How To DIY $100 Expedient Medical BOB

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DYI bug out medical bagAs preppers have now realized, the emergency med bag and other related supplies are arguably the number one resource after water and food.

Consequently, the market is replete with a variety of emergency medical supplies, kits, and bags for almost any circumstance outside of a major heart transplant in the back of your pick-up truck.

Technology is improving rapidly and with the trickle-down effect of equipment and techniques used in recent warfare, now available to the civilian market, having a good B.O.M.B. can save your life if there is no immediate medical service available after SHTF.

What Would Be the Appropriate Bug Out Medical Bag (BOMB)?

The question is what do you need and how much of it should you have in a good medical kit? The answer, as usual, is… that it depends.

It depends on your personal health requirements, your particular location and situation, your physical fitness, your budget and skill/training level, and other influential variables. How much does it cost? If your first aid experience only rises to the level of the occasional band aid on a paper cut and a judicious application of sunscreen lotion at the beach, then a $1250 Simulaids Extreme Wound Trauma kit might not be that useful to you.

However there are so many other alternative and various levels of representations of first aid kits and BOMBs that the decision requires some diligence and experience to make a suitable choice especially when you factor in how many persons in your group and what you may encounter or be involved in. Such as if you were trying to make it in the Florida everglades, an extra amount of poisonous snake and insect bite supplies and alligator repellent would be imperative.

In this article we’ll focus with the most extreme situational occurrence of a catastrophic scenario where you must evacuate a city by yourself with only what you can carry on your back.

Even if you start off in a bug out vehicle, we will assume for the purposes of discussion that you are aware of the likelihood that you won’t make it out if you don’t leave early enough, or the crowed road rage is so overwhelming that gridlock and mounting panic and the resultant anarchy forced you to abandon your trapped vehicle if you wanted to escape and survive at all.

Also assuming that you prepped for this contingency in having a well thought out bug out bag, with enough supply of water/nutrients and other essential supplies/equipment to get you safely to your bug out location, ideally in the form of a comfortable back pack and maybe an additional hand carry bag.

Outside of one of those little Walmart 19.95 camping first aid kits, you don’t have much room on your body to carry much of anything else.

But it is exactly this type of scenario which requires a better BOMB!

If it gets that bad and you find yourself hoofing it out of Dodge (hope you have a good set of cushioned walking shoes), then you are exposed to potential dangerous and even deadly violence where you can get seriously hurt or wounded probably for the duration of your bug out trip.

As most of you already know, a situation like this cannot be survived in the ‘Rambo’ fashion by the average prepper. It’s best to avoid and evade anybody along your route until you get to your BOL retreat or somewhere safe to rest.

But the increased potential of desperate violence could still send a bullet flying your way and into your leg. Or it could cause you to take a hard fall while trying to run and hide, which cracks a bone in your arm or causes a deep three inch blood squirting laceration on your shin from something sharp when you hit on the ground.

So now you have a bad wound that normally would call for an ambulance and a fast trip to an ER room. In this case, your little compact happy camper Mickey Mouse mini-first aid kit with smiley face band aids just won’t be much use.

And you certainly can’t hand carry everything that a fully equipped ambulance is supplied with either. The trade-off would be a mission tailored more serious trauma oriented bag, mostly dedicated to combat types of wounds and a few other more serious related injuries.

If you stick to minimal essentials for the odds of a single bad event for just the bug out trip you can get away with a much lighter and compact set up that’s not much bigger than one of the basic Walmart first aid kits, but is a far better bet in dangerous predicaments. These are also called GSWT (Gun Shot Trauma Wound) kits.

But let me tell you my option. Here’s what I carry in my BOMB which is attached to the outside of my BOB/backpack, and is carried in my vehicle at all times.

Basic BOMB Essentials

1. Tourniquet

In the event of a bullet wound, deep laceration or bone fragmentation, the bleeding is likely to be profuse to the level of obstructing quick and effective treatment of the wound, especially if a major vein or artery is ruptured.

A tourniquet is a way to temporarily (emphasis on temporary) ‘choke off’ the blood supply going to the wound to prevent bleeding out and shock and also to facilitate cleanup and closure of the wound. You must understand how to properly apply and use one.

There are different types of commercial tourniquets, but the principal is easy to DIY and improvise with rope etc. I personally like the RATS (Rapid Application Tourniquet System) for a reason I’ll explain further down.

2. Compression Bandages

Most of the time, in high speed/stress emergencies where continued movement is also essential to survive, a bullet wound can be treated with a pressure bandage. It can be applied quickly and stops the bleeding enough to continue your mission if the wound is not to a vital organ or prevents walking.

