The Best First Aid Kits
For many of us, having a first aid kit on hand isn’t always something that we think about. However, having a medical kit in your home, office, or hiking pack is a fantastic idea. Being raised by nurses, it has been drilled into my head to always be prepared for any type of medical emergency. While chances of you needing to use it often are very slim, they do come in handy (even for simple situations like needing a band-aid or some disinfectant). This is especially true if you are raising a family or are a self-proclaimed clumsy person.
To help prepare you for almost any situation, we have researched the best first aid kits available online. Our list ranges from kits suitable for one day hiking trips to fully stocked OSHA certified kits for the office. Have a look through the following list, and you will get a number of well-rounded options for your next (or first) medical kit. Just keep in mind what you are looking for in one. Do you want something that has a ton of supplies and options? Do you prefer a kit that is light? WIll you be toting this kit around? Aside from that, sit back and enjoy the list.
- Trip worthy Compact First Aid Medical Kit
- Great price
- High-quality supplies
- Swiss Safe 2 in 1 First Aid Kit
- Wide supply selection
- Quality components
- Durable and lightweight
- Waterproof case
10 Best First Aid Kits
Trip Worthy Compact
The items included in the package are all medical grade quality and they satisfy the highest possible standards. Inside the nylon pack, you find everything from safety pins to glow sticks to abdominal bandages. All supplies 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 (from manufacture date) 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
4 year warranty
Not suitable for hiking
Swiss Safe 2 in 1
The items included in the package are FDA approved and latex free. This kit includes a compass, moleskin blister relief, and additional space to add your own supplies.
The small first aid kit has 32 items inside and 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. Also included is an 18-page first aid guide to help you feel more confident.
High quality medical components
Wide selection of medical supplies suitable for every situation
This kit includes an incredibly durable bag, made from 600D polyester, that is water-resistant. It may not pack in as many supplies as others, but it includes the top 100 essentials that should prepare anyone in a minor first-aid situation. This kit even includes a CPR breathing mask. All of the contents included are quality, clean, and organized.
After purchasing the Surviveware Small First Aid-Kit, a free guideline book will be emailed to you. There is a bit of extra space in the bag if you prefer to print the guidelines and carry them with you. The nice thing about the Surviveware Small First-Aid Kit is that it is small and compact. While it includes 100 pieces, it is highly portable, which works well for the car or hiking day trips.
To help you find anything in a time-saving manner, the pockets are all labeled with their contents, so no need to rifle through it in a panic. There is also an extra pocket included for any extra personal items or medications that you would want to include.
Surviveware aims to impress, and that means that this kit comes with a life-time guarantee and a 100% money back policy.
- Highly versatile
- High-quality medical supplies
- Not as comprehensive as other kits
This kit is OSHA certified and will help you be ready for basic and unexpected daily accidents and will provide an answer for every minor emergency situation. The components inside are with a good quality and doctor recommended. One common complaint is the fact that the kit contains 299 supplies, of which 196 of are band-aids.
The components are packed inside a case that is soft, yet very durable. To keep it at it's finest, you can easily replace its contents, so that it is always like new. It is considerably lightweight vinyl at 2.4 pounds. Its compact size makes it easy for storing and its design easily detectable in nature.
It includes treatments, such as Ibuprofen, antiseptic towelettes, antibiotic ointments, and extra strength non-aspirin. It also has an emergency blanket, exam gloves, moleskin, and a lot more to keep you prepared.
- Comprehensive kit
- Fantastic organization
Not available for international shipping
The entire kit is TSA compliant, making it ideal to pack for vacation. 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, along with a lifetime warranty.
The components are placed in a well protected and durable pouch which is made of nylon material. It is water resistant, with plastic pouches inside to doubly protect your supplies, making this kut suitable for water sports. 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
- Water resistant case
Though sold in the US, the kit components are not made here
May need to be restocked
DeftGet Waterproof Essentials
The medical supplies included in this kit are not something that will 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. The only complaint we have heard from reviewers is that the bandaids included aren't as sticky as they should be.
