• Comments (113)

    • 2

      Were Hemostatic agents/gauzes purposefully left out? I saw only a cursory mention of it under Z-Pack Gauze and given the different brands and types it seems like an odd thing to not get into detail about on an otherwise very detailed list.

      • 7

        Sort of. We avoid most powdered agents — Celox A is the only one we like and is included in the home supplies list. We explain in the articles that hemostatic-impregnated gauze is a fine upgrade if you want to spend the money on it, but we don’t specifically recommend it for most people because 1) it only shaves a few minutes off the time needed to control a wound, 2) it’s worth having gauze without expensive hemo that you can use on non-bleeding needs, and 3) untrained civilians overestimate the value of impregnated gauze and get lazy about the basics (like well-aimed direct pressure). But it’s absolutely fine if you want to carry some hemo gauze!

    • 0

      It looks like you’re using a Condor tear away med pack. Could you do a post about how you loaded everything in there?

    • 2

      It looks like you’re using a Condor tear away med pack. Could you do a post about how you loaded it with all the level 3 items?

      • 8

        We’ve already started working on a post about how to organize/pack the gear! Keep an eye on the newsletter or facebook group for when we publish it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • 2

        Ack! I just saw this after my post!
        Will keep an eye out for the packing article. Thanks and keep up the good work!

      • 2

        No worries, it’s always helpful to hear what the community wants. Helps us choose from the mountain of options to work on next.

      • 1

        I’ll look forward to this perspective.

      • 1

        Did you folks publish the packing article? I’m having a hard time finding it and I’m struggling hard with how to keep everything organized and compact yet streamlined.

    • 3

      Hi all!
      I’m almost done putting together all the gear for a level 3, but space in my MOLLE pouch is running out! What sort of witchcraft are you using to get all that in there? Any chance of getting a ‘how-to’ guide or video on packing this kit?
      Thanks for the article!

      • 2

        What pouch are you using? I originally thought the pictured one was a Condor model but after more searching I found the correct one. It’s very similar to the Condor or another model from Orca. I imagine the packing techniques should work for all of those models.

      • 3

        Hi Kaizenjutsu (and @Arterial Red), the pouch we used for this (and that we all have) is the Fox Outdoor First Responder Active Field Pouch (https://theprepared.com/pic….

        I have 6 of these completely assembled for my personal BOBs and GHBs. They are definitely tightly packed, but many of the items compress well. The medications are kept in a separate small Pelican box to protect them from crush damage (and that box is not in the Fox bag).

        There are some knock-off bags that are a little smaller which might be more challenging to fit stuff.

      • 3

        Yes, that’s the one I figured you had. I have the Condor model which allegedly has the same dimensions save 0.5” depth – for a soft bag I can’t see mattering that much. Using the separate Pelican makes the packing situation clearer (though I’m hoping to cram everything in the pouch), but I’m still struggling to see how the relatively massive Recon aluminum splint fits in there.

      • 3

        Hi Kaizenjutsu,

        You have to refold the splint for it to fit inside the Fox bag. As it ships it is too tall. I stow it in that sleeve in the rear side (nearest the back of the pouch) and fold it so that it takes up as much of the internal height as possible. It will be one width thicker than normal, and you do have to make sure it is tight and flat.

        Another thing that can help with space is taking some of the other components out of the packaging like the cravats — especially the large one. And don’t be shy about folding and squishing things like the gauze pads. If the Coban has a rigid tube in the middle, slide it out.

        As John mentioned in another thread we will show how we pack ours.

      • 2

        It seems painfully obvious in retrospect, but I suppose I should have bought the flat instead of rolled splint. The article link picture is of the rolled one but the flat makes much more sense. I suppose I can just unroll and refold it, right?

      • 1

        Yes, you can totally unroll and fold it. In fact that might be a little easier starting with the rolled one since you don’t have to overcome existing folds that may be a couple of inches off. Fortunately aluminum splints are pretty easy to manipulate.

      • 1

        Do you mind sharing your specific Pelican box you use, please? What is the pros of separating out items into two bags? Thanks for your help! This is super helpful!

      • 2

        I like the Pelican 1040 for its size.  It holds the meds and creams for one kit well: https://theprepared.com/pick/tp-kb-pelican-1040-amzn/

        Depending on how I am loaded out, I will separate out the Level 1 items for quick and easy access.  I like to carry those items in an ankle holster, and Level 2 and 3 in my pack when I am on foot.  In my vehicle I have a single bag that holds all of the items.