And then at a later opportunity, the wound can be re-checked, and further treated. I prefer and pack the Israeli Battle Dressing.

3. Suture Kit.

Often a wound is ragged and deep and although it can be temporarily pressure bandaged to stop bleeding out, any flexing movement of the body or the skin will preclude blood clotting and normal tissue healing, so the disinfected wound must be closed properly as soon as possible to get it to heal otherwise it will keep opening up and be more prone to infection.

I prefer the EMT/EMS Skin Stapler, and there are a couple other versions.

A quick trick some experienced EMT’s use in the absence of suture time or opportunity, especially on a sharp but deep and bleeding cut/slice type wound is to pad/sponge dry and press the cut separation together and hold and then quickly squirt a line of Super glue on the cut line, then immediately press the gauze pad over the wound and hold for a few seconds. Then finish the bandage up and this should hold if you have to move fast until a later better repair can be performed.

4. Splint/Sprain Wrap

If you’re like me and already ‘odds opted out’ in life because of all the trauma hits taken in hazardous occupation related environments, you have thus become ‘hard to kill’ by the usual suspects.

So I’ve come to profoundly realize that it likely won’t be a bullet that kills me in an emergency, but it will no doubt be a fall down some dimly lit stairs, or a trip and flip over a dead zombie because I was looking too hard over my shoulder to see if I was being followed because I didn’t have my glasses on.

Hard falls are common in emergency evacuations, firefights, and other such high mental and physical stress activities. Accidental falls will probably be the most common cause of bug out injury and will most likely be a strained knee or sprained ankle. So one of those elastic athletic wrap bandages on a roll to tightly wrap that knee, as well as other uses, should be included in your BOMB.

The other thing is if you take your knee completely out or break a limb–which is often worse than a gunshot wound, especially if it’s a compound fracture where part of the bone is protruding through the skin–and you’ll need to immobilize the limb to prevent further unrepairable damage. For that you need a splint.

Yes, you can DIY one of these, but a much more efficient and quick way to solve the problem is to get one of the specialty items for this.

For example, I have the 36” SAM Splint in my kit.

5. Blood Clotting Agents

Due to the advancement of compact easy to use blood clotting agents to assist in stopping the bleeding, these should be kept in all medical kits. They are relatively inexpensive and there are different types for a variety of applications in different formats.

There’s even a sponge that doubles as a wound clean up while spreading the clotting agent chemical on the wound, which makes for a faster treatment.

There are different brands, all with various merit, and Amazon or E-bay has most of them. The basic ones would be Celox or Quick Clot brand in a granular form.

6. Miscellaneous

At a minimum, you should have a sealable freezer bag with alcohol pads, antibiotic cream/pads/powder, a sealed roll of heavier gauze and a role of at least 10 yards of waterproof adhesive medical tape or duct tape, some pain killers, and anything else you might personally consider essential.

I know everybody carries a knife but if you can find room for a handy small sharp set of scissors to cut pads and tapes that would also be worthwhile and work better for these applications.

Don’t waste your money on a cheap one. Even though you might have had some training also carry a small but comprehensive first aid manual in your bag to keep you reminded how to do things. They have some really good ones out there now. And if you have prescription medication, you should try to have enough in your BOMB to last for far longer than you would think.

Gun shot infographic

DIY or Store Bought?   

My assortment described above is DIY in choice and packing, and suits my particular potential tactical situations and training experience, but the actual individual items are all commercially available.

It’s really not worth the time or even cost effective to hand fabricate your own sutures or mix some obscure herbal blood clotting powder or herbal antiseptic and try to seal it properly with all the latest advanced and very affordable stuff out there now ready to go.

With the exception of maybe Cayenne pepper, which has excellent wound antiseptic AND blood clotting action AND has other multiple uses, like spicing up that juicy sewer rat, you just caught for dinner at the campsite. So I always have a bag of Cayenne pepper handy in the BOB, as well.

Also some extra antibiotics you may have had laying around for some previous issue would be good to have in there.

All of the above items can be purchased on E-bay or Amazon for an average of $10 to $30 each, so my BOMB cost me, including a surplus mole bag, under $100.

While that’s not dirt cheap, it’s a lot less than some of the already assembled GSTW bags/kits which contain a lot of good stuff–while nice to have long term–is not that essential to the individual carry bug out mission carry in a single person escape situation. Weight is important so my kit is a bare minimalist version. And it all fits snugly in a pack a little larger than a gallon of milk attached to the outside of my BOB.

