Trauma Kit List - Essential Contents

Trauma Kit List – 5 Lifesaving Essential Contents Not To Forget

Going beyond an ordinary First Aid Kit, a Trauma Kit list should include (in my opinion) the following five lifesaving essential contents:

1. Trauma Scissors

2. Israeli type Trauma Dressing

3. Hemostatic Dressing

4. Open Chest Seal

5. Tourniquet

We hope to never have to use such emergency treatment. However the reality is that there are times when you, I, or others may be at risk of traumatic injury.

  • Anywhere that firearms are being used
  • Ever operate a chainsaw?
  • Lots of jobs, careers, entail some risk of traumatic injury!
  • Automobile accident

Don’t ignore the possibilities. It could happen. And if it does, will you have a Trauma Kit nearby? By the time a 911 call brings first responders, a traumatic injury may have already taken a life…

Trauma Scissors

Trauma Scissors
Trauma Scissors

Any trauma kit list should include trauma scissors. They are unique in their shape. The form-factor is designed for cutting clothing in order to quickly access the wound area. Will cut bandages and tape too.

Pick one:
(view on amzn)

Trauma Pressure Dressing

(view on amzn)

How to use Israeli Bandage Pressure Dressing
Israeli Bandage Pressure Dressing

A pressure bandage with elasticity to help stop the bleeding.

The Israeli Bandage is one of the most effective trauma kit contents to facilitate a major bleeding wound (along with proper wound packing). This should definitely be part of your trauma kit list.

Basically it incorporates a sterile non-adherent pad surface to cover the wound, and is attached to a length of elasticized material. It wraps with a built-in pressure applicator to help stop the bleeding.

[ Read: How To Use Israeli Bandage To Stop Traumatic Bleeding ]

Hemostatic Dressing For Your Kit

QuikClot Gauze

Hemostatic Gauze

hemostatic dressing QuikClot Gauze or Sponge
Hemostatic Dressing – QuikClot Gauze / Sponge

There’s a wide variety of gauze products on the market specifically designed to stop bleeding. They work by accelerating the natural clotting process at the wound area.

For ordinary (less severe) bleeding, simply applying pressure for a time will stop the bleeding. A major traumatic wound however may require more than that. A hemostatic dressing is another critical content of one’s Trauma Kit.

A few examples include Clotting Gauze Strips or Rolls, or specific size Clotting Gauze Pad Sponge. One well known brand for this type of dressing is QuikClot. Another is CELOX.

[ Read: How To Stop The Bleeding With QuikClot ]

Open Chest Seal

Hyfin Vent Chest Seal

HyFin Vent Chest Seal
HyFin Vent Chest Seal

Nobody wants to think about this. But if you’re in any environment where firearms are being used, there is a risk (however slight or great – depending).

An entry (and exit) wound in the chest area may puncture a lung, creating a ‘sucking chest wound’ which may lead to a tension pneumothorax. This will likely lead to death if not treated on site.

A Chest Seal prevents airflow into the chest cavity during inspiration while allowing air to escape through the vent channels during exhalation. The purpose is to re-inflate the lung so that breathing may occur. Look for bubbles on the wound hole for indications of lung puncture.

Tourniquet – Must Have on your Trauma Kit List

Recon Medical Tourniquet
(view on amzn)

Tourniquet by Recon Medical
Tourniquet by Recon Medical

Did you know that limbs make up about half of your body surface area? One might say that there’s a 50% probability that a major traumatic injury might occur on a limb.

Note: Military personnel, LEO’s, may typically carry a tourniquet on their battle belt or body armor (as opposed to buried in a kit or IFAK). This may save valuable seconds in an emergency.

A purpose designed tourniquet will perform much better than an improvised stick and rag (although you gotta do what you gotta do). No trauma kit list should be without a good tourniquet.

[ Read: Best First Aid Kit for General Purpose (Updated Each Year) ]


  1. Just my opinion, but I think it’s a good idea to practice applying some different dressings yourself too, JIC cause shid happens,

  2. Safety and avoiding injuries is job one. This is not new for anyone in the trades, outdoors people like hunters, farmers, kitchen workers, … generally, most productive people. I’m sure many in here have these items in there kits, but for all the others, please get them by Tuesday.

    1. Forgot one important comfort item we can provide to snowflakes on Wednesday – soothers.

        1. I’m gonna pack something for them but they wont like it if I have to use them, but yea, it’ll be soothing, dead quiet when all is done.

    2. Standard issue IFAK, enhanced stocking,
      Good stuff, fits nicely right next to the dump pouch on the ole plate carrier

  3. You also should have some advanced first aid or better yet first responder skills and education. Learn from the people who know what to look for so u don’t do more damage. Also remember if u use a tourniquet u MUST keep accurate time on when inflated and when deflated and the time in between deflation and another inflation if needed. 2 hours MAX in first inflation!!!

