You are here
Home > Survival Gear > Pocket Preps: Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs)

Pocket Preps: Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs)


WARNING: This article is intended to be a quick overview and not a detailed guide on emergency medical treatment. Before relying on any IFAK, tourniquet, or other piece of medical gear, you should thoroughly research its efficacy and seek training on its proper use. Always seek professional medical treatment first before attempting any trauma care techniques.

According to BleedingControl.org, a federally sponsored medical education campaign, uncontrolled bleeding is the number-one cause of preventable death from trauma. In situations where a traumatic injury has occurred, the ability to slow blood loss often makes the difference between life and death. This outcome may be decided in three to five minutes before professional medical personnel can arrive on scene, and that’s why it’s essential for individuals on-site to control bleeding as soon as possible.

Whether you’re dealing with a badly broken limb while hiking on a remote trail, a gunshot wound at the range, the aftermath of a violent car crash, or a mass-casualty terrorist attack, you certainly won’t want to do so empty-handed. An individual first aid kit, or IFAK, can give you the tools you need to stop blood loss and save lives — including your own. IFAKs are available in a variety of sizes and configurations, but given the everyday-carry–oriented theme of Pocket Preps, we’ll be focusing on ultra-compact kits.

We collected and evaluated six premade kits for this guide. At a minimum, each of these kits contains a tourniquet, which will serve as the most important tool for stopping life-threatening blood loss as a result of wounds to extremities. The kits also include ancillary items for treating serious wounds, such as hemostatic gauze to aid in clot formation and elastic compression dressings (often referred to as Israeli bandages) to maintain pressure.

Although no one wants to encounter a situation where these items are necessary, you’ll be glad you have them if that catastrophic day ever comes. Read on to see if one of these IFAKs has a place in your EDC loadout.

Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit NOW! Basic

OFGP-181200-POCKET-01.jpg

Dimensions
5.2 by 3.1 by 2.6 inches

Weight
9.7 ounces

MSRP
$129

URL
blueforcegear.com

Notes
This kit is available with either a nylon belt-mount pouch or MOLLE-compatible pouch in your choice of several colors, and with either basic or advanced medical supplies. We opted for the basic belt-mount kit. This configuration includes a Tourni-Quik TK4, a minimalist elastic tourniquet that has been deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps and Special Forces. (For those who wish to also carry a standard C-A-T or SOFTT, Blue Force Gear offers a matching Tourniquet NOW! carrier.) The kit also has a hemostatic gauze dressing, a compression dressing, six strips of medical tape, and a pair of large gloves. These contents are housed in a quick-deploy insert, which can be removed from the belt carrier by pulling a tab on either side. The exterior panel features a laser-cut cross symbol with three interchangeable inserts — glow-in-the-dark reflector, red, and black.

OFGP-181200-POCKET-02.jpg

Pros:

  • Removable insert provides fast one-handed access to contents
  • Nylon belt carrier is well-made, and its belt loops can be removed if you prefer to carry in a pocket.
Related:  Making an electric battery from 1896.

Cons:

  • Supplies aren’t pre-loaded into the carrier
  • The carrier is too small for a windlass tourniquet, and even the TK4 is a very tight fit. Per the instructions, its plastic wrapper must be removed.

Tactical Medical Solutions Pocket Medical Kit (PMK)

OFGP-181200-POCKET-09.jpg

Dimensions
6 by 5.2 by 1.4 inches

Weight
10.1 ounces

MSRP
$53

URL
tacmedsolutions.com

Notes
TacMed Solutions was founded in 2003 by a Special Forces medic who created the original SOF Tactical Tourniquet (SOFTT). That tourniquet is one of two windlass models approved for use in combat by the Department of Defense and the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (the other is the C-A-T). TacMed Solutions’ Pocket Medical Kit includes the Wide variant of this tourniquet, the SOFTT-W, with a high-visibility rescue orange strap. It also contains an Esmark elastic compression bandage, a Beacon chest seal, gloves, and compressed gauze. For $99, the kit is available with Combat Gauze instead of the non-hemostatic variety. The entire kit is tightly sealed in a plastic pouch and slips easily into the pocket on a pair of pants, a shirt, or a jacket.

OFGP-181200-POCKET-10.jpg

Pros:

  • Flat vacuum-packed kit fits comfortably into the back pocket of a pair of jeans.
  • With a wide strap, quick-release buckle, and metal windlass, the SOFTT-W is an excellent tourniquet choice

Cons:

  • Unlike other compression dressings discussed in this article, the Esmark bandage doesn’t contain an additional absorbent sterile pad.