    • 2

      For most people Ibuprofen or Naproxen (Aleve) are ideal for occasional/first aid use for aches and pains. I appreciate that you noted they aren’t good for people with established kidney or GI disease. You should also note that even a small overdose of Tylenol can cause irreparable liver damage. A significant number of people die from this every year. It should not be used at all by people who drink alcohol and never for a hangover. New to the site, enjoying your content, thank you!

      • 2

        Thanks Mavis! Hope to see you around.

    • 4

      I’m a little surprised that aspirin is so low on the list due to its use treating/preventing an impending heart attack. I know everyone has their differences of opinion, largely based on variations in training and experience, but aspirin is such a simple treatment and heart attacks can happen anywhere or anytime –even before a SHTF scenario–that I would always recommend having aspirin in any first aid kit of any level.

      • 3

        The “Level 1” items were very strongly debated, and aspirin simply didn’t make the cut for that level of the kit. It was ultimately a balance between utility and solvability of medical problems. Aspirin, while helpful during a heart attack, is not a solution to the problem, and is a weaker solution for other uses. The items in “Level 1” are direct solutions for one or more problems. That said, pills are light and it is up you to decide what goes in your kit and what priority you place on them.

        FWIW, our team that argued and debated this included ER doctors and experienced medics from a variety of backgrounds. The consensus on the placement of items used a “would you rather have X or Y” approach which helped sort the items to their current places.

      • 2

        I bet that was an interesting and “lively” debate.

    • 1

      I would totally include at least one hydrocolloid dressing/pad. They are amazing for treating ulcers, blisters and burns.

      • 2

        What would you remove from the list to make room for those?

      • 2

        Nothing. The main advantage of those pads is that they are very thin, lightweight and completely moldable. On top of being self-adhesive – and requiring no bandaging – you can also cut them into tiny pieces to suit any kind of wound at any angle. A single pad the size of an standard weave pad can be cut several times to cover several wounds.

        You can fold them and fit them almost anywhere. You don’t need to sacrifice anything to add them to your kit unless your kit is so full of stuff it’s ready to burst, but if I were forced to replace something, just for the shake of the argument, I would remove a few band-aids because you can cut the pad to perform the exact same function of a band-aid if necessary.

        I speak from personal experience. My grandmother suffers from constant venous ulcers in her legs due to clotting problems and these little things are a lifesaver.

        Before, we used to spend a lot of bandages, tape and pads just for a single wound and those would need daily replacement. Furthermore, the bandaging only exacerbated the poor blood flow problem, but one of those hydro-colloid pads can be cut to be used 4-5 times before you have to get a new one.

    • 3

      This is such a great resource. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 🙂

      I’m considering leaving some form of this kit (maybe even Level 3) in each of our two vehicles…
      I live in S. Texas. Should any consideration be given to heat and storage in a car? Or, are there specific items that are more susceptible to heat than others? TY!!

      • 4

        Glad you are enjoying the article!

        I live in New Mexico and have Level 3 kits in each of our vehicles (and our off-road trailer). The risk from damage is just to the medications. You want to keep them as cool and dry as possible and I do this by keeping all of our kits out of direct sun.

        Medications are kept in small pelican case. One of the reasons we recommend and favor tablet forms of the medications is because they typically survive temp better. That said, I do inspect and rotate the medications in the car twice a year, discarding anything that looks/smells suspect.

        Also, it is helpful to put creams/unguents (petroleum jelly, hydrocortisone, etc) in separate ziplocks. That way if one does get too hot and leaks, it doesn’t get all over everything else.

      • 3

        I just wanted to ask about storing meds in your car and you’ve answered most of my queston. I especially dig the idea of keeping creams, etc in ziplocs. What about winter time, though? Any specific reccomendations?

      • 3

        Most creams and unguents are generally fine in the cold–they just get less pliable.  The small tubes we recommend can be easily rewarmed with body heat.

        If you want to reduce the chance of freezing, wrap them in some of the warming layers you should have in your car preps (wooly hat, fluffy socks, down jacket, etc).

    • 2

      Great list thank you – is there going to be one for Homesteaders *after* SHTF so there will be no hospitals or ER room. Weight and storage not an issue then.

