Thin Is In.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

– Bruce Lee

For quite some time now , I’ve been trying to come up with a way to carry around a trauma kit on my person with the same ease and assurance that I’ve carried around a pistol.

And it’s not been easy. First, I tried to try to find a way to carry around this “Pocket” Trauma kit, and I wound up filleting that kit even further to fit it inside a mobile phone case in a quest for an even-smaller kit.

But even that wasn’t small enough because the case clearly showed up under my shirt. Sure, it wound up looking like the iPhone case it really was, but when it comes to how much we show the world about what we’re carrying, I agree with Lucas Apps and I also agree with Greg Ellifritz. I agree with Lucas in that 99% of the people who might even notice a bulge under our shirts will dismiss it as a cell phone or something innocuous, but the problem is, as Greg says, the 1% who think it’s a gun will either a) not care or b) care quite a lot because they are up to no good.

Seeing as how that last one half of one percent is one of the reasons why I carry a gun in the first place, the trick is coming up with trauma care solution that will work well in an emergency situation yet doesn’t leave me looking I’ve got Batman’s utility belt hidden under my t-shirt.

Which bring me to this video by Paul Gomez and the humble triangular bandage. It works, and it takes up pretty much zero space. I can stuff a bandage and two small packs of Celox into a coin purse, slide it into one of my rear pants pockets and a bandanna into the other one, and if anyone notices anything, it looks like I’m carrying a bandanna and a wallet in my pockets, because, well, I am.

What’s the first rule of hiding something in plain sight? Help people see what they’re expecting to see, even if it’s not really there.

Assorted trauma gear

That’s my old iPhone trauma kit on the left, but this photo doesn’t do justice to how portable and concealable the new kit really is. The bandanna is there because bandannas are massively useful: They can be used as a compress, to stuff wounds, to wipe the sweat off your brow or as a hankie, as needed. The bandages, Celox and two small safety pins are in the coin purse to keep them in one spot and to help protect them from being sat upon for hours on end. That feeling of constantly sitting on something took some getting used to, as I haven’t carried a wallet in my back pocket for twenty years. Fortunately, I got used to it pretty quickly, because this solution is THIN.

How thin you ask? This thin.

Thin, concealable tourniquets

That’s my iPhone-based trauma kit on the left, which is still less thin than a double-stack pistol magazine, yet a bit too big and bulky for true concealment under a t-shirt (at least for me).

We know, from trial and (much) error that thinner guns are easier to carry and conceal, and yet we still insist that the only correct solution for civilian trauma care is a military-approved tourniquet or (worse yet) an IFAK. No, it is not an optimal solution, but it is a solution I can carry around pretty much every day. Think of it as the trauma care equivalent of a pocket .380, and you’ll understand my reasoning here.

IFAKs are great and they save lives, but they are a military solution to a civilian problem. The live-saving technology that started out in the military is starting to trickle down to those of us who don’t carry an M4 for a living, and that’s a good thing. However, just because I don’t walk around with an M4 and a chest rig doesn’t mean there’s not a need for a trauma care solution that works for the civilian market but incorporates the hard-won lessons from the military. We are just beginning to figure out civilian-centric solutions to trauma care, and I’m excited to see what’s coming down the road. For now, though, I think I’ve finally figured out what works for me on a day-in, day out basis.