An often overlooked item within the bug out bag, the first aid kit is an absolute essential if you’re spending time in the wilderness or preparing for emergency.
A first aid kit is a portable kit stocked with medical supplies to treat someone who is injured or in pain. Most of us keep a few Band-Aids on hand, but you’re going to want more than just that in your first aid kit if things head south.
So, what’s the best first aid kit for your Bug Out Bag? Find out below!
(Okay, if you don’t want to read the whole thing, check out our top pick, the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit on Amazon)
What should be in my first aid kit?
Since your first aid kit will be going in your bug out bag, you’ll want a kit with enough supplies to do the job. But you don’t want it to be so much that it will slow you down.
Ideally, your first aid kit will include the following:
- Antiseptic wipes (preferably alcohol free)
- Sterile gauze bandages of varying sizes
- Antiseptic cream
- Painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen
- Cream or spray for bug bites
- A thermometer (preferably digital)
- An antihistamine of some sort to treat allergic reactions
- Fine point tweezers
- Sticky tape
- Skin rash cream (such as hydrocortisone)
- Safety pins
These are the basic essentials that should be in any first aid kit.
If you are a beginner in backpacking in the wilderness, you may want to bring more supplies, just in case. Other first aid items for an “upgraded” kit may include:
- Elastic wrap
- Liquid bandages
- Medical gloves
- A sewing needle
- Oral rehydration salts
Just keep in mind that the more you bring, the heavier your pack will be. An extra 3 pounds doesn’t seem like a lot – until you’re hiking up a mountain at midday with the sun on your back!
Where can I get everything I need for my first aid kit?
Because your first aid kit will be your go-to in an emergency, it is vital that you have the best kit possible. While the different items in your kit may vary depending on your personal preference, you still don’t want to compromise on the quality of your supplies.
Some people like to buy their supplies piece by piece and build their kit that way. While that is fine, it is easy to overlook important supplies and the costs can begin to really add up.
Luckily, there are several complete survival kits out there for those of us who are unsure of what they need or don’t have the time and money to buy it piece by piece themselves.
I’ve decided to review my top 3 favorites to help you figure out which one is right for you.
Quality, Price, and Survival Score
I graded these packs on a scale of 5 based on 3 factors:
- Quality: When you’ve taken a tumble down a mountain and find yourself scraped up and bleeding, you don’t want a Hello Kitty Band-Aid from Walmart to do the job. Quality is one of the most important factors when considering your first aid kit, because a poor piece of equipment that doesn’t do its job right could make your trip unnecessarily painful.
- Price: You want the best quality equipment, but at a price you can afford.
- Survivability: What good is a first aid kit if it doesn’t have the things you NEED? I base this grade on whether or not a first aid kit will have all the equipment you’ll need to survive an emergency in the wilderness.
My top 3 picks
Lifeline Trail Light Dayhiker First Aid Kit
The Lifeline Trail Light kit had the best score in Price out of all 3.
It came in at the lower end of the spectrum while still providing all of your essentials.
- It contained almost every item we listed for our first aid kit essentials.
- At 2.7 oz, it’s so light and compact you’ll hardly notice it in your bug out bag.
- There’s extra room in the bag, so you can add items as needed.
- The bag itself is made of a very thin material, so it could rip.
- It’s not waterproof, so there is a possibility your supplies could get wet (not a big issue if your bug out bag is waterproof, though).
- The supplies in this kit are very basic, so you won’t be able to treat yourself if you are seriously injured.
First Aid Only All Purpose First Aid Essentials Kit
In terms of providing the best bang for your buck, the First Aid Only kit wins hands down. The kit provides 299 pieces, compared to the Lifeline Trail Light’s 57 pieces – but it is about double the price.
- With 299 pieces in the kit, the First Aid Only offers a good deal of value for a relatively cheap price.
- It comes in a durable carrying case.
- Everything is organized neatly with its clear pocket pages.
- Although it does technically have 299 pieces within the kit, First Aid Only counts every singular item as a piece. This means that 1 bandage will count as 1 piece within the kit.
- At 2 pounds, it will definitely take up some space in your bug out bag and weigh you down a bit.
- It’s not waterproof, so there is a possibility your supplies could get wet.
You can pick this kit up on Amazon here.
Surviveware Small First Aid Kit
Update: Looks like this product has been taken off of Amazon. I’ll update the post soon with a new top pick!
The Surviveware Small First Aid Kit comes in at the higher end of the price spectrum, but this is reflected in the quality of its products.
It did not contain everything in our basic essentials list, however, the items that it does provide are high quality.
- At 1 pound, the kit is fairly lightweight.
- The contents of the kit are waterproof, something the other two kits lacked.
- Made with 600 denier nylon, the kit is very durable.
- You will need to buy some extra supplies to round out your kit.
- For the lightweight backpacker, the bag itself could be a little bulky.
Which first aid kit is right for me and my bug out bag?
All 3 first aid kits are good enough to provide basic emergency medical treatment when travelling in the wilderness. However, they are all tailored for specific purposes.
- For the experienced backpacker who only needs the essentials, we recommend the Lifeline Trail Light.
- If you find yourself backpacking with large groups or your family, the First Aid Only Kit will have enough supplies for all of you.
- For a lightweight or novice backpacker, looking for a durable bag with high quality items, I recommend the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit.
Overall, though, I think the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit is the top choice due to its durability, but you may want to add some more stuff to it.
Got a favorite kit or an item that you just can’t bug out without? List it in the comments!