Gear

Pocket Preps: IFAKs for Everyday Carry

The on-body IFAK (Individual First-Aid Kit) has been a standard item in military kit for generations and has become common with police, fire, and other first responders. As the trend goes with smart ideas, it’s now becoming common with hunters, hikers, and savvy moms at the playground. Minor accidents and injuries happen all the time and it’s nice to be able to just deal with the issue on the spot, rather than having to run home or dash off to the closest store for the needed equipment. But on top of that, some of the better-equipped IFAKs contain trauma dressings and tourniquets, for when the absolute worst happens and minutes (or even seconds) can mean the difference between life, death, or long-term impairment, while waiting for a 9-1-1 response.

Naturally, personal IFAKs will vary depending on the level of your training, your destination, and even your outfit. It’s not socially acceptable to wear a business suit and have a large, red IFAK worn on your belt. However, a pocket or ankle carry kit will likely go unnoticed to all but the most astute observer. Likewise, a larger kit could blend well with your backpack-style water carrier while you’re hitting the trail or single-track forest path on your mountain bike. For whatever your social engagement, there’s a kit that fits your needs.

Ryker Nylon Gear 4WS AFAK

Dimensions:
6 H by 17 W by 2 D (full) inches

Colors:
Black, Coyote Brown, Gray, Ranger Green

Includes:
Pouch only

MSRP
$75

URL
rykernylongear.com

Notes
A nice take on the IFAK, the Ryker Nylon Gear AFAK is an ankle worn kit, which keeps it discreetly out of the way when wearing a suit and tie, or keeping your tactical vest uncluttered. It features three vertical pockets with hook- and loop-style retention straps and one long horizontal pocket on the smooth back side. It’s designed to hold their AFAK Medical Supply Kit (sold separately, $134), which includes an orange SOF Tactical Tourniquet, QuikCot Combat Gauze, HyFin Vent chest seal twin pack, trauma shear, and Black-Fire latex-free nitrile gloves. This will cover the basics of major trauma, like a sucking chest wound or arterial bleed. I found this kit to be more comfortable worn over a high-top boot, but love the ankle concealment aspect.

Pros:

  • Discreet carry, keeps chest and waist free for other uses

Cons:

  • Can be uncomfortable on skin for prolonged wear

Dark Angel Medical Every Day Carry (EDC) Trauma Kit

Dimensions:
4.5 H by 3.25 W by 1.25 D inches

Colors:
Black, Coyote Brown, MultiCam, Ranger Green, Red

Includes:
Pouch, hemostatic gauze, nitrile gloves, mini compression bandage, pair of Hyfin Vent Compact chest seals

MSRP
$100

URL
darkangelmedical.com

Notes
Compact and lightweight, this pouch features a Hypalon panel on the back with cuts made for the included MALICE clips, and a belt channel that’ll fit up to a 2-inch-wide belt. There are webbing loops on the right side that can hold a pair of reduced-size trauma shears (not included), and elastic loops on the left to hold a tourniquet (not included). I particularly like the design of the large loop pull handle on the top of the flap for fast, break-away style access in an emergency. You have to pull this flap away from you, not toward your body as on common pouches. There’s even a loop square on the front of the pouch for the included red cross identifier, or your 1-inch patch of choice. This kit comes standard with QuikClot Bleeding Control Dressing, but ChitoGauze XR Pro is available for a small upcharge.

Pros:

  • Size, excellent top opening, quick access to tourniquet and shears

Cons:

  • Tourniquet windlass juts out a bit

Arbor Arms Medical Nut Ruck Small

Dimensions:
5.5 H by 7.5 W by 2 D inches

Colors:
Black, Coyote Brown, Grey, MultiCam, MultiCam Black, Ranger Green

Includes:
Pouch, 5x elastic bands, 1x wrap

MSRP
$60

URL
arborarmsusa.com

Notes
The Arbor Arms Medical Nut Ruck Small is a very versatile and customizable pouch. It can be worn as a traditional fanny pack with its stowable/removable waist strap, which can be either side-release or G-hook. You could also attach it directly to their SALT belt system or similar MOLLE gun belt via snap-on side-release buckles or the built-in Velcro flap, or to a plate carrier with their First Spear Tube Hanger (not included). The Check-Mate panel on the inner back wall of the pouch offers a ton of versatility for a customizable setup. The Medical Nut Ruck Small is 80 percent of the size of the slightly larger Standard Ruck ($80), which is designed to hold the contents of U.S. Army issue IFAKs, while the even larger Plus variation ($90) is designed to hold the contents of the USMC IFAK.

