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Scout Motto - Be Prepared
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Not to steal the fire from any other First Aid Kit threads, but i want to talk about minimalist ones. Least ammount of gear possible. I used to carry around a little bag that had all of the doo dads and whatnots that "should" be in a FAK, but I wanted to scale it down. I have recently started bringing 2 or 3 things and calling it my FAK.

Roll of Duct Tape
Roll of Toilet Paper
Bar of Dial Antiseptic Soap (optional)

The first 2 items are with me wherever I go, so why carry more? The soap is for extended trips where bathing would be nice, or to wash a serious wound. Be honest, what injury could I get that duct tape and TP couldn't fix up? I always have my Victorianox knife with small surgical blade and tweezers, so take that into account as well. I would really like to hear some input on this.
 

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I agree with the 4x4's and the alcohol swabs. You dont need much more than that. I heard a saying once , but cant remeber who said it. "If you carry a lot of stuff in your fak, you might be tempted to use it!" If you need more than the basics, get to a doctor. :thumb:
 

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hygiene is NOT the same as first aid
gear repair is NOT the same as flesh repair

the only exception is duct tape for wart removal and CA glue for small abrasions/shallow lesions

any other large lesions would likely get infected from the use of a non-sterile wound dressing and the lack of ability to remove the dressing without increasing the severity of the wound

its a good idea to make your own FAK
but it has to be situation/location specific

ex. antihistamines included for persons with allergies, insulin for persons with diabetes
 

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Won't handle anything that bleeds much. Duct tape won't stick to wet and TP is completely inadequate as a dressing for a wound. It disintegrates when wet. So you toss in a couple larger dressings, maybe some Quickclot.

You get stung by a horde of Africanized bees. Very real risk in the SW. More likely than all other forms of animal attack combined. Anaphylactic shock is a problem if you are allergic. Even if you aren't allergic, a few hundred stings can put you down. Bear Grylls got stung in the face by just ONE and it could have killed him in a real survival situation. Popping some antihistamines can keep you functional, if groggy. Also tames the worst of poison ivy and other contact allergens.

Keeping down inflammation, controlling pain and such is important to stay functional. That is what various NSAIDs and other pain killers are for. You can't just ignore pain. It will affect your performance even if you think you can "gut it out". Inflammation will reduce your range of motion and pain will make the affected area weak.

Ever gotten sick unexpectedly? Food poisoning? Diarrhea? Nausea? Migraine headache? Dizziness? Do something trivial and throw your back out? Arthritis? Maybe you feel some chest pains you can't identify. The right meds could be the difference between getting back on your own and not.

Antibiotics are used for your longer term benefit. You got cut. Sure you'll be back to civilization in a day or two. By that time you've festered and you are in trouble. Avoid that headache and use some betadine swabs and Neosporin ointment. A large or deep wound calls for prophylactic antibiotics. Gangrene never sleeps.

Yes you can use duct tape in place of an ace wrap (sort of). It isn't elastic and you will not enjoy taking it off.

That's the FAK of someone who has never really encountered a serious injury in the field.
 

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I can't really speak to any specific item listing, but I've been working on trying to get a more 'minimal' FAK to throw in my pack when I go mountain biking. I've got a rather large wilderness-type kit that just takes up too much space for that activity.

Far from being comprehensive or complete, I threw together a basic setup to at least give me SOMEthing to work with in the meantime. Going entirely from memory on this, so I may not be spot on. It's essentially a few small kits combined into something a little more custom.

I started with this kit from REI:
http://www.rei.com/product/800904/rei-day-pack-first-aid-kit

Ditched the 'book', added a few different bandaids, aspirin, etc. I also added a spare set of daily disposable contact lenses for my own prescription. Other than that, it's mostly still as it came from the store.

