We all have EDC items that we carry every day. For some, it’s just a phone, wallet, and keys, others have that plus some defensive equipment like a concealed handgun and pocket knife.
What about medical gear? Is that anywhere to be found in your EDC?
If your life and the lives of your family are on your mind every time you leave the house, then you should seriously evaluate what you’re taking with you.
The reality is that you’re far more likely going to use medical items than you are your concealed carry pistol.
Even if you are forced to defend yourself and other innocents from a violent mass attack, you need to know how to save your own life and the lives of others around you.
We’re going to break down exactly what medical gear is useful to carry and the best EDC medical kit to contain it all.
Should You EDC a Tourniquet?
The short answer is YES, especially if you’re carrying concealed. If you’re carrying something that makes holes, then you better be carrying something to plug holes.
Chances are much higher that you’re going to use a tourniquet than your concealed firearm. Whether you’re first on the scene to a car accident or a young kid falls off his bike, that tourniquet could save lives.
The average EMS response time is 8 minutes across the board. Give or take a minute depending on your distance from the 911 center.
So how long does it take on average to bleed out from a femoral artery? About 4 minutes. Do the math and you’ll more than likely be dead by the time EMS is on the scene. Remember the time chooses you, so be prepared to respond.
You’re the stop-gap for your life and possibly the life of another until emergency personnel arrives on the scene.
Although we recommend that everyone carry some type of EDC medical kit, a tourniquet, at a minimum, NEEDS to be part of your EVERYDAY carry. Tourniquets have become a standard in emergency medical care due to ease of use, rapid application, and their ability to completely stop a massive hemorrhage.
Before we get into our favorite EDC medical kits, you need to understand the difference between an EDC trauma kit and EDC first aid kit; they are two different animals.
An EDC First Aid Kit is for minor, non-life-threatening injuries, such as cuts and scrapes while an EDC trauma kit is for an injury that requires immediate action in order to preserve life.
An EDC trauma kit has the essential medical gear to handle the things that will kill us the quickest. The #1 cause of death is a massive life-threatening hemorrhage otherwise known as bleeding out.
What Goes in an EDC Trauma Kit
At a bare minimum, you need to have a proven tourniquet, not the latest "cool guy" tourniquet or something from China.
Next, you should have some hemostatic gauze like QuikClot along with a pressure dressing to reinforce the hemostatic agent and hold it in place. The SWAT-T is great for doubling as a pressure dressing.
If you have the space, add a pair of compact chest seals so that you have the ability to stop the bleeding and start breathing.
The CAT Gen 7 tourniquet is the gold standard and I keep one in my truck and in each of my larger medical kits. For EDC though, carrying a CAT tourniquet can be a challenge. For my EDC trauma kit, I prefer the SWAT-T. I’ve trained with it and carried it for years. Is it the best TQ out there? No, but it’s better than nothing and is something I will carry daily.
The SWAT-T is a low-profile tourniquet that is easy to carry in my back pocket every day. It has become a routine every morning when loading up for the day. The SWAT T tourniquet is also considered to be a multi-purpose tourniquet as it can also be used to secure a pressure dressing or a splint. Have a K9 or small children? It can be used on them too due to the stretch, wrap and tuck design.
If the wound is in the upper torso area, you can assume it’s a sucking chest wound that would require a chest seal to restore breathing. The compact HyFin chest seals come in a pack of two and are perfect for EDC med kits.
Basically, keep your EDC first aid kit limited to first aid situations and your EDC trauma kit limited to trauma situations. Only place items in them that you have been trained on and can confidently use. Stick to the basics of trauma management; "Stop the bleeding and start the breathing" and everything else will fall into place.
Who Makes The Best EDC Medical Kit?
The following EDC medical kits are heavy on the trauma side, but either contain a few first aid items or have enough room for you to augment the kit with a few bandaids.
The goal here is to keep the EDC medical kit compact enough that its easy to carry.
Let’s face it, if it’s uncomfortable to carry, then chances are you’re not going to carry it and that defeats the entire purpose. With that said, here are a few of our favorite EDC medical kits.
The Live The Creed EDC Pocket Trauma Kit was designed so that you can comfortably carry life-saving medical gear with you every day. It features easy-to-use medical components capable of treating the number one preventable cause of death, bleeding out.
