7 ounces) all came in at a demure 7.3 ounces (w/o medical items). It should be noted there is a maximum carrying capacity of the AFAK to fit all the contents of the quad-fold inside the outer sleeve. But the choice of what medical items were kept inside the AFAK influenced the overall weight on the belt or carrier. Despite this, when fully loaded, the AFAK was neither bulky nor off-balancing in contrast to the larger weight of the overall gear. In contrast, the Slim Tear Off Medical Kit (5.20 ounces) from Coyote Tactical Solutions, Trauma Kit Now! – Medium (6.9 ounces) from Blue Force Gear, or the MkII Med Pouch Horizontal  (8.16 ounces) from Direct Action Gear all illustrate the weight of the AFAK is appropriate (or average) amid the market of similar products.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

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I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC., so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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