But if you don’t feel like DIY and just want to buy it complete and ready but really want to see the most inexpensive basic GSTW kits, go to the E-bay page on Gun Shot Wound Trauma kits and check out the ‘Quick Clot Level 1 Trauma kit/gunshot stab wounds’ for only $29.95. It’s sealed and includes a pack of clotting granulate.

I think there are even cheaper ones but, in my humble opinion, it should include a clotting agent for those nasty, squirting, spurting, sickenly sloppy fountains of blood coming out of wounds like Yellowstone Geysers that you need to throw everything on at once for any hope of stopping the bleeding before there’s too much loss.

But remember you can mix and match and if a kit you like doesn’t have a pack of clotting agent you can buy it separately.

Those of you who are highly perspicacious survival medics likely noticed why I chose the above particular supplies in view of several other very good choices. It was because these are easier to use in self-administered first aid. Even if you are wounded in one arm, you can operate the RATS and the other items, and apply them with one hand.

If you are serious about this sort of medical emergency, make sure you get some training or at least study a good emergency medicine manual and learn how to properly use your equipment.

You might have to buy extra sets of items to practice with while you keep the unopened sealed ones in your BOMB. There are now several free emergency wound treatment videos on line that are virtual medical school tutorials because they are graphic and use surrogate animal tissue in demonstration to create an authentic representation of the wound.

Good Luck!

But we all know that true survival is never about luck.


This article has been written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia

DISCLAIMER: The information given and opinions voiced in this article are for educational and informational purposes only and does not replace medical advice or the practice of medicine. No provider-patient relationship, explicit or implied, exists between the publisher, authors and readers. As many of the strategies discussed here would be less effective than proven present-day medications and technology, the author and publisher strongly urge their readers to seek modern and standard medical care with certified practitioners whenever and wherever it is available. 

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Mahatma Muhjesbude

About Mahatma Muhjesbude

Mahatma Muhjesbude is a former Spec-ops combat Vet, LEO, international security consultant, and private contractor. He has instructor level credentials and skills in various survival disciplines. He is a dedicated advocate of Liberty and Justice for all and a proactive defender of our Constitutional rights. He strongly believes that the best value you can give back in life is vital knowledge through experience, and that's why he's writing for Survivopedia, using a pen name to protect his real identity. You can send Mahatma a message at editor [at]
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  1. Nice article! Lot's of good usable information that is desperately needed on Prepper sites. Keep up the good work !!!

  2. Something to consider on the note of splints is a little thing called a SAM Splint. They run about $12-$18 depending on where you get it but it comes in a roll and can be formed to any extremity that you're splinting. Very handy when it comes to saving room in a BOMB.

  3. James Cooke says:

    Great stuff! Thank you for getting me beyond the band aid & aspirin stage. One suggestion though - can we come up with a term/acronym other than B.O.M.B.? How about Medical Options Bag (M.O.B.)? Or, Emergency Medical Incident Treatments (E.M.I.T.)? Or, . . . or . . . anything !! so that in my haste and eagerness I DO NOT say to the EMT or fireman or (God forbid!) a police officer "I can help! I've got a B.O.M.B. in my car!"

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      The B.O.M.B. acronym is more of a prepper 'insider term' that is intentionally thought provoking so that it also acts as a 'memory aid' just for the purposes of this discussion. The average first responder would not understand it off hand just like she wouldn't likely understand a B.O.B., a B.O.V. or much of anything else related to Bugging Out if they weren't a prepper. And you're right, in today's uneasy discourse climate you wouldn't want to 'announce anything concerning the term BOMB under conditions of potential, but consequential misunderstanding.

      The most generic term would be a 'first aid kit' or Emergency Med Bag.

      In better days in a past, but not forgotten life, we used to 'affectionately' call our hot rods....bombs. (sigh)

  4. Where can I get a printable version of the "21 Medical Kit Must Haves..."? When I download the webpage using the download as pdf link, the chart is 1/3rd the width of a standard page and if I forget my magnifying glass when I bug out, there's no way I could read it.

  5. Don't forget Oragel. My grandkids always developed a toothache on a Friday evening. That taught us never to be without treatment on hand.

    • Orajel is good stuff. Another consideration is clove oil. Very effective, inexpensive, and nontoxic.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      Remember, this article was just for what you need for a solo escape under less than friendly anarchistic weather where your odds are increased of getting a serious wound on behalf of violent behavior all around your exit route.

      For everything else you should be advanced prepared with a Bug Out Location stocked with more medical supplies for long term consequences.

  6. Powdered cayenne pepper will stop bleeding fast, kills the pain, and causes the wound to heal without scarring. This sounds painful at first, but the truth is that anything you put into a raw wound is going to hurt. Mixing one part sulpher to two parts cayenne also prevents infections in swamps, jungles, and other high infection risk areas.