MyMedic Solo Advanced

OFGP-181200-POCKET-03.jpg

Dimensions
6.5 by 4.3 by 1.7 inches

Weight
13.9 ounces

MSRP
$70

URL
mymedic.us

Notes
Bridging the gap between an IFAK and a wilderness first aid kit, the MyMedic Solo includes a wide range of items for life-threatening and non-life–threatening scenarios. A $40 Basic kit is available, but we chose the Solo Advanced. It features a RATS tourniquet, which uses a metal cleat to lock the nylon-covered rubber strap in place around a limb. It also features a stainless steel Readyman Medical Card with breakaway fish hooks and other micro tools, as well as a vial of Liquid Skin cut sealant. The other contents, which are common to both Basic and Advanced kits, include adhesive bandages, pain and allergy meds, antibiotic ointment, burn gel, and sunscreen. There’s even a whistle and 10 feet of paracord. The supplies are contained in a waterproof polymer case. MyMedic also offers the kit in a soft pouch.

OFGP-181200-POCKET-04.jpg

Pros:

  • Contains a tourniquet plus many other helpful supplies for less-dire situations
  • Waterproof case is durable, reusable, and spacious enough for a few extras (e.g. water purification tablets).

Cons:

  • Lacks gauze and a compression dressing — this kit is clearly geared toward minor injuries rather than life-threatening trauma
  • Too large and rigid to fit comfortably in most apparel pockets.

North American Rescue M-FAK Basic with Combat Gauze

OFGP-181200-POCKET-05.jpg

Dimensions
6.2 by 3 by 3.5 inches

Weight
13.2 ounces

MSRP
$160

URL
narescue.com

Notes
North American Rescue is a leading name in bleeding control products for military, law enforcement, EMS, and community preparedness applications.. The company offers numerous medical supplies, including the ubiquitous Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T), which has been the official tourniquet of the U.S. Army since 2005. Unsurprisingly, the NAR Mini First Aid Kit (M-FAK) is centered around a C-A-T tourniquet. The kit also includes the company’s Emergency Trauma Dressing, a twin pack of chest seals, and a pair of nitrile gloves. The standard kit includes plain rolled gauze, but we opted for Combat Gauze. Each M-FAK is housed in a zippered nylon pouch.

Related:  Untraceable SHTF Comms - Survival Gear Blog

OFGP-181200-POCKET-06.jpg

Pros:

  • The C-A-T is currently standard-issue for the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
  • Chest seals enable you to deal with gunshot wounds and other penetrating injuries.

Cons:

  • The cylindrical pouch feels bulky in a cargo pocket, and should ideally be carried horizontally on belts up to 3 inches wide or vertically on MOLLE-compatible packs.

Rescue Essentials Public Access Bleeding Control Module

OFGP-181200-POCKET-07.jpg

Dimensions
7 by 3.6 by 2.8 inches

Weight
9.9 ounces

MSRP
$55

URL
rescue-essentials.com

Notes
This kit was designed to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s “Stop the Bleed” campaign, which aims to educate and equip members of the public to save lives in emergencies and mass casualty situations. As indicated by its name, the Public Access Bleeding Control Module is intended to be simple to use and includes clear instructions for inexperienced users. It contains a C-A-T tourniquet, PerSys Medical WoundStop pressure dressing, two packs of compressed gauze, nitrile gloves, trauma shears, and a Sharpie marker for marking the time when the tourniquet was applied. These items are contained in a clear plastic wrapper with expiration date label (our sample read June 2025).

OFGP-181200-POCKET-08.jpg

Pros:

  • Instruction sheet with clear diagrams makes this kit usable by anyone, regardless of training level or experience.
  • Sharpie marker is helpful, and beats the alternative of writing TQ application time on a patient’s forehead in blood.

Cons:

  • Lacks hemostatic gauze option
  • Rescue Essentials’ site doesn’t give kit dimensions, and weight is incorrectly listed as 1 pound

The Tactical Medic Micro Kit Mk-2

OFGP-181200-POCKET-11.jpg

Dimensions
6.1 by 2.9 by 1.3 inches

Weight
5.5 ounces

MSRP
$30

URL
thetacticalmedic.com

Notes
At roughly the same size as a standard AR-15 magazine, the TTM Micro Kit lives up to its name. Three variants are available — we selected the Mk-2 kit, which adds a TK4 tourniquet. If a chest seal is desired, you’ll want the Mk-3. Each kit also includes a pack of QuikClot hemostatic gauze, a PerSys Medical WoundStop pressure dressing, a roll of tape, and a pair of gloves. By default, the kit comes in a sealed clear plastic container that’s ideal for standalone pocket carry. If you prefer to carry on a belt, TTM also offers a simple nylon pouch with hook-and-loop closure for $10 extra.

OFGP-181200-POCKET-12.jpg

Pros:

  • Smallest and lightest of all the kits in this guide
  • Slim rectangular shape is convenient for carry in a pocket or standard magazine pouch

Cons:

  • While the TK4 makes this kit extremely compact, it’s a compromise. We’d much rather rely on the ease of application and consistent results of a standard windlass tourniquet.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Top