Most prepared individuals recognize the benefits in adding medical equipment to our everyday-carry or EDC loadout. Each of us may carry similar medical gear or kits, but the specific items vary from one person to the next. One thing we can all agree on is that we should to be carrying some sort of tool(s) to control moderate-to-severe bleeding. Pressure bandages are items that, until recently, have been absent from most EDC medical kits, due to their size. Most of these bandages’ cubic footprint is just too large to carry and end up looking (and “feeling," depending on your method of carry) like a brick is stuck to your ankle or in your pocket. So let’s take a look at a few pressure bandages that we can actually fit in our EDC med kits.
First off, keep in mind that we're aiming for on-body carry, so we're not talking about gear for your vehicle med kit or an actual medic’s aid bag. To keep things into perspective, let’s say that we’re looking for a pressure bandage that can fit in a medical ankle rig, a pouch designed for such gear or even the pocket of your favorite denim jeans. For an aid bag or vehicle kit, those magnificent six-inch wide beasts of bandages like the Olaes Modular Bandage from “Tactical Medical Solutions” are perfect.
I’m a huge fan of the Olaes bandage and during my classes, I demonstrate how you can get five tools out of one bandage with it. They come in three different sizes, 4-inch wide rolled up, 4-inch wide flat folded and 6-inch wide rolled up. The Olaes truly is a versatile piece of equipment to have on hand, but it's not always the best option when wearing jeans and T-shirt at a Texas Rangers ballgame. While we’re looking for something easy to carry or wear, we are also looking for something that will buy us time until EMS arrives with better gear or until we can get to a larger medical kit with bigger and better tools.
Here are three options for pressure bandages to add to your EDC medical loadout (in no particular order).
PerSys Medical WoundStop Home Care Bandage
$3.05/each (PerSys doesn’t sell directly to the public, so checkout Eleven10’s website)
The makers of the famous Emergency Bandage (or Israeli Bandage as it is known) realized the need for a bandage that not only is well-suited for pediatrics and small-framed adults but also could be carried easily in a business suit or even in a small clutch purse. This little bandage may not look like much, but it certainly checks several boxes when it comes to an EDC pressure bandage. Combine the WoundStop Home Care bandage with a packet of QuickClot Combat Gauze, and you’ve got a pretty nice accessory that will work well with casual clothes, whether you're heading out for a night on the town or just running to grab groceries.
The box it comes in was designed to be stored on the shelf in the school nurse’s office, which is nice, because it doesn't look militaristic. Simply discard the box to load the vacuum-sealed, shrunken-down bandage into your preferred method of carry for medical gear. The clear packaging is thin but sturdy enough to protect the bandage during storage in my “FrogPro” SFD Responder ankle rig. The elastic wrap is not as durable as the regular Emergency Bandages are, but then again, we’re looking at this as an EDC tool, not a full-sized pressure dressing. I can say that after letting my students use and abuse this bandage over the past few years during training scenarios and hundreds of skills practice sessions; they have held up pretty well.
Granted they’re designed for a one-time use, but the durability thus far is impressive. The closure bar is the same that can be found on several modern pressure bandages and secures the bandage in place fairly well. The non-stick pad or dressing portion of the bandage is obviously thin and not designed to withstand the abuse that a full size pressure bandage can. The overall length is about 36 inches, the longest of the three mentioned in this article.
Eleven10 Medical Compact Medical Trauma Bandage
Eleven10 doesn’t just make the most bomb-proof tourniquet holster in the world; the company actually takes pride in offering solutions for more than just one demographic of customer. This little thing is quickly becoming a favorite of mine for EDC medical gear. It resembles a small, yet thin wallet in shape and fits easily in several of my EDC med pouches or kits, which allow me to adjust the contents as things change (environment, mission, method of carry, etc.). This is a nice option to have, since my environment and mission change on a weekly basis.
I even kept this bandage in one of the concealed pockets of a pair of Hyde LT pants from Vertx while hiking in a jungle in Central America this past spring. I was delighted with the packaging, noticing the vacuum seal was still intact after being in that hot, humid environment for a week. The elastic wrap is the same as the Emergency Trauma Dressing by NAR, and it sports the similar closure bar to secure the bandage in place after applying it. The dressing pad is the same size as the full size bandages, but the tail is shorter. The overall length is about 32 inches.
H&H Medical Corporation Mini Compression Bandage
The first modern pressure bandage I ever got my hands on was the H-Bandage from H&H, almost 10 years ago. The best thing about the H-Bandage was that it was huge! The worst thing about the H-Bandage was that it was huge! Even all vacuumed-packaged nice and neat, it was still a giant bandage. Fast-forward to today and the company has created a great pressure bandage for not only your EDC loadout, but for your vehicle or range med kit, too.
It resembles a small, thin wallet like the CMT mentioned above, but the dressing pad and closure bar both seem a little more robust than others similar to it. The H&H website states it comes packaged-up less than an inch thick. This is nice, because you can throw three of four of these little dudes on a PHLster Flatpack XL. They fit quite well when loaded in my Min-E-Med IWB-Flat rig by “Immediate Casualty Care.” The overall length of this bandage is about 32 inches.
Don’t forget that these three options for pressure bandages are merely one part of the equation when trying to solve the problem of a serious bleeder. Tourniquets, hemostatic agents or some other wound-packing material combined with a decent pressure dressing all assist in controlling moderate-to-severe hemorrhaging. All three of these pressure bandages are incredibly simple to open and deploy when seconds count. Some other bandages their size require users to tear through multiple layers of packaging before they get to the actual product. That is most aggravating, if you ask me.
The goal with these compact bandages is to stop the bleeding; even if only temporarily until more help with better and more equipment arrives. Remember, that these products are intended to be carried daily in order to provide immediate, first-responder care. Running 200 yards to your car parked outside a big-box store to retrieve medical supplies, only to run 200 yards BACK into the store to where someone is frantically attempting to keep his or her own blood from gushing everywhere due to some traumatic incident isn’t always the best plan of action. Make sure your “on-body” EDC loadout includes a few medical tools to go along with all your other life-saving implements.
One last thing: be sure you’re inspecting all of your everyday-carry medical gear on a weekly basis. Check expiration dates on your hemostatic agents, and ensure all the packaging on everything is still intact and hasn’t lost its vacuum seal. Visually and physically inspect any carry tourniquets while you’re at it as well.