Even though our society develops so rapidly and things change by the second, we’ve become kind of dependent on medicine and Emergency rooms and family doctors. We have medical options all the time, everywhere.
Well, not just everywhere…
In the plain desert, out in the woods, up in the hills, there are no hospitals around you, nor medical units or doctors for that matter. So, what to do if an emergency situation occurs?
Ok, let’s say you take some medications along in your backpack, but what if it’s not used right? After all, good medicine at the wrong time is bad medicine…
An “Individual First Aid Kit” (IFAK) is given to every soldier going into combat. The content may vary, but there are some general similarities to all of them.
As the IFAK comes in many options, you just only need to take a deep breath before exploring your options. And, the bigger your IFAK is, the more inexperienced you are- according to some.
Apart from carrying an IFAK kit, you still need to know how to use everything inside it. You need some medical knowledge, simple skills and the wisdom to know when to use it.
Your IFAK serves YOU so, unless you’re a mobile ICU, there’s no reason for you to pack the whole local drugstore.
After all, the IFAK pouch is not as big as your backpack for a reason.
- The Best 10 IFAK Kit and Pouch Reviews
- 1) Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch
- 2) Orca Tactical MOLLE EMT Medical First Aid Utility Pouch
- 3) Fully Stocked MOLLE Tactical Trauma Kit First Aid Pouch
- 4) First Aid Molle Compatible Kit
- 5) US Army IFAK (Multi Cam)
- 6) Carlebben EMT Pouch MOLLE Ifak Pouch
- 7) OneTigris Empty IFAK Pouch 8″ x 5″ MOLLE Trauma Bag
- 8) Barbarians Tactical MOLLE Pouch, Rip-Away EMT Medical First Aid Utility IFAK Pouch
- 10) Lightning X Spread Eagle Complete Tactical Gunshot & Trauma IFAK Kit
- Things to Keep in Mind
- Buying Guide for IFAK Kits and Pouches
- What other categories of IFAK pouches can you choose from?
- Frequently Asked Questions on IFAK Kits
- Q: Who needs to have an IFAK?
- Q: What’s the best place to keep your IFAK?
- Q: How should you build your IFAK?
- Q: What is warfighting IFAK?
- Q: What goes into a shooting range IFAK?
- Q: Is the innawoods IFAK content any different from the other two?
- Q: Should you build your own or buy pre-made IFAK?
- Q: Is ABC fundamental when making your IFAK?
- Q: What is the March algorithm?
- Q: Which features matter most on an IFAK?
- Q: Does the size of the IFAK matter?
The Best 10 IFAK Kit and Pouch Reviews
1) Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch
One of the most popular IFAK pouches out there is the Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch.
The tri-fold design gives you the easiest access for the small items, but there are plenty of other good things related to this pouch. Here are our pros:
- The pouch gives you several pockets and elastic loops for a better organization of your items
- There is double zipper closure
- The pouch comes with Molle webbing on the panel and Velcro for easier and more organized storage
- This IFAK has a rugged built and a well thought designed
- There are easy pull zippers and buckle cinch
- You can easily use the snap buttons to weave it through your tactical vest
- It comes with a platform that is ripped away from
- The platform is held in place with Molle attachment
- This is Molle compatible so it’s easy for you to attach it to your tactical vest/backpack
- The pouch is reinforced everywhere
- You get elastic instrument holders and a zippered main compartment for your medicine
- There are elastic loops to house rolls of tapes
- There is a wide handle for an easy carrying or instant removal of the pouch
- The two D-rings on the back of the shoulder strap are functional and helpful
- The strap on the platform keeps the IFAK from falling off by accident.
No matter how much we’d like this IFAK pouch, there are still some minor issues worth to mention.
Here are the cons:
- The zippers are not YKK and not a very good quality either
- The pouch becomes a bit bulky when full
- There is no cover flap and no red tabs either
- The shoulder strap is not included
All in all, though, this is a great IFAK pouch that worth every single penny.
2) Orca Tactical MOLLE EMT Medical First Aid Utility Pouch
The Orca Tactical MOLLE EMT Medical First Aid Utility Pouch is the best option for you when you go hiking or camping with your kids, as it fits any medication you need for an emergency situation.
