I have been on the hunt for a first aid kit. I’m not former military, I’m not a first responder, I’m just a normal guy, with a desk job, looking for a first aid kit I can have in my car, take with me camping, and have on hand in case of an emergency. This is my 1-month hands-on review of the MyFAK PRO First Aid kit by MyMedic.
Review Summary: The MyFAK Pro First Aid Kit is a step above the rest in terms of quality, size, and contents. The first aid kit is packed full of life-saving equipment like chest seals, tourniquets, QuikClot and Nasopharyngeal Airways. The MyFAK Pro is the perfect daily car, camping, and travel first aid kit.
The importance of preparedness
I grew up in a very “medical” family. My Dad is a paramedic, my grandfather a doctor, my wife a nurse, my uncle a surgeon, and on and on. So, I have been surrounded by people much more knowledgeable than myself in the medical arena for a long time and have come to appreciate the usefulness of those skill sets.
My Dad, specifically, always impressed on me the importance of being prepared for a medical emergency to me growing up. I even got the chance to learn more in-depth firsthand in lifeguard training as a teenager, and later instructing others in first aid as a head lifeguard.
All that to say, I realized I had gotten lazy and even though I knew I should be prepared, I was not prepared. One day recently my wife and I were out mountain biking and she went over her handlebars; flew a good distance. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt minus small scrapes, but it reminded me of the importance of always being prepared for a medical emergency because they can arise when you aren’t expecting it.
These thoughts are what started this new series on Legionary that will focus on the top first aid kits on the market, see through the marketing and fancy images, and find which kits truly deliver the most bang for your buck in practicality and usefulness.
What is MyMedic
The first review in this series is a kit I’ve seen advertised and recommended for a while now. It is the MyFAK Pro by MyMedic. One thing I’ve realized in this search for a complete, but small, first aid kit is that the majority of “first aid” kits on the market are filled with fluff. things that look medical, but in practice aren’t necessary, or not needed to actually save a life. You don’t need to carry a pack with 47 different size bandaids.
That is why I think the background of the company creating the first aid kit needs to be looked at to see the history and understand the experience they bring to the table in creating their packs.
I’m happy to say, MyMedic stands above the rest. Straight from their website, here is their short story on how they came into existence:
My Medic was born after a tragic car accident took the life of a loved one. Lack of equipment, proper training, and a long wait for emergency medical services to arrive led to an unnecessary death.
Our goal at My Medic is to prepare you with the equipment and training for the unexpected emergency.MyMedic About Page
MyMedic MyFAK First Aid Kit Review
The MyFak first aid kit by My Medic is an essential piece of equipment made to inspire confidence and help prepare for life-threatening emergencies in any situation. The MyFak comes in a variety of colors including red, orange, green, black, and coyote (a fancy name for tan!)
I got the chance to have this kit and work with it for the past month. I took it in the car, mountain bike riding, on road trips, and pretty much every outdoor activity I did.
About the kit and its contents
As reported by the My Medic website, the MyFak is smaller than any day pack and weighs in at an airy 2.8 pounds. It’s constructed from waterproof cordura nylon and features a molle velcro system in the front as well as molle backing for mounting purposes. Dual two-finger zipper pull tabs give access to the main compartment which houses the various rescue and survival supplies.
Major categories of items found within the kit include Bleed, Burn, Medication, Sport and Outdoor, Topical, Airway, Hydration, Sprain and Fracture, as well as Tools and Devices, all with their own unique color designation. Each of these categories is represented in the kit with supplies divided further into MODs – small sealed packages with tools and supplies for a specific task, color-coded to identify which major category it addresses.
Interior of the kit
The interior kit has a rollout design when used with the removable zippered pocket. When rolled open towards you, the contents are as follows from top to bottom:
Top Section: 1 x Large EMT Shears, 1 x QuikClot*, 1 x Emergency Pressure bandage*, 1 x Gauze MOD, 2 x SuperSkin Bandage Assorted Pack, 1 x RATS tourniquet*, 1 x Compressed Krinkle Gauze*, 1 x Treatment and Relief MOD, 1 x Clean and Prep MOD, 1 Tool MOD, 2 x Super Wash sterile water.