    1. You are right but it is difficult for people with little medical experience to evaluate a critical situation that may dictate “life over limb” . Hope never to have to face that for myself or others.

  4. Guess I should put my money where my mouth is. 25 years surgical nurse, retired.😷😷🤣🤣 Also u do not need as much pressure on the upper arm for a brachial artery as u do for femoral artery. U will crush the total neurovascular bundles in the arm. Also never use a tourniquet on a joint!! Above or below, but still above the injury.

  5. I have first aid kits in every bag and vehicle. I put them together myself. I do have pressure bandages but do not have a tourniquet any of them. I do have the StopsBleeding product recommended by Lou Ferrigno. Does any one have any experience with this?
    Two very common drugs that are often overlooked are Benadryl and aspirin. They are life saving drugs if you need them. I keep both of these in every kit.

    1. Cayenne Pepper is also frequently overlooked. It will stop internal and external bleeding and a heart attack.. Benadryl should be a liquid, with dose cup… to get down easily, and you should have the bottle labeled IN BIG letters how much to use for each sized person that you may need to treat in a hurry….In severe allergic reaction holding a portion of that dose under the tongue, for a minute or two can be another lifesaver. since it is sweetened it will absorb effectively and quickly there. .Powdered ,or encapsulated benadryl can be opened and mixed with a little honey or jelly and put under the tongue for a similar effect..
      Tourniquet could be your belt, or suspenders.. If you go get your blood drawn for any reason ask for the tourniquet they use to draw your blood. Most of the time they throw them away. Mosst first aide kits that are pre packed are light on sterile supplies like 4×4’s and ABD or containment pads. These can be augmented with individually wrapped feminie supplies. they come in many weights and sizes.and are sterile when unopened.. I keep a small , medium and a large and long one.. a roll of vet wrap will hold in place and maintain pressure..

  6. We have two OSHA mandated job-site complete first aid/trauma kits gifted us by a natural gas drilling company. Each is in it’s own red canvas pocketed case with the red cross emblem. These are large, well stocked kits designed for company medics. I’ve added 2 surgical suture kits provided by a former weekender neighbor I befriended, who is a veterinarian. I just casually mentioned to him one day that I was looking to purchase such a kit (suture kits). He told me that salesmen were always coming by his office and leaving sample kits trying to entice him to use their company for his supplier. He said he had dozens of them built up. Each have high quality surgical scissors, two locking forceps, and 5-6 packaged sutures with needles, all enclosed in sealed packets, each in their designated pockets in a canvas pouch. If you have a vet friend or even a vet you frequent with your business, you might ask and be pleasantly surprised with a gift.

    1. Dennis
      Thanks for the heads up, will check with our local vet. We are preferred customers, bills paid in cash each & every, they love us!!

    2. I got a set of “practice” needles, since apparently the sterile needles are illegal to be purchased by the public. I strung them, added a pair of tweezers, a needle threader and extra thread and pressure cooked the whole thing.

        1. I wanted the eye needles rather than prestrung. Not single use, they can be sterilized and reused, and also restrung if necessary.

  7. One other thing, if you have a “tribe” or “group” or whatever else you want to call it, please standardize the contents and where you are going to carry it. Your blow out kit is for use on you, if you can save precious seconds for your buddy by all of you carrying the same thing in the same place, it may save a life.

  8. Great comments and food for thought. I think the vet is an excellent source for some instruments and suture kits. Just remember if u r stitching some one up with a deeper wound, use the smallest number suture deeper as u come out go for next biggest. 0 deeper and 4-0 on the skin. Hope that makes sense,🤣

    1. Mad Fab
      Good to know on the suture levels, hope I never have to use this procedure.

  9. I just updated our first aid kits last week (more Quik clot, etc.), tho do not have any Israeli bandages. Might get that also. In fact, just got home from updating a LOT of items before next week……

  10. Our trauma kit is rather lacking after this article. I have two kits made up for each vehicle, but they are lacking the surgical scissors, tourniquet, and one will have the Israeli bandage unit.
    Other wise our supplies are in a 5 gallon food grade bucket(1) & (2) is in a kitty litter bucket, every thing in these buckets are sealed inside of vacuum seal bags for extra protection from contamination. With a list of what is inside each bucket for a JIC and a good pair of scissors for opening up the packages.

  11. Any one know if you can use the blood clotting product for livestock(horses)on a human?

    We have the horse clotting material here, the horse is semi-blind an she cuts herself every so often when she forgets how far she travel in her pasture.