Shoved into it (it seemed to have a lot of room to expand for being such a small container...) are:

http://www.rei.com/product/832333/adventure-medical-kits-wound-medic-kit
and
http://www.rei.com/product/660019/adventure-medical-kits-cpr-medic-kit

The first (wound medic kit) has a pretty good coverage for basic lacerations, cuts, scrapes. (mine is a slightly older version from AMK, so the contents are just slightly different.)
povidone iodine 3/4 ounce
irrigation syringe
10x wound closure strips
tincture of benzoin
antibiotic wipes/ointment

The CPR medic module might be a bit outdated at this point with compression-only CPR being the new 'thing'. So I may part it out, ditching the face mask shield thing, and keeping the bio hazard bag, gloves, aspirin, and hand wipes.

Also crammed a 25g QuickClot sponge in there:
http://www.rei.com/product/770184/z-medica-quikclot-sport-25g

In a side pocket on my backpack I also keep a 4" israeli bandage and a SOF-T tourniquet.

This is really only a setup I go with when I'm riding local (urban-type) dirt trails around town. If I'm going farther out, I would rather deal with the bulk/weight of one of my larger kits, and often do.

I figure with this I'm able to handle heart attacks, minor+ cuts, some types of abrasions, up to gunshot wounds (hey, it's a major city, ya never know.)
 

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CAT tourniquet, ALWAYS ALWAYS have this on me, usually more than one.
Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment
(to the post before, alcohol can be detrimental to wound healing, so can peroxide, both kill healthy tissue cells as well as invasive bacterial cells which leads to possible necrosis and increased risk for infection. the bar soap is actually better suiting for cleaning wounds than alcohol would be)
Compression bandage/pressure dressing
superglue (will seal up a wound faster than sutures, and sutures are only for reducing scaring, most of the time they're nonessential, unless you're reconnecting tendons which I wouldn't recommend unless you're trained on it, and also larger deeper wounds that require closure will also require internal sutures, if internal sutures are not used it creates a cavity inside your tissue to breed bacteria.)
4x4's to cover wounds or to pack deeper wounds, I'd prefer to let them heal from the inside out
Paper Tape, seals well and allows tissue it's covering to breath somewhat.
Cravat/Bandana
Antihistamines
Topical Antihistamine and Cortisone combination cream
and a mylar/space blanket
all of these things are compact and lightweight, and will serve plenty of purposes.
 

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(to the post before, alcohol can be detrimental to wound healing, so can peroxide, both kill healthy tissue cells as well as invasive bacterial cells which leads to possible necrosis and increased risk for infection. the bar soap is actually better suiting for cleaning wounds than alcohol would be)
I was aware of the effect hydrogen peroxide has (didn't stop me from using it recently on myself after a small automotive-repair incident) but that alcohol ends up with the same effect is kinda new to me. My kit does have iodine in it. Diluted with water and used to irrigate wounds I'd hope that would accomplish the positives without the negatives. Assuming so, I'll make to sure lean towards that method first whenever possible.

In the case of my own use of the kit above, it's only on daytime short trips where I'm never more than 1/4 mile from a major road, and often not far from a major hospital either. If I really have to treat a wound long enough to be concerned about the healing phase (while in the field) I'm doing something horribly wrong. One or two rounds out of my .40 would send the ghettobird searching for me anyway =) In other scenarios, I can definitely see the issue though.

Cravat/Bandana
Antihistamines
Topical Antihistamine and Cortisone combination cream
and a mylar/space blanket
Can't believe I haven't added a cravat to the kit. After taking a course in Flagstaff from a REALLY experienced instructor, the cravat has gone from just being a sling for a broken arm to soooo much more.

I do need to add more in the antihistamine department, especially with the risk of afracanized killer bees here in AZ, and insect-incursions in general.

Love the space blanket option as well. I have in the past packed one of these along:

http://www.rei.com/product/813514/sol-survival-blanket

Great for shade, shelter, you name it.
 

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The most minimalist I'd consider carrying on an overnighter is a bandana. That'd only be on very well traveled trails where it's incredibly easy to find others with a full on first aid kit. That's a bit extreme though, and I'd still probably pack my normal small FAK. That has:
tweezers
a couple bandaids
neosporin
anti diarrhea pills
sewing needle

I think there's a couple other things in there, but not much more.

