A New Look at Very Basic Survival First Aid Kit Contents

Guest post by Craig Caudill who writes for Dan’s Depot.

First aid kits are important for any type of survival situation. However each person’s first aid kit may be a bit different than anyone else’s. For a first aid kit for survival in disaster situations perhaps the most economical way to do so instead of buying a ready-made, mass produced kit, is simply assemble your own kit. Here are some considerations to think about when creating your own survival first aid kit.

1. First aid training knowledge weighs nothing but may be your most valuable component.
2. What is needed versus what would be nice to have.
3. The weight of the items.
4. The bulk of the items after they are packaged.

1. First Aid Training and Knowledge Weighs Nothing.

image by Mat Honan

image by Mat Honan

This is possible the most important component of your first aide kit is your own personal knowledge and skills of what to do in an emergency. The knowledge that you carry in your head, that can be translated to your hands weighs nothing but is extremely invaluable in any type of crisis situation. There are many free books, videos, classes, websites, etc that will train you to know what to do in an emergency. So get some hands-on training and lots of practice. Your skills and knowledge will give you confidence and help you to keep a cool head in the event of any emergency situation.

Now for the the physical kit items…

2. The Need vs. Want Scale

You need to assess your needs and then add to your actual kit items. You will need items that will do the following:

Stop bleeding and/or protect wounds.
Splint and support broken, sprained or dislocated body parts.
Treat both hypo and hyperthermia.

These are actual needs. Depending on your circumstances you may want to add meds such as aspirin or Tylenol, and pain meds such as NSAIDS can be very useful also. However these meds are not NEEDED items.

3.The weight of the items.

Based on the items that are NEEDED here are some options:

Stop bleeding – there are only four simple items that are needed in your first aid kit that will help to cover this basic issue. These items are duct tape, super glue (the original purpose of super glue was for closing wounds), gauze (small gauze and large packing gauze such as an “H” bandage) and a tourniquet (only use a tourniquet with proper training and knowledge.) Also include iodine or some other liquid to cleanse wounds before covering them.

Splints – Splinting affected areas can be easily done with duct tape or anything else in the surrounding environment that will provide support to the injured body part. Effective splinting can be done using sticks, clothes, a blanket, even debris. Again, proper first aid training is a must to know how to effectively splint an injured body part.

Hypothermia and Hyperthermia – Treating hypothermia (the body is too cold) is simply finding the necessary dry and warm clothes, blankets or other methods to bring the body temperature back to normal. Treating hyperthermia (the body gets too hot) can be done by placing the patient in some sort of shade or even creating shade. An aluminum blanket can be effectively used for treating both conditions. The aluminum blanket can either be used to produce heat by wrapping the patient in it or create shade by directing heat away from the injured person.

4. Consider the Bulk of the Items.

All of the items above have been carefully chosen to provide for some very basic first aid needs without creating too much bulk and can be used for multiple purposes.

Your basic finished first aid kit will include these items:

“H” bandage
Super glue
Duct Tape
Aluminum Blanket
Pain meds (optional)

Add anything else you may deem necessary for your particular and unique situation and needs. Package all of this together in a waterproof package and label it as a first aid emergency kit. My suggestion is to packing in a red plastic covering or at last attaching a red ribbon to it, since red is the universal color sign of first aid and red is a color that can be easily seen and recognized in a time of crisis.


Author Craig Caudill also writes for Dan’s Depot and can be reached by email at blog@dansdepot.com.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

© Copyright 2012 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
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  1. Peg says

    Wow – this is a great article. I keep seeing the lists of the items you should have/can have and sometimes felt overwhelmed. Being able to differentiate between a need and a want is something I’m trying to do with many of our preps – but somehow, I never figured out how to do that with a first aid kit. This article is really a big help in dealing with that area of prepping. A heartfelt thanks goes out to Craig Caudill fro writing this and to you for publishing it!

  2. says

    Nice article.

    About a year ago I organized my own First Aid kit b/c the prepackaged ones were costly, didn’t have everything I wanted, and I found I already had many of the items on hand. My kit is in an heavy duty tackle box I picked up at Academy. I carry it 24/7 in the back of my Suburban. (aka: zombie smasher) 😉

    I don’t have duct tape…need to add that item.

  3. Dextercowgirl says

    One suggestion is to make ziip bags with quickly needed items such as a couple of 4×4 gauze, bandaid, A&D ointment packet as well as a wet wipe to handle simple cuts. I do not recommend antibiotic ointments since there are documented cases of allergic reactions including anaphylaxis to using these products. If you develop an infection you need oral antibiotics. The skin is designed to keep substances from the environment from entering through the keratin layer of the skin and that includes the antibiotics in ointments. If you look at the dosage of antibiotics in a tube of ointment it is a fraction of a real dose so you are potentially encouraging the body to develop a reaction. Please talk to your health care provider before adding antibotic ointment to your first aid kits. I am allergic to penicillin and sulfa drugs as well as quite a few others so I am one of those people who read all the ingredients on packages of medications.

    • says

      Have you tried using colloidal silver or raw honey on cuts? Perhaps people who are allergic to OTC antibiotic creams could place these items on cotton balls or rounds and seal them in baggies. It would be a back up in case a cut doesn’t heal properly on it’s own.

  4. Dextercowgirl says

    I also recommend you go to a second hand store and look for a copy of the American Red Cross Family Health and Home Nursing. This was a course they used to offer and had lots of practical suggestions on basics. I first took the class when I was about 12 years old when I lived in Japan during the Cold War. It was a time when military families were told that in case things turned bad fast they would try to get us out but no promises. We learned how to make roller and packaged gauze out of old cotton sheets and sterilize them by wrapping them in aluminum foil and either baking them in the oven or useing a small pressure cooker. Every time I find one of these books I grab them.
    The earlies edition was published in 1913 and was titled “Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of the Sick. The most recent copy I have was published in 1979. It is a shame the Red Cross no longer offers this course but it is probably more related to legal issues than need.

    • says

      Seems like a decent enough book. As expected, some things are out of date but I would suspect that the vast majority of people would be better off with it than without it.

      You can borrow this free from Open Library .org

      I DO like antibiotic cremes, sparingly, and for most situations I know no one in my family is allergic. If you think you need it and aren’t sure, bacitracin — not triple antibiotic or polysporin — is the safest. None will help with MRSA.

      In reality the BEST thing you can do for a wound is clean it well with water. Not peroxide, alcohol, or any of that. The easiest thing I have found is to just punch a few small holes in the cap of a 16 oz bottle of water and squeeze. Clean water, pressure irrigation — quick and easy. Dry and keep dry, light bandage on top.

  5. says

    I am the author of this article. I am glad you all liked it and made some great comments. My wife and I use ziploc bags and honey as well in our kits too. A good thing to also do is to study as mentioned here on your own with ebooks, internet sources, etc. Also try to find time and money to take a class as well, even if that is simply asking a nurse or EMT friend of yours to do a basic class on applying guaze and bandages, splinting wounds, etc. that sort of training is invaluable. you can contact me regarding information about this blog at the email listed or at my website as well, http://www.naturereliance.org.

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