Hey everyone. Been a while. Thought I would share with you something so vitally important, that it WILL save your life, or the life of loved one, or even a stranger. This is my current, ongoing, but almost complete emergency trauma kit, with a very "gray man" style approach, so you aren't singled out as a "prepper" or some weird looking person carrying a TON of medical supplies with you at all times. You will always be prepared for an emergency, should one occur near you. Having the latest and greatest survival knife, or water filter, or whatever sort of survival gear you want to think about, is all well and good, but it most likely won't save your life in case you have a serious injury. Or say your child slips, falls, and sprains their ankle. You best have a kit like mine to deal with such an emergency! Okay, let us get right into this thing!
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: First, the Bag Itself...
Let us start with a little history lesson, shall we? One of my hobbies, and you may laugh if you want to, is being a "living historian", otherwise known as a Civil War reenactor. :) *insert giggles here* Even though it may sound funny, there has been a LOT of valuable information I have learned by playing "19th century weekend soldier". One of the most valuable pieces of "kit" a soldier was issued, or had a family member make, was something called a "haversack". Think of it as the forefather to a woman's purse. However, in the Civil War, this was meant to hold your 4 day's rations (which were almost always eaten within 2 days), 40 rounds of extra ammo, and usually small personal items, like a pipe and tobacco, or a picture of a loved one.
Knowing how valuable, and versatile this item can be, I have always wanted to find a well made, modern style "man purse", but could never find one I truly liked. They were always too small, too tactical looking, or the construction was just sub par. Then one day stumbled upon The Hidden Woodsmen (www.thehiddenwoodsmen.com). I saw some YouTube videos reviewing his haversacks, and knew right away I had to have one, as it fit all my needs! The man who makes these is named Malcolm Coderre. Really nice gentleman. He has a love of history, and especially old military style packs. He takes old designs, and gives them a modern twist, with modern materials, without them being totally "Tacticool" looking. Everything is handmade by him in the US. By the way, I am not sponsored by him or anything. I just stand by his product, and found it to be the absolute best bag on the market for what I am sharing with you. Size is perfect. Construction is built like a tank. Very comfortable, and blends in with crowds. He makes some in various camouflages and whatnot, but his Marshall Gray version is perfect for keeping a low profile. His dark brown, and even the navy blue one could work as well. I did a YouTube video on this very bag, so you can see the features, and why I think this is the best bag available. Vid below.
While you're at it, please click like, share and subscribe. That would really help me out a LOT! :)
But enough of the bag, as that video explains my reasoning behind choosing it, and it's features. Let us get into the contents I carry around, how I have it set up, some mods/upgrades I did, and all that other good stuff that you came here to read about in the first place :P
Step 2: Outside Part of the Bag
One of the most awesome features of Malcolm's take on the haversack (which is eerily similar to the one I carry when I reenact) is he has some PALS/MOLLE webbing on each side of the pack. Just 2 rows, nothing too crazy. This is one feature I love. It keeps it very minimalistic, and keeps it fitting in with the "gray man" style. Just enough to customize, without being "tacticool".
I live in Southern California, and it can get crazy hot here at the most random of times. One thing people don't think of, is staying hydrated. "Oh, it was only 85 yesterday, blah blah blah." The next day it is triple digits. I've seen and dealt with friends/people who are suffering from dehydration and heat stroke, and it is so easily prevented, that it is borderline stupid that it still happens to people. So, I decided to find a way to attach a Nalgene bottle to my pack. I found the Rothco lightweight bottle carrier on Amazon. Price was nice, featured double velcro straps to hold the bottle in place, is compatible with PALS/MOLLE webbing, and has a shock cord keeper for securing your lid and keeping the bottle in place. PERFECT! There are similar holders on Amazon that have the lower strap ONLY. I wouldn't trust those to keep a full Nalgene of water safely in place. Go with Rothco
On the other side of the pack, I have a NiteIze Figure 9 carabiner clipped and tucked into the webbing. Never know when you might need a carabiner. On the shoulder strap buckle, which is a SUPER wide and comfy strap, I have about 2 feet of black 550 paracord. It can be used for a number of medical usages, but I love to simply unspool it, and practice tying various knots into it while walking around. Practicing knots sub-consciously. Getting that muscle memory down. If you don't use it, you lose it. All those various sayings. I used a square knot to tie to to one little opening of the buckle, with generous length on each end to practice stuff like double sheet bends, blood knots, etc...
