How to build a personalized first aid kit that won't break the bank.
Where to start?
In the beginning, I thought the best first aid kit was the biggest kit I could afford. So that's what I got. The larger kits had lots of stuff packed neatly inside but in the end, did I really need 25pcs of one small item that would never make it past the expiration date until I had a chance to use them?
No, I did not.
And lesson learned.
After spending lots of time and money on medical kits I've concluded that larger kits are exactly that...large.
Large in size, large in redundant contents, and most of all LARGE IN PRICE...
This first big kit purchase was far from a loss tho.
It let me know what emergency medical supplies I needed over a period of two years. That was a great takeaway from an impulsive purchase.
What did I need?
I needed to take care of the major stuff first. The things that could potentially kill me or be hazardous to my health such as major blood loss, physical reactions, and prescribed medications.
Acute injuries such as the ones listed above are easy to mitigate by simply carrying a tourniquet, a few over-the-counter drugs, and personal meds. Any formal first aid or medical training you take will only enhance the effectiveness of your kit.
Compact first aid kit
***NOTE: It's good practice to keep your kit simple and easy to manage. Your medical training and the advanced first aid kit you carry will do you no good if someone else were to dive into your bag and try to save your life. Simple is best. Even when planning for the worst.
K.I.S.S- (keep it simple stupid!)
The lesser stuff is not that "less."
These particular pieces of supporting kit will help to mitigate bad times with a quick fix so I can keep on going or at least slap a proverbial fix on the issue at hand. This will buy me extra time on the way to see proper medical triage.
This pretty much summed up what I wanted in a personal first aid kit but the biggest hurdle in my emergency/medical contingency plan is that I had to carry this kit all of the time, or at least be within close proximity for it to be effective.
I was looking for a pouch big enough to carry my essentials but not too big and cumbersome. The entire kit needed to be waterproof both before AND after I used components from the kit. It had to be modular in the way that it could be carried stand-alone or in addition to other packs and bags.
One bag to carry it all.
My budget is limited when it comes to buying "extra insurance", but this really had to be looked upon as an investment in personal welfare. It was a big ask to stretch a dollar so far. For this search, I had to start cheap.
I was directed to an inexpensive medical pouch made specifically for carrying a tourniquet plus a little extra. The bag was not waterproof, so that problem layover helped me focus on the next issue at hand- waterproof kit components.
But for now, that bag arrived at my door for $14 shipped and it was well worth the compromise.
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The back of this bag has molle straps and added D-rings. I liked this feature because now I could sling it over a shoulder or it could be carried easily by someone who needed regular medical attention.
Kit components can be very personal. Aside from the need to be waterproof, I wanted mine to mitigate most of the 5 B's (bleeding, breaks, burns, blisters, bites/stings)with a few supporting medical essentials like latex gloves, tourniquet, permanent marker, medical shears, and the good ol' cotton bandanna.
The thought seemed arduous but the task was very easy. I could purchase everything quickly and conveniently from amazon!
...and everything fit perfectly.
I placed the bandanna in a rear elastic pouch with cloth exposed so you can find it in haste. The same went for the gloves, but they are front and center of the bag when opened. The majority of the kit is pre-assembled, compact, waterproof, and inexpensive. Everything in this kit will get me back to camp quicker, home, or to the emergency room if need be. All pre-packaged items inside the kit have instructions and are easy to use and apply.
I chose the Med Kit.3, It had a 5-star rating and was only $9
It is a champ of a kit!
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Buy a tourniquet from a reputable dealer, they are NOT created equal. Don't be cheap with an item that will save your life when you need to use it.
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Putting it all together.
Here are pictures to help spawn ideas so you can create your own kit or piece one together like mine.
The little red tab inside of the pouch, that's a one-handed safety pull tab. Pull the red tab downward and the bag will fall open.
I will repeat that...the bag will FALL open, literally. That's why there are elastic bands and pockets inside. To keep everything neat, snug, and ready for you when you need them.
Remove the tourniquet from the manufacturer's packaging and make it "ready to go" - meaning quick launch and ready to deploy/use. It's good practice not to wrap the velcro time strap around the arm strap and windlass. Pull the time strap back to one side of the windlass catch, so it is ready to use when you need it.
This simple step adds a few extra seconds when it matters most.
A marker is a great way to time your emergency application of tourniquets. It can also be used to write on patients as well or to send important triage information.
It is placed INSIDE of the pouch, never just "cap clipped" using the manufactures lip clip. You may find out you only have a cap when you need that stupid marker.
The shears are very important to my medical kit. They can cut clothing away to expose wounds, they cut makeshift bandages with ease, and more. I was told to place them behind the tourniquet in that specific pouch and run the velcro closure strap through the handle loop to secure everything in its place.
You can make a similar kit for under $50 that will work when you need it most. I hope you took away good ideas to help make the best first-aid kit for your budget. This first aid kit will address most common ailments AND is not so complex that a nurse must administer from it. Simple and effective kits should be just that.