  7. Please do not advise folks to use the granulated form of Celox. Celox should be in every first aid kit but it should be the Celox pads.

    I am a search and rescue volunteer and have taken wilderness first classes taught by military medics who have had patients die due to Celox granules that have entered into and caused clots in veins or arteries.

    Again, Celox is effective in reducing bleeding and is an essential first aid item but please use pads and not granules. The granule version should be taken off the market.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      Good point, Brandi. I was going to mention the issues with clotting agents but that would take another couple of pages and we have to keep these articles concise and to the point.

      Here's the end logic on the granules v. pads issue. In the beginning, when that's all they had was a powder and the granular pack, indeed there were some problems as there always are with newer stuff until the bugs were worked out.

      Yes there were some isolated incidents of vein clogging but those occurred mostly in very serious wounds with a lot of damage. The odds of which were not that great in comparison to the lives the product saved, so the product was never taken off the market, but was definitely improved. And most of the deleterious side effects were related to the Quick Clot brand, I'm told.

      But the major complaint was by physicians who completed the 'operation' with conclusive treatment of the wound/injury. They claimed that removing the Quick-Clot now hardened material from the wound to repair damaged tissue/etc caused immediate bleeding often worse than the initial wound because the clotting substance was adhesive and tore away and damaged more tissue in the process.

      But all this is solved now. They are on 3rd and even 4th generation chemistry now where the 'granules' are actually encased in a guaze--which i believe i mentioned to check into because they even have a sponge now? And as I urged everyone concerned to investigate further in the form of actual training so as to be up on the latest varieties and options which now include injectable preloaded tubes for direct and quick injection to a bleeding bullet hole.

      Celox is different from Quick-Clot so even the 3rd generation granules were 100% safe even directly applied to broken arteries because any residual breakdown turns them into a safe glucosamine molecule already present in the body and easily absorbed and not armful to veins, despite hard to kill urban trade mythology on earlier products. (when did you first take your first responder wound trauma training?)

      In fact they work best for trauma like ruptured carotid arteries where heavy pressure bandages do not.

      Bottom line is that anything you buy today in any form of Celox and even others, would not have the problems of the 1st generation versions.

      So thanks for the info and thank you for your 'service' but part of being a good FR-or any specialty function/skill is ALWAYS being up on the latest stuff and trade info. That's why i emphasized at the end to at least get a good Emergency first aid book on the subject. You shouldn't try any major wound treatment unless you reasonably know what you're doing.

      By the way, even if you had to use an old, early version of Quick Clot powder/granules, in an old IFAK bag, i wouldn't hesitate to save a life with it now, and use it, as opposed to worrying about a remotely possible blood clot later, and not using it? But again, that shouldn't even be a concern anymore?

      And while we're on it, you should at least be changing your primary B.O.M.B with fresh updated stuff at least every couple years. You don't have to throw the old stuff away, but you want your primary carry pack fresh and new.

      By the way, nobody took me to task on it yet, but i'm sure somebody will, so who knows why i didn't include a specialized sucking chest wound occlusive bandage in my personal B.O.M.B.?

      (hint: it rhymes with 'more')


  8. A multi-use item I would highly recommend is polyurethane tubing in a couple of 2 foot strips. It makes a great one-hand (and teeth) applicable tourniquet and can also be used for numerous other DIY projects i.e. slingshots, snares, and booby-traps. It takes up no more space than a softball and the weight is negligible. Available at most drugstores or pharmacy department of super stores.

    Semper fi.

  9. A multi-use item I would highly recommend is polyurethane tubing in a couple of 2 foot strips. It makes a great one-hand (and teeth) applicable tourniquet and can also be used for numerous other DIY projects i.e. slingshots, snares, and booby-traps. It takes up no more space than a softball and the weight is negligible. Available at most drugstores or pharmacy department of super stores.

    Semper fi.

  10. crystalfeathr says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. I have a basic 1st Aid Kit but I am going to try and add these items to it. I did find a nice army field surgical kit in a catalog that I purchased for $25 that has some good pieces in it and is in a rolled pouch that dosent take up much room. One question , where would i find the Isotonic Saline IV?

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      You can search the web a little more intensely and you'll find it if it's not a prescription product. But you should be fairly well practiced with setting up an IV drip before you attempt it. If the trauma first aid was done quickly and efficiently --stopping the bleeding--before any significant blood loss, you shouldn't need one if the BP is stable? But anything medically extra you can afford to buy and carry or store is always good.



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