    • 4

      I’d like to put my “vote” in for a packing post too. I bought the Condor pack (which I’m now 2nd guessing), and as supplies come in from Amazon, I’m beginning to see I’m going to have a problem packing. Additionally, I’d love to see how medications are dealt with… using “on the go” sizes, re-packaging, etc??? Thanks again for all the work you guys put in to this. Really is amazing!

      • 3

        So happy it’s helpful! And thanks for the vote, we’ll definitely do it soon given the interest. I just repacked my personal kits with the help of some of these experts, and it was tight getting it all together, but did work. My problem was babying the med supplies too much, where the pros seemed to rough handle it.

        Meds are always preferred in solid pill form. As long as they stay dry, protected (eg. from crushing), and organized within the space you have, that’s good enough. But we prefer to re-package them into a small Pelican box (or some other small hard-sided organizer), as you can get the most pills in the smallest amount of protected space, while still being organized.

      • 2

        I totally figured out my packing problem… bought a bigger bag! 🙂 Hate admitting defeat, but it’s all in and tidy-ish. Sort of.

        I still need to pack OTC meds. Taking my wife & threes young kiddos into account, the list has grown. Also grappling with quantities for each med. The travel tubes are too small (don’t hold enough) and the smallest “bottles” don’t pack well.

        Are people re-packaging pills into small ziplocks (or something else) before putting into the hard case? And are you guys able to fit the case into the med bag or is it packed separately? Thanks again!!!

      • 3

        Glad you got the bag worked out. It’s okay to carry extra meds because of your family, but you can’t be the pack mule for everyone!

        Yes, many people (incl most of us) repackage pills and other potentially leaky things (creams etc) into small ziplocks/containers which are then organized in a hard case. Try these https://theprepared.com/pic…

        We store the pill case separate from the med bag, mostly due to space limitations on a full level 3 bag + optimizing for the kinds of “I need it right now!” stuff in the med bag + keeping dirt/blood/etc away from the meds when dealing with urgent trauma.

      • 1

        Many of the OTC meds are individually blister packed (dye-free benadryl, many/most of the kids “dissolving” allergy & cold meds, etc).  Makes packing timely difficult.  I’ve tried researching, but not finding any answers…

        Is it OK to repackage this kind of meds?  I assume they’re blister packed for a reason…  Is it that exposure to “air” degrades them?  They stick together?  Break easily?  Thank you!!

      • 2

        I made the same assumption you did, but used scissors to cut out each individual blister to within maybe 1/8″ of the blister itself. Removing the excess packaging material made them much smaller and easier to pack.

      • 3

        Blister packing is typically used to protect from environmental issues (like humidity) and to package a single dose.  If it is packaged that way it is best to keep it that way.  You should be able to trim it though, so long as you don’t break the seal.

        I try to select medications that are in bottles as I normally buy in bulk, and then repackage into small baggies.  In general, I also try to get medications that are in tablet form since they are less susceptible to damage.  I further protect them by putting them in a hard case.

      • 3

        Same here! Definitely want to see a tutorial on packing.

      • 2

        That’s a great idea!

    • 4

      Amazing article thank you so much!

    • 3

      Hey all,

      Finally got 2 level 3 kits completed! One for my vehicle and another for my On Hand For Unexpected Circumstances Kit bag. Found some plastic vials on amazon that are great for storing the needle and thread in alcohol. Side note – dyed thread will bleed color into the alcohol.

      Cheers!

      • 3

        Awesome! Feels good to get major preps done. Good tip on the dyed thread (besides, you’d also want to avoid putting dyes etc into your body without reason.)

      • 1

        “some plastic vials on amazon”  Is it possible to get a link?  I have a hard time trusting vendors’ descriptions.  I figure if you’ve had hands on, at least you’ll have an opinion on the quality.

      • 2

        Here ya go:

    • 1

      Good article with some excellent advice and recommendations, but….

      Cool operators wear black gloves? Really? If you’re working at night, blood does not show up on black gloves unless your lighting is excellent. Unless you are a tactical operator (which I understand some are – I have been) blue or white gloves are the way forward.

      You have also made no mention of information that might be needed by medics when handing a casualty over. Again, I understand that some of the guys on here are paramedics but for those who are not, information such as the time the incident occurred, what was the mechanism of the injury etc is important.

