Staying healthy is one of the biggest challenges in any survival situation. Having the ability to deal with traumatic injuries quickly and effectively can be a matter of life and death. One piece of gear that should be a part of anyone’s gear is a good first aid kit for survival. However, knowing what constitutes the best first aid kit is hard to determine for most people.
Written by Dennis H., former military/preparedness retail store owner
Let’s Talk About Survival First Aid Kits
First aid kits are easy to find. The grocery store has them, the pharmacy has them, and in internet search returns thousands of types, styles, sizes, and varieties of first aid kits. You can find first aid kits for any application. There are first aid kits advertised for:
There are a few things that I believe are essential for any survival first aid kit. From personal experience, I know that there are some features and parts that should be a part of every survival first aid kit. What I look for is:
- Size – The first aid kit should be small enough to fit on the outside of a backpack without becoming cumbersome or a nuisance.
- Pouch – The first aid kit should be in a durable and preferably waterproof pouch that opens and unfolds so that you can see what is inside without having to dump the contents to find any item.
- Identification – The pouch must be clearly marked in such a way that anyone can easily recognize that it contains first aid equipment
- Tourniquet – Your survival first aid kit should include at least one tourniquet mounted so that you can access it easily with one hand from any position. (More about this later.)
- Gauze – Lots of gauzes.
- Pressure Dressing – At least two.
- Hemostatic Agents – The number one cause of death from traumatic injuries in survival situations is blood loss. Stopping the bleeding is the number one priority.
- Survival Blanket – The second most dangerous occurrence after blood loss is shock. A good survival blanket can help mitigate shock and maintain body temperature.
These are the things I look for when assessing the value of a survival first aid kit. As we look at some of the best survival first aid kits on the market, I will talk more about these items.
Ignore the Numbers!
I have one more bit of advice about shopping for the best survival first aid kit. Don’t get enamored with those piece counts that are advertised so prominently on some first aid kits. I have found that many of these first aid kit piece counts really don’t reflect the quality of the first aid kit. Many of the piece counts include things that have no bearing on the usefulness of the first aid kit.
When selecting a first aid kit for survival there are several factors that must be taken into consideration before clicking ‘add to cart’. At a quick glance, here are our top picks:
Last update on 2020-05-26 at 22:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best First Aid Kit for Survival: My Top 7 Picks
I selected these first aid kits based on the contents provided by the manufacturer, the quality of the equipment and supplies included, and comments I found researching these first aid kits. These are ranked in no particular order.
1. Best Bugout Bag Survival First Aid Kit – EVERLIT Emergency Trauma Kit Review
Everlit is a veteran-owned and operated company that specializes in emergency and survival gear. The EVERLIT Emergency Trauma Kit is a step above their standard survival first aid kit. It does contain most of the equipment that I feel is essential. However, it also includes several items that will probably end up in a drawer.
Running down the features list gives an idea of why this survival first aid kit made the list.
- Come in a nylon carry bag with MOLLE attachment points. This is a tri-fold design that opens to make finding components quick and easy.
- All included first aid supplies are FDA approved.
- The kit includes a military-style combat tourniquet.
- Inside the kit, you will find:
- 1 – Israeli style pressure bandage
- 1 roll compressed gauze
- I – emergency blanket
- 1 – medical burn dressing
- 1 – pair trauma shears
- 2 – latex disposable gloves
- 40 – alcohol pads.
- 1 – 36-inch splint roll
There isn’t a lot of fluff in this kit. I like the pouch and the fact that it comes with a combat tourniquet. All in all, this kit will get you taken care of in an emergency.
- Has all the basic components in a good pouch
- The pouch is lightweight and well designed for easy access to the things you may need quickly
- The pouch has enough room to personalize your first aid kit
- The kit seems a little short on some supplies
- 40 alcohol pads?
- ✅【Everlit Emergency Trauma Kit】: Uniquely customized by U.S military VETERANS to get you...
- ✅【Massive Hemorrhage and Circulatory Care】: This kit contains the most use friendly, compact...
Last update on 2020-05-22 at 11:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
2. Best Compact Survival First Aid Kit – Delta Provision Co. Tactical First Aid Kit Review
The Delta Provision Co Tactical First Aid Kit is a smaller and less fully equipped survival first aid kit. The Delta Provision Company first aid kit is packed into a smaller case than most of the other first aid kits in our list. However, the small size is deceiving. The Delta Provision Co. kit contains almost everything you need in a personal survival first aid kit.
If you are looking for a survival first aid kit to fit into a briefcase, overnight bag, or a day bag, the Delta Provision Co. Tactical First Aid Kit is an excellent choice.
