After a Nurse on My Flight Jumped Into Action, He Told Me to Always Travel With This $33 First-aid Tool

It weighs just 2 ounces and could save a life.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

NAR Gen 7 CAT Tourniquet - Combat Application Tourniquet


After spending a long weekend in Maui with my family, I was settling into the five-hour flight home to Los Angeles when a flight attendant made an urgent announcement requesting the help of any medical professionals on board. As it turned out, there was just one person on the entire wide-body jet qualified to respond to the call — a nurse, and he was sitting right next to me. 

He made his way to the front of the plane with a flight attendant and disappeared for a while. When he returned, I gently inquired about the wellbeing of the passenger in need and we got to talking. Just as I was, the nurse, too, was traveling with his family, including a spouse and two school-aged children. Noticing my kids, he offered me this piece of advice: “I travel with one first-aid tool wherever I go, a Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT), and you might want to do the same.”

NAR Gen 7 CAT Tourniquet - Combat Application Tourniquet


To buy:, $33

This had caught my attention. Right away, I searched for the tool he recommended and was relieved to find one available at Amazon for just $33. The Gen 7 CAT tourniquet from North American Rescue (NAR) is a one-handed tourniquet and the most recently upgraded model used by the U.S. Army, and proven to be 100-percent effective at stopping life-threatening external bleeding by the Army’s Institute of Surgical Research, according to the brand.

It works by way of a durable windlass system with a free-moving internal band that applies pressure uniformly around the circumference of the extremity. When it’s fully tightened, the bleeding stops and the windlass locks into place. That's when you secure a hook-and-loop windlass retention strap to keep the pressure on the wound on until you can get to a hospital, which is how my nurse seatmate told me how he uses it in emergency situations. Watch this helpful tutorial video from North American Rescue so you’ll be better prepared on how to use it. 

Additionally, the compact, nylon tourniquet weighs just 2 ounces and its 5.6-inch by 17.8-inch by 6.4-inch frame packs easily into any carry-on suitcase, purse, or backpack.

Like my seatmate, the NAR Gen 7 CAT Tourniquet is an essential for hundreds of Amazon shoppers, many of whom vouched for the first-aid tool’s durability and effectiveness. In one five-star review of the CAT tourniquet, a shopper who was training in a “major trauma training class” said they were able to strap “them on and [turn] them as tight as a grown man can and they didn’t break.” They added that they stayed fully intact without ripping or tearing after hours of heavy use, and that they stocked up on multiple for “my own med kits at home, our factory, cars, and tactical plate carriers.” 

Many five-star reviews also noted the worthiness of spending a few extra dollars to get this precise item, rather than the range of knockoffs flooding online marketplaces. One Amazon customer wrote, “As someone experienced in combat, I'd trust my life to no other tourniquet than the real deal CAT." Another reviewer implored fellow shoppers not to “scrimp needlessly when a tool is there to save your life… We use these repeatedly in bleeding control classes, and they are easy to use and have held up through dozens of practice applications by a wide array of students.”

Heard enough to be convinced? (I know I have.) Get the NAR Gen 7 CAT Tourniquet — or one for everyone you love — today at Amazon or directly from North American Rescue

At the time of publishing, the price was $33. 

More T+L Deals to Shop:

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles