What is an IFAK – Everyday carry essentials
Simply put, IFAK is an acronym that stands for individual first aid kit or improved first aid kit. While this isn’t news to most people, I feel that this topic is worth revisiting. I’m continually running into people who are ill-prepared in the case of an emergency and, I’m not only referring to the equipment or rather the lack thereof. As a sport shooter, hunter, avid outdoorsman and general adventurer, I take my preparedness very seriously. Having the proper knowledge and the right tools for the job is critical in all areas of your life, your personal preparedness is no different. I’ve used the word “personal” intentionally in this case. The Individual First Aid Kit’s primary job is to provide you, the individual, with the necessary first aid in the event of serious injury. Now, before I go any further, I’ll say this: the most important thing you can carry with you every day, is knowledge. Sound cliche? Well, think about it. What good is the best gear in the world, if you have no clue how to use it? I’m not saying that you need to be a combat medic, capable of performing battlefield surgery. I’m saying, start by taking a basic first aid course. Get a bit of training, learn the essentials, and go from there. Now, leads me to another point, pack your IFAK with only the essentials that you know how to use. Fumbling through a kit filled with content that you don’t know how to use is just going to slow you down, or worse.
The IFAK Pouch
There are several reputable manufacturers when it comes to IFAK pouches. They range in size, function and of course, price. The bottom line is that your kit should be comfortable to wear, and accessible with one hand if needed. As long as the equipment is configured correctly and contains the contents which you know how to use, that is all you need. You may even go as far as to set up a couple of different pouches based on the activities you’re doing. You can find a wide selection of field-tested and proven gear from any of the following manufacturers.
- Blue Force Gear
- Dark Angel Medical
- Rescue Essential
- Tactical Medical Solutions
- High-Speed Gear
- 5.11 Tactical
- High Ground Gear
Alright, as I mentioned earlier, I’m of the opinion that your IFAK contents should not exceed your knowledge of use. A little training is good, more training is even better. While there is no set rule for what IFAK content should include, they typically focus more on trauma and less on minor bumps and bruises. Personally, I keep a “general” first aid kit in my truck that I can toss that kit in a backpack or in my range bag.
The following list is only meant to serve as a suggestion with regards to IFAK contents. Contents may differ depending on your intended use, as well as your level of knowledge.
Here are the contents of one of my basic trauma kits for the range.
- Tourniquet – C.A.T.® or SOF®-TT.W
- Olaes™ Modular Bandage 4″
- Celox™ RAPID – Hemostatic Gauze
- Trauma Shears
- Emergency Blanket