      • 7

        Thanks for the comment. The black gloves thing was tongue in cheek 🙂 And you’re of course spot on about the importance of knowing what to communicate to professionals, but this article is just about the list of items, not as much what to do with them. That kind of advice is in posts like how to use a tourniquet https://theprepared.com/survival-skills/guides/tourniquet/

      • 3

        I completely agree with Simon on medical communications.

        I may be newer to this site, but I am also extremely experienced in both tactical medicine and natural disaster recovery. I truly believe that every MED kit needs a minimum of a charcoal pencil and piece of paper. I have made over 15 of these kits for myself and family members. I won’t make them if the family member won’t buy the NARP Triage Card. They rarely seem to think it’s necessary.

        As a paramedic, if I bring a patient to a triage area and tell them my opinion, they listen, even if I’m not in uniform. That happened during the 2013 Moore Tornado. Several other patients who were brought by non-professionals, however, seemed to be lower in the triage than they should have been. Preference being given to patients coming from providers. It was not intentional, but it happens. This phenomenon is discussed in several after action reports from natural disasters. I don’t think these are minor mistakes.

        This phenomena may be avoided if you are partially treated with the high quality gear mentioned in these lists. It will be recognized by medical providers at an ER or field triage center.

        I do believe a triage card is necessary. I recommend the one from NARP, but it is bulky. There may be slimmer options on the market today. I don’t recommend that a non-professional make a triage category decision, but when you get to the triage location, hand it off to a professional, show them your work and ask them to pick the category. This gives them a vast amount of info to make the decision correctly.

      • 2

        Tag or not, I personally think it’s how you communicate the info.  If your report is bottom line up front and covers the necessities concisely, pros tend to listen.

        Of course, the .gov supplied all of mine, but I also come from the days with things like “M” and “T” on the vics forehead…

        Edited to add: “Combat Casualty Card  $31.99”  Actually laughing here.  Yes I’ve worked triage in mass casualty situations.  I’ve also trained and worked as a medical regulator – the person who has to decide where that patient is sent.  I’ve directed evac on patients from Asia to Brooks Burn Center  – the only stop – at an Air Force base to be transferred to a medical transport aircraft. To field hospitals – B Med. To Army and AF Hospitals.   To Aircraft Carriers. OK, not so laughable.  Looking further, at least Amazon gives some hope, since prices seem to be from $1-$3 each.

        Yes, that’s the type of info we used.  But when a patient hit our triage we immediately did an exam not only to verify the info, but to see if the Corpsman missed anything.  Most of you here probably know from experience, when you’re out in the dark in rain and mud, it an’t easy.

      • 1

        @Tom Rader was a Corpsman, I’m sure knows those situations well.

        Do either of you @Doc @Old know of a slim triage card/product that would be a good addition? Because of how infrequently it would be used, we’d definitely want to go slim and cheap.

    • 4

      This list is amazing. Makes things so much easier for people like me that don’t know where to start, or cannot untangle all the different tidbits you can find online. Mega kudos! Looking fwd to many more articles like this one!

    • 0

      I’m going to assume that the #1 thing I’d put on this list (duct tape) is missing because it’s considered not just a medical supply. That said, duct tape should be on this list: it’s sterile (enough) it holds on any of the other bandages, it can be used to make wound coverage of every size, and like all the best emergency tools, there’s a lot of other uses. Second, as long as you’ve got duct tape I’d add cyanoacrylate (Crazy) glue which can be used in place of sutures, can reinforce butterflies, and again has a whole bunch of non medical emergency uses. Further, I’d ditch the chest seals in favor of Saran Wrap. Saran Wrap plus duct tape on three sides will do what chest seals will at much lower price, plus again much wider alternative utility. Like keeping flies off of bandages… last, I’d swap the immodium placement with the pepto bismol. Immodium just stops, while pepto cures. Having had dysentery a number of times, trust me, pepto is what you want to start with, immodium only if that doesn’t stop it fast enough.

    • 2

      This article is 100% the best resource I’ve found for guidance on putting together an emergency medical kit. Likewise, this entire site is amazing. Many thanks to all of you!

      One question: for the listed OTC medications, what would be reasonable quantities to carry? Can you give us a general rule-of-thumb, like “[at least] X number of adult doses”?

      • 3

        Thanks so much for the kind words! As a layman I found it very helpful too.

