How to Build a First Aid Kit for EDC

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How to Build a First Aid Kit for EDC

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In the best of times, integrating a first aid kit into your everyday carry lets you be prepared to deal with the minor cuts and scrapes that you or the people around you might encounter on a daily basis. In the worst of times, having a good kit of first aid essentials can mean the difference between life and death. This is especially true when you are dealing with a traumatic situation and you need to close a wound quickly and safely before things get worse. But carrying a huge cabinet of first aid implements like you might find at work is simply impractical: what you need a first aid kit made for one or two people, known in our community as an IFAK, or Individual First Aid Kit.

We know that navigating the complicated world of all the different kinds of bandages, medications, swabs, tools, and gadgets that make up everything that you can put into an EDC first aid kit can be quite daunting. Thankfully, there are pre-built options that carry a lot of the key things that you need to outfit a proper emergency. All you need to get started is to pick one up to have a good base of essentials and modify it to suit your needs.

In this guide, we’ll give you a few starter options for picking up a good first aid kit for EDC. We’ll also show you a couple of options for refilling the contents as you use them. After that, we’ll show you a few small pouches that work well for IFAK use, and specific kinds of gear you can use to modify and level up your own emergency carry today. It’s important to do this sooner rather than later, because not having these essentials during trying times can end up being something you really regret later.

Adventure Medical Kits First Aid Medical Kit 2.0

Adventure Medical Kits First Aid Medical Kit 2.0

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Specifications
Brand
Adventure Medical Kits
Model
0120-0220
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Price
$
This pre-built first aid kit comes in a coated nylon bag that can fit in a backpack or placed in the trunk of your car, and it has enough emergency essentials to accommodate the needs of 1-4 people. It features a lie-flat zippered opening that allows for easy access to all of the implements, gear, and medications contained inside. The organization pockets feature transparent windows for easy identification of what you need when you’re in a hurry. And contained inside are various bandages, dressings, and medication for dealing with wounds and pain. There’s a pair of tweezers for dealing with splinters and ticks, and even an instant cold pack. To go with the outdoors theme of the first aid kit, it also includes a emergency compass and a whistle so you can signal for help when you need it.
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit

Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit

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Brand
Swiss Safe
Model
2-in-1 First Aid Kit
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Price
$
This pre-built first aid kit actually integrates two kits into one: the main kit is a 120 piece comprehensive kit that works well in a bug out bag or in your vehicle. The smaller 32-piece kit works well in a small bag or even your pockets, and it contains a small amount of bandages, gauze, and prep kits to deal with small to medium cuts and scrapes. The larger kit has that and more, including a 20x10 cm trauma pad that helps you staunch bleeding from big wounds in a life-threatening situation and a pair of shears that let you cut clothing around an injury to get to the problem and fix it fast. This kit also includes a survival kit as well, with an emergency blanket to keep you or your loved ones warm in a pinch, as well as a survival whistle and pocketable compass for backwoods orienteering.
Orca Tactical IFAK Utility Pouch

Orca Tactical IFAK Utility Pouch

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Specifications
Brand
Orca Tactical
Model
EMT Medical First Aid
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Price
$
If you’re looking to outfit your own IFAK, a MOLLE-compatble tactical pouch is a good option. The MOLLE EMT pouch made by Orca Tactical is made out of durable 600D polyester material with hardy YKK zippers that’ll stand up to frequent use. It comes in a few standard military colorways, but the bright red model allows for extremely easy identification when in an emergency. It opens flat for easy access, and there’s a full 2.36 liters of organized space for emergency gear both large and small. And because it’s compatible with PALS webbing systems, you can attach it to your gear so you can have it on hand when you get in trouble.
Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch

Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch

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Specifications
Brand
Condor
Model
MA41-010
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Price
$
Speed is the name of the game when it comes to bringing the lifesaving potential of your first-aid kit to bear, and Condor’s Rip-Away EMT Pouch is designed specifically for this functionality. This IFAK pouch comes with two parts: a PALS/MOLLE-compatible hook and loop mount that attaches the entire package to your gear, and the main pouch which offers under 3 liters of capacity. As the name implies, you can rip off the pouch so you don’t have to mess with taking it off or fiddling around with your gear so you can access the bag without everything falling out in a panic. And once you get it open, the organization spaces in the bag fan out in a trifold style, with clear zippered mesh areas for large gear and elastic bands to hold everything else in place.
First Aid Only 299-Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit

