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.
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.
The Best 5 IFAK Kit Reviews
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.
Orca Tactical MOLLE EMT Medical First Aid Utility Pouch (Bag Only) 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.
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.
The higher your experience and better the skills, the higher the expectations when it comes to an IFKA pouch/kit. You may give it a shot with this Elite 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.
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.