Pocket Trauma Kits: Keeping The 5 Essentials Close At Hand

by Glen Stilson, Independence Training Head Instructor

There are 5 basic essentials that you should have in a small trauma kit, and these should be kept separately from a “band-aid” kit: 1) Tourniquet, 2) Pressure Bandage, 3) Gauze, 4) Tape, and 5) Occlusive Seal.

Tourniquets are important for stopping wounds with arterial bleeding, and I prefer the CAT or the TK4-L. If you think that a tourniquet is a bad idea, then it’s time to get some fresh training. Next you’ll want at least one bandage, and I prefer a bandage that can be used to apply lots of pressure, such as the Israeli, the Emergency Trauma Dressing, or even an ACE. There’s no such thing as too much gauze in a medical emergency, and a pack of H&H Compressed Gauze goes a long way.111

Tape is invaluable when you’re trying to hold bandages or dressings in place, and good ol’ duct tape is an excellent choice – make your own small roll or you can compact rolls. The last essential is a way to seal up a chest wound or puncture hole in the body. Plastic and tape do a quick and dirty job of accomplishing this, but are not 100% effective and a real occlusive dressing such as a HALO seal will do
a much better job. Use a small Tegaderm to save space if you’re trying to keep your kit tight.

There is no reason that you can’t have quick access to your kit, even when you are out and about. Personally, I carry a small trauma kit in my cargo pocket that I vacuum sealed tightly with a Foodsaver. This type of kit can easily be carried in a purse, backpack, glove box, etc. Remember that improvisation is the key to survival, so if you don’t have something, look around at what’s nearby and figure out how to make what you need. Clothing, bedding, even personal hygiene products can all be used to save lives when used effectively.

As I mentioned in the last issue, however, all of the tools in the world are worth nothing without the skills and the mindset to put them to use. Get some high quality training and learn how to save lives.


Glen Stilson is the Head Instructor for Independence Training, an emergency response and firearms training organization. He is also a published author and magazine columnist, and the creator of the Outdoor Mastery program.