The Best First Aid Kits
If you are considering getting a first aid kit for your next backpacking trip, you’ll want to focus on the weight of your package. However, it is important that you don’t do so by purchasing a kit that has all the essential medical supplies that will be useful to use in the case of an emergency.
That said, people tend to pack many things that they are not going to need on their upcoming trip because of the old saying: more is better. In this case, not really. You don’t need more items in your first aid kit, but you do need that the ones that are included are practical and adequate for your trip. If you fail to do so, the weight of your kit will significantly increase, therefore the comfort of your backpack will proportionally decrease. For this reason, it is necessary that you balance between the items in your first aid kit and pick one that will be most convenient for your needs.
10 Best First Aid Kits
Trip Worthy Compact Kit
The items included in the package are all medical grade quality and they satisfy the highest possible standards. They also meet the OSHA and ANSI requirements which make this product suitable for workplace situations. The entire kit, is FDA approved and it is a safe product to rely on.
The Trip Worthy kit is built to last you for a long time. And if you are not already convinced, there is a 4 years guarantee that could convince you as well as a great customer service that will accept your every critique that you might have regarding their product.
However, if you are a passionate hiker, you might require another smaller version of a first aid kit since this one is too bulky for such occasion.
- High medical grade quality components
- Great price
- Not suitable for hiking
Swiss Safe 2 in 1 First Aid Kit
The items included in the package are FDA approved and they are satisfying the highest standards even for kids.
The small first aid kit has 32 items inside and it is lightweight enough for you to take on your next backpacking trip. You could check out the list of items through the link provided. This makes it quite versatile and adequate for every situation such as camping, hiking, backpacking, as a workplace first aid kit, business first aid kit or even a church kit. This is not the kit you are looking for if you only want to prepare yourself for minor complications during your outdoor trip, such as blisters and scratching. However, if you want to feel safer from earthquakes, hurricanes or flooding, this is the right option to choose!
High quality medical components
Wide selection of medical supplies suitable for every situation
Northbound Train First Aid Kit
Even though the components of the kit are manufactured in China, they are FDA approved and they follow the highest quality standards and the most competitive price on the market.
The components are placed in a well protected and durable pouch which is made with nylon material. It is completely waterproof, which makes it good for water sports activities as well. However, it is a pouch and not a box which makes the stuff inside a bit less organized than a box kit. If you mind this feature, look through our box first aid kits with similar features and price range.
- Competitive price
- Waterproof case
- Though sold in the US, the kit components are not made here
REEBOW TACTICAL GEAR
This kit will help you be ready for basic and unexpected daily accidents and it will provide an answer for every minor emergency situation. The components inside are with a good quality and they are FDA approved.
The components are packed inside a case that is hard and very durable. Even after replacing the components inside for years it will still be as good as new. It is also very lightweight and able to withstand impacts. Its compact size makes it easy for storing and its design easily detectable in nature.
- Waterproof kit
- Great for minor emergencies
- FDA approved components
- Limited components supply
DeftGet Waterproof essentials
The components included in this kit are not something that you need replacing. For instance, the tweezers and scissors are made from high-quality stainless steel instead of the cheap plastic many kits from this price range have.
Although it is a bag and not a box, it is very comfortable to use and it has everything you might need for a hike, a bike ride, a camping trip, a backpacking or a hiking trip. The size is perfect and it fits everywhere. The bag contains a handle and you are able to zip it from both sides so that the access to the components is quicker.
- easily accessible items
- High-quality components
- great bag design
- a bit pricier than competitive items with similar features
REI Backpacker Extended
However, the organization and quick access are only part of the features that a first aid kit should possess. The most important thing is the quality of the medical supplies in there. And REI uses the highest quality products in their package.
The kit could be used for backpacking and it can be converted to a hiking first aid kit as well. This is possible with the additional module which can be separated from the entire kit and you could pack only the essentials for a one day hike. This leaves you well protected regardless of your trip’s length.
And if you haven’t spent enough time in nature to know the dangers that come with it, this kit has got you covered. It comes with a first aid book that is written by wilderness physician, therefore it will teach you everything there is to know in order for you to feel safer in the wilderness.
On the downside, it is not as light as expected and if this is the feature you are focusing on, it is better that you check our other options. Nevertheless, it is not the heaviest first aid kit in our suggestion list.
- Highly versatile
- High-quality medical supplies
- Not too light
- Comes with 1 pair of gloves
Adventure medical kit Ultralight
The quality of the supplies included inside is top of the notch as well as their selection. It has several sterile gauzes, bandages, kit for wound cleaning, everything you need to take care for a blister. There are also different types of medications that are essential for a wilderness trip. All in all, it has everything for minor emergencies that might happen to you in the wilderness. However, it does not include medications and supplies for more serious medical injuries.
