Friday, June 6, 2014

Blue Ridge Overland Gear IFAK and Head Rest Bag Review

My wife and I are avid surf anglers and enjoy chasing Red Drum, Pompano, and Whiting (locally referred to as Sea Mullet) on the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area.  We spend 70 to 80 days a year using our truck to transport us and our fishing gear to spots too far from the pavement to carry all the gear required to chase fish.

As time passes we accumulate more and more gear.  Add up fishing tackle, foul weather gear, and standard beachgoer articles like umbrellas and chairs and it quickly adds up to a truckload.  The back seat in the extended cab houses its own collection, some luxuries and others required by the OHV permit guidelines and good sense.  Beginning to keep this collection organized is where Blue Ridge Overland Gear (BROG) enters our story.

Before BROG I used a hard plastic lidded container to store my recovery gear and repair items under the rear seat of my 2007.5 Chevrolet 2500HD extended cab.  A small first aid kit in the original hard plastic case was jammed into a space between this box and my folding solar cooker.  More accurately speaking, the first aid kit spent most of its life in the rear floor because it wouldn't stay in place under the seat.

Being a fan of The 4x4 Podcast ( I was familiar with BROG’s offerings, such as the Dutch oven case, but had never seen something I HAD to have.  That is until I saw the Headrest Bag.

Headrest Bag
Photo: Blue Ridge Overland Gear

Earlier this week I installed the Headrest Bag on the back of the driver’s seat.  I was able to move my recovery/repair items from under the rear seat into this bag.  A snatch strap, tire plugs, rescue tape, JB Weld, gloves and other numerous items were placed inside and I still have room for more ‘stuff’.  I like the fact that I can quickly remove the bag from the seat and convert it into either a shoulder bag or a backpack should the need arise.

I also ordered the Head Rest Panel and IFAK (First Aid Kit) Bag, freeing up the underseat space assigned to the first aid kit.  The Head Rest Panel fits the Chevy headrest well and tightened securely.  The hook and loop straps securing it to the headrest were captured on the rear panel so there are no straps hanging down.  It’s a very neat installation.

Head Rest Panel
photo - Jeff Madre
 The IFAK Bag is well made and had plenty of room and more than enough pockets and straps to secure the items from the kit plus supplemental items like another space blanket and even a small pair of bolt cutters.  Access in an emergency situation will be much quicker now that I don’t have to hunt down the first aid kit.

The completed setup. Nice, no?
photo - Jeff Madre
Craftsmanship was high on all the products.  I did notice some skewed thread lines holding down a patch of hook and loop, but this was the only imperfection I could find in what appears to be a fairly complicated article to sew.  I was struck by the absence of tag ends that seem to plague almost every other sewn article I’ve purchased for the last several years.  It is obvious that BROG products are sewn by people that care about what they’re building.  It’s good to see affordable, quality gear being manufactured in the USA.  We need more of this happening.

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