There are plenty of first aid kits on the market, but most are designed for general use at home or work. And while a band-aid and an antiseptic wipe will treat a paper cut just fine, they don’t really cut it in a survival situation.
In this article, we look at what you really need in a first aid kit for survival. We’ve researched the best ready-made first aid kits on the market so you can confidently prepare for any medical emergency.
Don’t forget that supplies are just one-half of the equation – you also need to know how to use them. If you haven’t done any first aid training then move that up your prepping task list. It might just save your life.
Our Top Pick
Best First Aid Kit for Survival: My Medic MyFak
The MyFak First Aid Kit is one of the most comprehensive on the market, containing items you’re unlikely to find elsewhere, such as a thermometer, penlight and saline solution.
You can buy either a basic version or an advanced kit depending on your first aid experience.
The basic kit contains a range of bandages and dressings for treating wounds, including a large pressure bandage to control more serious bleeding and burn gel for minor burns. There is a range of over-the-counter medications and topical ointments, balms and creams in single-serve packets.
The advanced kit contains additional items for dealing with more serious wounds, including a tourniquet, cut kit and QuikClot® dressing for bleeding, scalpels and surgical scissors. It also includes electrolytes, aspirin, Dramamine and an ammonia wipe to help treat dizziness and fainting.
Both kits come in a robust bag with MOLLE straps on the front and back. Inside, a small removable pouch includes the topical treatments and medications but could be repurposed as a mini self-contained first aid kit.
The other items are held in place by a system of pouches and straps which is functional but not as organized and intuitive as the Surviveaware kits. It’s worth unpacking and repacking the kit a few times, so you know where everything is.
If you want a survival first aid kit that you know has everything you need, then this is the best on the market. It’s expensive, but the time you save researching and preparing a personalized kit is well worth it.
- Very comprehensive first aid kit
- Includes medications and topical treatments
- Option to add trauma supplies
- Robust bag
- The organization isn’t as intuitive as other kits
Best Waterproof First Aid Kit: Surviveware Waterproof First Aid Kit
Of all the items in your emergency kit, first aid supplies are some of the most vulnerable to water. If you’ve ever tried opening a damp pill packet or putting on a soggy bandage, you’ll know how important it is to keep your first aid kit dry.
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The Surviveware Waterproof First Aid Kit has an IPX7 rating, meaning you can hold it underwater for 30 minutes and the contents will still be dry.
This makes it a great option for any survival plans involving water or if you live in a wet climate. It also means you can strap it to the back of your backpack or outside of your vehicle, so it’s to hand in case of emergency.
It includes a good range of first aid supplies sufficient to deal with minor burns and wounds, plus a face shield for CPR.
If you want to deal with more severe situations (such as major bleeding or securing an airway), you’ll need to add your own supplies. Items are organized into labeled compartments, making it easy to find what you need.
The addition of a first aid manual is particularly beneficial if you don’t use your first aid skills frequently or if you haven’t had any first aid training.
While there’s space for medications, there aren’t any included, so you’ll need to add your own along with any topical treatments you might need.
- IPX7 rating (fully waterproof)
- Lots of attachment options
- Extra space for personal items
- First aid manual included
- No medications or ointments
- No advanced trauma supplies
Best First Aid Kit for Your Bug Out Bag: My Medic The Solo
Designed as a lightweight kit for one person, the Solo contains everything you might need and nothing you don’t.
There are two versions;
The Basic includes fabric bandages, Burnshield gel, a selection of single-use gels and ointments, blister patches and basic medications.
With the Advanced kit you also get a tourniquet, Micromend cut kit, bleeding control dressing, chest seal and nasal airway.
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Both kits come in the same durable pouch. The single-dose medications and ointments keep the kit light – the Basic kit weighs in at just 9 ounces. However, this does limit its use over a prolonged period. If you’ve sprained your ankle in the backcountry, a single dose of Advil isn’t going to get you very far.
Fortunately, there’s a bit of extra space to include extra meds or bandages (particularly with the basic kit). This reassures you that you have a bit of everything while still including the first aid items you use regularly.
Both kits also include a 10-foot length of paracord, a whistle, tweezers and heavy-duty EMT shears. There’s only one pair of gloves included, so we’d add a couple more pairs plus a face shield and a gauze pad.
Compared to some small first aid kits, it’s quite pricey, but you’re paying for the convenience of having a wide variety of items in a compact, lightweight package.
There’s no instruction manual, so it’s worth going through the kit in advance to make sure you know how to use everything, particularly if you’re getting the advanced kit.
- Small and compact
- Durable pouch
- Room to add extra items
- Optional advanced trauma items
- Single doses of most medications and ointments
Best Budget First Aid Kit: Dexmed All-Purpose Waterproof First Aid Kit
This first aid kit is small enough to keep in your Bug Out Bag and contains a good range of basic first aid supplies. There are plenty of adhesive bandages, gauze pads, a couple of gauze rolls and a triangular bandage, as well as a CPR shield, tourniquet and ice pack.
