Best IFAKs: Pouches, Complete Kits, and Contents List


We’re usually about putting holes into stuff. But today, we cover things designed to treat holes in you.

Well, not just holes in you…but scrapes, burns, cuts, lacerations, and other tragic affairs. Of course, that means we are talking IFAKs.

Mountain Man Medical Sweetwater

What’s an IFAK? An IFAK is an individual first aid kit.

It’s a military concept that’s spread into the police and military world. In the military, the IFAK has saved countless lives. No longer is “Doc” the only one who carries medical equipment.

Just because my time in the military is over doesn’t mean that my time with IFAKs is over.

Ya’ Boy with an ACOG equipped M249 Helmand Province Afg 2009
Ya’ Boy with an ACOG equipped M249 Helmand Province Afg 2009

After my service, I became a big proponent of IFAKs, and at a minimum, I always keep one in my car.

Today I’ll cover what goes into IFAKs, the best pouches to carry, and some complete IFAK kits.

Summary of Our Top Picks

Table of Contents


Training (Get it!)

The thing about first aid is that if you aren’t trained in how to apply it, does a bunch of gear help you?

First aid is a lot like shooting a gun. All the gear in the world isn’t going to make you better at it.

Just a TV Doctor
You can’t just watch (or be in) M*A*S*H and become an expert!

Now outside of the most advanced and well-made medical gear in the world, you can get some of the best training in the world. No matter where in the United States you live, there is a company or group that offers medical classes.

CPR Face Shield Breathing
You’ll learn a lot of cool things like CPR!

But where do you go to get training? Well, we’ve done the hard work for you.

Check out our list of the Best First Aid Classes to find the best training near you.

IFAK vs. First Aid

An IFAK is a First Aid kit technically, but I hate calling it that.

Generally, a first aid kit is a dinky little kit designed for bumps, bruises, and small cuts. An IFAK is designed to care of those bumps and bruises too, but its real focus is a traumatic injury.

DIY First Aid Kit Car
A first aid kit is best for the small things.

The distinction is more or less just semantics. An IFAK is just more complete for curing the nastier wounds.

You can buy a pre-made kit, or you can build your own. We’ll cover a little bit of both in this article, but before that happens, let’s talk about what an IFAK should be and what it should do.

An IFAK is all about addressing traumatic injuries and preserving life until you can get yourself or another to a higher level of care.

What Goes in an IFAK?

An IFAK should address the most common and most dangerous injuries that can occur in the big and dangerous world. Without serious medical training and the best equipment in the world, you can’t save everyone.

Mountain Man Medical CAT

An IFAK isn’t a miracle worker, and neither are you. But it can keep you or someone else alive long enough to get them to real medical care, and that is what an IFAK is all about.

The first line of the above paragraph says it all. An IFAK treats the most deadly and most common injuries that someone on the ground can treat in the first place. This is why we aren’t packing an AED, a hospital bed, a wash station, and other hospital gear.

We pack what we can carry and what we can use with the minimal medical training we have. Most of the time, that’s enough to keep someone alive until they reach higher medical care.

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care lists the most common forms of preventable death as:

  • Compressible hemorrhage – 60%
  • Tension pneumothorax – 33%
  • Airway obstruction and ventilatory compromise – 6%

Blood Loss

Bleeding was one of the most common battlefield deaths before an IFAK. Your body is just a giant meat sack of blood, and in general, you want to keep as much blood in your body as possible.

tis but a scratch

Several tools will allow you to keep that blood where it should be. Some are for extremities, and some are for the torso, while some work for both.


The Modern Tactical Tourniquet has saved more lives on the battlefield than any other medical tool. As a Marine, we carried tourniquets with us in bulk.

CAT Tourniquet
CAT Tourniquet

One on the flak jacket, one in the IFAK, one in the cargo pocket, and one on the rifle, really one everywhere you could fit one.

Our tourniquets were known as CAT tourniquets, and they were absolute lifesavers. Unfortunately, since they became so popular, a lot of low-quality clones arrived on the market. These clones are not built to any real standard.




Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

They are not built up to snuff but are okay for training purposes. Your life is not worth saving a few bucks on so buy the best.

We go over myths, propper usage, our favorite tourniquets, and the best tourniquet holders in our Best Tourniquets article.

