The First Aid Kit Thread

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#1
I've spent my entire adult life in some of the highest risk jobs on the planet - logger, commercial fisherman, active duty military.
I've seen heinous injuries and heroic lifesaving actions that had outcomes positively influenced by good gear and good training.

IMG_5538.jpg

As a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman with over a decade of experience with the Marine Corps, I've become a bit of a gear snob. There's just a lot of JUNK on the market. Just because something comes in a shiny container doesn't mean it's complete, quality, or worth your hard earned money.

This thread is for discussion of first aid kits big and small.

First, a few rules about first aid kits:

Contents expire. Check them twice a year at least.

Contents don't like being stored in a 120 degree vehicle - they expire faster if left in the truck full time so check them more often if you do.

Medications are specific to your needs - ensure they are not expired.

NEVER administer any medications to anyone if you are unsure if they have any drug allergies.

TRAINING is key. You can have a million dollar kit with all the widgets and still be clueless. Start with a basic first aid class and CPR and go from there.

REFRESHER training is key. Even for me. Just because you were Johnny Trauma Paramedic Guy "back in the day" doesn't mean you're up to speed today. Best practices are constantly evolving.

Here's a shining example of what I call a "check in the box kit". Yep, it's a first aid kit with a fire extinguisher. But it's full of inconsequential bits that spread out nicely for a photo but don't have any real substance. Spend your first aid kit money wisely folks - this kit is a joke!

IMG_5537.jpg
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#2
^^^^So true. Doing what we do, we're rarely near immediate medical help, often out of easy communication range.

Machelle and I have put together a first aid kit on our own. We use a generic back pack to keep all of the stuff in. We have a wilderness first aid training manual included.

We stumbled across some kids out playing in the desert in the middle of August one night a few years back. Those kids got so lucky we were out for a night run, it was so hot we were the only ones out there. They had rolled a Ford Ranger pick up, driver and two passengers. One of the passengers had been ejected and was fading in/out of consciousness, the other passenger was a girl, and she was pinned under the truck, as usual in incidents like this, the driver was unscathed.

We got the girl out from under a truck, she ended up with a broken arm, scrapes and scratches.

We administered first aid to the best of our abilities, treated for shock, etc. It took us over an hour to get ambulances to the scene, and another 45 minutes or so to get life flight there for the kid that got ejected.

I got a call from one of the parents a couple of days later thanking us for our efforts (I had called one of them from my cell, so they had my number). The parent told us that the kid that got ejected had massive facial fractures and a ruptured spleen among other things. They said if we hadn't found them when we did he may not have made it.
 
Last edited:
#3
I enjoy working on my first aid kits.

I have a few: the small personal one for every day. a mid size waist mount for remote locations, a vehicle based large kit with oxygen, and then a secondary large vehicle kit for a multiple victims/MCI. In the larger kit, I also carry items that may be out side my normal scope of practice such as a surgical cric kit. I have had training on them, but I would rather have it just in case someone else on scene was scoped and had done it before.

My kits are based on the enviroment. IMG_0278.JPG
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#4
My collection of first aid kits is getting ridiculous, I have a pretty wide variety of kits and they serve as a good baseline to judge newcomers by.

My current kit that I like that's readily available to the average person is from MyMedic (and no, I'm not sponsored or paid by them):

https://mymedic.us/

This American company has a neat albeit sad story behind it and while I'm a fan of piecing my own kits together based on mission set, there's something to be said for being able to buy a great kit fully stocked by real enthusiasts.

http://www.breachbangclear.com/small-american-business-mymedic/

They have kits big and small (you can even buy empty kits and fill them to suit you). I'm a big fan of he MyFak kit as it easily translates from vehicle to foot travel if needed and stows easily. Similar to the IFAK kit we currently issue to Marines but in a civilianized version.

IMG_5524.jpg
Having your kit accessible is critical. This Velcro tear away style mounting on a vehicle headrest is brilliant. Easily grabbed from inside while seated or from outside the vehicle. And I'm a big proponent of not having hard cases loose inside the vehicle in case of an accident - soft cases are preferred for all the obvious reasons.

IMG_5527.jpg

So yeah, I like the bag and the size but it's what's inside that counts right? Here's the scoop (premium contents listed, MSRP $169.95). You can buy the empty bag by itself for $29.99 but it's well worth the price to buy it stocked and ready to go.

Note: No kit is perfect. If you're like me you modify everything anyway so these contents merely form that solid foundation.

IMG_5525.jpg
IMG_5528.jpg
IMG_5529.jpg
IMG_5530.jpg
IMG_5531.jpg
IMG_5532.jpg
IMG_5533.jpg
IMG_5534.jpg

*DISCLAIMER* This post is not sponsored. No products were provided for review, I just like the kit as an affordable foundation for the layman to build their skills and knowledge on.

There are literally 100 other similar choices on the market. To each his own.
 
Last edited:
#5
I keep a basic kit in my vehicle. Good thought on checking to update it.

