Cuts Kit: Practical Pocket-Sized First Aid

by Barry Smith

First Aid Kit Pouch

A handy cuts kit. Photo: Barry Smith.

A recent afternoon in the woods teaching backwoods skills to Cubs reminded me of the importance of my cuts kit!

I thought it would be a good idea to share the concept with other outdoors people and leaders.

It might also serve as a reminder to those who may have heard about the concept before.

The concept of a cuts kit is simple, something small and simple that you keep on your person to deal with the common minor injuries that we and others incur in the woods. Teaching people outdoor living skills and, in particular, to use cutting tools will, from time-to-time, result in injuries. So it’s wise to have something close at hand to deal with this.

A cuts kit is not a replacement for our main first aid kit, it’s complimentary to it. The important thing is to keep the cuts kit small enough so it can slip into your pocket and not be a hassle to carry. Mine goes into a thigh pocket on my outdoor trousers and I forget it’s there until I need it.

The contents of the cuts kit

The main components of the author’s cuts kit. Photo: Barry Smith.

So what’s in my cuts kit?

  • Nitrile gloves – 2 pairs;
  • Aide memoire of emergency medical actions;
  • An Aloksak (tough waterproof bag);
  • Finger dressings;
  • Plasters in assorted sizes;
  • Antiseptic wipes;
  • Steri-strips;
  • Gauze swabs;
  • Matches;
  • Celox (Blood clotting agent);
  • Resuscitation face shield;
Contents of the cuts kit that are waterproofed with an Aloksak

The Aloksak keeps these items waterproofed. Photo: Barry Smith

The Celox is for dealing with more serious cuts and as I haven’t been trained to use it on others I reserve it for use on me only.

The last item is clearly not for cuts but I like to keep the face shield in my cuts kit so it’s always close to hand. Hopefully I’ll never need it but I know where it is if I do.

Do you carry a cuts kit? If so, leave a comment below to let us and other readers know what you include in yours…

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Barry Smith is a Scout Leader and a member of the Frontier Bushcraft instructional team.

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray

Very good article Barry, currently my cuts kit is just in a pouch in my bag. I think I will be adding an Aloksak to protect it further.

I also use my cuts kit as my primary cut treatment kit even when at home so I keep topping the contents up when I use them and can rotate the items.

In my fire lighting pouch I keep a burns kit and all the Cubs, Scouts and Explorers I have done fire lighting with the only time it was used was when a Scout leader burnt themselves cooking in the mess tent.

Reply

WoodsmokeBob

Hi Barry, why are the matches in there?

Reply

Barry

Hi, A good question…

My main first aid kit has a lighter in it for sterilising pins pioir to digging out splinters and as a useful back up ligther.

I keep matches in the cuts kit mainly as a back up. I used to be a smoker at which point I always had a lighter in my pocket. Now I’m not I like to stash matches here or a lighter there so that I always have them handy. Matches sit well in this kits as they are flat and the Aloksak keeps them dry.

hope this helps.

Barry

Reply

Barry

Hi Ray, Thanks for the feedback. The Aloksaks are very tough and waterproof which I like. I have been using the same ones for 6 years now and they are still waterproof.

What do you keep in your burns kit?

Barry

Reply

sargey

small cuts kit? where i come from, we call it an “ouch pouch!”

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Yep, happy with that terminology too!

What’s important is you’ve got one ;)

Reply

Steve Bayley

I see you’ve got an aide memoire in there Barry, and we can see it in the photo. But what we can’t see is what it says! How about including a better photo of it or posting the points it covers? I like aide memoires, they can help when you’re in a stressful situation and need something to ‘pull you back on target’ and just by having them in sight from time to time helps to fix things in your memory.

Reply

Kevin Roche

Another good article,
I see you do not include tweezers or specialised tick removal tweezers. In fact, I have yet to see ticks and their related, often fatal, diseases mentioned on any bushcraft site.
Incidentally, in my cuts/burn kit I prefer to carry a long strip of plaster and scissors. The small plasters are handy but I can cut any shape or size I need from the strip, especially useful for those odd parts around joints, etc. Iodine is also useful, not only as an antiseptic but for sterilising water too.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Kevin,

They are mentioned in the following article, which I wrote a few years ago. #17 on the list…

http://paulkirtley.co.uk/2011/personal-wilderness-first-aid-kit/

Hope you find it useful.

Cheers,

Paul

Reply

Kevin Roche

I stand corrected – I should have known better!
However, I still stand by my comment that ticks and tick borne diseases are insufficiently discussed on ‘bushcraft’ sites, particularly as bushcrafters spend so much time in the ‘wild’ and tend to sleep on the ground. A short article on recognition, avoidance and treatment of the various ‘nasties’ out there would not only be informative but also might prevent some of the serious diseases that can follow.

Reply

Olly

Im just beginning my journey into bushcraft following one of Pauls Courses and have been reading all of the articles on this site with avid interest. Although I havent got a ‘Ouch Pouch’ yet I was wondering if anyone has used the Spray on plasters? You can get Elastoplast, TCP, and other products from supermarkets. I think these are great – the spray is an antiseptic glue that seals small/medium cuts, is malleable so perfect for hands, joints and facial wounds! it stays on for nearly 2 days and is waterproof. A particularly useful aspect is that the can is quite small so will easily fit in a pocket. The only down side i can think of is that it is in an aerosol can which might be inappropriate for Bushcraft.??
I hope this is of interest and look forward to your comments.
All the best.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Olly,

It’s good to hear from you. Thanks for your comment.

Spray-on plasters can be useful. I don’t think they are any more or less applicable for someone practising bushcraft skills than any other outdoor skill. I guess it just comes down to whether you like aerosols full stop.

As you say they can stay on for a number of days and – when you have suffered one cheap plaster coming off after another while outdoors – then you can appreciate the attraction of this feature.

I have two caveats though:
1/ sealing cuts (i.e. not allowing them to breathe) is not always a good thing. There is also the possibility of sealing-in contaminants;
2/ putting antiseptics directly onto a cut can hinder the healing process as some antiseptics damage your cells;

That being said, I’d be as interested as Olly to hear from others about their experience with this product as, I have to admit, my use of it has been limited.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Buzzard Bushcraft

Great article as usual guys.. Just one question, could you tell me where to get the Celtic blood clotting agent from ??
Many thanks for your help and all your articles and veds I read and watch them with great interest..
Buzzard..

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Buzzard,

As always, it’s good to hear from you. I’m glad you are enjoying our articles and videos.

You can get the Celox here: DS Medical

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

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