Pro Tip: Coban™!

Pro Tip: Coban!


Coban™ is the brand name of a self adhering (it sticks to itself, not the skin), water resistant, lightweight, breathable elastic wrap. It also goes under the name Vet Wrap if purchased at the ol’ Fleet Farm.

Coban™ (I just like saying the word) is super versatile, the absolute bomb, and a must have for all first aid kits, on land or sea! It can be used to hold absorbent gauze dressings in place, put pressure on a wound to stop bleeding (called a compression dressing), and hold splints or ice packs in place. It can be used to support, secure and protect sprains and strains similar to an Ace wrap.

Using Coban™ The Right Way

For whatever purpose we’re using Coban™, it’s important to be aware of how tightly we’re wrapping it. It will not loosen over time, so make sure it’s not wrapped too tightly by checking the color, motion, temperature and sensation (CMTS) of the downstream parts. For example, after using it to secure a wrist splint, we should check the fingers to make sure that they’re pink, able to wiggle, warm and not numb or tingly. Also, press gently on the fingernails until they turn white, then let go quickly. They should go back to pink within a few seconds. This is called capillary refill. If the nail-beds are slow to go back to pink again, loosen the wrap.

One last pro tip for using Coban™, it’s best to cut it with bandage scissors. It, like my beloved electrical tape, does not rip well and gets all lumpy when you’re trying to stick it back on itself to secure the wrap.

As if all of this weren’t enough, it comes in pretty colors! Put a 2” and a 3” roll of Coban™ in your onboard medical kit. I wouldn’t leave the dock without it.

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