        Although it may change based on your personal needs and kit space, the general rule of thumb is 24 doses. Because many non-antibiotics recommend dosing for six days, and at four doses a day, that’s 24. Some people go lighter/smaller than that at 12 doses. Or they mix and match, eg. more doses of things they know they use more, and less doses of “nice to haves.”

        Antibiotics are generally prescribed as a ten day course at twice per day.

      • 2

        Outstanding. That’s very helpful. Thanks for the reply, John!

      • 2

        Agreed! Thanks @Friend of the Pod for asking and @John Ramey for answering this one.  I had the same question.  This also explains the large size of the protective box.  I’m still trying to lighten up the load while still including everything.  Not happening as you’ve thought it all through so well.

    • 2

      Outstanding article! You guys break things down exactly like I have preached, though more succinctly! Also great explanations about how and why.

      And to those complaining about lack of duct tape on the list, I don’t like duct tape on/near wounds. The sticky residue is difficult to remove for any dressing changes, also the stick residue makes using it in place of mole skin on the feet problematic. That being said, I think nice wide tape is a good idea — instead of duct tape consider 100 mph tape (military) or Gorilla Tape. Also kinesiology tape works great to prevent foot blisters, it sticks much better than mole skin which has a tendency to peel off.

      • 2

        Thanks!

    • 2

      Are you aware of claims that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin…) could worsen infections, potentially to a severe degree? If so, what do you think of them?

      • 4

        Like all medications, it is important to use them when appropriate.  There is some research out there showing that existing group A streptococcal soft tissue infections can be accelerated by non-selective NSAIDs (the ones you mention).  But it is for a very specific class of infections.

        There is also research demonstrating that NSAIDs have positive effects on treating sepsis.

        In general, the benefits of using NSAIDs correctly (for the purposes they are intended) outweigh the risks.  A person is far more likely to have a condition that can be assisted with NSAIDs than the converse.

      • 2

        Alright, thank you for clearing that out. Keep up the great work.

    • 4

      One small suggestion… As I’ve been accumulating the recommended medications it occurred to me that off the top of my head I really have no idea what the dosing instructions, contraindications, and warnings are for the medications I’ve rarely used. Because of that, I cut off the backs of the boxes they came in (where all of that information is printed), and put them in the bottom of the pelican case under the baggies for quick reference. They take up next to no space, and now I don’t have to worry about using a medication improperly out of ignorance.

      • 3

        Great idea! We have to avoid talking about doses etc due to legal reasons.

    • 3

      What do you guys think about carrying Narcan (Naloxone) in your IFAK? Opioid overdoses are a big problem in a lot of areas.

      • 3

        I curious to hear the answer from the experts myself. That said, my instinct is that although it might make sense in an EDC IFAK, I don’t think it makes sense in the context of a bug out bag IFAK. Just my two cents as another layman.

      • 3

        It is not on our list since we don’t recommend opioids as part of the list, and overdoses aren’t typically something you “stumble upon” in a survival/bugout context.  You are more likely to encounter an overdose in a professional context (at a point when you can reverse it with Narcan).

        That said, you can totally customize the contents to your needs.  And if you have added opioids to personalize your bag for pain management, Narcan would be a good pairing.

      • 1

        In addition to the other answers, here’s some takes on this exact topic when we did a community Q&A with the experts: https://www.reddit.com/r/preppers/comments/c1b6m2/were_seven_er_doctors_wilderness_medicine/erc4xaf/

      • 2

        By definition your IFAK is your Individual First Aid Kit. It is for you. If you get hurt, you or others should use it on you. Likewise, especially in the military, if someone else is hurt you use their kit to help them.

        The biggest goal with an IFAK is to keep it as small and portable–thus more likely for you to actually have with you–as possible. If you start adding assorted “nice to have”/boo-boo treatment type stuff it quickly becomes to big and then it gets left behind.

    • 3

      Does anybody have good suggestions for medical bags that can be carried on the thigh? Lots of options on Amazon, but I’d like some Prep-spective.

      • 2

        Update: I went with this one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H41HV6P/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

        The materials and construction are the same as the recommended brands, but it’s got 1in large compartment space in the length and width directions, as compared to most of the other bags.