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The kit also includes “survival supplies,” namely an emergency blanket, poncho, glowstick, whistle and compass.
Rather randomly, a sewing kit is also included. You never know when you might need to sew on a button!
The items are not of the highest quality – I certainly wouldn’t trust the tiny compass – but that’s not surprising given what you’re paying.
Unlike the other kits we’ve reviewed which have a bit of spare space for you to add custom items, the supplies are crammed into the pouch. This makes it a bit awkward to find what you need without spilling the contents over the floor and means the pouch bulges, placing strain on the zipper.
If you’re on a budget and want a first aid kit for everyday bumps and bruises, this is a great little kit.
- Great value
- Good range of basic supplies
- Includes tourniquet and CPR face shield
- The pouch is tightly packed
- Poor quality survival supplies
Best First Aid Kit for Families: My Medic The Recon
The Recon is a miniature hospital you carry on your back.
Designed to be worn as a backpack, the modular bag has multiple compartments and removable side pouches that can be used to store additional first aid or survival supplies.
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The kit contains more of the same supplies as the MyFak, but the bigger bag also allows for larger items to be included, such as a cold pack and full-size splint. The bottle of eyewash is a much more practical solution than the small tube of saline solution you get in the MyFak.
Unlike most first aid kits designed to be replenished between incidents, The Recon contains enough supplies for multiple incidents or an incident affecting several people (e.g., an accident in which two or three people suffer burns). This makes it a good option for families or for prepping when you don’t have backup supplies.
However, this is a big kit and may be best suited to storing in a vehicle or at home or a Bug Out Location rather than with your Bug Out Bag. It’s also expensive. If you want to stock up on first aid supplies to keep at home and don’t want the more specialist items, you may be better off stocking up at the local drugstore.
- Sufficient supplies to deal with multiple incidents
- Advanced kit for serious wounds
- Additional pouches for personal items
- Too big to carry inside another bag
Best Emergency Survival Kit: Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit
This kit is similar to the Surviveware Waterproof First Aid Kit above but is designed to be more of a general survival kit.
It’s a great option if you want one bag that’s small enough to fit in a backpack, attach to a bike or keep in your car but contains most things you’ll need for basic survival.
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As you might expect, the downside of this kit is its light on first aid supplies for its size. That said, they’ve prioritized the right things. You’ve got bandages, cleansing wipes, burns gel, face shield, wound closures and tweezers. There’s a bit of extra space to add additional items such as medication, anti-itch cream, or a tourniquet.
You might be a bit dubious about the quality of kit items and whether they’re robust enough to handle a survival situation.
This isn’t a cheap kit, but on this occasion, you get what you pay for. There’s a good quality knife, multitool and wire saw, a signaling mirror, flashlight, and whistle to attract attention. The biodegradable wipes, paracord bracelet and poncho have a multitude of uses in an emergency.
The pack is water-resistant and heavy-duty with various attachment options. Overall, this is our top recommendation for a medium-sized all-in-one survival kit.
Read our full hands-on Surviveware first aid kit review.
- A good set of basic survival items included
- High-quality tools
- Extra space to personalize first aid supplies
- Well organized and labeled
- Limited range of medical supplies
What to Include in a Survival First Aid Kit
First aid kits sit firmly in the essential, potentially life-saving column of your prepping kit, meaning you’re likely to need more than one. You may have a small kit that you keep permanently in your Bug Out Bag, a larger kit in your vehicle and a fully comprehensive kit in your home or Bug Out Location.
Larger first aid kits have a bigger variety of supplies and contain more essential items. In a post-disaster situation, first aid supplies will be hard to come by, so it’s worth stocking up in advance.
First Aid Essentials
For a comprehensive list of what to include in your first aid kits, refer to our first aid checklist.
Remember that sterile dressings and bandages and medications have use-by dates. Rotate your first aid supplies regularly and throw out or demote anything that has expired.
Personalizing Your Kit
One of the downsides of ready-made first aid kits is that they’re generic. They provide a good starting point, but you may need to personalize it for you and your family, even with a comprehensive kit.
Here are some things to consider adding to your survival first aid kit:
- Spare prescription medications for you and your family
- Over-the-counter medications (including for children and babies)
- Thermometer (suitable for adults and kids) – See Infrared Thermometers for humans
- Tourniquet – See survival tourniquets and how to use a tourniquet
- Spare glasses or contact lenses
- Emergency water pouch (for drinking or wound cleaning)
- Electrolyte tablets
First Aid Training
You can have all the kit money can buy, but you could do more harm than good if you don’t know how to use it. First aid training is one of the best prepping investments you can make. It could end up saving your life – or someone else’s.
When looking for a first aid course, try to find one that focuses on survival or wilderness first aid and household emergencies. This should train you to deal with more serious wounds and what to consider if you get hurt in the wild.
Check out the 10 first aid skills everyone should know for more information.