Our latest top gear offering is all about Tuff Cut shears. These simple heavy duty scissors are the unsung heroes of any first aid kit and, we’d argue, are an essential backcountry emergency tool.
There is good reason all manner of healthcare professionals and rescue personnel have been using Tuff Cut shears for many years. They are capable of cutting through most fabrics including the webbing of a climbing harness or motorbike leathers. Their angled shape and blunt nose design also make them very safe for both the casualty and rescuer.
In first aid emergencies it could be cutting through clothing to manage a bleed. It might be cutting clothing away to expose skin to apply an AED. Perhaps you have to cut a SAM splint to size. Maybe you’ll need to cut away helmet straps or simply trim a dressing. There are endless possibilities.
They are also a great tool for non first aid situations. Tuff Cut shears will easily cut through climbers ‘tat’ for abseil rigging. They could also be used to free a kayaker from a snagged throwline or cut through a seat belt to free someone from a vehicle. Of course, many people carry knives for that purpose, but Tuff Cut shears are far less likely to cause injury. This is especially relevant if you’re rushing or the casualty is thrashing about or displaying challenging behaviour.
The other big advantage Tuff Cut shears is the price, compactness and weight. A pair of 5.5” Tuff Cuts only costs around £3 and weighs around 35 grams. The 5.5” size is our favourite back country option as it strikes the balance between function and packability. There are larger 7.5” models available. They can be easier to handle but it is always a trade off. We find the smaller ones are still very efficient.
So, we hope we’ve convinced you that Tuff Cut shears are a worthy addition to your wilderness first aid kit. We shared some other ideas on what to include in a first aid kit here. We’ll also be featuring some key items in future top tips. Of course, the best way to prepare for a first aid emergency is one of our ITC First Outdoor First Aid or Advanced Outdoor First Aid courses.