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Junk on the Bunk: Personal First Aid Kit (PFAK) and Hygiene Kit

1) Wet Wipes 2) 100% Deet bug spray 3) Toe nail clippers and Tick remover 4) Fix’n Wax 5) Foot powder and boot bands 6) Cumberland Concepts Zipper Bag
7) Floss and Q-tips 8) Wash cloth 9) Camp soap 10) Imodium, Tylenol, Ibuprofen 11) Hand sanitizer 12) Sawed-off tooth brush 13) PFAK with bandaids, antiseptic wipes, Melagel, moleskin

I’m going through my gear and making sure it’s ready to go for the upcoming Fieldcraft course next month and thought I would share what I carry to cover basic hygiene and health in the field.

I carry my Hygiene gear and my Personal First Aid Kit (PFAK) in a Cumberland Concepts zipper pouch. I love these little pouches and use them for any organizing of small items in my equipment. A PFAK is different than an IFAK, and I’d like to clarify how. I came across this term in an article I was reading about how the Marines are trying to teach fieldcraft institutionally now. The concept is that every Marine has a small boo-boo kit to take care of small injuries to reduce the workload on the Corpsman and to ensure these small injuries are taken care of as soon as possible so they don’t turn into more serious problems later. That’s the problem with living in the field, everything is dirty, and even a small scratch can get infected and become more serious if untreated.

For the PFAK I keep things pretty basic since I’m already carrying an IFAK. I want to be able to take care of the common scrapes I get on my hands, knuckles and legs while working and hiking out in the bush. I try to wear gloves as much as possible, but things happen still. For these types of injuries I carry some antiseptic wipes, a variety of bandaids, and a product called MelaGel to put on the injuries. The MelaGel helps keep the injury clean and it helps it heal fast too.

Taking care of your feet while you’re out in the bush is very important since they are your transportation. In my PFAK I carry some moleskin to put on blisters and as part of my hygiene kit I carry foot powder. I also carry camp soap and a wash cloth so I can scrub my feet to keep them from turning into hamburger. I also carry a set of toe nail clippers, if your toe nails get too long they will smash into the front of your boots as your hiking and cause you some pain, so I keep them trimmed up.

The last items in my PFAK are some basic medications. Imodium for diarrhea, ibuprofen for swelling and Tylenol for pain and fever.

As far as hygiene I keep things pretty basic, just like George Carlin says at about :35 into this video.

I use wet wipes for their intended purpose, and of course hand sanitizer. While wet wipes can be used for some basic cleaning of the body, some hot water, soap, and a wash cloth can do wonders for the spirit too. I like to carry Coleman camp soap sheets for soap, and it works equally well as a dish soap too.

For dental care I just carry a sawed off tooth brush and some floss. I don’t floss everyday in the field, just if something gets stuck in my teeth. The floss could also be used for many other needs as well. I don’t use tooth paste since it’s smell is very distinct, but if you have wood ash handy it works really good, just dip your tooth brush in water then dip it in the ashes.

The last item I carry that probably needs explanation is Fix’n wax. Fix’n Wax is something I make based on old recipes for a similar item that mountain men and other frontiersmen would carry. It was kind of a multifunctional wax that could be used as chapstick or lotion, waterproofing for leather, a protectant for knives and other tools, bow string wax, etc. My recipe is pretty luxurious compared to what they most likely used, consisting of bees wax, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and peppermint oil.

This whole kit rides in an outer pocket on my ruck so it’s easy to get to when needed. For a long time that was on my ALICE pack, but nowadays it’s a MOLLE pouch on the outside of my DG3.

My Fix’n Wax recipe

I finally came across my notes from when I made a big batch awhile back.

  • 3.5 ounces cocoa butter
  • 1/3 cup bees wax
  • 1/8 cup shea butter
  • 21 drops coconut oil
  • 24 drops olive oil
  • 11 drops peppermint oil

Just melt it all together slowly over a small flame and pour it into your preferred containers. If I remember right this batch makes about 3/4 cup or so.


20 thoughts on “Junk on the Bunk: Personal First Aid Kit (PFAK) and Hygiene Kit

  1. Yes, so much this…. These are the kinds of things I find that so many either overlook altogether, or just don’t talk about, and they are so much more vitally important than most realize.


