Medical Aid (IFAK) in the field


Senior Member
Nov 15, 2017
It has been interesting to read this post after reading the "if you don't carry hot, you shouldn't be carrying" thread. You guys should get together.


Senior Member
Classified Approved
Apr 8, 2018
You won’t need anything, till you do. It would suck to bleed out/or watch someone bleed out with nothing more than a booboo kit.
I have the skills, I will not waste them.


Senior Member
Jan 17, 2018
I carry the SWAT Tourniquet because I think I could apply it one-handed to an upper extremity on myself a little more easily, and I can also use it as a compression wrap if I just need something to hold a bandage in place with pressure. I make up for the size savings on deeper trips by carrying a couple ounces of iodine and a syringe for flushing wounds, however.

The SWAT T also works on kids. Most of the others don’t …too large.

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Senior Member
Jul 27, 2019
EMTI/AEMT for almost a decade with wilderness certs and 5+ years of EMS education, years of ER/ICU work, SAR, ski patrol, and international experience here. Be cautious taking advice from people spouting about, "oh my god what if I trip and blow my arm off and am bleeding to death miles from help," which is something that maybe, if you are a dumbass can happen. The reality is that if you are responsible, use good risk management , and have situational awareness, the vast majority of care you will render in the field will deal with mild musculoskeletal injury and minor cuts and abrasions. Don't miss 98% of you opportunities to help to catch the bad 2%. I cannot tell you how many tactical morons I have encountered that have tourniquets, IVs (and no clue how to use them), hemostats (TO CLAMP THAT ARTERY LIKE IN BLACKHAWK DOOOOWN) but are in need of help because they don't have basic shit to treat their blisters, scrapes, diarrhea, etc. If you pack your kit right you can handle the 2% with the gear to handle the 98% too.

Accidents can happen to anyone, not just dumbasses. And no one is advocating ONLY carrying the tacticool “dildos.” Based on your kit listed, mine weighs half as much and can handle the 2% as well as the 98%. The fact is, the 98% of injuries can be improvised easily in the field cause you have time to think it through. For example, you’re carrying a SAM splint. That weighs as much as a CAT TQ. But a twisted ankle isn’t life threatening, and I can fashion a splint out of ace wrap (which is also useful as a trauma dressing) and trekking poles. I can take the time to improvise on the 98%, but trying to improvise a TQ in the panic of someone bleeding out is next to impossible. Add to that, if it’s a femoral, you prob needs two TQs. So bring one to slap on fast and improvise a second if needed.

I by no means advocate for anything tactical in the field other than the few things that would cause instant death were they to happen. That’s a heavy bleed and possibly a sucking chest wound. Applying a TQ like a CAT can be practiced easily at home. As can a chest seal. I also don’t advocate for needle decompression in the field as that’s a more advanced treatment. And the sutures and hemostats need to be left for a higher level of care.

Also, the wilderness med classes are great, but I recommend a stop the bleed too, as wmed classes are generally geared towards backpackers. We’re hunting, and the presence of arrows and firearms increases risk significantly. Maybe you’re not the dumbass but maybe the bubbas you’re sharing the public land with are. And I’m not letting anyone in my party die to save a few oz.

Again, I’m talking 1 TQ, 1 chest seal. That’s about it. A pressure dressing for junctional wounds can be made from the ace wrap and gauze that we probably already carry for those 98% of injuries. Carry all that stuff by all means. But just add 1 TQ and 1 chest seal. It could save someone’s life. Even if that’s just a 2% chance isn’t it worth it?