Theres been discussion elsewhere about keeping tourniquets and appropriate coverings for GSW in your range bag. Several of the LEOs had used their tourniquets in situations they came into when nobody else was there or available. Some carry small kits on their ankles so they always have the critical basics.
 

Scott

Adventurist
#6
Every vehicle has a personal first aid kit that will get one person fairly well bandaged up in case of an accident. My truck carries an outer limit supply weekender first aid kit.



Decent first aid is expensive but worth it.

Sent from my LG-H810 using Tapatalk
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#7
Every vehicle has a personal first aid kit that will get one person fairly well bandaged up in case of an accident. My truck carries an outer limit supply weekender first aid kit.



Decent first aid is expensive but worth it.

Sent from my LG-H810 using Tapatalk
$232.69 on their site.

I think you're paying for a pretty case with that one quite honestly. A quick comparison of price, and most importantly contents listed on their site to the MyMedic kit I posted above, this OLS kit is considerably more expensive while seemingly not providing increased "capability or capacity" worthy of that price point IMHO.

That said, it looks like a nice kit and I'm glad to see you're prepared should family or friends need it :)
 

Scott

Adventurist
#8
$232.69 on their site.

I think you're paying for a pretty case with that one quite honestly. A quick comparison of price, and most importantly contents listed on their site to the MyMedic kit I posted above, this OLS kit is considerably more expensive while seemingly not providing increased "capability or capacity" worthy of that price point IMHO.

That said, it looks like a nice kit and I'm glad to see you're prepared should family or friends need it :)
I'll agree with that assessment. I got the kit on sale for quite a bit cheaper than msrp. That being said, I believe you are correct the mymedic kit does seem to be a bit more comprehensive.

Sent from my LG-H810 using Tapatalk
 
#9
Can anyone make a suggestion for a kit in the perhaps $75 range? I have the basic walmart Johnson&Johnson kit. I have several, I tried to have enough that they were in every vehicle and at least one on the job site, so I may have 3 or 4 of them. They are dated though.

This

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Johnson-Johnson-Red-Cross-All-Purpose-First-Aid-Kit-125-pc/44298773

I added antiseptic wash, eye wash, and extra gauze pads and tape. Should just upgrade to new and better. I also keep expired sutures from the Vet and some hemostats (the things that hold the suture needles to use them?). A decent (cheap, functional) headlamp and magnifying glasses may be a good idea for close up fine stuff.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#10
Pro tip: Using a bag or container that you already own, and using the list of contents I posted above, piece together your own kit using commonly available supplies.

Convenience costs a bit more than $75 but at the $99 price point a guy could buy the MyFak basic kit:

https://mymedic.us/products/myfak-firstaidkit

Again, I'm not sponsored by them I just think it's a good value :)
 

Haggis

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Editor
Founding Member
#12
Michelle manages our kit and is the result of many campfire discussions. She started with a kit similar to what @Dave posted and added items to augment it. We seem to adventure with a lot of medical professionals and I remember one trip into WV where the veterinarian, the retired Navy medical pro and a couple of nurses whipped out their field kits. We pretty much had all the supplies and trained medical staff need for anything short of an act of God. It will be enlightening to watch this thread and apply what is shared to improve our current kit.
 
#13
I built a FAK this summer b/c I was tired of crap kits that always had stuff I didn't need and not enough of the things I did. Mine is built based on two things: 1) my needs for being in the woods, and 2) my abilities w/ a few things that are beyond my abilities, but are there for trained folks just in case. I wish I would have known about the mymedic kits then as my kit is almost identical to the premium kit with a few changes here and there. I included a SAM splint, only have one scalpel, and don't have a chest seal. That mymedic kit is a good price. I spent almost $200 piecing it together.

I also keep piss load (that's highly precise measurements) of tylenol, sting kill & Benadryl. Those get used up pretty regularly. I try to keep stuff in the house and replenish the kit as it gets used, and I use the kit alot. I want it to be familiar to myself and my family so that we know where things are in a time of need and we're not dumping the whole thing just to find alcohol wipes and steri strips.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#14
A buddy of mine is an emergency room nurse, and an avid off roader. He took a wilderness first responder course (this has been 10 years or so ago). The course used this text book...

http://www.bookdepository.com/Wilde...8379:pos-1t2&gclid=CPSJoeKyndECFQ-ZfgodtlwOTw

...and my buddy recommended the text to the rest of us.

I find the book easy to read, include it as part of my first aid kit just in case I'm the best help that is available. I like it because it is similar to a Boy Scout first aid manual, giving you ideas on what you may have/find on hand in the middle of no where. I get it out now and again and skim through it while sitting in camp and relaxing.

@Dave...you posted the military version of insect bites/stings and snakebite treatment a while back. I found that to be valuable info, went so far as to print it out and put a copy in each of my vehicles. I think this thread would be a stellar place to repost that info. IMO there is more myth, folklore, mysticism, junk medicine etc about how to treat those injuries making the recommended treatment confusing.