Although not as well organized as the REI first aid kit, the construction of the bag is highly durable and comfortable to pack anywhere. It is made to protect the content inside and it is completely waterproof thanks to the waterproof zipper and taped seams. This makes it suitable for kayaking trips and wet outdoor sports.
It is also not too versatile because of the lack of some medical products inside. However, this also saves weight and space which is the main reason why the bag has such a small and compact design.
All things considered, this first aid kit is perfect for 2 people who are going on a weekend backpacking trip. Thanks to its waterproof properties, it is also ideal for sports that put the user in touch with water, snow or ice.
- Very lightweight
Limited medical supplies
Lifeline Trail Light Dayhiker
This first aid kit has high-quality components and their quality is easily comparable to our previous REI option. However, this option also comes with a lower price which is much appreciated. The components inside are carefully selected and they come from different suppliers. However, there are some items in the kit that do not deserve to be in the same package as others. Specifically the tape and the tweezers as well as the gloves. However, most first aid kits come with low-quality gloves that should later be replaced with ones with a higher quality.
This first aid kit is perfect for minor medical complications and short several hours trip. However, if something more serious happens, you are going to need a larger medical supply. If the supplier included some more items in the package, this could easily exceed this level and be counted as a high quality one-day first aid kit. However, this would increase its weight and size and the biggest advantages of this kit are exactly these features.
- Great price
- Compact design
- Relatively heavy
- Minimal medical supply
Adventure Medical Kit Mountain
All of the components in this Mountain first aid kit are with the highest quality, except the triangle bandage which is disposable, as well as the ACE wrap. If you wish to have the best, you might want to consider exchanging them for cotton ones. In order to be fully prepared, we recommend that you purchase additional pairs of gloves since this kit comes with only two pairs. This is not at all logical since the kit itself is intended to be used for more people and longer trips.
This kit also comes with a wilderness book that explains the medical situations that might occur in an understandable manner which is very important if you don’t have much medical knowledge.
Although the construction of the bag makes it very durable, it is also a bit on the heavy side. However, since weight is not considered with any of the components inside, this shouldn’t be an issue. It is constructed of a waterproof material and zipper, which make it completely waterproof. When it comes to versatility, there are two directions in order to determine it. One is the versatility considering the level of injuries, therefore it is highly versatile. However, if speaking of the trips it can be used for, it is pretty limited considering the weight and dimensions it has.
Enough medical supplies
Great for a larger group of people
Be Smart Get Prepared first aid kit
For the quality of supplies, it has the OSHA and ANSI certifications. It is the perfect survival kit for your next camping trip or for your company. The box is highly organized with small compartments inside that are making the access to the box easier than ever. The box is plastic and it is highly resistant to impacts.
Considering the number of people it is able to make safer, the price is not as high. At the moment, it is on sale, which is making it the number 1 best seller of first aid kits on Amazon. The expiration date of the entire kit is about 2 years, however, some items might need replacing a bit earlier. It is important to know that the weight and size of this kit are too big to fit a backpack and unless you are going on a trip with a vehicle, this kit is too bulky for you.
- Wide selection of components
- Great for a large group of people
The Criteria We Used When Choosing The Best First Aid Kits
Type of trip
If you are going backpacking, but your final destination requires setting a campsite you might need a more versatile first aid kit that will convert to a hiking kit as well. If you are stationed on your campsite most of the time, but you have planned daily hikes around it, it is never smart to go without a first aid kit; even if it is only for a day. It is normal that your first aid kit weighs a bit more than one of a more experienced backpacker or hiker. After a while, you will get more experience and you will be aware of which items belong in your kit and which are redundant.
Also, if you are a beginner, it is important that you learn what every item of the kit represents and how is it used. After all, there is no use of a first aid kit that you don’t know how to use. Luckily, most kits have books included in the package that are explaining the basics of survival in the wilderness, so this might help you avoid the training that is otherwise necessary for you.
Essential items in your first aid kit
Items for prevention
Even if it is just a scratch, every wound should be treated, especially if you are spending more time in nature. Otherwise, you are risking an infection and this will certainly ruin your whole trip. If you are at home, you would normally maintain the hands clean and wash them more frequently. However, when in nature, you never know if the water source is reliable and whether you can wash your hands with it before treating the wound. For this reason, a first aid kit should have either more pairs of gloves or hand sanitizer that will disinfect your hands before touching the wound.
