Something I never leave my home without is my IFAK. It is a constant part of my EDC. If you're unfamiliar with what an IFAK is, it stands for "Individual First Aid Kit". And building your own, around your own personal needs/circumstances is a great idea.
For the sake of this article we're going to use the Truckie Pouch as the container for our IFAK. Which is in fact what I carry my IFAK in, each & every day.
Why create your own first aid kit vs. buying a store bought one?
Store bought kits come with a lot of the same 'ole stuff. Bandaids, trial size ointments, some gauze and that's about it. They are also huge in size. They come in large plastic boxes that are not suitable for EDC - Even in a backpack. And to be honest, if you EDC one of those and use all of the contents i'd question how you're getting hurt so often lol.
Now back on topic:
Building your own IFAK gives you total control over the size of the kit, as well as the contents. You can tailor the contents around your lifestyle and medical needs. You're also able to purchase your ideal container/pouch for it, which will work with your available space within your EDC (whether on your person, or in a bag).
How big should an IFAK be?
I believe an IFAK should be small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. And not trying to sound like i'm plugging our Truckie Pouch, but it truly is the perfect size for your IFAK to fit into. In fact, when Jake sent me one awhile back I immediately dumped my old IFAK container and started using this one!
What types of injuries should you prepare for with your IFAK?
Everyone's experience and comfort level with self-treatment will be different. I personally carry enough supplies in my kit to treat a small "boo-boo" for my kids, up to a decent size knife wound.
Now, on the other hand I know some people who carry tourniquets, quick clot and other serious medical supplies. These people are capable of treating major lacerations and even gunshots. While I can appreciate this, I don't personally have the medical training to implement something like a tourniquet without possibly causing more damage. So I stick with my basics.
My advice here would be:
Pack materials that you realistically think you could use in an emergency and ensure you know how to properly use them.
And remember, an IFAK in a major emergency should just control the wound until emergency medical services are able to treat you.
What should go into your IFAK?
As I mentioned above. Everyones IFAK should and will be different, if they build their own. So, no exact formula will fit everyone. However, below are the items that I carry in my EDC IFAK and see as the "standard":
- Assorted sizes of bandaids, from small to large.
- Assorted sizes of sterile gauze pads (again small to large).
- Stretch rolled gauge.
- A small roll of medical tape.
- Triple antibiotic ointment.
- Small individually packaged pain killers (tylenol, ibuprofin), antihistamine and anti-diarrhea.
- Alcohol prep pads.
- Butterfly closures.
- A small foldable pair of scissors or tweezers.
- Surgical gloves.
- Small ankle, knee or elbow brace.
Surprisingly enough, all of the above will fit into the Truckie Pouch, as long as you limit how much of each item you try to pack in.
Pro-Tip: Change out your Paracord Pulls to RED for better visibility & first aid identification.
Lastly, Why Carry an IFAK?
An IFAK is figuratively like a spare tire, just like a lot of other EDC items are. We hope we never need them, but we're surely not gonna drive off without them. A flat tire happens when we least expect it. As do injuries. So, pack your IFAK in the event that you happen to get hurt, or one of your loved ones get hurt throughout the day.
An IFAK weighs next to nothing, takes up roughly 6x6" of space and can be throw into a pocket or in your bag. It's a small bit of precaution that could save your life.