Table of Contents
We have all heard of first aid kits that we keep at homes, offices, and in the car. But not many seem to know of an IFAK pouch. It is an acronym for Individual First Aid Kit, something that was designed to help soldiers treat life-threatening injuries on the battlefield.
Until the 1990s, the only first aid kit available to soldiers was the trau-medic bandage. When military doctors found out the two leading causes of death on the battlefield – hemorrhage and inadequate airway – they designed the IFAK pouch to contain the necessary medical supplies to treat injuries at the scene.
This doesn’t mean that the IFAK pouch is restricted to the military. Hikers, mountaineers, and those who venture on adventures into remote or dangerous locations often carry an IFAK pouch with them, for treating medical emergencies.
If you venture into remote or dangerous locations often for hikers or other adventures, you must consider having an IFAK pouch on you (it is certainly more useful than shaving cream!). It is far more comprehensive than an ordinary first aid kit and can save your life if the situation arises. In this article, we give you the breakdown of the best IFAK pouches you can buy in the market.
At a Glance: Our Choices for The 7 Best IFAK Pouches
Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each flashlight.
How to choose an IFAK pouch
The IFAK pouch is more common than we often imagine it to be. That’s the reason why it’s easy to find an IFAK pouch on online shopping sites. However, unlike regular first aid kits that can be used by anybody, using an IFAK requires basic medical knowledge.
Without the medical knowledge, it is difficult to even recognize most of the items in an IFAK pouch. Therefore, before you go ahead and buy an IFAK pouch, it is important that you learn how the things inside the bag work.
An IFAK is used in serious trauma when even the lapse of a second can kill someone. An IFAK is the minimum necessary medical assistance that can save a life. The items in an IFAK pouch are basically aimed at treating excessive bleeding and blockage of airway.
Aside from CPR, you also must know how to recognize an injury, use the medical supplies available, and dress a wound. Practicing with a competent trainer along with an IFAK is the way to learn how to use the kit in the right way. Even if you never have to venture into a battlefield, this is essential knowledge that may come handy anytime.
It’ simple to pick up an IFAK online, but there are a few things you must consider before you buy one. The most important thing to know is that there are several different variations of an IFAK, each with different items in them. One IFAK can have supplies completely different from another kit. Supplies also vary from one brand to another.
You first have to decide whether you want only the bag to stock with your own chosen medical supplies or a kit already containing the basic supplies. You must also decide how big or small you want your kit to be. This will depend on the supplies you want to stock and where you want to attach the pouch.
There are a few other things too that you need to consider, including material, durability, water-resistance, number of compartments, efficiency, Velcro straps, number of compartments, and so on. The right IFAK depends on your needs, and the items you want it to hold.
Thankfully, there are two types of IFAK available – one with the supplies included, and the other without them. Those experienced in medical supplies and emergencies prefer to buy the pouch and put together their own items. But if you are a newbie to this, it gets difficult to choose the items to include.
Some of the items to include in an IFAK are gauze pads, cotton, assorted bandage rolls, emergency pills for various general illnesses, hemorrhage control kit, medical gloves and scissors, Band-Aids, tourniquet, sterile dressings, among others.
Top 7 IFAK Pouches
Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch
If you are a pro at organizing an IFAK and need only the bag to put your own supplies in, the Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch must figure very high on the list. This pouch has a three-fold design and a number of pockets to easily fit all your medical supplies.
Even though the bag looks compact, it has plenty of room inside, so much that you might have trouble filling it up. The pouch is available on its own, without any added medical supplies.
While most available IFAK pouches have a two-fold design, the Condor bag is threefold, which means it has more space and versatility. The multiple pockets and elastic loops offer plenty of room for storing everything from medical supplies, to a flashlight, to a rescue knife. As mentioned above, although the bag looks simple, it is extremely well designed, with thought given to every little detail.
