eHam Forums => Emergency Communications => Topic started by: KB1HJW on March 05, 2002, 03:48:54 PM

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KB1HJW on March 05, 2002, 03:48:54 PM
I have been hunting the net looking for a suitable waist pack (fanny pack) to use for my HT and as a bug out bag. The only ones that seem suitable for this application (i.e. have a place for the HT and room enough for appropriate accessories) seem to be designed for fire fighters, and are more of a backpack or frontpack design for use while mobile. Does anyone have suggestions and a source for something more suitable for our use?

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KC2DLA on March 06, 2002, 12:21:52 PM
Head over to RadioShack and take a look at part number 42-260 "Communications Waist Pack."  It has a space that is just right for most HTs as well as ample storage pockets.

I am putting together a light-duty go kit for public service events with everthing in the bag.  The larger compartments can hold a 2a/hr battery and spare accesories like a roadmap, j-pole antennas, speaker-mike, and vehicular adapter.  

What I really like about it is that the radio compartment is very adjustable.  You can make the compartment bigger or smaller to make sure that any external connectors (DC, speaker mike connector) are accessible.

73, Paul KC2DLA

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KE4SKY on March 11, 2002, 09:03:37 AM
I use a "Bucket Boss" brand, heavy duty, expandable briefcase which is made for contractors.  This has outside pockets designed to carry a portable 2-way radio, cell phone, pager, extra battery packs, with pen and pencil loops, and is compartmentalized inside to hold a planner, 3-ring binder or portfolio and has pockets for road maps and enough room in the main compartment for a compact mobile radio or brick amp, power cord and a gel cell battery, plus a 1/4 wave dualband mag mount, an extra 25 feet of coax, safety glasses, gloves, dust mask, flashlight, extra flashlight batteries and a standard OSHA first aid kit.

If you don't want to carry this much equipment all the time, there is a smaller version which they market as a construction worker's lunch box, which has ample room for all of your usual HT accessories, with external pockets for little stuff.  I got mine from Duluth Trading Co.

Virginia RACES has several articles which discuss suggested contents for three levels of "Go Kits." These are a basic kit for every day carry, a supplemental one to expand the basic kit for 24 hours extended operation, plus a disaster bag for evacuations and for mutual aid response teams who must be ready to deploy outside of their local area.

I'd be pleased to email these articles on individual preparedness, in Word format, to anyone upon request for noncommercial, educational and public safety use.

73 de KE4SKY
Virginia RACES State Training Officer

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KD6JLS on March 25, 2002, 05:30:02 PM

Can you give a web link to any of these fire-fighter appropriate packs? I'm looking for a bag that would be good for an HT, Yeasu 817, , jackets, 3-ring binders, and misc. gear and a hydration system of some sort, aside from the usual portable antennas and batteries. I've heard about packs specifically designed for search & rescue applications, but haven't been able to find any.

My problem with most of the packs designed for radios is that they are built SOLEY for the radios and their accessories. For example, there are several packs custom designed for the 817, but none of them have compartments that would hold water, snacks, or a jacket. I don't know about you, but I've never been on a hike that didn't require food, water, and an extra layer of clothes.

-Mark KD6JLS

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KE4SKY on March 26, 2002, 09:37:46 AM
For a selection of various specialized vests and carriers developed for wildland fire fighting and SAR ops try  Most of their equipment which is suitable for ARES and RACES is less than $50 and the ECSP-1 chest pouch is only $22.95, which is less than the often recommended MFJ-18.

Some specialized gear, such as the "ultimate vest" from is VERY expensive, several hundred dollars and not very practical for the average ham who does only occasional public service and emergency callouts.  Most police and military oriented tactical load bearing gear isn't very practical for ARES and RACES use, but you can find some good buys on military surplus equipment if you shop around. From I found several US Army surplus radio pouches which fit my converted GE M-PD radios as if they were made for them, and have slots to carry a telescoping halfwave antenna, notepad, pen and pencil, an extra NiCd battery pack flashlight holder for a 3-C Pelican for under $10.  If you shop around carefully you can get very functional items for not much money, but educate yourself and don't by the first expensive gadget you see.  

73 de KE4SKY
Virginia RACES State Training Officer

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KD6JLS on March 30, 2002, 08:55:22 PM

As a follow-up, I have been in touch with Communication Outfitters about their $99 Expedition Pack. You can check it out at

It's a nice product for holding a 2M mobile rig, or a small HF rig like the 817, IC-706, or K2, along with a big gel cell, antenna, tuner, and all the cables. It carries all the gear so you can operate while walking. The big problem (and the reason I haven't purchased one), is that it ONLY has room for the radio gear, and nothing else you would need while hiking or being out on a community service mission. They have expressed interest in making a next generation product that would be more useful for general purposes, like day hiking, SAR, and disaster communications, by adding more pockets, tie-downs, space for water bottles, a pocket for binders, maps, etc. But they want more feedback about what features people would like.

Please visit their web site, take a look at the pack, and send them your comments. The more response they get, the more likely they will see a market for a general purpose radio/hiking pack. If we all give them our thoughts, we might have a great new product to have in our kits.

There has also been discussion about better rigs for carrying radios on the Yahoo group HFPack. One member of the group, who uses a Yeasu 817 for SAR operations, is having Coaxsher develop a custom chest pack for that radio. You can read about it at
It would probably also hold a small 2m mobile rig with a gell cel attached by D-rings or straps.

Hopefully we'll all have some cool new ways to carry our radios out in the field.

Have a good weekend.

-Mark KD6JLS

Title: HT carry pack recommendation
Post by: KE4SKY on June 11, 2004, 01:52:45 PM has their "bail-out" bag on sale on a discount this month for $40, which would be a great bag for those who want to carry some basic gear in something less than an ALICE assembly or military butt pack with load bearing harness.

the URL is

The Proteus Versa-Pack available elsewhere on the site is a bit more expensive, smaller, but a high quality unit originally designed for SAR and LE.