Is This the Best Battle Dressing On the Market?

The tourniquet is often seen as the end-all be-all for emergency trauma. Many think that if you have a tourniquet, you’re good, and you can handle dangerous bleeding.

The problem with this is, while tourniquets are exceptionally easy to learn and quick to apply, they only work on your extremities (arms and legs.)

Tourniquets are effective because they act by shutting down blood supply to the entire limb. This is great and exactly what you need, if you’re injured on your arms and legs.

Life threatening wounds are possible in other areas too, and we need to understand how to control that bleeding and prevent a death.

This is why wound packing is an essential skill for anyone wanting to learn bleeding control. Wound packing is for treating massive hemorrhaging at the body’s junctions. A junction, in medical anatomy terminology for a place where body parts come together. The primary one for our concern, are located at the neck, groin and armpits.

After the wound has been carefully and aggressively packed with all the gauze you can fit, the next step is to hold direct pressure for 3-5 minutes, if you packed the wound with a hemostatic gauze, such as QuikClot or Chitogauze, and for 10 minutes for wounds packed with normal gauze.

A good pressure dressing can take over this roll for us, and hold direct pressure on the wound and insure bleeding remains controlled. This frees up the medic or first-responder to handle other wounds, or other casualties.

Otherwise, you would be required to remain in place holding direct pressure manually until EMS arrived to take over.

Depending on the availability of resources, this may be what you have to do anyway. But, if possible, we can prepare for this issue by insuring we stock our trauma kit with quality pressure dressings.

There are many different options out there and some work better than others. One of the most widely known pressure dressings is the Israeli Style. This is the one I was issued in the military and while it works well if applied correctly, the pressure clip is a little clunky, and unintuitive to use. If someone pulls it out of your kit, and doesn’t know what it is, they aren’t likely to apply it correctly.


The better option:

The OLAES Modular Pressure Bandage is produced and distributed by TAC Med Solutions, the same company responsible for the production of the universally trusted SOF Tourniquet.

While the Israeli Style bandage uses the clip to increase pressure over the wound, the OLAES works by using a cup to localize the pressure over the wound to better hold the gauze in place. This means, that even if the person applying the pressure bandage hasn’t been trained on how it works, odds are good that they’ll apply it effectively.

The OLAES comes in a 4 inch and 6 inch sizes and can either be rolled or flat folded. Flat folded packaging helps for stocking the battle dressing into trauma kits and IFAKs, but is available with a few different features, and prices.

The first version of the OLAES is packaged in a dark yellow wrapper and comes with a pocket which stores an impressive amount of normal wound packing gauze.

This is incredibly useful, because if you need to pack a wound with gauze, you will need a pressure dressing to hold it in place. Why not just include both items to save on space and time while applying. Simple, but smart.

Additionally in the pocket, TacMed Solutions includes a small piece of square plastic intended it to be used as a makeshift chest seal, should on be needed.

This version comes in at an easy cost of $7.95-$8.95, depending on the size you want.

The second style of OLAES is the Hemcon OLAES. This is different from the first because instead of normal gauze, Chitogauze is stored in the pocket behind the absorbent pad. For this reason, the makeshift chest seal is not included, and the price is increased to $44.75.

While it’s nice to have the added benefit of the Chitogauze for bleeding control, packing a wound with normal gauze is very effective, so don’t let a thing like cost prevent you from picking up one of these essential items for your kit if the Hemcon is out of your range.

Start with the less expensive OLAES, then upgrade as your budget allows so all your bases are covered.

If you would like to know more about how to pack a wound and use pressure dressings, check out our Emergency Trauma Response online course. It’s totally free and only takes about 1 hour and 17 minutes to complete.

Trauma Medicine Training


  1. Dwain Fye on March 31, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    I need to purchase a small or medium size trama kit to take to the range. i have a kit for my car that is kind of large to be toting around at the range. What would you recommend?

    • Jacob Paulsen on April 7, 2023 at 12:26 pm

      Dwain check out our Yellowstone kit or our Ankle Kits

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