The flap that closes the bag has a double buckle system, and is incredibly secure. There is PLENTY of slack left if you need to adjust the buckles. I like to keep my stuff pretty compact and tight, and so I sort of looped and tucked the excess length around the lower section of the buckle, so it doesn't interfere with unclasping the side release buckles themselves. Then I used a NiteIze S-biner to keep both ends from hanging down. The webbing has small little loops on the bottom, so it fits perfectly with the S-biner! Now everything is tucked up out of the way, and won't be flopping around when I walk. Plus I now have an extra S-biner handy, should I require one.
Onto the inside, where all the magic happens!
Step 3: Zippered Pocket, Secondary Pocket, and Velcro Area
When you flip up the outside flap, you will see a thick zippered pocket with velcro area, and a non-zippered pocket behind the first one. Behind my Mandalorian patch, I keep heavy duty diaper pin. Never know when you might need something like this, and being as it fits behind the patch, I know exactly where it is and will not have to go digging around for it.
Inside the zippered pocket, which opens smooth as butter for being such a wide, heavy duty zipper, I keep some personal stuff. A pack of sugar free gum to chew on after I eat a meal (oral hygiene is SUPER important!), some disposable rubber gloves, an AMBU mouth to mouth guard (I'm about to learn hands only CPR next week, so I can probably ditch this, but it is good to have for now). The Altoids tin is full of 200mg caffeine tablets, and L-Theanine. Take 1 of each, and it is a "nootropic" stack. Look into it. Very cool stuff. Basically gives you the alertness and focus benefits of the caffeine, without raising your heart rate, or having a crash later. I don't drink coffee, and this stuff is awesome. Anyway, that is what I carry in the front, zippered pocket.
The easy access pocket has some vital "I need it right now!" type of items. First and foremost, is a QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge. This is when I absolutely need to stop some heavy bleeding right now, or at least slow it down to get to my tourniquet! Next item is a Hyfin Vent Chest Seal. With all the random shootings and such going on these days, you may very well find yourself in a situation where you or a loved one was hit by a stray bullet, and now have a collapsed lung. This can be fatal if not dealt with quickly. This 2 pack Hyfin Chest Seal will help the injured person from dying of a collapsed lung until actual EMT's arrive and can take over. It is a 2 pack in case a bullet leaves an entry and exit wound, and folds flat, the EXACT width of the pocket! Perfect!
The 3rd item is actually multiple items, and that is an EMT style shears set. When someone is injured, and you need access to wherever the wound is fast, you don't have time to remove a shirt, or pants. Use these shears, and cut that fabric away! Every second counts. This little set has a velcro closure so things don't fall out, but is super easy to access the tools. Has 2 sizes of shears, some lockable forceps, and a pair of tweezers. Then I have a dust mask, and a mini Sharpie to round things out. Keep it all in the easy access pocket because I can't waste time looking for something when it comes to saving someone's life.
Step 4: The Main Pouch, EDC "boo-boo" Supplies, and Backups to Backups to Backups....
So finally we get to the main body of the bag, which is super generous in size, has a high-viz lining, and 2 flaps that velcro together to keep things from falling out, as can be seen in the pictures on the previous step. This is where I keep a lot of the non-life threatening supplies, but a few important pieces as well. As you can see in the pictures, there is TONS of room for everything to fit, with room left over for some other stuff you would want to throw in there.
I keep 2 Israeli bandages (in 4 inch and 6 inch sizes). If you have one of these, GREAT! They are super well made items to have. However, they are vacuum sealed, and then double sealed to save space. The packaging could be a pain at times to open, especially if you have blood on your hands, making everything slippery. What I did was took them out of their packages, and placed them in Ziploc baggies with rubber bands around them. If someone is bleeding to death, I want to stabilize them fast. Sanitation is not even on my mind at that moment. Antibiotics can take care of/prevent any infection later on. Be sure you know how to properly use these types of bandages. Along with the QuikClot clotting sponge, this is a REALLY good system to stop bleeding, especially on non-compressible wounds. I also have a SOFT-T tourniquet, in case a bad enough wound requires that. Learn how to use it, both on yourself, and others. It can be used 1 handed on yourself, but it's awkward. Still, it could save a life if someone has arterial bleeding. I am going to pick up a RATS tourniquet soon also, to wear on my belt or keep in my back pocket, or attach to the webbing by the NiteIze Figure 9 carabiner for quick deployment.