    1. For sure, not to mention the psychological benefit from some of these little items. Don’t get me wrong, I can and have functioned without many of them, that’s how I know I like having them 😁 It’s easy to grin and bear it when your unit goes to the field then goes back to the rear and everyone can heal back up, but if there’s no rear to go back to it might be a good idea to have a little more discipline and take care of our basic needs a bit better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yepper. Let me add one tiny item: the small tube of 20% Benzocaine for toothaches, minor burns, scrapes, etc. like Oragel, Anbesol, Equate, or Dollar tree versions. Man–you ain’t had pain and distraction until you’ve had an untreated or cracked tooth out in the field with those gremlins jackhammering your jaw 24/7.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a really good idea, The MelaGel and Fix’n Wax both will work on minor burns and scrapes but something dedicated for a tooth is a really good idea. A small tube of Oragel doesn’t weigh and would fit just fine. Thanks for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a buddy that was lite infantry in the army, late 80s . I used to have his packing list. But all the personal stuff had to fit in a small peanut butter container.outside of the pb container. They could wrap a wash cloth.

    He used hotel bar soap or shaving soap and razor

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting, I’m pretty sure my hygiene kit would fit in such a container if I left out the baby wipes. A guy could do that and just carry some finely rolled TP like what used to come in the MRE’s. Thanks for the info!


  4. Glad I’m not the only one with a good size Hygene/PFAK kit in his Ruck. Ever tried spraying the pouches with FlexSeal? Also I’m gonna need the recipe for that FixNWax big fella. I normally carry a couple things of Carmex to take care of lips, wind burn and such but that balm you make does more.

    Also for T/P, find a dispenser at a job site that has a roll on its last legs but also doesn’t have a cardboard tube, the kind that are rolled onto itself. Look for one about two inches in diameter. Fits nicely into a sammich bag.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t personally used flex seal on a pack but I receive Brent0331 on YouTube repaired the top lid of his ALICE pack with it and it looked like it worked really good. Those zipper pouches I like are rubber lined and are really durable. Considering they sell them at Wally World for less than 10 bucks for a pair it’s a hell of a deal. I’ve got my Fix’n Wax recipe written down and when I come across it I will post it. It’s similar to Burt’s Bees, which is what I usually prefer for chapstick. Good tip on the TP too, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do as you’re doing and have some stashed in every daypack, ruck, etc. just in case. Might save a pair of socks that way haha


  5. I remember watching survivor man when he went to south America and got some nasty foot fungus after a day or two and had to be evacuated with the help of the locals. How often does things like fungus or foot infections effect soldiers? Seems like if you were operating in a humid environment something like Fluconazole or Ketoconazole (or whatever you can get you hands on) antifungal maybe a good addition?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not any kind of expert when it comes to jungle warfare, but I’m sure foot powder and antifungal medications would be important. Most of the foot problems I saw could be attributed to guys not taking care of their feet. Like wearing the same socks and boots for days at a time. Their feet had a hell of a stench and the skin just sloughed off. Of course these guys were exhausted and in their minds the extra 5 minutes to powder their feet and change their socks wasn’t worth it, that’s where leadership should be coming in and ensuring those little things get done.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We don’t use soap sheets, but do whittle small pieces of soap into small shapes for use. The container to keep these intact must be a hard case as soft allows the pieces to be too broken down. It becomes almost powder. when this is the case.

    In our locale, thorny vegetation is very present. So precisions tweezers are definitely recommended.

    Thanks for writing the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is spot on. I would encourage you to check out Leukotape-P to replace your moleskin; all the cool kids are using it these days on the slog.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For toothpaste, what I’ve done (old ultralight backpacker trick) is to make toothpaste dots. Squirt blobs of toothpaste about the size of a regular chocolate chip onto wax paper. One blob for each time you plan to brush teeth. When ready to brush, stick the dot in your mouth to re-fluidize it then do your brushing as normal. You can get unscented/unflavored toothpaste for this. Can also make the dots out of baking soda. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, form into small blobs then let dry and put in a small ziploc. Use same way as the toothpaste dots. It’s kinda crumbly but works great. Can also just take baking soda in a ziploc, or in an old 35mm plastic film can works good too and those little cans are super strong and don’t leak. Baking soda has No smell of course. Also very useful for upset stomach and in this way one item of your gear serves two jobs, always a plus in my books. Brushing teeth is not something I can skip
    if I’m going to be out in the bush for more than a couple days. Thanks BR.

    Liked by 1 person

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