Our pros are:
- It’s Molle compatible so you can attach it to any of your backpacks
- It’s made of 900D Polyester that manes this is for the long road
- It includes a First Aid Patch that adheres to exterior Velcro Molle web strap for an easy ID
- There are D-rings so that you can attach this Orca anywhere you need
- There are two-way zippers and secure inner loops for a quick access anytime
- The front side to side Molle webbing at the top gives you the chance to attach a first aid patch or any other identification patch
- The rings from the back at the top pf the Molle web straps may be used as additional attachment points or used as shoulder straps
- The pouch fits your basic first aid supplies
- You can attach this easily to any Molle compatible gear as tactical vest, backpack, gear belt or duty pack.
- The material feels nice and tough
- The zippers are parchord pulls
- There is water grommet on the bottom of the pouch
- This pouch is double stitched in the right places
- It gets to you in a sealed bag and may also be gift wrapped
- It fits a great amount of supplies
- The price is low
As much as we like the good things about this IFAK pouch, it’s only fair to mention our dislikes.
Our cons are:
- The pouch has only one big large compartment so it lacks the organizational ability
- It’s not compact
- There is no carry handle on top
- It needs more elastic on the inside so that you can store and get some organization of your items
Either than these issues, this IFAK pouch is a low price option to consider when shopping.
3) Fully Stocked MOLLE Tactical Trauma Kit First Aid Pouch
For a starter first aid kit, you can get the Fully Stocked MOLLE Tactical Trauma Kit First Aid Pouch. This made in our USA IFKA pouch comes with many things you need in a medical emergency situation.
Our pros are:
- You get in this many bandages in various sizes and shapes
- The pouch contains instructions for many common situations
- You also get pain relief and burn ointments
- It’s well built, tough and with a rugged appearance
- It’s small, lightweight and easy to stow
- The zippers and the materials are strong
- There is easy access to all important items in case of an emergency
- You get also a blood stopper kit
- It’s Molle compatible to strap onto any Molle tactical vest/backpack
- This kit addresses to the trained personnel only and doesn’t replace a medical treatment
There are some minor issues related to this kit
- There are only two Molle straps
- There is no tourniquet
- There is no hemostatic agent for the blood stop gauze
But, for any beginner, this is a great IFKA kit with minimal and fundamental supplies for the emergency situations.
4) First Aid Molle Compatible Kit
The higher your experience and better the skills, the higher the expectations when it comes to an IFAK pouch/kit. You may give it a shot with this First Aid Molle Compatible Kit which is assembled in our USA using domestic and foreign manufactured components.
Here are the pros:
- All contents are new and unexpired
- This is a Molle compatible cordura pouch
- This is a popular kit used by many government agencies
- It’s made of long lasting cordura nylon
- There are three Molle straps
- You may get 1 Israeli 4″ dressing, 2 crinkle cotton
- You get a useful tourniquet
- There is one pouch compartment to fit your items
- The kit also contains 1 quick clot and other small items
- There is plenty of room to add more items
- It’s easy to mount this
- There is high quality to the fabric
The only downside for this is the price, but you’d be spending wisely when buying this, as it’s for the long run.
5) US Army IFAK (Multi Cam)
For the professionals out there, a good, high quality and reliable IFAK kit is the US Army IFAK (Multi Cam).
As all contents are current US Military issue, we can only give you some hints on this pouch.
Here are our pros:
- The kit contains 4” emergency bandage, 1 CAT tourniquet, 1 pair of black nitrile gloves, 1 roll of 4.5” compressed Primed gauze
- You also get 1 chest decompression kit and 2” roll of 3M Durapore cloth tape
- It’s very lightweight to carry
- The attaches Molle straps mount to chest, belt or leg rigs easily
- The sides of the pouch inside are reinforced with heavy duty plastic
- The kit is placed inside a folding Cordura blanket that uses Velcro for storage
- Takes little of space for carrying
The issues on this kit aren’t many:
- It’s on the high end price IFAK kits
- The multicam is more tan than other multi cam kit
Anytime you’re ready to go on the high, professional level, get this IFAK kit for a wise investment of your money.
6) Carlebben EMT Pouch MOLLE Ifak Pouch
Should you be looking for a minimal Ifak pouch for your needs, the Carlebben EMT Pouch MOLLE Ifak Pouch Tactical is a great option to try.
