For many of us, it’s our worst nightmare: someone in your group has a serious injury and you’re in an environment or situation that doesn’t permit a quick trip to the hospital. Maybe you’re in a foreign country you’re not supposed to be in, maybe you’re on the trail thirty miles from your vehicle — whatever the reason, blood is flowing and it’s going to take more than gauze, pressure, and a call to 911 to stop it.

That set of circumstances may be a worst case scenario, but that’s what self reliance is all about: preparing for the worst so you can do your best. That’s what the faux-military “Minor Surgery” kit from Voodoo Tactical offers: the fundamental components of a field surgical kit you’d need to handle the sort of emergencies that are usually destined for the emergency room.

As a U.S. Marine, I received precious little medical training over the years. I can recite the life-saving steps (and execute them), triage victims, and do my best to stabilize them until help arrives — but I’m certainly no combat medic. Unfortunately, I’ve been left with no choice but to serve in a similar capacity once or twice. Medicine, like math, is widely considered to be beyond the mental purview of lugs like me — but fortunately I’ve been blessed with a mother and spouse with a breadth of experience in emergency medicine. I’ve never been more popular around my house than when I unveiled the tools included in this kit. Medical professionals are a weird type.

The kit includes a 6” wound probe; 3-1/2” stitch scissors; 3-1/2” tweezers; 5-1/2” bandage scissors; 5” straight and curved forceps; a #3 scalpel handle with disposable blade; pupil flashlight with mm gauge; alcohol pads; antiseptic towelettes; some 5/0 monofilament; and a gram of antibiotic ointment. In other words, it’s got everything you need to clean and stitch a serious wound, as well as everything you’ll need to remove those stitches after the requisite ten or so days of healing.

In terms of survival, stopping blood loss is so important it comes in as the second of the basic life saving steps – just behind clearing the airway and starting the breathing. That means a wound that’s serious enough to need stitches can’t be ignored due to a lack of equipment. At just 7”x5”x2.5” this kit (enclosed in an included canvas pouch) weighs next to nothing and can slide right into your bag, backpack, or vehicle kit. It’s the sort of peace of mind you might stash away and forget all about… that is, until it’s exactly what you need to survive.

I’ve had great success using this kit to treat some more minor injuries as well, such as removing wood splinters from beneath my fingernails (after 7 surgeries, I still consider that to be the worst kind of pain) and it really came in handy when my wife needed to pull a small metal sliver out of my eye… wear your eye protection when grinding knives, kids.

All told, this kit may be intended for “minor” surgery, but the tools included will serve a major purpose in any long-term survival situation. Some things can’t be fixed with neosporin and athletic tape. In serious situations, not even a handful of Motrin and a bottle of water will do it (sorry Navy Corpsman). If you ever find yourself having such a bad day, you can’t do much better than having this kit on you along with a good quality IFAK.

Remember, if you need stitches or any other kind of minor surgery, your best bet is your local hospital. If you don’t have quick access to a hospital, any medical professional is still a better option than the DIY approach… but if you’re serious about surviving the worst, then this kit is perfect for when DIY is the only option left.

These kits are now all sold out, but you can get your own with a subscription to the Crate Club!