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Currently reading The Mauritius Command by Patrick O’Brian.

O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series is a daunting twenty novels, which I was finally motivated to begin after reading a comment on a blog post last year. I am now on the fourth book and — despite not having read historical fiction before this (excepting The Difference Engine and The Baroque Cycle) — have been quite enjoying the relationship between the characters of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, along with O’Brian’s meticulous detailing of Napoleonic-era naval life and combat.

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H&H Mini Compresion Bandage

The H&H Mini Compression Bandage is a small, pocketable emergency dressing. It consists of an elastic strap 32” in length, with a plastic hook on one end that will be familiar to anyone who has used an Israeli Bandage, and a strip of hook material on the other end. The end of the bandage with the hook material features a 4” x 5.75” absorbent gauze pad. To apply the bandage, the gauze is placed over the wound, and the elastic is wrapped around the limb. The hook material secures the initial wrap. The final wrap is secured via the plastic hook, just like on an Israeli. Unlike an Israeli or OLAES Bandage, the bandage features no device to aid in applying pressure to the wound, except for the tight wraps of the elastic material.

  • H&H Mini Compression Bandage: Ends
  • H&H Mini Compression Bandage: Absorbent Pad

Functionally the H&H Mini is inferior to its larger cousins, but, as the name implies, it is small. As it comes from the factory, it is vacuumed packed into a package that is 4” x 3” x 0.5”. Compare that to an Israeli Bandage, which is around 4” x 2.75” x 1.5”, or the 4.75” x 3” x 2” of the OLAES (5.5” x 4” x 1.5” for the new flat pack variant). Even the flat packed North America Rescue Emergency Trauma Dressing is 4” x 3” 1.5”. Most pocket trauma kits will forgo an emergency bandage, in favor of something like a SWAT-T (4” x 3” x 0.75”) which attempts to be both an emergency bandage and tourniquet. The H&H Mini is the first bandage I’ve found that is actually pocket sized, largely due to its thin profile.

Emergency Bandages

To achieve this small size it sacrifices a bulky absorbent pad and any form of mechanical pressure — both of which I’m willing to give up for something I can have in my pocket. But it also sacrifices length. At 32” long it is significantly shorter than the Israeli (84”), OLAES (42”), or NAR ETD (55”). This means you’ll get less wraps around a limb with the H&H Mini. Less wraps, particularly on a larger limb, may compromise the functionality of the bandage, since the H&H Mini is dependent on wraps to apply pressure and make up for its thin absorbent dressing. On the thigh of a smaller person like myself, I don’t think it will be an issue, but on a large person it will likely be a problem.

I’ll continue to always carry an OLAES or Israeli Bandage in whatever bag I have with me, but I’m happy to have found an occasional supplement in the H&H Mini. When going to a venue where I cannot carry a bag, or do not want to, I’ve found that I can easily slip the H&H Mini into a back pocket and not be bothered by it. This gives me some limited capabilities, which is better than leaving my full kit behind and having nothing. Supplementing the bandage with z-folded QuickClot Combat Gauze and a small tourniquet (like a SWAT-T or one of its competitors) makes for a very compact kit that can be slid into a pocket or two and, with training, ensure some measure of life-saving capability.

Minimalist Trauma Kit

H&H Mini Compression Bandage

Size (Packaged)
4” x 3” x 0.5”
Size (Flat)
32” x 4”
Weight (Including Packaging)
1.6 oz

Israeli Bandage

Size (Packaged)
4” x 2.75” x 1.5”
Size (Flat)
84” x 4”
Weight (Including Packaging)
2.5 oz

OLAES

Size (Packaged)
4.75” x 3” x 2”
Size (Flat)
42” x 4”
Weight (Including Packaging)
3 oz

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Across Asia on a Bicycle

In 1891, Thomas Gaskell Allen and William Lewis Sachtleben set out from St. Louis, Missouri to ride their bicycles around the world. Across Asia on a Bicycle is the account of the Asian leg of their 15,044 mile journey — from Constantinople to Peking. It is an excellent read and, along with Journey to the Centre of the Earth, sits as my favorite cycling book.

Illustration from Across Asia on a Bicycle: Evening halt in a village

Despite their journey having taken place over 100 years ago, when the safety bicycle was little more than a decade old, their luggage is recognizable as a modern bikepacking setup: a framebag, small seatpost bag, and a bedroll strapped to the handlebars. In preparation for their ride through the Gobi into China, they stripped their load down further.

Our work of preparation was principally a process of elimination. We now had to prepare for a forced march in case of necessity. Handle-bars and seat-posts were shortened to save weight, and even the leather baggage-carriers, fitting in the frames of the machines, which we wourselves had patented before leaving England, were replaced by a couple of sleeping-bags made for us out of woolen shawls and Chinese oiled-canvas. The cutting off of buttons and extra parts of our clothing, as well as the shaving of our heads and faces, was also included by our friends in the list of curtailments. For the same reason one of our cameras, which we always carried on our backs, and refilled at night under the bedclothes, we sold to a Chinese photographer at Suidun, to make room for an extra provision-bag.

This book was another recommendation by Joe Cruz, who also has some photos of Allen and Sachtleben on his blog.

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