        I went with the larger bag for a few reasons:

        1. I’m 6’4” and my thigh can easily accommodate a 9” pack, so I should maximize my capability.
        2. I’m a doctor so people expect me to treat things, which means having more of one thing or additional types of things, as compared to the layperson.
    • 3

      Is there a clear advantage to carrying the medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc) in liquid vs pill vs chewable form? I’d think liquid is easier to administer to weakened partners, but weighs more and take more space. Perhaps one form has a longer shelf life? Anything else for the average person to consider?

      • 8

        Here are my suggestions (I’m a physician and I’m certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support):

        -Oral Dissolving Tablet (ODT)/Sublingual formulation: awesome but is the most difficult to obtain and not all medications are offered in this formulation. Offers rapid administration and are usually stored in blister packs. I prefer ODT for medications that are important to give when the patient is nauseous/vomiting (traditional oral medications might not stay down long enough to get absorbed). For example, I keep my Ondansetron 8mg ODT (brand name Zofran) to rapidly (<5 minutes) reduce nausea. I absolutely love Zofran, as a doctor and as a patient, but it’s a prescription medication, so you’ll need to get creative.If you know someone with “angina” you might be familiar with their “nitro” pills; these are also ODT.

        -“Chewable”: sort-of like ODT. I keep all of my Asprin (81mg) in chewable forms.

        -Tablet and Capsules: good because they are 1.) robust (don’t lose their form/turn into powder easily), 2.) retrievable (you can spill them and re-acquire them without loss of efficacy), 3.) don’t require a measuring tool (liquids need a cup), 4.) easily accessible, and 5.) are stable and easy to administer in a variety of settings. A problem I encountered when storing my tablets/capsule meds: I buy bulk if I can so I end up having to store the pills in a new container to save space/weight. The pills often don’t fit perfectly in my new containers so I pack them with cotton. This not only protects the pills from abrasion but keeps my bag quiet.

        -Liquid formulations: AVOID. These are difficult to measure without some kind of graduated container (which you might not have, or more likely has become dirty). Also, imagine if you tip over an open bottle…you can pick pills up, but you’re never going to separate your liquid Tylenol from the dirt.

        AVOID SPILLS, CHOOSE PILLS! (I just made that up…rhyming helps the brain remember things)

      • 2

        Great answer!

    • 1

      Hi folks, many of the Amazon links are out of date, often pointing to other products.

      • 4

        Thanks for heads up. Doing best we can — COVID has a lot of stuff sold out.

      • 1
        [comment deleted]
    • 2

      With item #20, plastic cling wrap, how did you cut it down to two inches? What did you use to cut it? Thanks!

      • 2

        I just used a sharp kitchen knife and kind of sawed through it.  The end may be a little ragged but it works just fine.

      • 2

        A PVC pipe cutter works great, if you have one – just make sure it is big enough to handle your plastic wrap roll

      • 1

    • 5

      Thank you for this article. It is awesome that you included the areas of debate!
      I also believe that a thermometer should be included. Not for a tactical kit necessarily, but these kits are meant to be accessible for any type of emergency, not just bugging out in a SHTF scenario. These kits will be included in the GHB, in cars, and many people will probably use it for reference to put in their camping gear.

      Also, in a bugout scenario, most people are extremely afraid to go to medical locations because they may be avoiding places where people are congregated, government intervention, driving back into a city, or a pandemic. I know this personally from being a medic in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They need to know when it becomes necessary to go, and not put it off for too long.

      I highly recommend 3 Nextemp disposable thermometers.

    • 3

      Is it better to build your own kit or buy a pre-made kit?  Is there a pre-made kit you can recommend that won’t break the bank at the same time?

      • 3

        IMO it is always better to build your own for a couple of reasons.  First, you know you, so you can tailor the kit to your needs and situation.

        Pre-made kits are generally put together to hit a price point, or to include some specific piece of gear that the builder has a relationship with. Most of the time you end up with some stuff you don’t need (or won’t ever use) so it is just taking up space, and also which factored into the cost.

        A decent starter kit is the AMK Explorer (https://theprepared.com/pick/g-ifak-adventure-medical-kits-mountain-series-explorer-medical-kit-rei/), but you should still supplement with a few other pieces (like a tourniquet, chest seal, large cravat, and aluminum splint; recommendations above in article).

    • 3

      Any suggestions for a substitute for the Fox Outdoor First Responder Active Field Pouch? They seem to be sold out and back ordered. thanks

      • 5

        I used the one in the link below. It seems to be identical to the Fox Outdoor pouch.

