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What's in the Big Ass First Aid Kit?
You need a first aid kit, but do you need a Big Ass First Aid Kit?
There’s a lot going on this week: both Nord Stream pipelines have been sabotaged, which could portend World War III; Hurricane Ian has wrecked Florida; and our president is talking to the dead.
But I’ve been told Unprepared has been too gloomy lately, so I’ll give you a break from the news to talk about something that’s always useful: medical gear. You might remember our friend Tom Rader, a medical instructor and former Navy medic, who sells the Medical Points Abroad Portable Medical Kit we looked at a while back.
The Portable Medical Kit, as you might imagine, is a compact kit made to be strapped to your go-bag. Tom recently sent me one of his latest products: the Big Ass First Aid Kit (BAFAK for short). The name is straight out of Idiocracy, but it conveys the point: this is an extra-large first aid kit intended for your home or vehicle.
Exploring the BAFAK
The BAFAK comes packed in an impact-resistant Seahorse case.
My favorite thing about this case is it features a little LED light in the corner of the upper lid so you can see the contents in the dark. Also inside the upper lid is a quick guide to dealing with common emergencies. If you need more help, a copy of The Field Guide of Wilderness & Medical Rescue is included.
I couldn’t help but take the light apart to see what powers it. It simply unscrews off the case. You can then pull out a caddy containing two CR2032 button batteries.
The BAFAK has two more lighting options: a pair of glowsticks and an extremely bright Defiant headlamp with four settings: bright, dim, red, and red flash.
Also included is a Blizard Compact Trauma blanket, which is a step up from the standard cheap Mylar blanket that’s always in these kits. It self-inflates, so it provides additional insulation, about equal to a medium sleeping bag.
The core of the kit is divided into three plastic boxes:
Bleeding Control and Airway
Wound Management and Boo-boos
Between the boxes is a large plastic bag with essential over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), ibuprofen (Advil), and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto). The bag has just enough room to add a few of your own choices.
The Bleeding Control / Airway box contains two CAT tourniquets, a nasopharyngeal airway (with lube), trauma shears, a twin pack of chest seals, gauze, and an Israeli bandage. The Israeli bandage is a bit chunky, which made this box particularly hard to close after pulling out everything. This is the box you reach for when things really hit the fan.
The Wound Management box includes basics for dealing with everyday cuts, scrapes, and gashes, including a mess of bandages, gauze, tweezers, forceps, a toothbrush (for debriding wounds), and the biggest syringe I’ve ever seen (for flushing wounds or eyes).
It also includes various antiseptics and some pain-specific medications, like this curious packet of Pain-Off, which mixes aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. It might make a decent pre-workout in a pinch.
Finally, we have the splinting kit, which is what you reach for when you sprain or break something. It has triangular bandages, bandage wrap, duct tape, and—most importantly—two three-foot-long aluminum splints.
Interesting detail: the splits are radiolucent, so no need to remove them for x-rays.
The BAFAK is a well-assembled kit for your home, but it doesn’t come cheap. The Portable Medical Kit is more affordable and more versatile but doesn’t have quite as much stuff—especially not two extra-long aluminum splints.