The EDC IFAK: Why You Need One

— Travis PikeCADRE Dispatch

Self-preservation shouldn’t just be seen as self-defense. It’s a way of life that ensures the safety and good health of yourself, your family, and your community. While it is easy to get wrapped up in the world of guns, holsters, and knives, an EDC IFAK should be an important part of your everyday carry.

I’d even go as far as to argue that for the average Joe, an EDC IFAK is more important than a firearm. 

A firearm is used in one specific situation: self-defense. An IFAK can be used in countless situations, from a slip and fall to a post-self-defense wound. They are extremely handy to have for life’s speed bumps.

Today, we are going to dive headfirst into the EDC IFAK world. 

What’s an IFAK? 

I’m throwing lots of acronyms at you, likely before you’ve even had your morning coffee. However, those acronyms have a point. We know that EDC refers to everyday carry. An IFAK is an individual first aid kit. The United States military popularized the term, referring to the individual first aid kits they carried outside of the medic or Corpsman’s loadout.

That term has expanded into the world of everyday carry and typically refers to a small, easily concealed, and easily carried medical kit for everyday emergencies. A small, niche part of the tactical medicine community has created several EDC-based kits to fit everyone. 

What Goes Into an EDC IFAK

There are various ideas and philosophies regarding what goes into an EDC IFAK. How it’s carried, size, and visibility requirements often affect what can be carried.

Individual requirements could focus on the size of the family, the presence of kids, and even the threat risk they face. A guy who works outdoors in an isolated area has different needs than a guy who works from an office. A parent has different needs than a person without children in tow, and so forth. 

However, a basic list of common gear you’ll find in these EDC kits includes:

  • Tourniquet
  • Hemostatic Gauze 
  • Compression Bandage
  • Chest Seals (often Hyfin Vent designs) 
  • Nitrile Gloves
medical supplies in EDC IFAK
A good IFAK is a literal lifesaver. (Mountain Man Medical)

Outside of just having equipment, it is critical to have high-quality, well-made equipment. Your life, or the life of a loved one, is on the line, so don’t cheap out. This means a good tourniquet like the CAT GEN 7 and SOF-T. I tend to stick to Quikclot Hemostatic gauze and gear from North American Rescue.  

The Best EDC IFAKs 

Let’s look at a few high-quality IFAKs from trusted sources. Some have the option to come pre-filled, and others are sturdy pouches that allow you to choose your own items.

Live the Creed EDC Pocket Trauma Kit 

Live the Creed, or LTC offers a very interesting option for low-profile carry with their Pocket Trauma Kit. The Pocket Trauma Kit looks like a bulky wallet but fits into your back pocket pretty easily.

There is something to be said about convenience and ease of carry, and the LTC kit does just that. You likely already have a free pocket around the back, so tossing this in isn’t a big deal. It doesn’t take any belt space or require any specific means of mounting. 

LTC Wallet medical kit
The LTC Wallet kit is super easy to carry.

Drop it in your pocket and forget all about it. Like a wallet, it folds in half, and each half carries a portion of the included medical gear.

The Pocket Trauma Kit is designed around the stop-the-bleed idea and comes with either a SWAT-T or ETQ tourniquet as the main star of the show. It also has QuikClot hemostatic gauze and gloves. 

Live the Creed Wallet Kit items
The LTC kit is chock full of great gear.

Outside of the bleeding control, we get the micro first aid kit. As a guy with clumsy kiddos, this is super handy. It packs some band-aids, wound closure stripes, iodine and alcohol wipes, and bacitracin. This EDC IFAK is a very convenient kit, and you don’t have an excuse to leave it at home. 

Defense Mechanisms Inconspicious Personal Ankle Kit

To be clear, this isn’t a complete kit but just a carrier. You stock it yourself, but Defense Mechanisms has a suggested list in case you feel a little lost. I use this kit for most of the year and have grown fond of it. The Ankle Kit acts like an ankle holster and uses a generous amount of hook-and-loop to secure the rig to your ankle. 

Defense mechanism kit
The Defense Mechanism Kit doesn’t come with gear, but is ready for gear.

The kit comes with four massive pockets to accommodate a ton of gear. This includes a dedicated tourniquet pocket that fits all the TCCC-approved TQs, including the CAT Gen 7. A retention strap ensures the longer tourniquets stay put and won’t slide out. The rest of the pockets can fit things like hemostatic gauze, regular gauze, chest seals, gloves, band-aids, and, honestly, a ton more. 

You can strip the kit off with ease and work from the ground. You can also access the gear while the ankle kit is worn. The kit is super comfy and easy to use but does restrict you to wearing pants. That might be a turn-off in the summer. Also, skinny jeans enthusiasts will be disappointed. 

Dark Angel Medical Pocket D.A.R.K. Mini Trauma Kit 

Dark Angel Medical is an OG of the tactical medical world that’s opened itself to civilians. The Dark Angel Tactical Pocket D.A.R.K. Mini Trauma Kit is about as small as an EDC IFAK can get. It’s designed to fit in your front or back pocket for a very lightweight and low-key kit. 

Dark Angle Medical kit
Dark Angel Medical makes a super easy-to-use pocket carry kit.

The D.A.R.K. Mini Trauma Kit comes in a very simple nylon pouch. Inside the pouch, we get a mini compression bandage, a QuickClot Bleeding Control Dressing, gloves, and two Hyfin Chest Seals. It lacks a tourniquet, and the idea is you can carry one in a dedicated TQ belt pouch, in another pocket, or elsewhere. 

dark angel medical kit
The Mini kit isn’t chock full of supplies. You’ll need to carry a tourniquet with your gear.

The kit is super simple and very low-key. Drop it in your pocket and go about your day. It also fits well in a purse, a backpack, a laptop bag, or anywhere else. 

Mountain Man Medical Ankle IFAK

Mountain Man Medical built its brand around bringing traumatic medical gear to the EDC and civilian community. They even offer a free course online that I suggest everyone take. Anyway, their EDC IFAK, the Mountain Ankle IFAK, is a complete ankle kit that includes a carrier and gear. Throw it on your ankle and hit the ground running. 

mountain man medical ankle kit
The Mountain Man Medical Ankle kit combines a great piece of kit with high-quality supplies.

It straps across your ankle with a hook and loop and offers a multi-touch approach. The Ankle Cuff comes from Wilderness Tactical, one of my favorite nylon soft goods companies. The Ankle cuff has five big pockets and one small pocket. Six pockets total make it easy to carry a tourniquet, a batch of hemostatic dressing, a two-pack of chest seals, a mini compression bandage, gloves, and even a set of trauma shears. 

This kit is the culmination of a lot of experience on the medical side and on the soft good side. The combination gives you a simple, no-questions-asked kit for those who’d prefer to purchase a complete kit rather than put one together. 

Carrying Medical 

I’m glad to see the acceptance and production of so many EDC IFAKs. Their popularity is an inspiration, and I’m excited to see more and more people carrying medical gear daily.

Now that you have a good idea of what’s involved, I hope you join the club. Let’s make the EDC IFAK as mainstream as the EDC handgun. The world will be a better place for it. 

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