Affordable and highly versatile, the pouch presents a long list of qualities:
- It’s made with high-quality 1000D nylon which resists wearing and scrapes
- The pouch includes internal and tight elastic straps for organizing the essentials
- It provides a generous pocket for essential first aid supplies
- It comes with 180 piece-medical supplies
- It rocks a D-ring design on the bag for more versatility
- It features two-way zipper with quiet cord pulls, allowing easy access to supplies
- It has a unisex design and a solid build
- It features Molle system so you can attach it to any tactical Molle compatible gear
- The seams are well made, and the pouch takes excess use
- Fireman, police, EMT, but also hikers and campers can use the IFAK pouch
Here’s what we like less about it:
- Some say that you only get the very minimal supplies
- It doesn’t come with Velcro
- It’s not waterproof
Regardless of the minor problems, the IFAK pouch stands out with versatility and reliability, especially considering the price.
7) OneTigris Empty IFAK Pouch 8″ x 5″ MOLLE Trauma Bag
OneTigris Empty IFAK Pouch 8″ x 5″ MOLLE Trauma Bag is made for fast, lightweight, and comfortable access to your medical supplies. It does come empty, and you can fill it with your favorite supplies.
The IFAK bag is loaded with qualities, and it’s not easy to present only the most essential positive aspects:
- It’s made with 500D nylon and has a rugged build
- The fabric has resistance to water, abrasion, and dirt
- It’s durable and ready to take a beat
- It comes with sturdy YKK zippers that ensure fast deploy
- It also features UTX snap buttons for effortless access
- It includes quick access pull handle
- There are elastic-banded side pockets for storing linear items
- You can organize your details in the numerous pockets and rooms
- It features several x-bungee strapped slots on front lap
- The main compartment is EVA padded and comes with an open-top
- It’s Molle equipped and comes with D-ring at the top
- It has reinforced stitching on all stress points
- It’s tough, yet lightweight
We’re not worried about the minor and inherent flaws:
- It’s smaller than expected
- The metal snap button could be better
- It doesn’t come with rip away feature
The very long list of positive aspects seals the deal for many, and the pouch is excellent value for the money on any given day.
8) Barbarians Tactical MOLLE Pouch, Rip-Away EMT Medical First Aid Utility IFAK Pouch
Once you go over the details of Barbarians Tactical MOLLE Pouch, Rip-Away EMT Medical First Aid Utility IFAK Pouch, you get to comprehend why it’s one of the most popular IFAK pouches out there.
Think about your ideal IFAK pouch and take a look at the brief description of this pouch. Don’t the two models resemble a lot?
Joke aside, here are some of the most impressive positive features of the pouch:
- It has a rugged build, and it’s ready to take heavy-duty use
- It’s made with high-density 600D polyester
- The material is water-resistant and takes the excess wear
- The pouch includes three large capacity pockets, elastic loops and instrument holders
- It also comes with a zippered mesh compartment
- It features SBS dual zippers for opening
- It rocks a trifold design with a full handle and rip-away Velcro panel
- You may tighten the external belt for a better fit
- It comes with Molle system attachment straps
- It has copper snaps too
- The size is perfect, and the pouch is great for tactical missions
The downsides are nothing to worry about:
- The buttons could have a better quality
- The organizer straps aren’t adjustable
- The stitching may loosen after some time
Even if the IFAK pouch isn’t perfect, it’s still very close to being one, especially since it’s not emptying your wallet.
9) WYNEX First Aid EMT Bags, Tactical IFAK Medical Molle Pouch
If tactical missions are life, having an EDC pouch for your medical supplies is more than necessary. The rugged material and smart design of WYNEX First Aid EMT Bags, Tactical IFAK Medical Molle Pouch turn it into a dependable choice for EDC use.