There’s a double zipper closure, keeping the contents secure, while the two-inch webbing and the pull-tab facilitate easy opening and closure. The bag can also be carried in a lot of ways. You can carry it by attaching the D-rings to a shoulder strap, or by the carry handle at the top, or you can attach it to your belt or bag. Just release the Velcro to rip off the bag and hand it over to someone.
This is a versatile IFAK pouch with massive storage capacity (though that does not mean you want to carry any worthless DVDs in it like Thor III and The Force Awakens) and a number of carrying methods. At only $20, you get a pouch that will serve you for years to come, no matter how rugged you get with it.
Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch
This is a Vietnam product, and can be used as a general purpose pouch as well as a medical kit. The right size of the bag makes it ideal for an IFAK – not too big and not too small either. If you already have the supplies and only need a bag to hold them, then you can’t go wrong with this pouch by Maxpedition.
In fact, all products from the brand are known to be versatile, sturdy, and long-lasting. Several IFAK pouches these days come with only one large pocket, but this one by Maxpedition is more organizational, with a lot more room.
The bag comes with zipper pouch, sleeve, and elastic straps down the sides that can be used to hold tools and medical supplies. To be able to carry this pouch easily, there is an optional shoulder strap, D-rings that can be attached to a shoulder strap, and modular webbing on the front and sides. There’s also a carry handle. The front and back halves of the pouch have layered pockets with plastic loops, to keep the contents secure.
The bag is made from water-resistant light-weight nylon, and has a Teflon fabric protector for stain and grime resistance. There’s also a water-resistant polyurethane coating.
Use it as a medical kit or a utility bag, the Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch is strong and sturdy, and has plenty of room to hold all your supplies. The ease of organization and access make this one of the best selling IFAK pouches of today.
Reebow Tactical Molle Medical EMT Pouch
Reebow makes products for military use and tactical purposes. No matter what gear you purchase from them, you can be assured of their quality. The types of gear they sell are made from materials used for technical, high-performance purposes (they are not made of Redvines and marshmallows that is for sure!). Despite the high quality, Reebow products are reasonably priced, and also look good. These are some of the many reasons why Reebow is trusted for military and outdoor use.
The Reebow Tactical Molle Medical EMT Pouch is small to look at; it measures only six inches in width, and eight inches in height. But don’t be fooled by its small size, because it has plenty of room inside. Made from strong, water-resistant material, this military-grade pouch comes with double stitching, besides being equipped with cord pulls and a two-way zipper system.
There are D rings to be attached to the shoulder straps at the back, a strong belt loop, and elastic straps inside. The straps can be attached to your bag, belt, vest, or the headrest of your car. Besides the standard medical supplies, you can also store tools like knives and flashlights, and the strong straps make sure none of the products move out of their place.
This small, lightweight, water-resistant bag is extremely durable, and can survive drops, knocks, and rain easily. The zippers are of the highest quality, and the compartments inside the pouch offer plenty of room for storage.
Although the pouch doesn’t have areas to store small items like Band-Aids, this is an extremely versatile and compact IFAK pouch, which comes at an affordable price.
The quality is remarkable, so you can safely use it for all rugged purposes, without fear of a zipper breaking off or a strap coming loose in the middle of nowhere. This is one of those pouches that can be used for several purposes, first aid kit being one.
Tactical 5.11 Unisex UCR IFAK Pouch Bag
In today’s climate, it is essential to not only know how to treat medical emergencies but also have supplies on hand in case such a situation arises. It could anything from a broken ankle to a deep wound, but the one thing that lets you carry all your supplies is the Tactical 5.11 Unisex UCR IFAK Pouch. It looks small and compact, but once you open it, there’s plenty of room inside.
The pouch easily attaches to your vehicle’s headrest, belt, vest, backpack, or any MOLLE or web platform, so you can keep your emergency kit close at hand.
This IFAK from 5.11 is made from high quality, durable, and water-resistant nylon, which means you can drop it, wet it, and use it rough without a care. Practical and tactical, the bag comes without any unnecessary bands or attachments.