      • 2

        A recent one we have been playing with is the Lightning X IFAK Pouch (https://theprepared.com/pick/g-ifak-lightning-x-ifak-accessory-pouch-amzn/)  It has the right dimensions, and fits everything the Fox Outdoor goes (with the exception that it doesn’t have the tear away mesh pouch.

        It was snug at first, but the material stretched nicely.

      • 4

        I am working to put together a couple of the level 3 kits after researching other lists and forums. This  list is extremely comprehensive and everyone who I show it to in the medical field is extremely impressed with how well the list is compiled.  I have several items on order currently and went to pull the trigger on the Fox pouch however they are on backorder due to high demand.  My question is after having the Lightning XIFAK pouch for a few weeks now do you believe this would still be a good bag for these kits?

      • 4

        I think the Lightning X IFAK Pouch is a good bag.  It doesn’t have as many separate areas for stuff as the Fox ( I really like to organize), but it is workable and it holds everything the Fox does.

        I just ordered a new med bag from 5.11 (Med Gear Set) that looks promising, and I will update here if that passes muster–though it looks pretty big.

      • 3

        Curious about your evaluation of that 5.11 med bag ? I’m currently building my level III, and had been looking at that bag.

      • 1

        The 5.11 Med Gear Set is HUGE.  It was way larger than I had envisioned.  I’ll get some pics and post here after I reload it (I filled it with the first aid stuff, then switched back to the Lightning X without taking pictures).  One downside is that it only comes in black, and doesn’t match the gray of my AMP 72.

    • 3

      https://deployedmedicine.com/ is a fantastic free resource. This is the official site of the U.S. military’s TCCC (tactical combat casualty care) training. The Level 1 / All Service Member course is a  good start for most rational preppers. Lots of pocket guides, curriculum, and videos, etc. All U.S. military service branches are transitioning to this curriculum, born out of the lessons learned in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

    • 4

      With the pandemic I’ve been spending a lot of time on trails around my house and a recent encounter caused me to change my own PFAK. I am not suggesting any of the priorities here (weight and lifesaving value) are wrong. But recently I met a couple in the woods where the young lady had twisted her ankle and was in serious pain, not shocky but not looking great either, with her male partner having to help carry her off the trail. They were close to the trailhead when I met them and refused help. But based on this encounter, and realizing that even with high boots an ankle sprain could put me in a bad situation I’d want cold and compression to deal with, I’ve subbed a 4” ace bandage (I had a 2”) and added a cold pack to my kit. The cold pack adds space and weight, and I wouldn’t take anything out of my basic kit but there’s room in my day pack. Here’s my thinking: is a twisted ankle more likely than a GSW most days in the woods? I’m packing it, and if the only service it does it to chill a beer when it expires and I replace it with a new one, I’m good with that.

      • 2

        Thanks for sharing and it’s great that you’ve been thoughtful about how to customize these frameworks to make sense for you!

      • 4

        I’ve seen posts in the past asking for suggestions on how to best pack these suggested kits.  For those of us not on FB, is the entry, or video, on how to pack yet?

         

      • 3

        The cold pack is definitely a benefit for the ‘less than bugout’ situations.  I’ve provided them at sporting matches several times since both of the items you mention are always in my equipment bag (softball, volleyball, etc).  So I have one in my FAK for the GHB as it covers some of these situations as well.  Words of caution:  I was stuffing my FAK and found that I’d ‘popped’ one of the instant cold packs in my efforts to get it all in; when they’re hot (as stored in the car) they don’t get as cold so not as beneficial.

      • 3

        Having thought about this, the ice pack (despite the size, weight and fact it can pop) isn’t just a “less than bugout” essential to me. I’ve probably used more disposable ice packs than anything other than bandaids over the years. If it’s my ankle that turned, I’m not bugging out without RICE. Still not sure where it goes on the list, but anytime I’m somewhere I need to be able to walk out to get to where I need to go, I’m packing one. Wrapped in a bandana or shemagh depending on time of year.

      • 3

        I called it ‘less than bugout’ as in the situations where I’ve used them, the patient could easily get to better care including continued cold compress cycles.  And I certainly agree that it is one item I’ve used more often than others and had a similar question.  Sorry that wasn’t as clear.    I’m very curious as to the rationale this panel of experts didn’t include one as I certainly am no expert.