For better understanding the utility of the IFAK pouch for tactical activities, here are the main qualities:
- The bag is made with 1000D nylon, and it’s highly visible
- The fabric is military-grade Cordura with DWR, durable water repellency
- It’s waterproof and safe to use in a humid environment
- The design is professional with elastic webbing band and 12 loops
- It’s specially made to fit cylindrical items such as liquid medicine, bandage, and cotton
- It has a compact size and provides plenty of space for storing medical supplies
- It comes with tight and internal elastic straps and three pockets
- It’s compatible with Molle systems, featuring two Molle fastener straps on the back
- The design ensures quick access to the main accessories
- It has dual two-way high-quality zippers
- The rip-away design gives silent zip, without sacrificing the strength
- It comes with elastic fiber rope on the surface. You can use it as a sling rope or for tying it to a survival piece of equipment
The shortcomings aren’t deal breakers for us:
- The zippers may slip down at times
- It’s smaller than expected for some
- It doesn’t come with first aid kit inside
The goods outweigh the bads, and the IFAK pouch could be completing your EDC gear anytime.
10) Lightning X Spread Eagle Complete Tactical Gunshot & Trauma IFAK Kit
The more you’re willing to spend for your IFAK kit, the more you should expect in terms of durability, design, and overall value.
Having said that, let’s take a detailed look at the Lightning X Spread Eagle Complete Tactical Gunshot & Trauma IFAK Kit w/Laser Cut MOLLE, which is a complete kit that doesn’t disappoint on almost all levels.
Here’s what caught our attention:
- The bag is made with sturdy material and takes intense wear
- It’s a tactical pouch with Molle system
- It’s highly functional and works not only as IFAK but also as survival and gunshot response kit
- It comes with built-in modular webbing straps for secure attachment to any bag
- It has a fast access flap that opens 180 degrees
- It includes four different storage flaps that you can lie entirely after opening the bag
- In an emergency, you have one-handed access to your supplies
- All features are duplicated, and the double layer build doesn’t make an exception
- It has two rows of two layers of elastic loops
- It comes with double-layered laser cut Molle platform
- It features dual depth pockets
- It comes with loop material for patches and tool storage
- It has a red cross patch with hook and loop fabric
- The quality of the medical supplies is great
We’re not backing down over some minor problems:
- It’s not cheap
- Some think that it’s not easy to access the contents
- For some, it’s too big, and for some, it’s too small. It depends on what you need
For the fantastic features, high-quality of build, and medical supplies included, the IFAK pouch is one of the most inspired acquisitions to make for your tactical/non-tactical necessities.
Things to Keep in Mind
Putting an IFAK together
If you go over statistics, you’d see that more of the deaths on the battlefield (85% or more, as a matter of fact), come from uncontrolled hemorrhaging (bleeding to death, that is). So, considering this, your IFAK gear should address the important issue of hemorrhage control.
Most IFAKs are stocked to a decent standard and combat death statistics change as combat medicine develops. Some go for the principle that one is almost none and you should get a minimum of six pills, no matter what.
But, no matter how badly you think it might get, never sacrifice your ammo for some Band-Aids as the best medicine is… having fire superiority.
You won’t be needing any burn cream, ibuprofen or decongestants- you only need something to stop the bleeding. It’s better to learn how to use the materials you’re familiar with as first line gear is linked to the first line medical skills.
You should also consider where you place your IFAK, which should be somewhere easy to reach with any of your hands.
Never forget this
Your IFAK should contain blood stopper bandages, clotting solutions and backup bandages, along with sterile dressings. Some vitamins, Epsom salt might become handy as well, especially on a hiking trip with kids.
Get educated and go through some practical medical books for survival. Some classes on first aid at your local Red Cross won’t hurt for sure.
Carry also exam gloves, a tourniquet, a nasopharyngeal airway tube and a bandage.
What about the IFAK pouch?
No matter which IFAK pouch you get, you have to like its shape, its versatility and functionality at the same time.
A good IFAK pouch has to be simple, easy to use and with a clamshell design that lets it open flat.
It’s also a good thing to look for an IFAK pouch that is MOLLE compatible so that you can attach it to your tactical backpack. Velcro on your IFAK pouch is also a plus, along with multiple compartments for a better organization of your medical items.
Buying Guide for IFAK Kits and Pouches
When you’re shopping for your IFAK, it’s not as much about the bag you’re using, but the medical supplies you add. Good IFAK bags match your needs and skills. It makes no sense to buy the most reliable IFAK pouch on the market if you don’t know how to use any of the provided medical supplies.
