2020 update: Direct links have been removed as I have left the Amazon program. I still like the bags, but you’ll have to find them yourself if you want them.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast like me, you probably spend a lot of time searching for survival gear. This includes not only a good backpack, Swiss army knife or clothes, but also a first aid kit. Depending on the situation, a quality kit has to be usable under any weather conditions. After devoting myself to a thorough research of probably over 30 different models, I finally narrowed it down to the 4 best first aid kits. So, if you are into mountain climbing, long road trips and bug-out preparation, keep reading.
What’s The Purpose?
Maybe you read my popular article ‘32 Basic Life Skills‘ and hopped over here. Or maybe you arrived here direct from the search engine. Either way: Happy to have you! I’m a big outdoors-nut, so this topic is one dear to my hobby.
Since I spend so much time in nature, a medical kit has become more of a professional need. My friends can easily find a whole set of them in my car or at my house. My motto is a person can never be too prepared for a sharp wound or survival situation. Not to forget something as common a car accident. This is when a high quality first aid kit comes in handy.
Thanks to modern technologies, a smartphone can help you in a city. However, it may not help all that much when it comes down to immediate medical attention in the wild. A flashlight with a set of fabric bandages is far more crucial. Add some trauma pads or alcohol cleansing wipes, maybe some stainless steel tweezers and you can survive a tornado.
There is an overwhelming number of first aid kits on the market, and finding the right one can be tricky.
Frequent campers and hikers usually go for professional models and choose brands that guarantee safety and durability. But, like in every other niche, there is always an alternative product. Those are for people who wander through the woods for recreational purposes or for those who don’t take safety seriously.
If you ask me, it is best to combine expertise with good decision making. This is especially true when going through wilderness or any kind of emergency. Furthermore, you should also know how to work with the materials you’re provided with.
So, to make sure you’re always prepared, here are the 4 best first aid kits I would recommend to anyone:
1) Be Smart Get Prepared, 250 Piece First Aid Kit For 50 People
The number one best seller first aid kit comes at a reasonable price and has many uses. Whether you’re at the office or at home, in an emergency situation, camping or doing sports, safety comes first. It covers 250 pieces of treatment gadgets. It is also a product of a leading US company in the field of first aid.
Its interior compartments are professionally optimized for quicker access and the plastic case is impact resistant. OSHA and ANSI 2009 guidelines for 50 people are fully met, which is why it’s ideal for most purposes. The product’s main feature is the size, as it can fit almost anywhere and you can use it on spot. The innovative design with wall mounts serves for extra accessibility, and it comes in various sizes, depending on your needs.
2) M2 BASICS, 300-Piece First Aid Kit
If protecting your friends and family or co-workers is a 24/7 priority, this budget-friendly first aid kit is a perfect choice. It supports unique emergency medical supply items, which are perfect either for office, travel, workplace or outdoors. Its quality contents include a plethora of bandages, tapes, sponges and pads.
But, that’s not all. It also comes with sterilization wipes and supplies like gloves, masks or scissors. The survival pack contains a compass, an emergency blanket, a whistle and a carabiner. There is really no need to worry about anything when in possession of a premium product like this one. It is also waterproof, which means that if you enjoy rafting or river camping it is a win-win situation.
3) SWISS SAFE 2 and 1 First Aid Kit – With Mini Kit
Original and authentic, this survival first aid kit offers a complete solution, due to its intelligent design with labelled components. Innovative and water resistant materials with double stitched handles and reflective piping are an additional night feature. Approved by the FDA, the product is sterile, wrapped and 100% safe, weighing only 1.2 lb.
I personally have 2 of these medical kits, and it literally saved my a** more than once! Apart from its amazing content, which includes emergency items and removable components, it is extremely rugged and built to last. If it is good enough in a bind for the emergency services, it will satisfy even the most demanding mountain climber or hiker.
I especially like this one because it is budget friendly and also includes a mini first aid kit. So for something quick you can just grab the mini one instead of the full-size alternative.
4) First Aid Only First Responder Kit, 158 Pieces
If I had to choose over and over again which first aid kit to carry with me, it would be this one. Packed in a large red bag, this item is a lifesaver at its best, and for a reasonable price too (but much more than the three budget ones above).
Its essential supplies make any emergency (almost) like a joke, as you might find in it everything from safety goggles to a bio-hazard bag. Multiple compartments, shoulder straps, side pockets – you name it – this bag has it all! It even comes with CPR device and there is still enough room for your own personal items.
The bag is a bit bulky, but the best part is that it is useful in dangerous situations. No need to think about the conditions you’re in or how many people need treatment. Trust me, after using this kit, I even came up with a name for it. I called it Survivor’s First Choice In Case of an Emergency, or Cedric for short.
It was hard to choose the best “high-priced” med-kit. So I felt it only fair to give a shout out to Emergency Zone. Their bag – “Emergency Zone 840-2 Urban Survival Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit, 2 Person, Black” is an amazing one that is very competitive with the responder. However, it is even more expensive – which is why I left it out of the Top 4. However, if you have a big budget for a first aid kit, definitely consider this one!
What Do I Need In A First Aid Kit?
The red cross list contains the bare essentials. They recommend you buy a kit with these materials, or buy a kit and purchase anything missing to supplement it (Assuming family of four – adjust as needed):
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
The authors over at Hogan Injury also recommend including some anti-diarrhea medication and antihistamines. Which, for someone not adept with hiking, would absolutely be essential. They have a few other good insights in their article, so give it a read when you’re ready to setup a traveling first aid kit.
Down To Brass Tacks
If you’re thinking of buying a first aid kit for minor cuts or scrapes, you should go with the budget models (under $30). They are compact and suitable in any situation, but you might want to consider their content. Novice first aid kits can easily leave you unprepared in a critical situation. The budget option is good for helping a stranger or a friend, but it is not meant for big adventures.
On the other hand, a professional climber or guide has other factors to think about. Consider the final one (and runner-up) here (~$100+). Those include weight, packaging, supplies and accountability. A more advanced kit with waterproof casing and smart compartments can prove to be a mighty companion in any situation. This is also the number one reason you should consider before buying. After all, you never know who might be in need of your help.
Make sure to buy whichever is most suited to your needs. If you go hiking occasionally with one other person, you probably don’t need the full-bodied one. But if you go on big hikes, backpacking, or want a full-fledged survival kit (for bugging out) – you definitely should invest in a solid, multi-purpose kit.