First Aid Only 299-Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit

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Specifications
Brand
First Aid Only
Model
092265324427
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Price
$
This is a massive and affordable assortment of bandages, medicines, and tools that comes in its own bag but it’s best used as either a backup bag or for a refill for a much more fully-featured IFAK. There’s a plethora of different plastic and cloth bandages for the cuts and scrapes you get in uncommon areas like your fingers, knuckles, and elbows. There’s also a lot of alcohol and antiseptic wipes as well as antibacterial agents to help prevent infection during the healing process as well.
TRI Be Smart Get Prepared 326-Piece First Aid Kit

TRI Be Smart Get Prepared 326-Piece First Aid Kit

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Specifications
Brand
Total Resources International
Model
020424201104
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Price
$
Billed for home and office environments, this large first aid kit has enough gear to fulfill OSHA and ANSI guidelines for the amount of first aid material you need to have for 100 people in a work environment. It comes in a large plastic toolbox that might be fine if you never take it with you, but otherwise take advantage of the fact that someone else has already picked out the essential items and fill out your own IFAK with the essentials it comes with .
MediTac Premium IFAK Kit

MediTac Premium IFAK Kit

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Specifications
Brand
MediTac
Model
843484101173
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Price
$$
If you’re planning to deal with severe traumatic bleeding when building your IFAK kit, having a hemostatic trauma pad and a tourniquet is important, as well as a chest seal for exceptionally dangerous open wounds. The MediTac Premium IFAK Kit features a large trauma pack treated with QuickClot, which helps encourage the body to start forming protective blood clots at the source of the bleeding, a Combat Action Tourniquet (CAT) which is easy to apply and wrap around the problem area to further staunch loss of blood. The popular Hyfin Vent Chest Seal sets the standard for prevention, management, and treatment of penetrating chest trauma, and on top of that you also get an assortment of gauze and bandages for first aid for other injuries.
Everlit Emergency Trauma Kit

Everlit Emergency Trauma Kit

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Specifications
Brand
Everlit
Model
Trauma Kit
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Price
$$
The first key item contained in this IFAK is the combat application tourniquet, one of the best emergency EDC ways of stopping blood loss when used in combination with the compressed Israeli-issue pressure dressing and compressed gauze. The other valuable tool in this kit is the broken bone splint roll, which helps stabilize broken limbs to prevent further injury after a big accident. Also included in the kit are minor essentials like shears, a permanent marker, gloves, an emergency blanket, and an assortment of bandages. Carry it in its own kit or check out the more robust options we’ve listed above.
Leatherman Raptor

Leatherman Raptor

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Specifications
Brand
Leatherman
Model
832590
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Price
$$
If you’re looking for the ultimate in emergency shears for IFAK everyday carry, look no further than the Leatherman Raptor, a compact folding pair of shears that can actually do more than cut. Its design integrates a strap cutter, a ring cutter, a ruler, an oxygen tank wrench, and a carbide glass breaker. These lifesaving tools make it an ideal choice for EMT and first responder carry, and its utility its further amplified by the included holster, which allows you to attach it to MOLLE gear and hold it ready in either the folded or unfolded position based on your need.
SOG Parashears

SOG Parashears

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Specifications
Brand
SOG
Model
23-125-02-43
Reviews
No reviews yet
Price
$$
Where the Raptor focuses on emergency situations, the SOG Parashears adds a few quality of life tool additions to the mix like a bottle opener and screwdrivers that might make this a better choice for regular everyday carry for those who value having a serious pair of shears in their life. The blades are sharp and made to cut through cloth without getting jammed up, but the SOG Compound Assist technology in the pivot lets you put maximum pressure on the material you’re trying to get through in order to get the job done faster and with less effort. When you’re done, fold up the tool and holster it in the cloth holder.
Fisher Space Pen Raw Brass Bullet Pen