Selecting the proper type of IFAK pouch is essential. The kind and size of your IFAK pouch depend on what you need and how many medical supplies you can carry. Where you’re going, and type of mission also affect the type of IFAK pouch you’re buying.
Having said that, let’s highlight the most important types of IFAK pouches to choose from:
Rip off pouches
The rip-off, aka rip away bags, are fast to rip or pull off your gear when you have to use them. Typically, you mount a cut off pouch on the equipment with some quick pull clips or even a separate panel.
Many rip-off pouches feature Velcro panel so that you may attach it to your gear with molle loops. Velcro is how you attach it to the equipment. An extra strap may also be found so that you can fasten and better secure the pouch on the panel.
The rip off pouches is excellent since they provide fast and effortless access to whatever you need from inside. They’re highly functional and versatile, ensuring quick and straightforward access to your medical supplies in case of emergency.
If your skills and needs require it, you should look for stationary IFAK pouches. They’re larger than rip off models, and you may carry them in the range bag or backpack.
When you’re using a stationary pouch on the gear, such as the plate carrier, you have to place the IFAK is a place where you may quickly notice it.
What other categories of IFAK pouches can you choose from?
From the primary type of IFAK bags, that only contain the essential medical supplies, to the more sophisticated models that only professionals use, IFAK bags cover a wide range of necessities.
Here are the most significant types of IFAK bags, considering the level of emergencies that the continent can solve:
Level 1 IFAK bags
No matter which kind of IFAK bag or pouch you’re trying to build, every IFAK bag should start from this level. You may very well stop at Level 1 or have your model of IFAK beginning with this one.
A Level 1 IFAK bag is portable and rather small so that you can grab it and take it along while you’re away from the shelter. It’s the EDC first aid kit that you may quickly put in your purse, car, locker, or regular bag.
The Level 1 IFAK bag makes a great choice as an EDC kit to wear in the ankle holster or a body pouch with concealment.
If you’re incredibly limited in the number of supplies you can carry, you should only focus on injuries involving breath or blood. It’s the ABC principle almost everybody knows about: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.
A Level 1 IFAK bag should contain pressure dressing, tourniquet, trauma shears, Z-fauld gauze, medication for pain and diarrhea, chest seal, and band-aids.
Level 2 IFAK bags
Also known as “good enough,” the level 2 IFAK bag is the best fit for a Bug Out Bag, car kit, or Get Home Bag. If your IFAK bag contains everything from Level 1 and Level 2 bags, you can relax to some level. You’re going to be capable of handling an excellent range of emergencies.
The Level 2 IFAK bag is made based on level 1 bag so that you will add, along with the medical supplies from Level one, the following items. In essence, tweezers, needle&thread in isopropyl alcohol, irrigation syringe, moleskin, white petroleum jelly, gauze pads, cravat/triangular bandage, plastic wrap, and rolled gauze. You should also pack safety pins, aluminum splint, elastic wrap, and some butterfly bandages.
Level 3 IFAKs
Anyone getting a Level 3 IFAK bag can call him/herself medically prepared for the most challenging emergencies. It’s what a professional puts in the family’s emergency bag.
It doesn’t mean that a Level IFAK bag contains only professional medical supplies. This bag remains portable for fitting a conventional 8″x6″x4″ Molle pouch. It’s the right size for an IFAK pouch to throw in your backpack.
The principle continues, and you have in your Level 3 IFAK bag everything included in a Level 1 and Level 2 IFAK pouch. However, your pouch becomes a Level 3 type only when you also add gloves, saline eye drops, medication for pain and diarrhea. You should also pack caffeine pills, creams for allergies, antibiotics such as doxycycline, or cephalexin, and abdominal pad. You may complete your Level 3 IFAK bag with an emergency blanket.
Frequently Asked Questions on IFAK Kits
Q: Who needs to have an IFAK?
A: In all fairness, we don’t know where life takes us and we may get caught up in a serious situation all of the sudden. Whether you are in a car accident or found yourself in the middle of an active shooter event, life can turn you into a first-responder as a civilian.
Even paramedics typically carry a simple IFAK on their person or in their car, and so should you. If you’re hiking or camping, go to shooting events or handle heavy equipment, having an IFAK within reach is always a good idea. It doesn’t have to be the most sophisticated IFAK; sometimes, even a basic kit can make the difference between life and death.