    1. Ask a vet?
      I dont know why it wouldnt work, my bet is its the same stuff…
      whats it called? Ill ask my sis, shes a vet

  12. To Ken: Thanks for this article though I hope it gets reprinted in the weeks before hunting season in the future. Why? Because of all the activities I see where people go out of their element, away from home and doing a new activity in the company of other amateurs, hunting is one of the most popular and dangerous activities that many on this site will do once per year, every year of their lives.

    The combination of people living in the woods with firearms that fire expanding point bullets or razor sharp broad heads on their arrows and the relative lack of practice or experience living with these tools on a daily basis doubles or triples the odds of having to break into your big-ass first aid kit.

    The mark of an experienced hunter within hunting camp: 1. Weapons are unloaded upon entry into the camp especially before the seal is cracked on the bottle of booze. 2. Ammo is placed in an area away from the weapon and will be stored in an area where it will be dry and not-far from the rifle. For Archers, the experienced hunter has and uses a well designed quiver that holds your arrows firmly and requires some real effort to remove the arrow. People cutting themselves with a thigh carry quiver was a relatively common injury and a cut on the inside of the thigh can be deadly in a matter of minutes. I have had to carry out the body of several hunters who bled out in such a way. 3. Hunting season is one of the only times of the year that many will carry a large fixed blade knife on their belt. I used to be one of these people until I got tired of wearing out sheaths and damaging my seats in my truck and furniture at home. I now carry a folding knife and keep the skinner/caping knife within my backpack along with other supplies to use when the meat is on the ground.

    If you buy this first aid gear, it is a good idea to practice with it though that would means spending money on buying more than 1 at a time. Keep in mind that sealed sterile goods have an expiration date of about 1 year. I use or donate my old battle dressings to local organizations or groups that teach emergency medicine. Your local “tribe” or prepping group would be a good place to start.

    In addition to the gear you mentioned, I have at least 2 pair of curved forceps to help me manage suture needles and IV connections. Once things are out of the package and get exposed to blood, saline or betadyne solution, the small parts become sticky if dry or slippery if wet. I took a cue from Special Forces Medics and Vascular Surgeons by practicing my suture skills on uncooked chicken skin with old expired suture sets.

    Dennis brought up a very good point that what you find in a pharmacy or medical supply house for people, you can find the same thing for less money and no guarantee of sterility in the local Farm Supply Store under Equine Supplies. My local Farm and Ranch store is where I have been getting the curved forceps that both my wife and I use as working nurses. Sterility for human based medical supplies is expensive.

    My medical kits are large plastic boxes where the contents within are divided by ziplock bags within the large plastic box. These are called “Sweater Boxes” and can be found within a home department of a hardware store. If responding to a hurricane aftermath, the lid is sealed with duct tape and a listing of contents and labeling is done on the outside using expired white waterproof tape and permanent markers.

    My last gig before getting my RN license was to work as a helicopter borne paramedic. I carried less in way of supplies for the long walk out but that space in my backpack was replaced with: extra radio batteries, strobe light, flares for an unimproved landing zone. Southern California averaged less than 17 inches of rainfall per yer so there were mostly flyable weather. I also tucked a hundred dollars in small bills in my kit in order to eat from hospital vending machines or cafeteria if it was open. I made a lot of friends that way of being prepared.

    At home or cabin: keep either an info sheet or flash drive that contains the medications you are currently taking including aspirin and herbal remedies and list the allergies you know you have. Blood type would be helpful as a listing of chronic illnesses you may have. This info speaks for you if you are not conscious and can determine course of treatment and medications used for your condition. Keep this info near the refrigerator or ice box. Many homes or cabins do not have safes. Every home has a fridge.

    Lastly, try to find out about your area that you will be traveling to or the area that you live in in regards to: how many minutes of drive time are you from: a level 4 trauma center with burn unit. capabilities of the last hospital you drove past prior to taking that country road leading to your hunting camp and emergency response capability if you have to evacuate.

    Sorry for talking a lot butt this is an area for which I have worked in most of my adult life and continue to be called upon today within my “group”.. Remember if you spend a lot of money on your kit and supplies, You will not be reimbursed but you will stand to make many new friends. This job is tough on marriages and the Emergency Department of any hospital is the # 1 money losing section of health care. Cops tend to marry nurses because both occupations see people at their very worst behavior and in times of most dire crisis.

  13. I almost forgot:

    If you buy one occlusive dressing for the sucking chest wound, get at least 2 of them because many of the thoracic wounds are through and through meaning you will have to cover both entry and exit wounds. I like vaseline gauze pads.

    Final trick, if the wounded person is having trouble breathing, have them lift one of the dressings and cough then cover. Repeat as needed and the person will be more comfortable sitting in the upright position.

    Sadly I learned these tricks while picking up gang bangers who shot each other with the cheapest ammo they could find which was full metal jacket. Thus a lot of these type of wound patterns.

