Although an IFAK is technically an Individual First Aid Kit, it really should more appropriately be thought of as an Individual Trauma Kit.
First Aid kits and First Aid courses, as commonly thought of, deal with topics more akin to bandaids than tourniquets and life-threatening injuries.
We keep IFAKs in our vehicles and co-locate them in the house with fire extinguishers and flashlights. If you’re planning to be prepared in an emergency, like a fire, then you may need medical equipment, and more light is never a bad thing.
Our IFAKS are stocked to provide life-saving interventions. We prepare for massive hemorrhage, impaired airways, and tension pneumothoraces. A first aid kit, more appropriately called a boo-boo kit (or snivel kit, a term my wife bristles at) is a convenience: no one ever died of a scrape or a splinter. Massive hemorrhage can kill a casualty in minutes. Lives may depend on knowing what is in your kit, where it is, and how to use those items.
Therefore, we do not store convenience First Aid items in our IFAKs.
Bandaids, antiseptic wipes, ice packs, and moleskin may be part of your first aid kit. However, we recommend your first aid kit be kept separate from your IFAK (or should we call it your ITK?). The reason is this: much like scissors are never where you expect them to be because someone has “borrowed them” (and neglected to put them back), if there are every-day items in your IFAK/ITK that someone may need to get into, like bandaids and pain relievers, they will likely trot off with your IFAK/ITK. It will never be where you expect it to be in an emergency.
Similarly, we do not stock items typically referred to as the “12 essentials” (or however many are on your list) in our IFAK/ITKs.
That is also a separate kit. [Many people advise being prepared with essentials including sun/rain protection, fire starters, whistles, navigation tools including a map and compass, etc.] The possible exception would be adding a light to your IFAK/ITK.
Whether you buy generic bandaids or Johnson & Johnson doesn’t matter. A bandaid’s job is largely to keep small cuts from getting blood on your clothing and to keep them clean. For buying the supplies for your IFAK/ITK, quality matters because having proven life-saving supplies in an emergency where someone’s life depends on your equipment matters.
Don’t buy your fire extinguishers at the Dollar Tree and don’t buy your tourniquets on Amazon.
For information on what is in our IFAKs and a complete packing list, you might review the blog post on IFAKs
For information on counterfeit tourniquets available on Amazon, Walmart, and others, review the blog post on counterfeit tourniquets.