In a do-or-die situation, you could get by stitching a wound with fishing hooks or bent sewing needle. There are certainly many stories of field medics who’ve had to resort to these.
However, most of us would end up doing more harm than good with improvised stitching supplies.
Instead, be prepared by having a suture kit.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many good suture kits available for everyday people who simply want to be prepared. Here are the only two I’d recommend as well as how to build your own.
Don’t Forget about Suture Alternatives
Unless you are completely confident in your ability to suture a wound and can ensure that everything is sterile, stitching a wound might just cause more harm than good.
Instead, consider using a suture alternative – such as wound closure strips.
Best Suture Kits
1. MyMedic Stitch Kit
MyMedic is one of the best brands for first aid supplies. Their kits contain high-quality tools and are complete. Their Stitch Kit is no exception.
Check Prices on MyMedic
The Stitch Kit includes:
- Nylon sutures: One 3-0 suture and one 5-0 suture
- Needle driver: Clamps around the needle
- Scalpel blades + handle: 4 blades and handle
- Surgical scissors
- Hemostats, x2: One straight and one curved hemostat
- Nitrile gloves x2
- EMT Shears
- Prep pads, x6
- Hand wipes, x2
- Saline vial, x2
- Antibiotic ointment, x2
- Gauze pads, x2
- Bandage, x2
- Liquid skin, x1
- Wound closure strips, x1 pack
- Designed to be used in the field.
- MOLLE case can be attached to your pack and easily opens
- All the suture supplies are easily accessible
- Has everything you’d need to suture a wound, including items for cleaning the wound
- Doesn’t contain tissue forceps.
2. Tactical Stop the Bleed Kit
Here’s a very affordable suture kit which also includes other items for stopping heavy bleeding. Most importantly, it contains a tourniquet (read how and when to use a tourniquet).
Check Prices on Amazon
As for the quality, the tools are surprisingly good – no issues with the needle driver not holding well or hemostats not clamping well. While they aren’t the best quality available, they will get the job done on a budget.
The kit includes:
- Pre-loaded sterile nylon suture (3-0 size)
- Needle driver
- Tissue forceps
- EMPT shears
- Pen light
- Scalpels plus handle
- Hemostats, curved and straight
- Alcohol and antiseptic wipes
- Needle probe
- Designed to be used in the field
- Sturdy, practical snap case that folds down small
- The tourniquet can be worn or attached separately so it is easily accessible
- Only comes with one suture
- Quality of supplies could be better, but this is meant to be an affordable SHTF suture kit.
3. Build Your Own Kit
Most of the suturing kits sold online are meant for training only. While the tools may look professional, they often have issues – such as the needle driver not making a “snap” sound when it is properly closed.
Thus, if you are serious about suturing and want high-quality items, you’ll probably have to build your own kit.
Here are high-quality suturing tools you can buy to build your own kit.
- Cynamed Tungsten-Carbide Mayo Hegar needle driver: Check On Amazon
- HTI Tungsten-Carbinde Mayo Hegar needle driver: Check On Amazon
Adson Tissue Forceps:
Needles and Suture:
- MyMedic suture removal kit: Check On MyMedic
- Dynarex suture removal kit: Single use disposable kit with hooked scissors, tweezers, and gauze – Check On Amazon
- Cynamed suture removal scissors: Check On Amazon
Choosing the Right Suture Kit
Learning how to suture wounds for emergency preparedness is suddenly trendy. As a result, a lot of generic brands have started to sell suture kits. Many of these are less-than-ideal. They are mostly designed for “training” purposes.
While it might seem okay to practice with a cheap suturing kit, it’s not the smartest idea. The cheap tools and suture might snag, have locking issues, or even break. Some cheap suture kits also include non-standard tools.
If you learn on these tools, you’ll have a hard time switching to actual medical-grade suture tools.
Before you buy a cheap suture kit for learning to stitch wounds, ask yourself these questions:
Do you need a case?
It’s nice to have all your suturing items together in a case. But, if you are just going to put the items in another first aid bag, then you might not need the case; you could just buy the suturing items individually.
Also consider whether the suture kit has room for more items, such as if you need to add more sutures or additional scissors.
Does the Suture Kit Contain Everything You Need?
For SHTF emergency prep, you probably don’t need a dozen different types of tools. The basics for suturing skin wounds are:
- Needle driver
- Pre-loaded sterile sutures: For skin wounds, sizes 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 are usually used
- Tissue forceps: They should be toothed and have non-slip grip
Do You Need a Suture Removal Kit Too?
It’s possible to remove sutures with scissors and tweezers. However, it’s easier and safer to use a sterile suture removal kit. The scissors in these kits have a hook on one tip which allows them to easily get under the suture to cut it.
How Many Sutures Are Included?
Most suture kits only have a few sutures included. You’ll need to purchase more separately. Note: if you are new to suturing, use cheap dental floss to practice with. Once you get comfortable with that and master knot-tying, move on to practicing with real suture.
Is There a Suture Practice Pad?
You can also practice suturing on items like grapes, pig feet, or chicken with the skin still on. However, suture practice pads are a lot easier to carry around – not to mention less messy.