      • 3

        My gut is it’s a size and weight trade off v prioritization of other gear that’s either more versatile or more suitable to immediate life saving. Could I save a life with an ice pack? If the ice pack means being able to continue moving away from an unsafe situation toward safety, maybe. But would I trade an ice pack for a tourniquet if weight was my primary? No. But do I carry a TK in my woods pack? No, I carry a couple triangle bandages I can improvise one with a stick, but I’m willing to trade that speed for the ice pack. (Where I am sticks are always readily available: in arid regions I’d pack a TK. I’ll admit that I’d put the ice pack on the list above chest seals unless I was going to Somalia or maybe Baltimore.

      • 3

        Hi Alicia and Clark, I can address this as one of the authors.  Cold packs were specifically left out from this list because of three reasons.

        • They are one-shot devices that only last 20 minutes or so.  RICE protocol is that you apply the “ice” every 2-3 hours for 24-48 hours.  Carrying eight to twenty-four ice packs is not really feasible.
        • They are fragile.  Since they are designed to activate on impact, they can be triggered inadvertently–especially in more densely packed kits.
        • The purpose of the ice is to reduce swelling and pain.  Which is handled by the Ibuprofen (or whichever NSAID is right for you).

        As a general rule, there are better ways to manage that type of injury that provide for longer-term care management and utilize a more stable (and smaller) product.

        Keep in mind that RICE involves Rest and Elevation along with the Ice and Compression.  So if you are walking out with just an ice pack ace-wrapped to your ankle you are really not getting the benefit of the RICE protocol.  What you are really doing is managing pain (which comes from the swelling tissues).  And that can be handled with the ibuprofen.

        Also, there is some evidence that RICE (including the use of NSAIDS) delays healing.  It gives short term pain relief at the expense of disrupting the healing factors that are part of the swelling process.

        Ultimately this list is a suggestion based on a consensus of best practices.  That said, none of us had cold packs on our initial submissions for items on this list.  If ice packs work for you, and you are willing to carry them, by all means, do so!

      • 1

        Tom, many thanks for this explanation. Makes a lot of sense.

    • 3

      Worth noting that a good amount of items in the list are FSA eligible.

    • 2

      FYI the link to the “H&H combat cravat” now goes to a posture corrector, I can’t seem to find the combat cavat online for sale any more.

    • 2

      Can somebody provide the link to the packing tutorial? Having trouble figuring out how to fit everything 

      • 2

        We haven’t made a packing tutorial [yet], but there’s a great forum thread about it here:

        https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/packing-a-first-aid-kit-ifak-discussion/

        I hope that’s helpful!

      • 2

        Definitely! How would the pelican case fit in all of this? Looking like inside is not gonna happen so where on the outside? Or would it be inside the actual bag rather than the ifak?

      • 2

        Exactly — in the actual bag. Obviously customize it however you like, but that’s the general idea since Pelicans can be big and rigid.

        Tom mentions the Pelican 1040 specifically in a comment further down the thread.

    • 1

      Dear Staff at The Prepared,

      Thank you for offering such a resourceful guide for those of us new to prepping. As an FYI, I’d like to bring to your attention that your link under the H and H cravat leads to this https://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B007Y1FDJ6/g-ifak-20 on Amazon. Also, in more places on the web it seems to be a burn injury dressing. Is that what you intended to have this included for, because it might double as a cravat AND a burn dressing? Or should we be looking at a separate cravat bandage for our kits?

      Please advise. 

      Thanks, and best wishes to all on the team during these trying times we are all living in.

      Soon-to-be-a-pro-prepper.

      • 2

        Hi Radical, sorry about the bad link.  Amazon can be frustrating when they switch products on IDs like that.  I was able to locate more of the dressings at eBay actually (and I updated the broken link in the article–thanks for pointing it out!).  This product are getting more scarce because of the shipping and supply problems we are seeing.

        We chose that specific dressing because it is an XL Cravat.  It is also marketed a burn dressing because it is non-adherent to wounds.  It also comes with 2 large safety pins and a rubber band which can be used in other places in your kit.  When possible we try to recommend products that can be used in multiple ways.

        In my personal kit I carry 3 smaller cravats just because they are so useful.  When I go super minimal I always have a shemaugh, which can fill the role of a cravat as needed.