You will get hurt at some point. It’s virtually inevitable. If not, it’ll be someone you’re with, and a hospital isn’t always right around the corner.
It’s basic self-reliance, along with carrying a gun to save lives, to have the resources to plug a hole, stop the bleeding, prevent infection and control pain. Our bare minimum first aid kit is intended to be slim, lightweight, and inexpensive ($35 with this link).
This does NOT turn you into an emergency medical responder. This is NOT a full-fledged “field trauma kit.” However, these are lifesaving items, and you might very well be the only one around who has them available when they’re needed.
Our “Bare Minimum” EDC First Aid Kit contains the seven items below, which we’ve also grouped together in a single Amazon list.
- Surgipad surgical dressings are an effective way to stop heavy bleeding.
- Non-adherent foam dressing also helps control bleeding, but we HIGHLY recommend that you carry this to use underneath the Surgipad dressing. This will minimize pain and additional bleeding when the bandage is changed, because this won’t take tissue off with it when the dressing comes off.
- Medical tape: Self-explanatory – once you have controlled the bleeding with the surgical bandages, use medical tape to keep them there.
- Peroxide wash: This one comes in an appropriately sized spray bottle. Use this to disinfect wounds before dressing them. It’s also an effective way to prevent infection of more minor cuts and scrapes. You may want to a few cotton balls into your kit for easy application of the peroxide.
- Tweezers for tick removal, removal of debris and glass from wounds, etc.
- Aspirin: People tend not to carry Aspirin, but it’s very handy, because you can chew 325mg to somewhat reduce the effect of a heart attack while you get to a hospital.
- Benadryl to slow the effects of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
In conjunction with the first aid kit, here is a good 6-minute video to help you learn how to handle a heavy bleeding situation, or refresh your memory on how to do it.
In addition, you may also want to include:
- A tourniquet. Know how to use it, but it’s not complicated. As JWT (a former Army medic) says, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze until the red blood stops. Here is a 1-page illustrated guide to using a tourniquet, provided by the makers of the leading combat tourniquet. Here is a TTAG article about the statistics surrounding tourniquets and their lifesaving potential.
- QuikClot clotting gauze. These are bulkier than the surgical dressing solution above, more expensive, and not strictly necessary, so we don’t include them in the bare essentials kit. However, they are very good for controlling heavy bleeding.
- EMT shears to quickly expose a wound under clothing.
- A couple pairs of gloves for your own safety as well as for miscellaneous “dirty jobs.”
- Advil and Tylenol for pain management.
- Imodium/Loperamide for when shit happens.
- Neosporin as a disinfectant and topical pain reliever for smaller wounds.
- Superglue or a liquid bandage product to close smaller wounds.
Once more, this is a lightweight and inexpensive first aid setup that doesn’t prepare you for every possible eventuality, but can make a big difference in the most common situations.