A stretch bandage for wounds

Stretchy Wrap For Wounds – Self Adhering Bandage Dressings

Self adherent wrap. Also known as Coban wrap (made by 3M). Or simply, stretchy wrap for wounds – dressings / bandages (among other uses). I recommend that everyone have at least several rolls of these stretchy wraps as part of their overall First Aid preparedness supplies.

The medical stretch wrap is excellent at holding gauze dressings in place against a wound, especially around an appendage. It sticks to itself. It stretches and adheres to itself when you wrap a layer or two, and can be applied on yourself fairly easily, quickly, and efficiently.

Stretch wrap for wounds and other uses

Stretchy Wrap For Wounds, aka Coban Wrap

The self adhering stretch wrap material can be pulled really tight, or as loose as you want. For initial bleeding though, you do want it fairly tight.

Mostly known as Coban wrap by 3M, although other manufacturers make it too. It’s not very expensive, and again, a practical sensible item to have among your First Aid supplies. I’ll link to 3 width sizes of 3M Coban wrap for your reference (storefront on amzn)..

1″ x 5yds (5)
2″ x 5yds (3)
3″ x 5yds (1)

How Stretchy is Coban Wrap?

How much does it actually stretch? It’s pretty amazing actually. Here’s a photo showing 6″ of Coban stretch wrap, before it’s stretched, and then while it’s stretched. And I could have stretched it a bit more too.

Based on my own experience, Coban wrap stretches twice, or double its length – if you pull it that far. Also, its elasticity enables it to relax back to the ‘at rest’ length. That elastic tension combined with the ‘stickiness’ of the web, is what makes this stretchy wrap what it is.

Coban stretchy wrap elasticity

Use Stretch Wrap to Help Stop the Bleeding

First, know this: The best thing you can do to help stop the bleeding during an emergency is to “plug it” and apply pressure. What do I mean by that?

Grab some gauze (the plug) or whatever appropriate clean material you may have to ‘plug’ the wound. Place it over the wound.

Next, wrap it well and snug with some wrapping material holding the gauze ‘plug’ in place (e.g. Coban stretch wrap). Wrap it tight enough to apply adequate pressure to help stop the bleeding. If necessary, push down on the wound to apply more pressure against the bleeding. Proceed to appropriate medical care.

For traumatic injury, I highly recommend the Israeli Bandage. I wrote about it here on the blog, and advise that you look into it:

[ Read: How To Use The Israeli Bandage ]

Stretch Bandage & Gauze to Stop the Bleeding

With that said, for minor to moderate bleeding wounds, ordinary gauze and wrap will get the job done.

How I Used the Stretch Wrap to Bandage a Wound

(This little ‘accident’ inspired my original post)

Some time ago I had accidentally punctured my palm with a screwdriver. Ouch. My fault. Here’s a photo from my original posting, showing how I used the stretch wrap and gauze:

Stretchy wrap around my wrist

The Accident

My left hand was holding an assembly while my right hand held a screwdriver. A machine screw was stubbornly stuck as I applied excessive counterclockwise downward force against the head. About 2 seconds before it happened, I said to myself, if that screwdriver slips, I’m going to hurt myself. Wouldn’t you know it, it slipped and punctured my palm to an extent.

Near immediate bloodletting.. No First Aid Kit in the shop at that time (my bad). Made it to the house leaving a trail of blood. Here’s where good First Aid Kit organization is important:

The Fix

We keep all essential First Aid supplies on one specific shelf in a bathroom cabinet. This eliminates scrambling for what you might need during an emergency!

Mrs. J helped. We grabbed a bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%), a 4×4 gauze, and a roll of this stretch wrap (love that stuff!).

Dumped some hydrogen peroxide on the bleeding wound over the sink. OUCH! It bubbled and fizzled. Then did it some more to clean it out.

I held the folded 4×4 gauze onto the wound. Mrs. J got the stretch bandage started and I finished by wrapping it tight.

The great thing about this type of stretchy wrap for wounds / bandage dressings / is the self-adhering and stretch properties. It’s quick, and it holds itself in place quite readily. You can pull it pretty darn tight to apply pressure (which I did). Later, I relaxed it.

[ Read:

10 First Aid Kit ‘Add-on’ Items

How To Stop The Bleeding With QuikClot

Stop A Wound From Bleeding – The Most Important Thing To Do


  1. Always have several rolls on hand buy it at tsc in the horse care area. Think it’s a bit cheaper there

  2. Ken
    Hope you did not do to much damage to your palm.
    I am not sure if you can use this until your wound heals closed but have used it on acdh. It is made from the calendula flower and blended into a sauve-Calendula Off.1x brand name. He had a rug burn from where he fell, and it healed it up in a few days without leaving much of a scare. Rug burns take for ever to heal so I was impressed with this item.

