Compact Gauze – More Solutions Are Needed

Thanks to a friend on Total Protection Interactive, I’ve got a package of North American Rescue Products S-Rolled Gauze to play with, and its prompted some thoughts on compact gauze solutions.
Gauze is one of the essential tools of trauma management. Roller gauze can be used for a multitude of things, from wound cleaning and dressing, to wound packing for hemorrhage control, and is an essential for every well stocked first aid kit.
The problem in many settings in which space is at premium, is that roller gauze is not small. A package of large/standard (4.5” x 4.1yds) Kendall Kerlix roller-gauze is roughly 5 ½” x 3” x 2”. It can be smashed down smaller inside a pouch or bag, but its still bulky.
The solution to this is vacuum packing for compression of the gauze. H&H Medical, maker of the Cinch-Tight, produces one such solution, PriMed Gauze. NARP’s S-Rolled gauze is another such solution.
The PriMed gauze puts a standard large gauze roll into a cube approx. 2 ½” x 3” x ½”.
The S-Rolled gauze puts the same size roll into a package roughly 8″ x 4 ½” x 1″ (at thickest).
The NARP product has a lot of excess plastic. It can be folded down to a more compact 5″ x 3″ x 1″.
(Note in the photos, the PriMed gauze shown is slightly larger than normal, as its package got a pinhole in it allowing some air entry, and increasing its size fractionally. Its not that far off, however.)

Both of these products do a good job of reducing the space necessary to carry a full roll of gauze, but there are still niches in this area that could be filled.
Neither of these products fit particularly well into small pouches, or pocket sized kits. The PriMed probably achieves the most absolute compaction of the gauze, but the cube like form factor makes an awkward shape in some kits, and can create an uncomfortable lump when placed in a pocket.
The S-Rolled gauze has too much extra plastic in the packaging, and is too inconsistent in thickness/thinness to be any more ideal a solution for these spaces. Were the packing slightly more compact, and the packing more uniformly flat, it would be an almost ideal tool for pocket carry, pre-packed vacuumed kits (ala ResQPak), and other space restricted applications.
The need for some alternate form factors of compact gauze packaging isn’t just limited to pocket carry. Not everyone running a dedicated blow-out-kit pouch has the room available for a full size gauze roll, and for many, even these extant solutions are far from ideal. In the law enforcement environment, for example, a common complaint against blow-out kits is that they simply take up too much room on an already crowded duty belt – Solutions that work often make use of absolutely minimalist tools, or heavy vacuum packing of contents. Even then, these heavily vacuum packed gauze solutions may be abandoned for an easier to carry, but less effective, tool such as an abdominal pad, or abandoned all together.
A flat packing, in-obtrusive, gauze package that contained a compressed full 4.5″ x 4.1 yds gauze roll would solve many of these problems. It could be as large as the folded-up S-Rolled gauze (5″ x 3″) provided it was no more (and ideally less) than 1/2″ thick. If PriMed can be packed that small and not be any thicker than that, something taller and wider certainly should be able to. And it should be packed consistently, with uniformity in the final packaging.

The need exists. Does a solution? The two obvious contenders are those who’ve already brought useful compact gauze solutions to the market – H&H and NARP. Their products are excellent, and have a valid place, but can more, better, can be achieved for different needs?

2 responses to “Compact Gauze – More Solutions Are Needed”

  1. Ian Wendt says:

    Just had a thought on how to achieve a flatter package using a regular consumer vacuum sealer. Do it in the S-fold like the NARP product, but before sealing it, place a 30-40 pound flat weight on top of the gauze package. That should go a long way towards keeping the thickness consistent.

  2. BFE Labs says:

    Exactly!In building kits in the past, I've gotten a regular Kerlix roll very flat using that exact method.On an individual basis, this works very well. On a production basis, it may not be the ideal method, but it could be the right direction to take, using additional mechanical compression to achieve the desired results.I am pretty sure that H&H is using a mechanical compression in making their PriMed to such exacting shape – It only makes sense.

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