H: 5.5" W: 3.5" D: 1.25"
Weight: .5 lbs
Store in a pocket, MOLLE Mount it, or clip it onto a bag/belt!
Made In The USA.
Can Fit a pair of Hyfin Compact Chest Seals if desired (not included)
Dark Angel Medical took the ‘minimalist’ Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) and Trauma Kit to an even smaller level (roughly a little larger than a pack of cigarettes).
When you just don’t have the room for a larger kit but don’t want to sacrifice the ability to save your life or the life of another, this is it. The Pocket DARK Mini.
Dimensions: 4" H x 2.5" W x 1" D
Weight: 4.8 ounces
Pocket Sized and Light Weight
Includes our Kit for Life Guarantee
Quick Access to all components with our easy to open vacuumed sealed bag
Simple in design for ease of use in stressful situations
Mini Compression Bandage – provides a fast, effective tool for many kinds of traumas and injuries
QuikClot Bleeding Control Dressing – This 3"x4′ long length of Z-Folded hemostatic gauze controls MINOR TO MODERATE bleeding with proven blood-stopping technology, is perfect for narrow wound channels and doesn’t take up a lot of room.
Gloves – One pair, nitrile, latex-free gloves to protect you from blood or other bodily fluids.
Hyfin Chest Seals – Provides users with two vented chest seals in a compact packaging designed for the prevention, management and treatment of an open and/or tension pneumothorax potentially caused by a penetrating chest trauma.
This is great kit for minor to moderate bleeds, but the kit is designed to be paired with a TCCC-recommended tourniquet.
The Dark Angel Medical Ankle Trauma Kit offers what you need for traumatic injuries in a small, compact, easy to carry, and concealable package that fits comfortably on your ankle. The elastic nylon pouch (available in black only) is made in the USA and features an open-top construction with easy-to-grip red pull tabs similar to open-top magazine pouches to gain easy access to the medical components.
The pouch features a hook and loop closure which will accommodate a large size of ankles. The pouch has a compartment for a tourniquet (CAT or SOFTT-W-compatible), and 2 separate compartments acceptable for other items such as hemostatic gauze, compact pressure bandages, gloves, chest seals, et. An additional small pocket will hold either a marker or a chest decompression needle.
Not the best solution for the summer months.
Dimensions: 4.5" H x 3.25" W x 1.25" D
Weight: 6 oz.
1 package of Hemostatic Gauze: (QuikClot Bleeding Control Dressing or ChitoGauze XR Pro)
1 Pair of Nitrile Gloves
1 H&H Mini Compression Bandage
1 Pair of Hyfin Vent Compact Chest Seals
1 Tourniquet (CAT Gen 7, Black is standard with option to substitute SOFTT-W, Black at no additional cost)
The Micro Trauma Kit NOW! Nano is the smallest of the medical kits Blue Force Gear offers. This mini trauma pouch holds the essential medical gear intended to stop the number one cause of traumatic death: bleeding!
This first aid pouch can easily be stowed in a pocket, medical pack, and other similar-sized spaces.
The Pocket Emergency Wallet (PEW) is an elastic sleeve sewn with three compartments, two for medical items and one narrow pocket for gloves, protecting your sealed gauze and bandages from abrasion and keeping them compressed and compact for pocket carry, while allowing for single-handed access and deployment of the contents.
Measuring 4×5 inches, the PEW fits most back pockets, cargo pockets, and jacket pockets. With the proper selection of contents, the kit can be as slim as 1.25 inches. Fully loaded from PHLSTER, the PEW weighs in at an impressive 5.5 ounces.
Weight: .35 lbs
Dimensions: 7×5.5×2 inches
Sleeve Color: Black, Grey
H&H Mini Compression Bandage
H&H Flat Compression Gsuze
An Honorable Mention
Spyderco Delica 4 (partially serrated). Having a partially serrated knife is a force multiplier in a medical emergency where you may need to cut yourself or someone else free from a seatbelt or to cut clothing to render medical aid.
The partially serrated Spyderco Delica 4 is a durable lightweight folder that is easy to carry every day. Pair this knife with a tourniquet and you’re a hell of a lot more prepared than most.
The only gear that matters during an emergency is the gear you have on you.