When asked by others what to include in a first aid kit, my best answer is "whatever you think you'll need to put YOU back together", for some that's a couple of aspirin and a band aid. Me, I'm allergic to pain, that's why our FAK requires a backpack! We also have a walk out bag, we keep a couple of MRE's, some bottled water and a change of clothes in it.
 
Last edited:

Tim R.

Adventurist
Moderator
#16
I have several kits. One in each vehicle and a larger one in the RV. I check them regularly.
Now being a NR Paramedic, a CA and Kern County Paramedic and working for the DoD, I have certain skill sets the average person doesn't have.
But I cannot operate above a BLS skill level away from my employer and due to my training Good Samaritan laws don't cover me. The average citizen can do more than I can and claim innocence under the GS law. I cannot advocate for the carrying of anything that could "possibly" be used by someone other than myself. Possession being 9/10 of the law means LE and the courts will see that as possession and a liability.

Like what Dave said I to have become sort of a gear snob regarding medical equipment. I like my certain stuff and I use what I know works and it isn't the latest fad. My current go to is a North American Rescue bag with my supplies. The RV kit is a Pelican 1500 EMS. I have several types of bags to put stuff in. My first was a WalMart fishing tackle bag. I have all the basics in my kits that goes to the BLS basics. I do have the knowledge to know when other interventions are necessary but cannot go forth until a actual ALS provider arrives on scene if necessary.
It is frustrating at times.

Kits are so variable and the market is ever expanding. Take a first aid class, and EMT class, or a Wilderness First Responder class. Only Use equipment you know how to use. Train train train.

Just my 2 cents. I'm tired, even a long 72 hour shift.

And I have a bunch of spare supplies- Tape rolls, Abdominal Pads, ace wraps etc. hit me up if you want me to bring to Desert Rendevous.
 
#17
SNIP...
But I cannot operate above a BLS skill level away from my employer and due to my training Good Samaritan laws don't cover me. The average citizen can do more than I can and claim innocence under the GS law. I cannot advocate for the carrying of anything that could "possibly" be used by someone other than myself. Possession being 9/10 of the law means LE and the courts will see that as possession and a liability.

...SNIP
While you fall into a specific legal/ethical category and the possession of kit above your training may pose some issues, would you say that poses a problem for the average person with basic first aid training, still covered by the GS law?

I'm not talking about a debibulator or anything like that; really the only things I have beyond my skill/ability/experience are:
  • scalpel - I'm not going to be cutting on someone
  • nasal airway tube - not trained in using it, but they were included in most kits I was modeling mine after
  • quick clot - never used it, and would probably stick to bandages
  • sutures - I know how to sew a little, but stitching up a nasty cut is beyond my skills. I'd rather use steri strips, but I could do
  • CPR face shield - this cert. lapsed a little while ago, and need to get that taken care of
 

Tim R.

Adventurist
Moderator
#18
While you fall into a specific legal/ethical category and the possession of kit above your training may pose some issues, would you say that poses a problem for the average person with basic first aid training, still covered by the GS law?

I'm not talking about a debibulator or anything like that; really the only things I have beyond my skill/ability/experience are:
  • scalpel - I'm not going to be cutting on someone
  • nasal airway tube - not trained in using it, but they were included in most kits I was modeling mine after
  • quick clot - never used it, and would probably stick to bandages
  • sutures - I know how to sew a little, but stitching up a nasty cut is beyond my skills. I'd rather use steri strips, but I could do
  • CPR face shield - this cert. lapsed a little while ago, and need to get that taken care of
A citizen can pretty much carry whatever they can procure.

Scalpel yes as it is just like a super sharp knife and can be used to cut an umbilical cord.

NPAs (Naso Pharyngeal Airways) are ok. They are sold commercially in various kits. Sure you should learn when to and when not to use such.

Quick Clot-Don't get the old powder. Use the gauze/sponge which is also commercially available from various retailers.

Sutures, vet supply stores sell these and you can even buy on Amazon. Use away if you have the skill and nohow.

CPR Face Shield. Even I use this. It's a BLS/Public skill eye advocate in CPR training. For those that don't want to perform rescue breathing the "hands only" option is good to go through AHA.

I will say in the time we have been at war with the GWOT, the availability of training and medical equipment has exploded and the advances are amazing to say the least. The availability of emergency medical products has gotten to the point to where if you search long enough you can get what was once unobtainable to the general public.

As always you use at your own risk.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#19
Great post brother :coffee

A caveat:

Sutures - if you close a wound in a non-sterile environment, chances are you trapped bacteria in the wound. You'll need antibiotics as well IMHO. Seek out a medical provider ASAP.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#20
I've seen the staple style suture things available, what are your opinions on those? Bacteria will still be an issue. I've super glued one of my dogs back together after she got in a scrap with another dog.
 
Top Bottom