I carry 2 sizes of Kerlix gauze, to also help stop heavy bleeding. See a pattern here? What if someone is in a bad car or motorcycle accident, and has multiple deep, heavy flowing wounds? Gotta have supplies for all these sorts of scenarios. I have a few different types of ACE bandages, which can be used to hold the gauze in place, or for something as minor as a sprained ankle or wrist. Which leads me to the next item, is the SAM Splint. If someone breaks an arm or leg, the SAM Splint can be cut to fit (with the EMT shears!) and can help immobilize the injured body part, using the ACE bandages to keep it securly in place. Which again, leads me to the next item, the good old shemagh! This can be used as a head wrap to keep dust out of the face, soak up sweat and use as a cool towel, to wipe up blood, to protect wounds, and when used with the SAM Splint and ACE bandages, as a sling for a broken arm. Make sure it is 100% cotton and not polyester!
So there is the essential, super important life saving stuff. But what about those little baggies on the right side of the picture? I keep them in the back pocket of the main pouch. One has medications and such like Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Claritin, anti diarrheal meds... along with stuff like Carmex lip balm, triple antibiotic ointment, that sort of stuff. The other baggie is full of regular bandaids, alcohol wipes... things like that.
The third, small baggie goes along with the Nalgene bottle actually. Inside, I carry a bunch of sugar packets, and also salt packets that I take from various fast food joints and coffee places. For every litre of water, mix 6 teaspoons of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Luckily, a 32 oz. wide mouth Nalgene bottle is almost exactly 1 litre! Forgot how many sugar and salt packets are in there right now, but through trial and error, I have the right amount measured out, trust me. LOL. If someone has a bad case of diarrhea or is suffering from heat exhaustion, you are now able to help their body regulate itself, and replenish vital lost fluids and electrolytes! Simply drinking water is, to a degree, pointless. Again, this is something most people never think of! Be prepared!
Step 5: Misc Card Holder Kit...
The last item (but certainly not least!) is sort of a backup to my backups. I took one of those multi card wallet inserts, and filled it with stuff. I'm not gonna get into everything, but you can see in the pictures what I have in there. Was a fun little project, and is just to supplement what I already have inside the 2 other plastic baggies.
Step 6: In Closing
So there you have it. Probably one of the most complete emergency medical kits you've ever seen, AND you don't look like a crazy person walking around with it! There are a couple more items I am going to buy soon, one of those being a couple of instant cold packs. This will really help with swelling due to sprains, breaks, or to help with heat stroke (lightly secure one to the carotid artery in the neck to help cool the blood flow and get that core temperature down).
But more important than all this gear, is the knowledge to use it all, and in what circumstances. I have the fortune of being trained for various medical injuries due to working in a pharmacy across the street from a hospital, down the road from 2 urgent cares, and surrounded by old folks homes. I was trained to help deal with slips and falls, head contusions, serious bleeding, heat stroke, etc... and with all the mass shootings, or just general unluckiness people find themselves in, I know I am trained and ready to deal with almost any situation that can be thrown at me. I am also taking a trauma course next week (Nov 15th) from a registered trauma nurse, just to keep learning about such an important, and yet so very highly overlooked, hands on skillset. You can have the shiniest, shootiest brand new gun. The sharpest, stabbiest brand new knife. But if you accidentally get hit by your own richochet, or drop your knife and slice the artery in your leg, if you don't have access to life saving items like what I carry in my EDC "gray man" style trauma kit... you're as good as dead! Any suggestions or comments are ALWAYS welcome! I hope I may have filled in some gaps in your preps and safety, and might have made you think about having your own trauma kit with you at all times. Stay safe people!
Participated in the
Survival Ready Contest