Fisher Space Pen Raw Brass Bullet Pen

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Specifications
Brand
Fisher
Model
400-RAW
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Price
$
It might seem odd to include a pen in your IFAK carry, but being able to take notes about a person’s condition and any symptoms they might be experiencing can be useful for the medical professionals who will eventually take over care in an emergency situation. Plus, because the raw brass Bullet Pen is made out of naturally microbe-resistant material, you can help use it to probe and manipulate without using your hands. Just sanitize it before and especially after use, and it’ll keep on writing in less troubled times.
Nitecore MT06MD with Pupil Gauge

Nitecore MT06MD with Pupil Gauge

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Specifications
Brand
Nitecore
Model
MT06MD
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Price
$
You might already have an EDC flashlight, but most people’s daily drivers are far too bright for close up work like dealing with injuries in the dark. What you need is a small penlight like the Nitecore MT06MD, which features a high CRI Nichia 219B 180-lumen emitter with a daylight tint 5000K color balance that won’t alter the appearance of what you’re illuminating. This lets you more easily identify what you are looking at and helps make sure that you don’t end up making mistakes in a medical emergency by misidentifying colors or other details requiring accuracy. It’s powered by two easy-to-find AAA batteries, and the reverse tailswitch click design makes for easy one-handed use.
Thyrm CellVault

Thyrm CellVault

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Specifications
Brand
Thyrm
Model
CellVault
Reviews


Price
$
The CellVault is designed to keep batteries safe and dry, but you can also use it to carry small gear that you don’t want to get wet like medication, bandages, and hemostatic clotting agents. Its slim design integrates well into the organization spaces of many an IFAK bag, but if you want to carry it on its own the design itself attaches to MOLLE webbing. It’s a lightweight, secure, and convenient way to protect and carry your smallest first aid essentials.

What essentials do you keep in your individual first aid kit? Share them with us in the comments below!

#thyrm #nitecore #fisher #sog #leatherman #everlit #meditac #total-resources-international #first-aid-only #condor #orca-tactical #swiss-safe #adventure-medical-kits #survival #first-aid #buying-guides #edc-first-aid-urban #everyday-ifak see all



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Discussion (17 total)

My opinion-- custom build your own first aid kit. You will have a much better understanding of what is in it, how to use it, and how to quickly access particular items-- if you put the time and effort into a custom kit. Some key items to include: CPR barrier / mask, a legit CAT tourniquet, hemostatic dressing, Hyfin vent chest seals, a large triangle bandage, some gauze pads and small bandages, alcohol wipes, triple antibiotic ointment, medical tape, scissors, and a small Sharpie. Also a CPR quick ref card unless you have it memorized. I am probably forgetting something...
I concur.
I'd also suggest putting together a second, more minimal kit that is small enough to fit in your pocket. Most of these kits are *at least* as big as a Maxpedition pocket organiser and unless you're wearing really baggy cargo pants, there will probably be times when you're without it, because it's too bulky to actually carry. Assemble something to fit the pockets on your jeans or your office suits and make sure you're never without it. Helikon-Tex do a couple of different wallet-style holders for this exact purpose (I have the small one in my sleeve pocket right now). It doesn't have to be comprehensive, but a few plasters, faceshield, antiseptic wipes, burn gel, a couple of small dressings, some quick-ref cards, maybe a few meds for pain, and whatever else you can fit - That will go a long way and be far better than the half-ambulance sized kit you left at home, or in the car when you parked up... Anything more serious and you're probably going to be phoning for an ambulance anyway.
Very good point that I overlooked. When suggesting my list, I was not considering true on-the-person everyday carry. I "EDC" mine in an old IFAK pouch in the trunk of my car, most of the time. These days I am often never more than a 90 second sprint from it. Many people don't have that luxury, so they need to spend more time considering what they can reasonably carry on them. You could fit a lot of these items in your book bag or large purse if a person can carry that into work to a break room, or to class. the CPR mask is the bulkiest item-- maybe replace with a simple CPR barrier.