Middle Section: 1 x Hydration MOD, 2 x Nasopharyngeal Airways*, 1 x 25 feet of paracord*, 1 x Blister MOD featuring 3 x SuperSkin Blister Tape, 1 x Glowstick*, 1 x CPR shield, 2 x Chest Seals*, 1 x Burn MOD, 1 x Cold Pack, 1 x Mini Strain and Fracture MOD.
Lower pocket: 1 x Gloves Packet, 1 x Medication MOD, 1 x Space Blanket, 1 x Mini Wound Closure MOD, 1 x Zzips cut kit*, 1 x Glucose Gel Packet*.
* = PRO version only
The MyFAK first aid kit is sold in standard and PRO versions. I had the Pro version for this review. The standard version is made to handle everyday, run-of-the-mill injuries and illnesses The MyFAK PRO, however, features everything the standard version does plus supplies meant for life-saving interventions. Included in the PRO version is a RATS or Rapid Application Tourniquet System, an Emergency Pressure Bandage, a Compressed Krinkle Gauze, a Quik-Clot gauze, two nasopharyngeal airways (a size 20 french for children and size 28 french for adults), two chest seals, 25 feet of paracord, a Billy Band for mounting a tourniquet to your molle velcro system, a Glow Stick, a Glucose Gel Packet, and the Zzips cut kit.
After a careful examination of the product, I believe that the MyFak first aid kit is a promising tool, but its usefulness in real life will depend entirely on how it’s used and who is using it. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from my initial impression:
There are plenty of things to be excited about with the MyFAK first aid kit. The bag itself seems to be limited only by the imagination of its owner. I will say, one of the bags strengths is also one of its weaknesses. The bag is small. It is compact. It holds a lot. But once you start taking items out, it’s difficult to get back in and close the bag. The packers of these kits at MyMedic have the system down because for the life of me, I could barely get the bag shut again after taking out and reinserting the contents.
Where the MyFAK really shines is its ability to allow YOU to diversify its function and specific use. It’s a generalist’s first aid kit that allows for modular change. The cordura nylon construction is beefy and you can choose a color you like. The velcro molle system can be used for tons of applications – tuck your shears through the webbing, mount a tourniquet, or slap a morale patch on it. It’s tactical. It operates. It looks cool.
It’s important to me that a bag has sturdy and long-lasting zippers, clasps, and fasteners. It’s clear to me that My Medic took the time to manufacture tough and functional zippers with ergonomic two-finger pull tabs designed to never get stuck. The roll-out style construction found inside the bag is identical to the trauma bag I carry while working as a full-time paramedic. A modular roll-out system that’s organized correctly allows you to access individual items without dumping everything out onto the ground – something that should be avoided at all costs during a medical emergency or survival situation. Don’t need the zippered roll-out compartment? No problem. It’s attached with velcro and when removed converts the bag into a clam-shell style first aid kit instead. As a provider who tapes water-based lubricant to each individual airway on my ambulance, it made me smile to see that both NPA’s were included with a pair of gloves and lubricant.
Inside the MyFAK PRO first aid kit you’ll find gold-standard equipment that is found on any emergency service ambulance. The PRO version is set up to address the ABC’s of Airway, Breathing, and Circulation in a primary assessment. Nasopharyngeal airways, chest seals, Quik-Clot, tourniquets, oral glucose, and pressure bandages are used to intervene during medical emergencies by providers who work professionally.
Some finer non-acute additions that I liked seeing in the kit included a pair of above-average shears – which contrary to what you expect can be used for a diverse set of tasks, especially in a backcountry setting. The backpacker in me loved the high-quality bandaid packs and the Superskin which is essentially moleskin but thinner, more durable, more adhesive, and pretty much better in every way. A cold pack can be a good way to manage pain and swelling for victims that need to self-rescue from the backcountry. It was also refreshing to see that the MyFAK is an eligible purchase for Health Savings Account / Flexible Spending Account funds when bought through the My Medic website. They even offer discounts for First Responders!
