If you’ve got a heavy load to haul, carrying it in a backpack will be easier than lugging it by hand — whether it’s camping gear or an injured person.

And that’s the simple reason why Jerusalem-based Agilite has gotten thousands of inquiries about its recently introduced IPC (Injured Personnel Carrier).

The patent-pending, trademarked IPC weighs in at three-quarters of a pound, yet it can bear 5,000 pounds and enables a rescuer to carry someone on his or her back. The unit’s 12.5-foot length folds down to just 10 inches.

“The IPC is made of high-tensile military strength webbing or seatbelt material, and it folds into an accordion shape so it’s small enough to throw in a camping bag,” says Agilite founder Elie Isaacson. “It has built-in padding and it’s sewn together in Delaware by the same people who makethe harnesses for the US Air Force’s V22 and C5 Aircraft.”

Search-and-rescue teams, hikers and emergency medical responders are among the eager markets for this Israeli-innovated advancement over the stretcher.

“If you have a natural disaster with mass casualties, you don’t have a helicopter and an ambulance for every casualty,” Isaacson explains to ISRAEL21c.

“You will have to evacuate people who are wounded, and maybe carry them long distances. An ordinary person can take heavy weight on his back if it’s positioned correctly.”

Many rescuers are trained to use the fireman’s carry, putting the injured person across their shoulders. But that technique is uncomfortable and doesn’t free the rescuer’s hands.

“If you are stuck in a ravine or a confined space, having the ability to use your hands to crawl out with the injured person on your back, with hands free to climb, is a huge step forward,” Isaacson points out.

The IPC has a fluorescent strip for greater visibility at night, and it’s adjustable to the size of the person being rescued.

Equipping rescuers and campers

A mountain rescue team from Taiwan recently bought the IPC, and so have emergency and outdoor equipment distributors in several countries. Mainly it has been marketed in the United States to law-enforcement, firefighting, emergency rescue and military personnel, as well as camping stores.

“In a situation where you are hiking with a friend and he twists his ankle, there’s no way to carry him back. If you throw this in your bag, you’ll be prepared,” says Isaacson, who moved to Israel from Manchester, England, in 2000 and headed the North American desk in the IDF Spokesman’s Unit from 2008 to 2010 after serving in the paratroopers.

Agilite’s additional partners Itzhak Oppenheim and Nadav Melichar, originally from the United States, are also IDF Special Forces veterans. The men, all in their early 30s, head a company that describes itself as “a leading-edge manufacturer of professional tactical gear headquartered inIsrael with operations in the United States and Great Britain.”

“Ideally we want to get the IPC to bodies like FEMA [the US Federal Emergency Management Agency], who have to prepare for mass casualty situations and have to carry long distances,” says Isaacson.

And it’s not surprising that Israeli ingenuity is behind this load-bearing innovation.

“Israelis do load-bearing incredibly well,” says Isaacson. Aside from the obvious military angle, “We’re big backpackers, and we have a strong outdoor industry. We know how to carry heavy loads most efficiently, for longer lengths of time”

Agilite was “incubated” by TheHive, a project begun by the non-profit immigrant employment organization Gvahim, based in Tel Aviv. The partners are already selling the IPC and other products worldwide.

“Now the blogosphere has a hold of it, it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” says Isaacson. “We’ve even been contacted by cruise lines interested in the IPC due to its suitability for confined spaces too small for an ambulance or even a stretcher.”