Pros:

  • Duty-grade construction, numerous mounting options, modularity, fanny pack strap is standard

Cons:

  • Sold as an empty bag with no medical supplies available, most options are extra cost

Doom and Bloom Ultimate Compact First Aid Trauma Kit Grab N Go

Dimensions:
7 H by 6 W by 4.75 D inches

Colors:
Black, Coyote, Digital Camo, Red

Includes:
A lot! (see notes)

MSRP
$99

URL
doomandbloom.net

Notes
If you’re looking for one of the most comprehensive IFAKs for your journey to the local trail, you may have found your kit. This kit includes: pouch, CPR instruction booklet, tourniquet, “how to stop bleeding” instructions on waterproof paper, surgical face mask, hand sanitizer packets, 4-inch Israeli bandage, Celox 2gm powder, organic cayenne pepper powder (35,000HU), raw unprocessed honey packets, 6-inch gauze, 4-inch ACE bandage, stainless steel Mayo scissors, four nitrile gloves, 3M Steri Strips, super glue, 4×3-inch Moleskin, 3×4-inch gauze, Burn Jel packets, insect repellent packets, Bacitracin packets, 4×4-inch gauze, ABD 5×8-inch dressing pads, 2×4-inch Band-Aids, 1×3-inch Band-Aids, triangular bandage, medical tape, iodine wipes, alcohol wipes, ibuprofen tablets, and a 12-hour glowstick. The pouch features a hook-and-loop first-aid patch, high-quality quick-release buckle, and MOLLE attachment system.

Pros:

  • Contains a little of everything, can effectively deal with many minor issues

Cons:

  • Big, bulky, better suited to minor injuries than major trauma

Live the Creed Responder IFAK

Dimensions:
7 H by 4.5 W by 1.5 D inches

Colors:
Black, Coyote, MultiCam, MutiCam Black, Ranger Green, Wolf Grey

Includes:
Pouch, QuikClot Combat Gauze, NAR HyFin Vent Compact chest seal, nasopharyngeal airway, H&H Mini Israeli bandage, trauma shears, XL Bear Claw gloves

MSRP
$150

URL
ltcreed.com

Notes
This is a strong, compact, and very well-secured IFAK. It’s made from laser-cut laminated Cordura and secured with a medium-sized 1.5-inch quick-release buckle. The narrow profile has a different design than most other pouches. It has both top and bottom pass-through openings (or left and right, depending on the pouch orientation), so supplies can be removed from either side. And the included trauma supplies fit nice and snug, no wasted space and no frills. Responder IFAKs can be mounted horizontally to any MOLLE platform or belts up to 2.5 inches, or vertically to any belt up to 2.5 inches. There’s also two Tac Tie polymer mounting clips and a 2-inch PVC medical identifier patch included. Tourniquet and tourniquet holder sold separately. This IFAK, with optional tourniquet holder, now lives on my rope rescue harness.

Pros:

  • Convenient size and shape, excellent closure, mounting options

Cons:

  • Most expensive of the reviewed kits

Live the Creed EDC Pocket Trauma Kit

Dimensions:
5.5 H by 3.5 W by 1.25 D inches

Colors:
Black/Red, Coyote/Red, Grey, MutiCam Black/Wolf, Ranger Green/Black, Wolf Grey/Red

Includes:
Pouch, SWAT-Tourniquet, QuikClot Dressing, Tan XL nitrile gloves, bandages, wound closure strips, iodine wipe, alcohol wipe, bacitracin ointment

MSRP
$75

URL
ltcreed.com

Notes
This kit is more like an “IFAK lite,” but rather than that being a weakness, that is its strength. The compact nature of this kit allows it to fit into the breast pocket of most coats and many lighter jackets. It’s really about the size of a very, very fat wallet, but easily fits into the rear pocket of a pair of jeans. You can also MOLLE mount it or clip it onto a belt. It certainly lives up to its EDC name.

Pros:

  • Fits into most pockets for everyday carry

Cons:

  • Bulky despite its small size, limited capacity

North American Rescue Enhanced Trauma Aid Kit (ETAK)

Dimensions:
5.75 H by 4 W by 1.75 D inches

Colors:
Black, Coyote, MultiCam, Ranger Green

Includes:
HyFin Vent Twin Pack, wound packing gauze, 4-inch mini emergency trauma dressing, large black nitrile gloves, permanent marker

MSRP
$85

URL
narescue.com

Notes
This nicely sized kit holds the bare essentials. Sized to fit on a standard belt, duty belt, or MOLLE system, this kit has a tearaway back panel to assist with stowage options or rapid deployment. There’s also a convenient carry/grab handle on the rear. The main retention buckle is well designed. It stays closed securely, even when the pull tab is grabbed, ensuring it doesn’t accidentally detach until you consciously open the flip-up buckle. But if you rip the pouch off in an upward rotation manner, it detaches nicely. The pull tab also has a 1×2-inch MED (medical) patch for easy identification.

Pros:

  • Size, retention buckle, modularity, solid construction

Cons:

  • You need to add a tourniquet to make it a complete kit

Prepare Now:

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