Tourniquet on Armor Carrier
Tourniquet on Armor Carrier

Hemostatic Agents

Hemostatic agents have evolved a lot in the last few years and have gone from burning-based powder to the more comfortable, more effective, and safer Combat Gauze.

I don’t suggest powdered QuikClot anymore, but QuikClot combat gauze is a must-have.

While it was developed with the military in mind, QuikClot is now making these dressing for the civilian market and advertising them as such.

These are Hemostatic agents that you fill a wound with. It aids in hemorrhage control and helps the blood clot.

QuickClot has some different sizes and design available at very affordable prices.

Israeli Bandage

The Israeli bandage is called a lot of things, but the original name is the most well-known.

These bandages are revolutionary when it comes to hemorrhage control and compression. Once you shove a wound full of hemostatic gauze what do you do?

Best Critical Trauma Bandage

You keep it in there with this Trauma Wound Dressing.

It’s a pressure dressing that is a sterile dressing with an elastic bandage and a pressure applicator that puts 30 pounds of pressure on a wound. The Israeli Bandage incorporates a closure bar which makes it easy to ensure the bandage stays in place.

It’s really easy to apply, and the user can apply it to themselves with a single arm. A quick Youtube tutorial is all that’s needed to learn to use this simple bandage. It’s a must-have.

Sucking Chest Wound

Sucking chest wounds are another common and preventable killer.

Long-term treatment of a sucking chest wound is dealt with at a hospital, but you can help prevent damage and save a life by treating a sucking chest wound as quickly as possible.

If untreated, a sucking chest develops into Tension Pneumothorax, which listed above is the second significant preventable killer.

Sucking chest wound medical

A sucking chest wound occurs when there is a hole in the chest that creates a new and not needed airway into the chest. You don’t need or want extra air in the chest, and too much extra air will collapse a lung.

To treat a sucking chest wound, you need to keep the air from getting in and hopefully let the air out. I was taught many battlefield methods using duct tape and MRE wrappers, but we’ll avoid that here. Much better options exist, and they are called chest seals.

Mountain Man Medical Ankle IFAK
Hyfin Vent chest seal right up front.

There are quite a few well-made chest seals out there, and they come in a wide variety of sizes.

These things work very well and will stick and adhere to the body very well. Even when you are soaked in sweat, hair and dirt it’s not an issue.

Oh, but it is gonna hurt when you yank it off if you are a hairy gun. Be prepared to Shout “Oh Kelly Clarkson.”

oh kelly
oh kelly

North American Rescue, one of my favorite companies, is also producing chest seals that are square-shaped and a little easier to carry in small IFAKs. I trust North American Tactical enough to suggest them and recommend them with my full support.


Burns suck, the constant pain, the smell, and the long-term effects are terrible. Helping relieve the pain is the first step in treating the injury.

Treating big burns requires more than an IFAK can carry, but small burns along the body can be treated and pain can be relieved significantly by a quick-acting and well-equipped first responder.

Burn gel is the key to helping reduce pain and treating a burn. We carried a big packet of burn gel in our IFAKs by a company called Water Jel.


at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

This burn dressing is a sterile, gel-soaked dressing with a few qualities you need for treating burns.

First, it’s non-adhesive, which is critical for treating a burn. It also stops the burning process immediately.

These dressings save skin and reduce the injuries profile. It also relieves pain and keeps the area from becoming contaminated.

Cleanliness and Infection Prevention

Both sides of an injury should be in mind when it comes to contamination and infection. In a rapidly evolving emergency, you may not have time to wash up. If you can, you should though.

For the provider of first aid, I also say keep gloves on hand. Nitrile sterilized gloves in a bag are a simple and cheap addition to any IFAK…bring a few sets.

Gloves keep you from being exposed to contaminants and prevent you from potentially infecting your patient.

A spray with antiseptic is another way to control germs and infection.

A small 2.75-ounce can of spray is small and easily stored if needed. This spray isn’t a must-have but a handy-to-have. Dermoplast even has a pain reliever in it — bonus, it’s pretty cheap.


at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Boo Boos

For the little wounds, I suggest buying a few things.

