Israeli Army's hands-free "Human Backpack" for rescue operations
By C.C. Weiss
March 26, 2012
We were almost afraid to click on the link for a "human backpack" that we recently came across. Turns out, though, it's not a horror movie prop, but a backpack designed to carry humans. It's a military/survival accessory created to carry your buddy out of the field on your back.
The pack's official name is the Injured Personnel Carrier (IPC), and it was designed for the Israel Defense Forces by Agilite Gear, an Israeli manufacturer that builds tactical gear like carry systems and vests. The IPC allows a soldier to carry an injured person on his back while keeping both hands free to shoot, navigate, bushwhack and otherwise react to his surroundings.
The IPC was an innovation born out of improvisation. The idea had its roots in the field where soldiers built makeshift carriers out of four rifle slings. The rifle-sling system was designed to provide a more comfortable, efficient method over a traditional fireman's carry, in which the carrier essentially drapes the victim over his shoulders while holding onto him.
The IPC takes the general idea of the rifle-strap sling and adds padding and features to make it a more functional product that soldiers can pack in the field. At a weight of about 3/4 lb (.3 kg) and folded length of 10 inches (25.4 cm), it doesn't even add that much weight or bulk to a soldier's pack. When in use, it straps around a victim's back and allows the person carrying him to quickly pull him up off the ground and get him on the way to help.
"Anyone who's ever carried or been carried in a fireman's carry knows it's incredibly uncomfortable and inefficient," Lt. Col.(Ret) Dr Eric Setton, former Head of Medevac for the Israeli Air Force's elite search & rescue unit, said in a press release. "The IPC gives you full maneuverability, keeping the injured person securely on your back and gives you full use of both your arms and legs."
In addition to the military, organizations like search and rescue teams, fire departments, emergency medical services and even just average hikers and backpackers could use the system for emergency rescue. Elie Isaacson, Agilite's marketing director, told us that a lot of orders have been placed by civilians, many of whom intended to use the IPC for applications that its designers hadn't even considered.
The IPC retails for US$80 and is available for purchase on Agilite's website. The video below offers a quick look that gives you a better idea of how the system works in the field.