I suppose you might count other items as part of FAK:
bandana
duct tape or leukotape
hand sanitizer
polyester thread
tissue/tp
tent poles
ibuprofen
belt, shelter cord

Just about anything can be part of the FAK.
 

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Thru-Hiker
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Not to steal the fire from any other First Aid Kit threads, but i want to talk about minimalist ones. Least ammount of gear possible. I used to carry around a little bag that had all of the doo dads and whatnots that "should" be in a FAK, but I wanted to scale it down. I have recently started bringing 2 or 3 things and calling it my FAK.

Roll of Duct Tape
Roll of Toilet Paper
Bar of Dial Antiseptic Soap (optional)

The first 2 items are with me wherever I go, so why carry more? The soap is for extended trips where bathing would be nice, or to wash a serious wound. Be honest, what injury could I get that duct tape and TP couldn't fix up? I always have my Victorianox knife with small surgical blade and tweezers, so take that into account as well. I would really like to hear some input on this.

That certainly is minimalist, but minimalist can be good. Actually, a whole roll of duct tape isn't exactly minimalist, but if you have it with you anyway then include it. Some changes I would make:

The toilet paper is not the best choice for emergency use. As a dual use item, paper towels are much stronger, have greater removal capability (for hygiene purposes) and will absorb more blood (for first aid uses). I carry paper towels cut into 1/4 sheets for use as TP, napkins, and first aid should I run out of gauze. Sterile is certainly better, but sometimes you gotta use what you have.

I carry 1" wide Gorilla duct tape around my trekking poles for first aid (bandaging, blister treatment, etc) and for gear repairs in the field. Probably about 10' total.

For soap, I prefer the Dr. Bronners soap. It is less harsh than the antibacterial soaps, and antibacterial soaps arent really necessary for everyday use. Dr. Bronners can even be used as toothpaste if necessary.

I would at least carry a couple of Band-Aids. They weigh virtually nothing, take up virtually no space, and make care of small cuts much easier.

I carry a few more items than this but my minimalist kit would be a Triangular Bandage, Gorilla duct tape, and a couple of Band-Aids.
 

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CAT tourniquet, ALWAYS ALWAYS have this on me, usually more than one.
Man, you are preparing for the worst....(also not a bad thing). This is an honest question, and I'm not criticizing your choice to carry this in any way. The military application seems obvious and no doubt it works great for its intended purpose, but I'm curious to know your thoughts on the civilian value of carrying a dedicated (or multiple) tourniquets into the wilderness from a military corpsman's point of view. We never use tourniquets where I work as we have very short transport times, but other than the potential of being a long way from help are there other reasons you are thinking of?
 

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Man, you are preparing for the worst....(also not a bad thing). This is an honest question, and I'm not criticizing your choice to carry this in any way. The military application seems obvious and no doubt it works great for its intended purpose, but I'm curious to know your thoughts on the civilian value of carrying a dedicated (or multiple) tourniquets into the wilderness from a military corpsman's point of view. We never use tourniquets where I work as we have very short transport times, but other than the potential of being a long way from help are there other reasons you are thinking of?
Tourniquets are invaluable. Obviously for hemorrhagic control of bleeding. A T can be left on a limb for 8 hours before necrosis occurs, so no matter the transport time it's a quick and effective way to control bleeding. Also in cases of femur fractures where you can lose a tremendous amount of blood fast (1-2 L) inside the thigh even if the skin doesn't break, you can control the internal bleeding of this by applying a T above the fracture against the femoral artery. The CAT tourniquet can be applied by the hurt individual in an expeditious manner before help even arrives to ensure minimal blood is lost (self-aid and buddy-aid). You can also use them to secure splints to appendages, and also repair broken straps on gear, or use them to hang IV bags :)
they are extremely durable and will hold under tremendous pressure so you can use them for quick fixes for a lot of different applications.
that and it's just drilled into my head to always have a tourniquet on my person haha, I have a minor surgery kit, CAT tourniquet, and med bag in my car at all times. I have a tourniquet in my portable gun case. I have one in my dresser. I also have one in my gym bag. Overkill? Maybe, but I'll always have a means for hemorrhagic control no matter where I go.
 