These, again aren’t designed to save lives, but to make life more comfortable. If you are lucky, this is the only part of your kit you’ll ever need.


at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Here are a few little things for little boo-boos.

  • Variety pack of Band-Aids
  • Sting Relief Wipes
  • Pain Relief Pills
  • Neosporin

The Little Things

These are a few other things I think every kit needs to be complete. These are tiny but important pieces of equipment that aren’t necessarily medically required.

A Good Flashlight – I’d go with something small and simple. I used to carry a Streamlight Stylus as a penlight, and it’s an excellent choice. But I recently moved to a headlamp. A headlight lets me keep things hands free, which may be a necessary consideration.

For Every Day Carry lights, you’ll want one of the 5 Best EDC Flashlights we reviewed.

Tested Flashlights
Tested Flashlights

Trauma Shears – Cut through clothes with ease! These things are great for a variety of tasks. They are large, which makes them hard for small kits, but for hiking or bug-out bags, I’d pack them.

Large Tweezers – From splinter to infectious materials a pair of tweezers is a great thing to have. It makes it easy to precisely pull stuff out of where they shouldn’t be.

Sharpie – A black Sharpie is perfect for writing the time a tourniquet was applied, as well as vital information on the patient. Yes, directly on the patient for higher medical to see.

Best IFAK Pouches

If you are building your kit, choosing a pouch will be a big deal. I have experience with a variety of different bags and pouches. Some small, some big, and I figure I could drop a few I like here.

USMC Pouch

Well duh. The USMC was my first and even though its simple it is useful. It’s also quite cheap and very roomy.

It lacks the sexiness of the new IFAK pouches out there, but it works, and it’s been proven in combat by a few thousand infantry Marines.

I had the same IFAK for five years and two deployments, and it never even frayed.

USMC Pouch

There isn’t a whole lot to say. It’s a pouch that holds supplies and holds quite a bit of them. It’s sturdy, affordable, and widely available.

BFG Trauma Kit Now Micro

Another favorite and one of the most modern kits is the BFG Trauma Kit now. It’s a nice pouch, so you can fit a lot of goods in this kit, and it won’t give up on you.

The Trauma Kit Now Micro can easily slip onto your belt, making it great for range days!

You can stock the must-have essentials and, since it’s on you, you don’t have to fumble in a range bag to get what you need.

Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW
The OG kit was slightly bigger.

Blackhawk STRIKE First Aid Pouch

The STRIKE Pouch is an affordable design that’s very simple but excels in organization. The inside sports two internal dividers and a lot of elastic bands for simple and secure storage of medical items.

The Strike pouch hinges open and the bottom of the pouch doesn’t just flap in the wind. Everything is easily accessible and straightforward to use.

This is my go to range bag IFAK — it can squeeze in a lot of gear.

The design is well thought out, and if you want an easy to organize kit that doesn’t have a removable aspect to it the Strike Pouch is for you.

Best IFAK Complete Kits

If you want to avoid having to build your kit, some pre-built kits will need very little to nothing added to be a useful piece of equipment.

A Pre-Built IFAK can be a very viable choice as long as you understand its contents and what you are using it for. I always suggest adding at least one CAT tourniquet to any kit just. You might want to upgrade the scissors also.

Dark Angel Medical Ankle Kit

Carrying a MOLLE Mounted IFAK can be tough to accomplish in jeans and a T-shirt.

You might get some looks about it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry an IFAK. You just need to be smart about it.

The Dark Angel Medical Ankle Kit is how you beat the glares. This kit gives you the basics for a traumatic would, including a CAT TQ, a chest seal, Quickclot, and a compression bandage in a hand dandy kit that wraps around your ankle.

This ensures it’s concealed, although skinny jeans probably won’t work with the ankle kit. Toss it under your jeans and hit the ground running.

Every day you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at you.

What do you think of the Dark Angel kit? Rate it below!

North American Rescue Squad Medic’s Kit

So if you have a group of people you are in charge of taking care of you might need something more than an IFAK.

The NAR Squad Medics Kit is a massive and well-made kit that does break the entire premise of this article. IFAKs are for individuals, and this is for everyone.

This massive bag is perfect for a team, and it has nothing but the highest quality gear in the medical market.

North American Rescue is one of the most well-known and professional medical gear providers out there.

