Trauma Kits. The life you save may be your own


Trauma kits. Who has one and what do you carry in yours? I have one I made up myself. The bag is small, as pictured, and I bring it with me everywhere I go. I can also attach it to my range bag when going to the range.

I have a Gen 7 CAT tourniquet, 4" and 6" compression bandages (known as Israeli bandages), some combat (clotting) gauze, shears, medical tape, a small length of para cord, several pairs of medical gloves and a Sharpie marker. The marker is to note the time that the tourniquet was applied, if you can. There’s space on the tourniquet for that info. When I was in the Army, we were told to write it on the person’s forehead using their blood.

Most important is knowing how to use the items in the bag. There are classes available out there which I’d recommend you take to know how to really use the equipment. CPR certification is a good idea also. User tip: Have the tourniquet set up so you have minimal fumbling around in case you need to use it on yourself. One handed application is difficult at best.

Keeping your trauma kit fresh?

I think this is a great topic. Looking forward to keeping up with this one! Ive been thankful that @James taught me how to use a tourniquet. When we’d go camping, he’d be cutting firewood. What IF something happened and that chainsaw did some damage. No time to call for help, no one around…besides me. Great knowlege to have tucked away!


Definitely. In addition to my full time job, I do a lot of side work that involves renovations. Most of the time I’m alone using various cutting tools. The day I saw a plumber bleeding like stuck pig I thought “Maybe it’d be a good idea to make up a kit for myself”.


I’ll be taking a pic of mine. I made it specifically for working in the woods. I keep forgetting to throw a sharpie in the bag, but i can write the time the tourniquet was applied on the forehead with blood if need be.

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We were recently going over active shooter training at work and one of the paramedics pointed out a trick of the trade; if you’re working with another person (we always are), while one of you is getting the tourniquet ready, the other can slow down the bleeding using their knee. If it’s a leg injury, bury your knee hard into the area where the leg meets the groin area. For an arm injury you’d put it where their arm meets their torso by the armpit.

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I have smaller first aid kits handy. (Maybe half the size of yours) One in my get home bag, one in my hunting backpack, etc. Room for improvement!


Yep! I learned that one in the Army. I was told you just don’t want to do it if the wound is high on the leg or arm. When you do that you can force the loose end of the artery into no man’s land and it wont be closed by the pressue of the tourniquet. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Also, you really have to be careful to move male body parts over away from where you want to put your knee. You could really add insult to injury if you don’t.

Another 2 things I learned is that when applying the tourniquet, put it as high as possible. If the wound is at the knee, put it by the groin, and you should tighten it up a lot. The ones I saw properly applied in Iraq made the people pass out or scream louder from the pain of the tourniquet.


Yes, forget the “2 inches above the injury” advice and just go high. I agree on the pain portion. Don’t BS the person, let them know “This is going to hurt like hell!”

I was in the Army a few years back. Started off with a steel pot before the switch to kevlar and used a stick and bandaging for tourniquets, haha!

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Steel pots? Don’t age yourself. Lol. With a paperwork mishap I was able to keep my kevlar one.

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A few of the guys I work with did tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. They’re still trying to understand how I used iron sights!! LOL

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Hahaha, I was in from 07-10 so I used irons on an A2 when I was in basic. Moved up to an M4 at my unit. Lol.

Ill take a pic of my IFAK tomorrow. Its in my truck.

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Any suggestions for an already prepackaged first aid kit that I can put in my SUV?


In my opinion you can get a better kit for less if you buy everything seperately, but you can always just google IFAK, or search on Amazon for one. You’ll find a site.

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I agree with @James . A lot if the kits have lower quality products than one you can make up yourself. For example, I wouldn’t get anything less than the CAT tourniquets. A lot of those kits have a cheaper one.

I bought all my stuff individually either from sellers on ebay or Amazon, maybe a combination of the two. Either way, watch out for expirations dates, which a lot of the dressings have on them. I found a bunch of people selling them with expired ones. A lot of them noted that in their description, but some didn’t but it showed on their pictures.

Also, Quikclot makes combat gauze as well as trauma pads. The combat gauze is expensive, but is made to be inserted and packed into a wound, whether it be bullets, deep lacerations, etc. You keep packing until it can’t go in any further then apply pressure for several minutes before applying a trauma bandage over it. The pads they sell are for external use only, and are less expensive. Just pointing that out because I guy I work with bought some, telling me he snagged a deal because he knew what I paid for mine. I pointed out that they were two different items. Both are good, but serve different purposes. As someone pointed out in another post, feminine pads work in a pinch and are a lot cheaper.