  3. I slashed a huge part of my thumb with a mandolin slicer.

    Miraculous cayenne pepper stopped the bleeding after I realized I wasn’t getting success under the running faucet.
    My neighbor came after I called and bandaged for me with the cayenne still on the cut. I still have the scar. AND know now to grab the cayenne.
    Great for shaving cuts too.

    1. JJ, I’ve used regular black pepper for cuts and such but, cayenne??….OUCH.

  4. This stuff works great for tying tomatoes to cages or other plants to lattice or long bamboo skewers for support. Its strong and flexible. It doesn’t choke off the plant.

  5. I think I have as much of this stuff around as I do T.P. Who ever invented this stuff should get a medal or something Ha Ha . Hell we even fixed a radiator hose with this stuff.

  6. I order the vet wrap from Amazon. It is cheaper than the human wrap and performs the same. Buy it s dozen rolls at a time. When you need it, you will use s lot of it.

  7. My favorite is when your cordless driver drill slips off a big screw you are really pushing on and finds your hand,,,,,
    Even more fun than a regular screw driver

    1. Had a screw gun slip and hit my thigh once. the pressure engaged the clutch and I had a 2 inch drywall screw in my leg. Reversed the gun and out it came. Hurt for weeks but at least it didn’t get infected

  8. We learned by experience too, and now keep a small first aid kit out at the barn. The first ‘accident’ was when I was stung by a wasp years back. I had nothing to use as an antiseptic or any way to cover the sting. I was wearing grubby clothing and it was in the barn area. The sting got infected quickly and within about 36 hours, it looked systemic. Went to the doc’s and was told it was a serious infection, put on strong antibiotics and had to go back for checking the following morning. Had the antibiotics not taken effect, it would have meant hospital time for a heart catheter. So….lesson learned!

    We have gads of that stretch wrap — it’s less expensive to buy at a farm supply store, plus you get a fun choice of colors or faux animal fur. What a great product it is, too!!!

  9. I have several rolls on hand in various first aid kits. Cayenne pepper works well as does quick clot. Always keep sports tape or duct tape around too.

    1. In one ziplok bag for Gene—cayenne pepper/cotton balls, scissors and TSC self adhering bandage.

      1. – jj,
        Don’t use cotton balls in a wound. You will be fighting to get the fibers out and damage the healing wound. Plain old 4×4 gauze will be much better. Don’t use cotton balls for anything bigger than a shaving cut, and then not a big one.

        – Papa S.

  10. Cooper…I just today bought from TSC..this roll for $2.50 is better than the hospital stuff..I cut into two strands so Gene can put in his medical bag he keeps in his truck.
    This is stronger, thicker and I will be going back for more in those awesome colors they have.

  11. It’s good stuff. I purchased mine at a Feed/hardware/clothing/general store.

    Like I did with the other First Aid stuff, I put one each in Seal-A-Meal bags and vacuum sealed them.

    Please don’t do like I did. The vacuum made it work like it was supposed to and I wound up with all my VetWrap self adhered to itself. It needs to be stored pressure free or the pressure side will self adhere.

  12. I have several types and styles of wraps in my go to first aid kit ( small cuts and laceration). I have several in my Trauma kit along with Tampons and Maxi Pads. The wraps hold the bandages great.
    I also have a wrap especially for broken bones like for a leg or arm. It is VERY thick and holds it shape. Not really sure if it could be used as a Trauma tool but if it works….

  13. In the veterinary world this stuff is called..
    Many uses on horses.
    With movement this stuff tends to get tighter and more restrictive.
    Super helpful stuff, It cannot be reused.

    One of my medical buckets, the bottom is filled with 4″ rolls of vetwrap, regular sterile gauze on top with other items.
    Unsure of shelf life but I have used vetwrap that was several years old, finding the end was hard.. like a clear tape roll you can’t locate the end piece.

    Just make sure it’s not “packed” in anything or compressed in any way in storage, that makes it difficult if not impossible to use.
    The intended use is irrelevant, the wrap that’s marketed for humans is the same that’s marked for animals, only the name brands and packaging is different in my experience.
    I have use a lot of in in recent years.

    While sterile gauze is a necessity for med kits, vetwrap is a definite helper.
    In a bind you could wrap an arm or leg loosely (entire roll)and use a stick for winding it as a tourniquet.
    Best to blow a roll or three trying this out ahead of time so you know what your doing.
    In layers it’s very strong.
    BTY, NEVER USE ON THE NECK. It contracts somewhat.

  14. this stuff is great. i keep a lot of it put back in our emergency med box for both us and our animals.

  15. I love this stuff…I get several colors for my med kit at Tractor Supply.

    1. OOPs…duplicate post —I hate when I don’t check the dates for these topics.

  16. This is great stuff for dogs. It stays in place and doesn’t stick to hair.

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