Q: What’s the best place to keep your IFAK?
A: It always counts where you’re placing your IFAK. It should be somewhere it can allow fast access. You can put it near the center of the side of your chest rig or plate carrier. Recently, many militaries are placing it on the small of the back, and it’s the Navy SEALS that started the trend, sort to speak.
Some recommend the use of IFAK as a fanny pack, which will give access to both hands. Excessive flopping reduced ability to organize of IFAK contents, and problems when opening the kit are some of the main downsides of this kind of placement.
Q: How should you build your IFAK?
A: What you need is the main principle when building your IFAK. IFAK is rather small by definition as it includes the tools for stabilizing the injured person. If you’re in combat, though, you will carry the IFAK for your treatment. Therefore, you don’t need to know how to use everything inside but include tools that will help someone else treat you in case of anything.
Q: What is warfighting IFAK?
A: The war fight IFAK is made for military action. It’s a kit that concentrates on the supplies you need for saving lives causes in a fight. Typically, it should contain pressure bandage, 2/3 tourniquets, decompression needle, hemostatic agent, and a pair of chest seals. Sharpie, shears, nasal/oral airway, tape, alcohol, and gloves should also be included.
Q: What goes into a shooting range IFAK?
A: Anyone devoted to shooting knows that carrying an IFAK is mandatory, no matter your shooting experience. The contents are chosen about the possible mistakes happening at the shooting range. It doesn’t mean that you cannot adapt the IFAK to combat particularities, especially since many items used in shooting range are common to combat scenarios. You can include in your IFAK pressure and regular bandages, one or two tourniquets, a pair of chest seals, gloves, and disinfectants. Don’t forget to include sharpie, saline, shears, and some tape.
Q: Is the innawoods IFAK content any different from the other two?
A: This kit is rather basic as it addresses the typical activities in the woods or outdoors. The equipment is for when there’s nobody to help, and getting out of the woods is essential.
Regular and pressure bandages, SAM splint, disinfectants, gloves, saline, and tape are exceptional items to have in this kit. Don’t forget to add some painkillers, diarrhea, medicine, and a space blanket. Some activated charcoal is a great addition too.
Q: Should you build your own or buy pre-made IFAK?
A: There are plenty of pre-packed kits on the market, but they may not match your specific needs. More often than not, these kits fall short and don’t include some life-saving products.
Either way, you should be prepared to pay at least $200 for a good IFAK and the medical supplies. Even if the price seems steep, you don’t want to risk your life over a couple of bucks.
Q: Is ABC fundamental when making your IFAK?
A: Civilians typically complete their IFAK with regard to ABC, which stands for Airways, breathability, and circulation. Therefore, your IFAK should include tools that are needed for solving the airway and breathing injuries. Even a nasopharyngeal airway inserted in the nose and into the back of the throat can give results. For circulations, tools such as gauze bandages and tourniquets and stop the blood from circulating out of your body.
Q: What is the March algorithm?
A: The militaries use a different method for packing their IFAK, which is known as MARCH. M is for massive hemorrhage, A is for airway, and R is for respiration. Circulation is C, and H refers to head injury and hypothermia. Some think that knowing how to use the tools is more useful, but it’s up to you to learn how to do it.
Q: Which features matter most on an IFAK?
A: How you use the IFAK affects a lot of the features you want in the IFAK. For civilians, an IFAK made with sturdy materials, enough compartments, and several options for organizing the tools is pretty much it.
On the other hand, people in the military or medical professionals need IFAKS made with waterproof (or at least water-resistant) materials that provide fast access to anything. The build should be rugged, and the options for organizing the items should be plenty. Molle compatibility, Velcro straps, sturdy zippers, and snap buttons, keeping everything in place, are also fundamental features to have on a heavy-duty IFAK.
Q: Does the size of the IFAK matter?
A: Ideally, you want the IFAK to be small and efficient. It makes no sense to have a big IFAK that lacks the organizing options or fails on providing fast access to your items. Unlike other types of bags or pouches, the IFAK should be about functionality, versatility, smart, design, and easy access to everything. And large size doesn’t always mean functional when camping or involved in military missions.