    If abdominal contents are exposed, cover with sterile dressing but douse it and keep it moist with Normal Saline. This reduces chances of adhesions forming and will aid in healing.

    1. – Calirefugee –
      For OPSEC sake, can’t repeat the story I’d like to tell. I have used a roll of kitchen plastic wrap for an individual with multiple stab wounds, including trans-aortic (twice), half-a-dozen stomach and liver punctures and at least ten ‘sucking chest’ wounds. (gangbangers). It did involve air evac, but upshot is, he lived! Moral of the story – Get Glad (wrap)!
      – Papa S.

  14. – Army Medic 8 years. ER 8 Years, 6 years in Super Seg. Texas prison. 4 years ground ambulance, 2 years Air ambulance. I’ve always had a tourniquet at hand, I’ve never been unable to control bleeding even with a traumatic upper thighs (plural) amputation (caught on train tracks). Ace wraps, Coban or Vet wrap and gauze has always managed to do the job. Sometimes lots of gauze. I do keep an Israeli tourniquet for when I do run into one I can’t manage. 2 to 4 would probably be a good idea, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with this kind of stuff. Remember you can have both multiple injuries to one person and multiple persons injured from the same event.

    – Papa S.

  15. To Papa Smurf: agree with what you said.

    I date myself when I tell people that I started driving ambulance on Central Valley Freeways around Fresno back in the day before cars and trucks had airbags. The fog in the valley during winter really created some bad driving conditions with greatly reduced visibility.

    It was kind of spooky hearing cars crash down the road as you are strapping some one to a back board.

  16. To Ken: emergency first aid is a big enough topic it merits its own separate article.

    I find myself typing in cost saving measures these days because most of us are on a budget and are always looking for ways to save.

    To Lauren: Don’t take away my Binky!

    Cost saving hint number: ?!? whatever. There is a roller gauze that is very handy but expensive called Kerlix Kling which has some elasticity though it costs about $6 per roll.

    Tape will not stick in cold, wet conditions and if you must still work, walk or function, tie off the end of roller gauze by: Cutting the last foot or two down the middle of the gauze and tying an overhand knot to prevent unravelling. wrap around extremity and tie with a bow. This way the bandage can be reused to hold the sterile dressing in place and you do not need tape. This is handy for use on arms, legs and fingers. This was a trick I learned while doing ski patrol ( Will work for free food and lift tickets.). Roller gauze costs less than Kerlix Kling per roll.

    Lastly, on this post/ in recent past/ there was some divisive comments made regarding those who have a fear of blood or treating yourself or family members. The encouragement to pursues further training in emergency medicine/advanced first aid is not for everybody. If the sight of blood really bothers you, you may choose to not specialize in this skill set and concentrate on another skill set to bring to your family or group. I, for one, still work in medical field butt I do not can my own food or raise livestock or even have a decent vegetable garden.

    A person that is bothered by the sight of blood may make the wisest decision of calling out for help sooner rather than later.

    1. – Calirefugee –
      I split the tail on a roll of Kerlix for a dressing on an inmate in the Super Seg. so as not to let any more tape than absolutely necessary out into the population. (Medical tape is one of the most common ingredients in contraband tools and weapons) The staff working with me literally had me reapply the dressing so they could see how I did it. It was almost standard when i was in the Army, as tape was difficult to keep clean in the field.
      – Papa S.

  17. After looking at all the items in this blog I would like to mention a few things that I have in my trama kit.
    Tampons and maxi pads. Tampons are perfect for plugging bullet holes and other puncture wounds while the maxi pads are great for cuts and laceration wounds as they soak up blood.
    Bleedstop in the powder form helps by quickly closing the blood flow. Most Israel Bandages have there one clotting powder in the bandage but it doesn’t hurt to have the powder.
    I also have a small bottle of peroxide and alcohol to clean quickly around the wound.
    I have several wraps for sprains but they hold a bandage good and are cheap enough.
    I also have several sizes of cloth stitches but to tell you the truth will probably use my staple gun because it doesn’t get infection like cloth, easy to use and disposable, not to mention faster and less painful.
    I also have a small roll of duct tape just because it sticks even in blood but not to pleasant to take off especially around a trama wound.
    Super glue. If all else fails or you don’t have cloth stitches or staple gun super glue will seal a wound quickly but be for warned… Using super glue is VERY painful and leaves a bad scar but in an emergency it will stop the bleeding and seal the laceration, puncture wounds and cuts.
    I also have a Mylar blanket. Shock will kill you and if you’re patient goes into shock the Mylar blanket will help.
    I have several types of pain management. Some people can’t have Aspirin or Tylenol so I have an assortment of different types.

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