Finally (sorry for the long windedness) full kits or individual products from North American Rescue are of high quality. That’s where we got the stuff we carry at work, and they get used in real world conditions often enough.


Thanks so much for starting this topic, @Kerryman71! There are a lot of great comments already!

@KevinM did an Into the Fray about trauma kits. It may give you more ideas:


You’re welcome. And I can’t stress enough that just like taking CCW classes or live fire training, taking a class to learn how to use the equipment in the kit is important.

I’m lucky enough to work in a field where we are trained on it regularly and apply it somewhat often.

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Could you prepare a dream trauma kit packing list? Brands, purpose or anything that could be of use. I’ll keep researching though.

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I’ll make up a list in a bit.

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The bag I bought which is in the picture is from Tactical Tailor. What I have in it are:

  • 4 inch trauma wound dressing.
  • 6 inch trauma wound dressing. (Both from First Care Products and generically known as "Israeli bandages as they’re made in Israel)
  • CAT Gen7 tourniquet from North American Rescue. I have tactical black. They also have orange. Blue is for training only.
  • Quikclot Combat gauze Z fold. This is meant to be packed into the wound. The newer stuff has a blue strip which can be picked up on xrays. They also sell pads impregnated with Quikclot which just go on the surface. My only experience is with the Z fold packing gauze. There are other brands such as Celox with similar products, but I can only vouch for the Quikclot brand, which is also prefered by the military and recommended by trauma surgeons.
  • Small length of para cord.
  • Quality pair of EMS shares. A knife will work, but shears are much easier to use and you don’t run the risk of causing additional injury.
  • Several pairs of medical gloves. If it’s a trauma injury, you’ll probably want to double up on them. At work, certain calls I automatically double up. These are something you should change out regularly, as they will break down from heat, etc. I keep them in a ziplok bag inside the bag.
  • Sharpie marker for marking the time the tourniquet is applied. Also, mark a T on the persons head. If no marker, use blood from them.
  • Medical tape

Items that you also may want:

  • Chest seal bandages. These seal on three sides to allow air to escape. Buildup of air inside the chest cavity can be deadly. They usually come in twin packs, one for entry and one for exit wounds if they exist. You can also just use the packaging from the trauma dressing or a plastic bag and tape three of the four sides with medical tape.
  • A one way type valve for performing breathing when doing CPR. Honestly, I don’t have one and won’t use it. When I began work in my field almost 25 years ago, two rescuer CPR was five compressions, followed by one breath. At a code now, we just keep doing compressions. The second guy will administer a breath using the ambu bag every so often, but the compressions hardly ever stop. When the paramedics get there they say “Just keep doing compressions”. The important thing is to keep the blood flowing. The Heart Association changes it up, but realized the five compressions we used to do would get the blood flowing just up to a certain point, but then we’d stop for a breath and start all over. The blood never got fully to where it needed to be. If it’s a loved one, by all means throw in a breath, but keep compressions going. I tell people who ask me what they should do if they find someone down not breathing to just start chest compressions and make sure they’re deep.
  • Safety glasses or an eye shield if you want. Sunglasses or shooting glasses will work, you just want to protect your eyes from spraying fluids.

If you ever find yourself in a trauma situation, first thing to do is call 911. If there are people around, look directly at one of them and, while pointing at them say “Call 911” as if ordering them to do so you can start providing aid. When the responders get there you’ll want to let them know if the patient has a tourniquet applied and where. The T on their head as well as time applied are important, particularly if help is far off, but not everyone will remember to do that. Also let them know of any gauze packed into a would or a chest seal applied.

Keep in mind, this is a trauma kit, not minor first aid kit. You could add bandaids, steri strips, ointments etc for that. Some people also use super glue on minor cuts, so you could put that in if you wanted.


I’ve basically got all that except I just carry 1 Israeli bandage. I also threw a bunch of minor first aid stuff in as well. Including super glue.

Quick clot has an expiration date and does go bad, and if you have to use it, make sure it’s a bad injury because it requires surgery to remove. Also quick clot used to be made from shellfish. I dont know if any of the other brands are made from it anymore, but if you apply a clotting agent with a shell fish derivative to somebody with a shellfish allergy, you will kill them.

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