Other items that are more preventive than for emergencies include a sunscreen, especially in summer when the risk of sunburn is highest. This is especially important if you are planning a family trip since kids tend to get sunburns easier than adults. A moleskin tape would also be useful for minor discomfort on your feet. It is recommended that you use a moleskin tape before even getting a blister. If you feel like there is a hot spot and you might get a blister, stop and use the moleskin tape. Even if you don’t manage to prevent it, it will definitely feel a lot less painful than it can normally feel.
Another thing that comes useful for some people is lotion. And it is not for you to smell good. Instead, it is a great prevention against chafing and if this is a regular problem for you, then you must be prepared for it. Lotion would also help you with dry and cracked skin if you have such a condition.
Gloves, as previously mentioned are vital for preventing infections. However, they are not used for wounds only. Instead, it is recommended that you use latex gloves every time you get in touch with bodily fluids of every type.
Pills are especially important if you have some kind of allergy. Before spending some time in nature it is essential that you test yourself for allergies since there is a possibility that you are and you don’t even know it. In fact, you would be surprised how often this situation occurs. If it proves that you are positive for some allergies, make sure you pack pills or adrenaline injections if you have severe allergy symptoms.
Even though the anti-diarrhea pills won’t save your life, they will certainly save the day. If you know that you have stomach issues, it is vital that you prepare for this as well. Nevertheless, this type of pill is essential for all people, even those with a strong stomach. The reason for this is because if water sources are compromised with some kind of bacteria or viruses it is quite possible that your stomach feels the consequences first. The anti-diarrhea pills have inside them a coal component that destroys bacteria and it might prevent further poisoning altogether.
Pills for pain relief are something that every first aid kit has in its list. They are universal and they are good for minor situations as well as serious emergencies. They are used to prevent swelling or pain from any other type of injury.
Even though you could manage without them, they will certainly come useful if someone scratches from a tree or a sharp object. They will protect the wound from the outside and they will maintain it clean. However, some alternative medicine doctors are recommending that you use band-aids only when absolutely necessary since by covering the wound you are prolonging its healing. However, if you are working something around the campsite, all experts agree that using one is better. And when you are back on the trail, remove it and let it heal naturally if you support this theory. After all, there are no pollutants up in the mountains.
A butterfly bandage is something that we recommend that you double check if you have it into your first aid kit. It is intended to be used for deeper cuts and it works by pulling the skin on both sides of the cut together. This helps in keeping the wound clean and it helps it heal faster. It is always recommended that you clean a deeper cut wound before closing it with a butterfly bandage.
A gauze pad will also be of use in the wilderness and it is used for covering larger affected areas. Duct tape is also useful for holding the bandage in their place. Even though it does not look very nice, it will certainly get the job done and you won’t be focusing on the bandage all the time, but you will be able to forget all about it and enjoy the rest of your trip.
Critical first aid kit components
Benadryl is a type of antihistamine that is great in the fight against allergies and if any symptoms occur. It has a way of stopping the symptoms, although in more severe cases, it might not be powerful enough. It is important to mention that even though you didn’t have a serious allergic reaction to an insect bite for instance in your younger age, later in life, this could change. It could change for the better, leaving you without allergy reactions or for the worse, with more serious reaction to the bite. In case something like this happens, it is better to prepare yourself for such situations.
Even though this might not seem as a critical component, it sure feels like it. Backpackers, campers, and hikers should include caffeine in their pill list since the lack of it, in an organism which is otherwise used to a certain amount of daily consumed caffeine, could cause a severe headache which would not be cured with any other pill. In a way, it is a lot like withdrawal from every other drug, and it is not recommended that you stop instantly. For this reason, your next backpacking or camping trip might not be the best idea for your caffeine withdrawal.
A SAM splint is a piece of aluminum material which is covered by foam. It is used for immobilization of broken bones or sprains and the support it is providing is incomparable to any other medical supply on the market. At least not one that could be packed into a wilderness first aid kit. However, if your first aid kit happens to be equipped with such medical supply, it is important that you know how to use it. It must be shaped in the form of the bone that needs to be immobilized in order for it to work.
A new first aid kit or put it together yourself
A first aid kit has over 20 items inside and putting them together takes time and effort. For this reason, people prefer to purchase a new first aid kit that has quality items inside. If you decide to purchase the items one by one, it will be time-consuming and some items like SAM splint, for instance, is very hard to find.