This smaller kit includes:
- Israeli Bandage
- Gauze packs
- Elastic bandages
- Alcohol wipes
- Burn gel
- EMT scissors
- Roll-up splint
- MOLLE attachment points
- Assorted sterile pads and wipes
- Triangular bandage
I have advocated for years that anyone who has a concealed carry license should also carry a trauma kit. Heaven forbid you should suffer a traumatic injury such as a gunshot wound, but if you do, you should have the means necessary to do the emergency treatment on yourself or someone else. The Delta Provision Co. Tactical First Aid Kit will certainly provide what you might need in an emergency.
- The smaller pouch is easy to manage for EDC
- Double fold out pouch is convenient for finding what you need
- Includes a tourniquet, which is critical for an individual trauma kit
- No hemostatic agents to help stop bleeding
- FULLY STOCKED IFAK - Packed full of essential first aid supplies this 130pc first aid kit is perfect...
- EXTREMELY DURABLE - Tough nylon case the is MOLLE and PALS compatible to attach to any of your...
Last update on 2020-05-27 at 02:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
3. Best Small Group Survival First Aid Kit – Lightning X Stocked EMS/EMT Trauma Kit Review
If you are anticipating needing the capability to care for larger groups’ medical needs, then you need to consider your strategy. Personal first aid kits are great for short term situations or traumatic injuries when help may be delayed. If your situation planning calls for longer duration survival and care for a larger group, there are more considerations to be made in selecting a survival first aid kit.
Situations where help may be many hours or even days away, or perhaps even nonexistent, additional equipment and capabilities become important. Having the necessary equipment and training is essential in these kinds of situations.
The Lightning X Stocked EMS/EMT Trauma and Bleeding Medical Backpack is a perfect addition to anyone’s kit. If you anticipate longer duration events or filling a larger group’s medical needs, a look at just a few of the features easily explains why.
- A well-constructed backpack style case is included that is designed specifically to serve as a trauma bag.
- The backpack has MOLLE attachments for securing additional external pouched to further expand your capabilities
The kit includes:
- Kelly hemostats
- Bandage sheers
- Trauma sheers
- Assorted band-aids and pads
- Roll gauze in various lengths and widths
- Elastic bandages
- ABD Pads in assorted sizes
- Cloth tape
- Iodine wipes
- Alcohol wipes
- Instant cold packs
- Eye pads
- Triangle bandage
- Eyewash system
- Exam gloves
- Assorted splints
- Blood pressure cuff
- CPR Mask
- Airway Kit
- Hemostatic Gauze
- Pressure dressings
- Israeli bandage
- Ambu Bag
- Emergency blanket
- This is a complete kit that can handle most survival emergencies.
- Extensive Emergency supplies included with the kit
- Can handle everything from a splinter in a finger to a major traumatic injury
- Backpack style case often requires most of the contents to be removed to find what you want.
- This kit is larger and bulkier.
The one caveat that comes with having and carrying a bag of this type is the need for specialized training. Some of the devices included in this bag should only be used by a trained EMT/Paramedic. Trying to use these devices can inflict more harm and do physical damage to the victim.
Getting some additional training in emergency medical care is one of my survival and prepping suggestions. Finding a course at a local community college is a great way to add to your skills.
- FULL KIT CONTENTS LISTED IN DESCRIPTION BELOW
- Modular (MOLLE) loops throughout to attach external pouches or hang additional gear
Last update on 2020-05-26 at 21:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
4. Best EDC Survival First Aid Kit – Rescue Essentials Tactical Ankle Medical Kit Review
Carrying a survival first aid kit every day can be a challenge. However, I always encourage anyone who with concealed carry license to have the minimum survival first aid gear with them at all times. This compact and easily concealable ankle kit has what every concealed carry license holder needs for their own protection.
- 1 SOFTT-W Gen 3 tourniquet
- 1 4” Israeli Emergency Bandage
- 2 Pair black nitrile gloves
- One additional pocket for extra gear.
The design of this survival first aid kit rides comfortably around your ankle and out of sight under your trouser leg. It may seem a little out of place, but the ankle location is perfect for accessing those critical items from a kneeling or prone position. Your tourniquet will never be out of reach.
- This kit includes everything you need to handle an emergency gunshot wound
- Comfortable design is ergonomic and efficient
- Puts the most critical parts of your trauma kit at hand from any position
- Not really a first aid kit
- Designed by a SWAT officer
- Ensure that every Law Enforcement officer can carry lifesaving medical gear
Last update on 2020-05-26 at 22:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
5. The Best Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit – North American Rescue Medic Trauma Pack (CCRK) Review
Combat medics are, without a doubt, some of the unsung heroes of our military. The stories of their bravery and sacrifice resound in every branch of the United States Armed Forces. Their unwavering devotion to the men with whom they serve is a testament to their character.