But if you can't figure out how to have this on you, do the best with what you can fit in your pockets-- as you suggested. Because all that gear won't do any good if you can't access it when you need it!
It's an old soldier habit, I guess - You can carry an entire house full of comfortable luxuries on your back, but you fight with what's on your belt kit and you survive with what's in your pockets... because if ever the S is gonna HTF, it'll do so at the least convenient moment, when you're furthest away from your kit... and quite likely with your pants down!!
Always augment the kit with additional, quality, CAT tourniquets. If by some reason you read that as sometimes, I said always.
I wouldn't recommend that Everlit Emergency Trauma Kit. The TQ in it doesn't appear to be a true CAT and will likely fail when needed. I bought a few knockoff CAT's to see if they're actually untrustworthy, and all 3 failed. Only get something that is CoTCCC approved, like the CAT, RMT, TMT, SAM XT, SOFTT-W, and TX2 or TX3. Knockoffs or alternatives like the RATS might seem appealing due to price, but studies prove they're less effective with single, non-dominant hand application, and on larger, muscular legs that require extra pressure.
Good to know, thank you for the feedback (and comprehensive testing)!
As a physician I definitely agree with those that recommend making your own kit. By Far the best choice in my humble opinion.
Not only will it be more useful to individualize, the kit will be more compact and the quality almost certainly better.
The plastic tweezers and useless scissors that some of these kits supply should make the companies embarrassed.
I think NUNQUAM NON PARATUS's suggestions are great.
I would humbly suggest just of few OTC medications. No Rx required.
A couple of Tylenol, ibuprofen, a Benadryl, and an Immodium are extremely useful. All easily found at your pharmacy or even the dollar store.
If you have an EpiPen (requires prescription) to include you have a simple, small, useful kit to be proud of.
Just remember that a first aid kit only goes as far as your knowledge to use it. Everyone can recommend a bunch of stuff, but if you don't know how to use it then what good is it to you? Just remember K.I.S.S., Keep it simple, stupid. Your first aid kit does not need to be an EMT size rucksack. Do some light research and keep directions on how to treat certain wounds. Adrenaline kicks in and you forget a lot of stuff, as well as the sight of some things in the medical field that can cause panic and you end up treating something wrong, or causing more damage/pain. The next best thing you can do is to keep everything you have easily accessible to one hand, because your other hand might be occupied. Any pre made kit will have a decent amount of stuff for the average carrier, but needs to be opened and repackaged, and you need to familiarize yourself with its contents as well as add to or subtract items as needed. If you are going to carry first aid or have one readily available in your pack/transportation, spend some time and do some research, then quiz yourself. Utilize adrenaline and fatigue to train yourself in those conditions too. Also, don't forget the simple stuff like band-aids, small gauze, tape, liquid band-aid stuff and such. I find myself utilizing those kinds of things from my med packs all the time. Paper cuts suck. Good luck!
Thank you for the detailed comment!
Also check out live the creed pocket trauma kit
This is one I’ve carried lately, from Imminent Threat Solutions. ITS Boo-Boo First Aid kit. And they sell a pouch as well which I was able to get free during a promotion.
And I have a harder time finding rubbing alcohol right now then I do toilet paper lol I hope if any of you guys find rubbing alcohol take advantage of it and make that homemade hand sanitizer with aloe Vera.
Go to the liquor store and get Everclear. In my state (WI) we can get it in 180 proof from any liquor store. It's a different conversion to make hand sanitizer but you can find the recipe online.
Want to save money and have a kit with supplies you will actually use? More then likely you’re gonna need typical band aids, 2x2, 4x4s, aspirin, antibacterial ointment, and no need to carry shears. That’s why you carry a knife. And yes, besides maybe leather boots you can remove anything with a normal edc knife. This is the idea I follow in all my vehicles and camper. Sure , my home has more things but I think about when I’m away from home. A flashlight should already be on you as well. So let’s just say for real cheap at your local dollar store you could build a heck of a practical lightweight actually useable kit.
Anything from Imminent Threat Solutions is top quality:
itstactical.com
I carry the VANQUEST FATPack 5x8 (they have a couple sizes). Love the pack! Tear-away double front zipper allows full access to everything inside, pockets and bungee cords allow for a lot of storage options. Check it out!!