Though the MyFAK first aid kit has many excellent qualities, there are a couple of downsides. Though, with some proper preparation and training, these “downsides” can be mitigated. These are also just my personal opinion and many people would likely disagree with me. So take these “gripes” with a grain of salt.
The MODs (facy term for the individual packages that contain supplies within the pack) are color-coded, but major categories of treatment are somewhat scattered everywhere.
My initial fear is that if I need something in a pinch I am going to be tempted to dump everything on the ground to find it – not what you want to happen in most settings. With the wide range of items included in this kit, I’m not sure there even is a better way to organize them. I think your best bet for using this kit successfully in a real-life situation is to spend some time reviewing the contents, and their location, and roleplay a few likely scenarios to see if you are able to find the supplies you need.
If you just open this kit once, then throw it in the car, when it comes time to use it, I promise you’ll be dumping it out on the ground trying to find the item you need if you didn’t examine it well beforehand.
The MyFAK PRO features the Rapid Application Tourniquet System (RATS) tourniquet – a vulcanized rubber core tourniquet with a nylon sheath and metal clasp. The RATS is touted to be the fastest most affordable emergency tourniquet on the market, although many people debate its effectiveness. A study in the Journal of Special Operations Medicine published in 2016 showed a demonstratively slower application speed of the RATS tourniquet compared to Tactical Mechanical Tourniquets (TMT) and standard-issue Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT). This is not a tool that is used in professional emergency medicine in my experience, likely due to its complicated construction, slower application time, and propensity to come loose when moving a patient. If this is the only model of tourniquet that you can get your hands on, that’s ok, it’s just not the gold standard. Switch it out with a CAT if you can. But, without a doubt, having a RATS tourniquet is ALWAYS better than having no tourniquet at all.
Tips, best uses, and general thoughts
I think there are quite a few simple changes that can be made after purchase to immediately improve the function of the MyFAK first aid kit. First I would immediately take all of the materials out of the bag, set them neatly on a table, and reflect on when and where my bag would be used.
Do you have any upcoming trips? Is it summer or winter? What do you know how to use and what do you not? Doing this often will help familiarize yourself with your tools and keep you from carrying items you’ll never use.
Make a checklist of items you want to keep in the bag for specific activities. The hydration MOD is a good item to keep in the summer, but maybe not the Space Blanket. Are you hiking through an area frequented by hunters? Maybe those chest seals, tourniquet, and trauma bandaging should be easily accessible. If you don’t know how to use something in the bag, ask an expert and practice if you can.
You should not assume that things will work well in an emergency situation if you’ve never trained on them before. Don’t administer ANY of the medications from the MyFAK first aid kit unless you’re certain they’re not allergic and you’re familiar with what the medication is for.
Once you’ve decided what items you would like to keep, re-organize the bag in a way so things can be easily found. Separate trauma, medical, and rescue supplies. Make the life-saving equipment and frequently used items easy to get. Consider stashing a pair of gloves in each pocket of the bag so you don’t have to get into separate parts to use any single item, especially the trauma equipment.
I never have been a fan of things like a first aid kit hanging off of my pack – it seems to make my load uneven, gets caught in branches, and makes it hard to get through tight spaces. I would keep the MyFAK either mounted to the back of a headrest in my car or inside my pack near the top. As is, The MyFAK standard first aid kit is well built for a lay provider.
I think the MyFAK PRO version would make for a good purchase because of the ability to make it a first aid kit specific to your needs. It’s modular, flexible, and durable. With the ease of adding minor additions and tweaks, it is a GREAT purchase, but you’ll need to take the time to do those yourself.
Things like first aid kits are meant to be organized, obsessed over, tweaked, added-to, re-thought, and used – that’s half the fun! Spending the time to change a personal first aid kit to fit your needs will only mean that you’re that much more prepared when someone needs you the most.