The equipment that these combat medics carry into the field is unsurpassed. That is why I have selected the North American Rescue Medic Trauma Pack as the Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit. This is the civilian version of what most combat medics carry into battle.
These kits are designed for the harshest wear and tear imaginable. The kits themselves are designed and outfitted with input from veteran combat medics. The list of features and content is too long to list fully, but a sample should convince you that this is the ultimate survival first aid kit.
- 5 pair black nitrile gloves
- 2 sets personal protection equipment
- @ nasopharyngeal airways
- 1 tactical suction device
- 2 needle decompression kits
- 2 CAT tourniquets
- 1 S rolled gauze
- 2 abdominal trauma dressings
- 4 saline lock kits
- Trauma sheers
- SAM splint II
- TTS Tactical traction splint
- 1 Casualty rescue blanket
- 1 Headlamp
This represents only about half of what comes packed in the backpack with this kit. There is room for you to customize the load-out to your exact specifications. You can rest assured that no matter the situation or the location, with this kit, you will have what you need to deal with the most serious of injuries.
This kit contains equipment and supplies that require specialized emergency medical training to properly utilize and deploy. Again, I encourage you and everyone in your group to find classes in your area where you can get advanced emergency medical training.
- The most comprehensive medical kit available.
- Well designed and well-stocked by professionals in the trauma response business
- Rugged backpack designed to withstand extremes in use, terrain, and weather
FAQs About First Aid Kit for Survival
Are some tourniquets better than others?
Absolutely. I have trained with almost every combat tourniquet available on the market, plus tried all the YouTube and internet suggestions for makeshift tourniquets. My experience has been that there are very few tourniquets on the market on which I would trust my life.
There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about combat tourniquets. Some are market hype by manufacturers, some are misinformation from well-intentioned users, and there are some that are factual and based on documented research.
If you want to know more about what combat tourniquets meet the high standards of emergency and combat personnel, you should read this report from the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care.
I keep a first aid kit in my pickup truck but have never used it. Is it still good?
That depends a lot on how old it is, how long it has been exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and the quality of the contents of the bag. There are some things to consider.
- Over the counter drugs, even when sealed in foil packets, degrade over time. They all have a best by date stamped on the package. Any over the counter medications included in your first aid kit should be inspected regularly and replaced as needed.
- Sunlight, heat, and cold can degrade the material the pouch is made from as well as rubber or plastic components inside the bag. You should check your first aid kit regularly and replace any equipment or instruments that have degraded.
- You should check the condition of all bandages, gauze pads, and other supplies to make sure the sterile packaging is intact and that the supplies have not become contaminated.
A first aid kit, no matter how complex or simple, is a tool like anything else in your gear kit. It needs to be opened and checked, cleaned, replenished, and practiced with just like any other tool or equipment in your inventory.
Do you mean I should practice with my tourniquet?
Yes! On a regular basis. Practice on yourself. Can you apply that tourniquet to your arm or leg with one hand, laying on the ground? You should train just like you expect to have to use that tourniquet. You may be quite proficient at putting the tourniquet on with your right hand. Are you just as adept with your left hand?
You should also practice applying a tourniquet to another person. Properly applying a tourniquet to another person is very different than applying it to yourself. Find a partner and take turns practicing with your tourniquet.
One suggestion I would make is to buy several tourniquets. Keep one as a practice tourniquet and one or more as your carry tourniquet. When the practice tourniquet becomes so worn that it is no longer good to practice with, buy a new tourniquet to carry every day and move your older one into place as your practice tourniquet.
I have taken a Red Cross first aid course. Isn’t that enough?
The Red Cross basic first aid course is fine for what it is intended, which is to prepare ordinary people for ordinary everyday injuries. One thing that every evolution taught in the Red Cross Basic First Adi course ends with is the admonition to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
In a survival situation, that is just what is not available. Having the training and knowledge to go beyond the basics can be crucial and can mean the difference in saving a life. Find a local community college or some other group that is teaching the basic EMT course and start there. You will gain valuable knowledge and hands-on training that will benefit you.
Prepare Before You Need It
Emergency medicine in a survival situation is never easy. The severity of the injury, the situations, and the pressures all add up to making dealing with trauma under survival conditions problematic. That is why being as well prepared as possible is the key to the best outcome.
For general individual survival first aid kit needs, I recommend the Everlit Emergency Trauma Kit as the best selection for anyone. It offers the best choices of equipment and supplies in a quality pouch and doesn’t contain a lot of fluff that is rarely used and often goes to waste. The cost is economical and provides great features for the price.
If you have experience in the emergency medical field or real-life experiences that can add to our understanding, please leave your comments to this article in the section below. We strive to bring the best information available in these articles.