Another advantage of new kits is that they come with high-quality containers that are often waterproof and very durable. They are also more comfortable for wearing, unlike the low-quality sacks that are available at Walgreen. It is also very hard to calculate the weight of the kit if you improvise the items. The first aid kits that are preassembled often contain items that are not essential. These could be exchanged with other items if find them unnecessary.
If you are traveling in groups, you don’t have to carry one first aid kit per person. Instead, you could pair your kit with your partner’s. At the end, it is a tradeoff between the quality of the components and the weight of the kit.
Be prepared for potential situations
Potential situations that require a first aid kit during a hiking trip are:
Blisters – A blister is not a serious emergency, but it can make your trip slower and more painful. If you feel the hot spot before you feel the sting, a moleskin tape can save the day.
Headaches – No matter if your headache occurs because of the sun, or you are a bit dehydrated, or perhaps there is an internal trigger, a pill would help a lot.
Diarrhea – Even though you are not a person who has stomach issues, if you decide to try the wild berries or some other fruits nature has to offer, it is quite possible that you get diarrhea.
These are minor complications that might occur. However, more serious situations could happen and because of this, having a first aid kit with you is essential regardless of the nature of your trip.
Q: Where should I keep my first aid kit?
A: If your first aid kit is for hiking, camping or backpacking, it probably comes with a waterproof case as well. However, when you are not using it, it is important that you store it in a place that is dark and away from any moisture. It should also be protected from spillages and away from children’s reach. Another important this worth mentioning is that all members of the group should know where the first aid kit is because sometimes, in more serious situations, even minutes matter. If some of your group members are children, it couldn’t hurt that they also know the purpose of the items inside. It is also important that you recheck the shelf life of the items inside the first aid kit. The items inside has a different expiration date and some might require replacing more often than others.
Many hikers prefer to keep their kit in the campsite while they are hiking on a trail nearby. However, this is not recommended because, in order for an accident to happen, it takes only a minute, not a day. For this reason, even if you are going on a one day hike, take your first aid kit with you. A circumstance that will make this easier is that there are convertible kits that will be ideal for a long backpacking as well as a hiking trip. They come with one bigger box that holds all the medical supplies and a smaller box or a sack that could only fit medical supplies that you need for one day. This combination is perfect for a backpacking – hiking adventure.
Q: What is a first aid kit?
A: A first aid kit is a package that contains medical supplies that could assist you in case of emergencies. Although often they are not able to fully cure the symptoms and provide the medical treatment that is required, they are able to provide some basic treatment that will decrease the seriousness of the situation. These medical supplies are stored in a box that can be waterproof in order to protect the items inside. There is a wide choice of first aid kits available on the market today and their quality varies based on the supplies’ brand and knowledge of the person who is putting the kit together. It is interesting to mention that there are certain regulations that a first aid kit must satisfy in order to enter the market. However, these regulations could vary from region to region. Nevertheless, there are international standards which are equally marked in every state and continent in the world.
Even though in this buying guide we are only covering the first aid kits for outdoor activities, there are different types of kits that are used for different situations and locations. For instance, there is a workplace first aid kit that contains supplies that are adequate for a certain position. This helps in predicting and preventing accidents. They can be commercial or they can be put together by a single person. Regardless of the brand that you decide to go with, it is vital that you keep your first aid kit clean and easily reachable. They should also be regularly checked for out of date items or upgraded as the group is getting bigger.
Q: What should a first aid kit contain?
A: This sort of thing is not something you get out of boredom or because you like its design. It is a necessary item in your backpack or vehicle that must be highly functional and easily reachable. You want a first aid kit that will save lives and one that will make your day better. In order to do so, a first aid kit must contain some basic components. However, the quality of the components will greatly vary from one kit brand to another. For this reason, it is wise to inform yourself about everything first aid kit related before even thinking of purchasing one for you and your family. That said, Red Cross recommends that your first aid kit includes:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings
- 25 adhesive bandages
- 1 adhesive cloth tape
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin
- 1 blanket
- 1 breathing barrier
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
- 1 roller bandage
- 5 sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
We admit that first aid kits are a bit of a boring necessity and not everyone wants to pay a lot of attention to choosing one for his backpack. For this reason, we have suggested first aid kits that have high-quality components and some are lightweight enough to be part of your backpack equipment. Many hikers prefer leaving out the kit because of the extra weight. However, it is better that you endure the extra pound and suffer a bit than having the need for a first aid kit and not have one at your disposal. Even though there are some emergencies that are more serious than others, having a first aid kit sure will make your trip more pleasant.
If you have some questions or doubts regarding any of our first aid kit suggestions leave us a comment in the comment section bellow. Safety before everything!