Ryker AFAK Review
Not to be presumptuous but I’m pretty sure at one time you’ve bought or used a product and felt pretty good about it. You loved the way it worked and were happy to tell anyone who listened why your favorite thingamabob was the best and why they should buy their own.
This holds true to my experience with the Ricci Ankle Medical System (AMS) that I have previously reviewed here on Blacksheepwarrior. It was a great system and I had no major complaints in the years I carried it.
But I’m always keen to try something new and I kept reading that Ryker Nylon Gear was making an even better ankle medical kit. I was intrigued because they’re Arizona based and I wonder if they could really improve on such a simple product? Well, the answer is a thunderous “HECK YEAH THEY CAN!”
Now I won’t rehash the reasons to carry medical gear with you and why your ankle tends to be a practical spot to carry it. I really just want to delve into why I’m so enthusiastic about the Ryker Nylon Gear Ankle First Aid Kit (AFAK).
First off, the AFAK is efficient in its use of space. The AMS had a section of MOLLE webbing, while handy if you used it, was useless if you didn’t. The Ryker AFAK doesn’t have any features you’re not going to use. In fact their use of the entire surface area is rather elegant. On the inside of the band is a horizontal sleeve that fits a compact chest seal perfectly. The whole system is slim enough that this doesn’t add any real bulk. Also at 2.3 ounces the kit itself isn’t going to weigh you down.
Second, the three main pouches/sleeves all have securing straps. While the AMS had a single flap over the main pouch, the other two sleeves relied on friction to keep your supplies in. Now I never had anything fall out in the years of using it but I can see that happening. The AFAK won’t have that problem. A hook-loop secured nylon strap goes over each pouch, ensuring your gear won’t fall out.
Third, I really love the included boot extender. It’s a small piece of wide elastic band with hook-loop on each end to add an extra four inches of length to the kit. I’ll admit that I thought it was a stupid idea when I first got my AFAK. Now I’ve got skinny legs, so this shouldn’t be an issue. But then I thought back to my initial experiences with the AMS. It was apparently designed to be worn over the boot of a 7’9” giant with size 25 feet. The amount of overlap on that strap was nuts. A quick scissor job and melting the edges solved that problem. But it was a permanent solution that locked me into one rough size. The AFAK gives you the option to customize in ways the AMS didn’t.
With the AFAK’s boot extender on, I can wear the kit snug over the top of my boot with no crazy overlap. If I’m rocking sneakers and cargo pants, I pull the extender off and again I have a streamlined system with no bulky overlap.
Fourth, the thing is Made in the USA. An Arizona based company with an American made product is tough to beat.
Fifth, Ryker Nylon Gear is named after the family dog and their logo is said pooch. Provided you’re not a cat loving communist, that’s just one more reason to love this brand.
Now that I’ve shared a few reasons why I’m sold on the AFAK, let me tell you about my carry habits and what I’ve done to make it mine.
At work I carry it underneath a pair of 5.11 Stryke pants. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews the Stryke pants have a bit of stretch to the material so accessing the kit isn’t too difficult. I’ve found that even loaded down, because of the design and lack of wasted space, this prints less than the AMS did.
The one area that I think I differ from the vast majority of AFAK users is my choice of trauma shears. While most everyone else seems to be rocking the full size 7-1/4” shears, I opted for a smaller 5-3/4” pair of Maratac Compact Trauma Shears. The full size shears fit in the center sleeve on the AFAK just fine. But the handles are big and would balloon my pant leg out. Not that I’m worried about “printing” from a med kit but it did make the whole thing more noticeable. I found a compact set of shears at County Comm (a site I’m admittedly addicted to) and haven’t looked back since. Yeah I might not be able to cut pennies as handily as I would with a full size set, but I’m not losing a lot of capability in cutting clothes and webbing.
I’ve got the rest of the kit stocked with a SOF-T Wide tourniquet, Quik Clot Combat Gauze, a Hy-Fin Compact chest seal and a set of nitrile gloves to keep the sticky stuff off. I’ve had the kit for six months, wearing it daily at work. I’ve never had a strap come loose, the kit shift or feel the least bit uncomfortable.
The Ryker Nylon Gear AFAK is one of my favorite pieces of gear and I say this having paid full price for it out of my own pocket – no considerations or discounts given. Now that said, I will mention that some people may balk at the price, currently $54.95. But it’s the same argument I have with people who want to buy “bargain brand” pistols. Sure, they’ll shoot, but when they break or you get pissed off because of poor ergonomics just remember you get what you pay for. The same holds true with ankle med kits. You can get a cheaper kit and it’ll work, but it won’t have the features, design and quality that the Ryker Nylon Gear AFAK does. In the end, that’s really no bargain at all.
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