Playing safe in the backcountry means being prepared, and not just for the scratches and bruises. Trauma is the number one cause of death up to age 45, and uncontrolled bleeding is the number cause of trauma death. Ergo ipso whatever, get the training and gear to treat uncontrolled bleeding and as the saying goes, the life you save may be your own.
We've posted here before about what goes into a minimalist trauma kit, but what about what holds that stuff? We're not talking about a lot of stuff – nitrile gloves, tourniquet (a.k.a. CAT, SOFTT-W), clotting gauze (a.k.a. hemostatic dressings, Quikclot), compression dressing (a.k.a. Israeli bandage), and maybe some chest seals (a.k.a. occlusion dressings) and wound closure tape (a.k.a. Steri Strips, Frog tape). OK, that's a lot of a.k.a.'s…
You have a lot of options for how you carry, from throwing it loose in your pockets to a full-size trauma pouch. We've found ourselves wanting something small that can go from pocket to belt to external mount on a backpack. What we found was the Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit NOW! As the name suggests, it's designed to carry just the essentials in a form factor that's always at your fingertips. The Micro TKN is basically a stretchy sleeve with an inner pull-out bifold envelope that has elastic loops to store a few carefully chosen pieces of medical gear. To deploy, just pull the tab from either side and it pops loose from the velcro backing and slides out, open and ready to go to work.
Why carefully chosen? Because a standard loadout will likely not fit, you really need to choose the smallest item in each category. In fact you can buy the Micro TKN without any supplies, as we did, or – as we now recommend after trial and error – you can choose one of two options to get it preloaded:
1) Hemostatic dressing for wound packing/clotting (1 included)
1) QuickClot Combat Gauze
We ended up getting the basic kit supplies, but ordering them separately cost about the same as just getting the kit preloaded so now we recommend that as the much easier option. There are videos on how to pack both the basic kit and the advanced kit. All in all, the Micro TKN is a cool solution if you need the multiple mounting options. We're also looking at various other carry methods, from sling bag to runner's waist belt to generic pouches, and we'll cover those in a future article. One thing to be aware of: the basic kit comes with a TK4 tourniquet, which is probably not as effective as a windlass style CAT or SOFTT-W. BFG makes a banana hammock that will store a windlass style TQ below the TKN, and we'll try to get one to review soon.