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Family Always Comes First
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Small Compass/First Aid Dressing Pouch First Aid Kit

Here is a good Minimalist FAK that I built a few years ago. It all fits inside a USGI Compass/First Aid Dressing Pouch.

Start with one of the small 4"x6" Ziplock baggies (they can be found at Craft Stores) and place the following items inside the baggie;

3/4" Bandaids x6
1" Bandaids x2
3"x3" Telfa Gauze Pads x2
3"x3" Adaptic Non-Stick Pads x2
Small Packets of Neosporin Ointment x4
Sterile #10 Scalpel Blade x1
Sterile #11 Scalpel Blade x1
2"x2" Sterile Gauze Pads x4
4"x4" Sterile Gauze Pads x4
Single Dose Packets of the following OTC Medications;
Aspirin x2
Tylenol x2
Benedryl x2
Immodium AD x2

Stuff these items inside the Ziplock Baggie. It will be very tight, but do the best you can. If you have to lower the number of items to make it all fit, do that, but try to keep all the listed items inside the Ziplock Baggie for a well rounded FAK.

Next, take a roll of 1" Medical Adhesive Tape and start rolling it around the outside of the Ziplock Baggie. You don't need the cardboard roll inside of it, just the tape. You do not want it to be so thick that you can't fit the covered Ziplock Baggie inside the Compass Pouch. You can make 2 or 3 different rolls of the 1" tape around the outside of the Ziplock Baggie, but you may want to make one the 1" Adhesive Tape, one of 1" Silk Tape and one of 1" Coban (also called Vet Wrap at Farm & Garden Stores).

Now place the Tape Covered Ziplock Baggie inside the USGI Compass/First Aid Dressing Pouch and add it to your Bug Out Gear.

Your new Compass Pouch First Aid Kit will be small enough that you can take it everywhere and know that you are covered for many different small injuries. It won't cover serious injuries or injuries such as sprains or fractures, but small cuts, scrapes, minor burns would be covered, you know... the stuff we do to ourselves while camping!

Yes, getting the supplies back out of the Ziplock Baggie is hard and nearly impossible to get them back inside once you pull some out, but this small kit is worth it's weight in gold if/when you need it.

BTW, the #11 Scalpel Blade is good for helping to get splinters out. It's the pointed blades that look like an Exacto Blade. The #10 blade is a good sized curved scalpel blade that has many uses. Sterile is best, but if you can't find them, Exacto Blades found at the Craft Stores are better than none.

Surprisingly enough, I have found the Single Doses of the OTC Medications at places that sell Office Supplies. Office Depot in my area has them, maybe not all, but a pretty good selection. If you had to, you could buy a regular bottle of the OTC Meds and put some inside a smaller 1"x2" Ziplock Baggie (also found at the Craft Stores), but medications not in their original packaging "could" get you in trouble with some LEOs if they don't know what it is.

Having a small FAK is better than a larger one because you probably won't take the bigger one with you all the time, but the Compass Pouch FAK easily fits inside the Glove Compartment, On the Strap of your BOB, On a Pistol Belt and many more places. Make several. Give them to friends and families as gifts, they'll love them!

Medic73
 

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I take 2 space blankets. One for emergency tarp and one to wrap around me. I'd not thought of them as part of a first aid kit but rather part of generic emergency equipment.

Ace bandage is a must, IMHO. Twisted knee, sprained ankle, wrap to hold a pressure bandage or a splint in place, improvised sling, tourniquet and lots of other stuff.

Betadine is the best wash for wounds. The OTC stuff is 10% povidone-iodine in water. Your stuff may just be improvised betadine.

Lots of useful OTC drugs out there for dizziness & diarrhea that may come in handy.
 
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