Aside from the compartments inside, there is also an outer compartment, to hold items like a tourniquet or a flashlight. There’s a back pocket and a middle pocket, and several other pockets to hold smaller items. You also get a red bungee cord and a large elastic band with the bag.
Although a little smaller than most IFAK pouches, this bag is multipurpose, versatile, and holds a lot of supplies. Easy to organize and access, the bag can be attached to any platform and easily removed when needed.
BLACKHAWK! Omega Elite Modular Drop Leg Medical Pouch
If you’re in search of a small, compact pouch that easily attaches to your thigh or leg, look no further than the BLACKHAWK! Omega Elite Modular Drop Leg Medical Pouch. Made from nylon and lined with foam, this is one of the most premium water-resistant IFAK pouches available today.
If you spend time outdoors in the desert, woods, hikes, or just want to be armed with emergency supplies, this bag will never let you down unlike the VA for veterans or federal health care programs but that is another topic.
The bag is small and sits on the side of your leg without causing any discomfort. When fully unzipped, it opens up all the way, in the style of a clam-shell, and allows easy access to the contents.
The bag also has three pairs of elastic bands inside, and several other bands for small items. Aside from the leg, the bag can also be attached to belts, vests, and backpacks. That is awesome! Have fun and explore!
You can perhaps even attach it to your dog if you want to go that route. Dogs can help in so many ways!
If you don’t mind paying a little extra for a premium quality pouch, then this is a lovely little IFAK that will hold all your medical supplies and sit on your leg snugly. Whether you go hiking or for a rescue operation, this pouch will always provide the best service.
Orca Tactical MOLLE Rip-Away EMT Pouch
For a high quality, durable, affordable pouch that functions as both a medical kit and a bug out bag, the Orca Tactical MOLLE Rip-Away EMT Pouch is one of the best that is out there. Well-built with square corners, the MOLLE and Velcro rip-away on the pouch allow you to use it either way.
Inside, there are three separate sections: two for trauma and one for everyday injury. The elastic bands keep the contents secure. The 900D double-stitched polyester ensures durability, and the MOLLE webbing allows you to secure it to any belt, bag, or vest. You also get D-rings for extra attachments. No, these attachments are not to carry your electric toothbrush or a bag of chips!
Convenient, affordable, and compact, this IFAK pouch is fantastic for both utility and emergency kit purposes. It holds all medical supplies, and attaches to any MOLLE platform securely. No, it does not attach to your flat screen in your living room, that is ridiculous!
Gear MOLLE Large Medic Pouch
Without the right IFAK pouch, it isn’t possible to be the first responder in a medical emergency. That’s why this 3V Gear MOLLE Large Medic Pouch should always be with you, packed with all essential medical supplies. You can easily attach it to your slingbag or backpack, with the ample space inside letting you pack all supplies and secure them with the elastic loops.
Made with 600D PVC backed polyester, this strong water resistant pouch keeps your supplies safe and dry at all times. The MOLLE platform has strong webbing and metal button snaps, with an external mesh pocket.
For a compact convenient IFAK bag at a reasonable price, it is hard to beat the 3V Gear MOLLE Large Medic Pouch. It is easy to access, organize, and attach to any MOLLE platform.
Now that we know about the different types of IFAK pouches available, it is time to put together your kit. Even though on good days, it will remain unused, it is essential to keep it updated always (kind of like maintaining your car right?). Safety is the best precaution (even if you are doing something as crazy as bungee jumping!), and being prepared means being safe.
Key Points to Remember
When you are going off the beaten path and away from the town or city you live in, you need to be prepared. There is not any hospital down the street from you. You need to have an IFAK pouch. It is just judicious to do so.
This is not Harry Potter land. Choose an IFAK pouch according to your proclivities. Any one of the ones mentions above will do. This could be a decision that saves you or someone else’s life!