DeftGet has also improved the quality of this first aid kit by adding an emergency blanket and a non-battery powered flashlight. 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
Great bag design
A bit pricier than competitive items with similar features
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 of a blister. All in all, it has everything for minor emergencies that might happen to you in the wilderness or wherever you may choose to bring this simple pack. However, it does not include medications and supplies for more serious medical injuries and most of the OTC medications expire in one year of purchase.
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 contents inside and it is completely waterproof thanks to the waterproof zipper and taped seams. This makes it suitable for kayaking trips and outdoor water sports. The smallest kit available weighs 2.6oz and fits in the pocket of cargo shorts. The largest kit weighs less than 8oz and measures 8.5x5.5x2.75.
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
The 57 components inside this kit are carefully selected and come from different suppliers. However, there have been some complaints about the tweezers and gloves not being up to par. However, most first aid kits come with low-quality gloves that should later be replaced with ones with a higher quality. This simple kit is equipped to treat minor pain, burns, and bleeding. Many reviewers suggest adding a thermometer or poison ivy medication.
We love the bright orange color of this kit. When you are panicked and in a hurry, it is easy to find. With only 1.79pounds, this bag will not weigh you down. 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.
Minimal medical supply
All of the components in this Mountain first aid kit are of 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.
Although the construction of the bag makes it very durable, it weighs in at 2.3 pounds. It is constructed of a waterproof material and a water-resistant zipper. We love the organization of this kit. There are injury specific compartments inside, such as, "Fracture/Sprain," "Bleeding/CPR," and "Wound Care/Burn/Blister." There is also extra space to add in whichever medicines or bandages you may want to carry.
This kit also comes with a comprehensive wilderness and travel medicine guide to help keep you calm in times of emergency.
Enough medical supplies
Great for a larger group of people
Be Smart Get Prepared
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.
This kit can be mounted on the wall of your home or office for easy access. An instruction guide is also included to help keep you calm in times of emergency. 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
Criteria for Evaluation
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.
Items needed 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.
Other critical components to include
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.
Q: Where should I keep my first aid kit?
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 point 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 an accident can happen at any time. 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 sack that only fits medical supplies that you need for one day. This combination is perfect for a backpacking – hiking adventure.
Q: What items should my first aid kit contain?
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 non-latex gloves
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
- 1 roller bandage
- 5 sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
Q: Should I put together my own first aid kit, or buy a pre-made one?
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, are 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 Walgreens. 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.
Q: What are some other first aid items to bring if you are traveling?
While you should always check with your doctor on the basic items that you will need for travel, here is an offering of some ideas to start with.
- Tweezers: These little babies will help you out in situations where you may have a splinter or a piece of glass in an unwanted place.
- Disinfectant: It’s always handy to have something like hydrogen peroxide on hand. This is particularly true of cleaning up small wounds after a splinter or small cut.
- Insect repellant: If you are headed somewhere like Costa Rica, where skeeters roam wild, you will most definitely appreciate having some solid insect repellant on hand.
- Anti-nausea medicine: While you travel, you are sure to be hopping onto buses, boats, and trains. All these different travel options may just have your stomach feeling unsettled. Anti-nausea medicine will help in these situations.
Q: Should I pack a first aid kit for my child to go to school with?
Packing a medical kit for your little one to go to school with is not a bad idea at all. However, you will want to check with your child’s school policies on what is allowed to be brought, and what is not allowed to be brought to school. Along with this, it is worth taking your time to check in with your child’s classroom teacher, because he or she may already have an extensive kit on hand. Some parents pack school and child-friendly kits for their little ones to leave in the classroom. How you want to prepare your child depends on what is allowed and not allowed by the teacher and school. Also, keep in mind, you won’t want to have your child handling medication of any sort. It’s best to stick with basics.
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 themselves. For this reason, we have suggested first aid kits that have high-quality components, and some are lightweight enough to be carried easily in your pack for trekking. While it can be highly tempting to grab an extra snack or two, rather than carry around a first aid kit (weight wise), if you opt for a lighter kit, you will barely notice that it is there.
And remember, as you head into the wild to satisfy your adventurous side, it’s safety before everything.