SurviveWare Large First-Aid Kit

Want to skip tracking down all the little bits, and just add in the big stuff that you have an actual opinion on? Start with a kit from SurviveWare.

Surviveware Kits
Surviveware Kits

They design these kits with usability under stress in mind, so they’re fantastic for those of us who don’t have the experience of working while under fire.

If you want to learn more about this kit or its little brother size, check out our full, hands-on SurviveWare first-aid kit review!

And, as a bonus, our readers get 10% from Surviveware! Use code PEWPEW at check out.

Adventure Medical Kits Me and My Dog Medical Kit

It’s not uncommon to take your favorite pup on adventures, hikes, and more. If this applies to you, then you might need to consider first aid goodies for your best friend.

Dogs on the trail can’t always be treated with your normal medical gear, and Adventure Medical Kit makes an adventure kit for both of you.

First Aid Dog
Even dogs get boo-boos.

The Me and My Dog Medical Kit include the basic medical gear that works for you or the pup.

On top of that, you get a spare leash, a Pet First Aid Manual, a tick remover, a cold press, a bandage that can double as a muzzle, and more that make it well suited for use on a dog.

It’s a simple setup that doesn’t pack the goods for a gunfight or serious traumatic injury, so you might want to add a TQ for you and a TacMed K9 TQ for your pup.

I’d also add a collapsible bowl for water for your good boy or girl — and some treats, of course.

Mountain Man Medical Sweetwater & Yellowstone

PPT Editor-in-Chief Jacki also really digs the Mountain Man Medical Sweetwater & Yellowstone IFAK kits.

Mountain Man Medical Yellowstone
Mountain Man Medical Yellowstone

They come with pretty much everything you need for a good IFAK — shears, gloves, sharpie, gauze, chest seal, tourniquet…you name it, it’s probably in there.

And bonus, you can order extra stuff through them if you want an extra CAT or two.

You can read Jacki’s full review here!

Rescue Essentials Range Master Medical Kit

If you are operating a range, teaching classes, or even taking classes, it’s wise to have medical gear on the range.

Most ranges are run responsibly, and traumatic incidents due to negligence are rare, although not completely unheard of. That’s a reason to have a kit — as are guns blowing up, brass burns, falls, scrapes, and all those other normal situations.

When you need a range-ready kit, the Rescue Essentials shows up in style. We get a big kit complete with a SOFT-W TQ, hemostatic gauze, a chest seal, an H bandage, and so much more.

Even PPE for those applying medical care is provided. This includes gloves and a face shield.

There’s boo-boo stuff, trauma shears, and everything you need for the range. It’s all packaged in a giant MOLLE-compatible kit that’s easily stored and ready for immediate use.

North American Rescue I-ROK Kit

Do you camp, hike, kayak, fish, hunt, or do any general adventuring? If you take an arrow to the knee, it’s not the time to stop adventuring and guard Skyrim.

No, bring a kit, specifically the North American Rescue I-ROK Kit.

Like most NAR goods, it’s shoved full of efficient and effective gear. You get everything from a tourniquet to a CPR face mask and even a mini roll of duct tape.

Plus, a set of instructions to help walk you through some basic medical treatment.

What makes this kit stand out for adventuring is the case design. It’s a high-impact polymer that is crushproof, dustproof, and waterproof.

The I-ROK won’t fail you and will keep up with whatever adventure you take it on.

Final Thoughts

Individual First Aid Kits have become quite widespread since they became the norm during the War on Terror. It’s become quite reasonable for the outdoorsman, the concealed carrier, and the prepared individual to keep one on hand in one way or another.

Mountain Man Medical Ankle IFAK
Ankle IFAK

I keep one in my range bag and my car, just in case. IFAKs have become affordable, easy to find, and are coming from a variety of reputable manufacturers. If you conceal carry a gun, you know you have had a responsibility for your safety.

Surviveware Large, Small, and Mini First-Aid kits
Surviveware Large, Small, and Mini First-Aid kits

This is the same reason I keep an IFAK close at hand. I’m responsible for my safety, and an IFAK is part of that.

Do you or would you carry an IFAK, or am I paranoid? Let me know below. Also, check out our list of SHTF Essentials.

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