Whether you call it a Medical Kit, First Aid Kit or Emergency Survival Kit doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have one and it’s ready at a moments notice.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing when misadventure strikes. If you’re not prepared to handle a medical emergency, things can go from bad to worse fast.
Whether you’re camping, exploring a foreign country, navigating the high seas, or simply surviving a catastrophic emergency – having a functional medical kit is essential for survival.
Everyone needs to built or buy a survival medical kit.
Ask any medical worker what you can do today to save yourself or others in a serious medical emergency. They will tell you to 1) have a tactical first aid kit 2) learn how to use it.
They also know really good medical first aid kits, the kind that provides peace of mind, are hard to come by.
But fear not! You’ve come to the right place.
This Ultimate Survival Medical Kit Guide is here to solve that problem. Specifically, we’ll be covering the following topics in detail:
- How To Build Your Own Emergency First Aid Kit
- Choosing A Medical Bag
- First Aid Kit List
- Basic Medical Tools
- Over-The-Counter Medications
- Lotions and Creams
- Advanced Wound and Trauma Supplies
- Popular Prescription Medications
- Misc Medical Supplies
- Medical Kit Packing Strategies
- Best First Aid Kit You Can Purchase
- Developing Your Survival First Aid Skills
How To Build Your Own Emergency Survival Kit
The following describes everything necessary to build an emergency survival kit.
Some of the first aid supplies listed will include advanced medical supplies, above what a medical novice knows how to use. But if you follow the first aid list to a T, you’ll be prepared you for nearly any acute medical problem.
Use this as a personal guide or supplement to aid your medical preparation. You’ll be grateful you did.
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Choosing The Right Medical Bag
Collecting the contents for a survival medical kit is actually the second step in building your own first aid kit.
You need a bag or pack to put all the supplies in. Whether you use a bag, a box, a basket, or an entire emergency vehicle, you must store your medical kit properly, and as orderly as possible.
Which requires a meticulous approach. Take your time, and think this through.
How will you build this to best suit your needs?
Will you be storing your medical kit in a home or a car? Is this something you’ll want to carry places? How durable does your med kit need to be? How thorough?
Size, shape, weight, and intention are all important factors to consider at this point.
If you are going to be rafting down the Grand Canyon, you need a waterproof bag that can easily transport between rafts.
If you are going on a backpacking trip through South East Asia you will need something small, light and packable.
Wilderness Responders use small duffle bags or entire backpacks for their medical kits.
Choosing your container may seem like a mundane decision, but in reality, the choice carries a lot of weight. To make your survival medical kit a perfect fit customize it so it best serves and protects you.
Here are some of the best medical bags for building your kit:
A Unigear Dry Bag is ideal for building a medical kit for wet environments.
A regular medical bag just won’t cut it in environments such as rafting, boating, or any water adventure or sport.
Why? Because they are completely waterproof.
Perfect for stashing medical supplies in extreme wet or humid environments.
This is a compact 1000D anti-abrasion polyester bag.
It’s a MOLLE compatible pouch for emergency or tactical situations. And it is a perfect addition to your bug out bag.
It has a tri-fold design with a rip away Velcro panel. It has a wide handle for removal or carrying.
The compact pouch also includes a pair of quality EMT shears.
The MedPac 3800 is not just a bag that you convert to being a medical kit bag. Instead, it is a bag made to be a medical kit.
So it’s compartments are made for medical supplies and keeping it all organized.
It has 5 adjustable dividers to organize larger supplies and equipment in the spacious main compartment.
The MedPack 3800 has adjustable buckle-assembly keeps the full-access lid upright for visibility and access. A gusseted front pouch has multiple instrument pockets and elastic loops.
The MedPac 3800 is made of water-resistant Ballistic Nylon with thick foam padding for shape and structure.
Yes, it’s not cheap but this is a serious bag for a serious medical kit build.
No, it’s not specifically made for medical supplies, but at this more affordable price point, you can make it work.
The Family Emergency Kit Storage Box is made out of durable plastic.
It also includes an organizing divider tray to help keep small medical supplies from getting mixed up.
It’s an all around nice family emergency medical kit you can stash in a closet at the ready.
That’s why this the TravTac “go anywhere” design is perfect when a larger pack is too big, too bulky and too heavy.
This pack can fit a ton of medical tools and supplies but not so big to become cumbersome.
It also can be worn in 3 configurable ways (across back, across chest or hand carry).
This is a MOLLE compatible pouch and has 3 zippered compartments.
The TravTac Stage II the right size, the right shape, and right design to make an excellent portable medical kit.
First Aid Kit List
In order to build a comprehensive medical kit, it’s best to start with the basics.
From diarrhea to headaches – from inflammation to small cuts or minor infections, the basics supplies will have your back.
These basics will be the resources you use most often in your emergency survival kit. So they should be the most accessible as well. Make sure to pack extra.
Most of these supplies can be bought at drugstores, pharmacies or even online. You’ll have no trouble assembling the contents in the following section.
Basic Medical Tools
Tweezers are a commodity, right? All tweezers are created equal…
Not even close! Cheap $2 tweezers are not good enough for your medical kit. Upgrade to these tactical tweezers to remove hard to get at splinters and foreign objects with ease.
You should look for an infrared forehead thermometer, especially if you have small children.
Trust me, trying to hold a traditional thermometer under your kid’s tongue, armpit or rectum is a hassle of the past.
When time is of the essence (and what medical emergency isn’t) you’ll want to get a temperature reading fast. Get a thermometer like this one.
These high-quality EMT shears feature a fluoride coating that provides a non-stick surface for all of your emergency cutting needs.
It includes sharp edges and milled serrations for cutting through the toughest material over and over.
These surgical nail clippers can handle even the thickest toenails due to diabetes, psoriasis, or fungus.
They are sharp, ergonomically designed and made of stainless steel to prevent rusting or corrosion.
They also come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. The last pair of toenail clippers you’ll ever buy and good enough for medical emergencies.
Because there are just some medical tasks where nail clippers are the only tool for the job.
For basic medical emergencies a sharp scalpel and blade will do; like this one.
But if you’re looking for something more advanced, look into getting a suture kit.
The price range of stethoscopes is extreme. It’s hard to believe but the more advanced ones are several hundreds of dollars.
But unless your an EMT or a physician, a standard stethoscope like this one is all you need.
Over-The-Counter Medications (Recommended numbers included)
Next up is the list of over-the-counter medications your emergency medical kit should include:
- Ibuprofen (Advil), 20+
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol), 15+
- Aspirin, 15+
- Anti-histamine, x10
- Immodium/Loperamide, x10
- Sudafed (or an equivalent), x10
- Throat lozenges, 10+
- Bismuth tabs, x20
- Oral rehydration, x3
- Cranberry extract, x10
- Dramamine, x10
- Stool softener and/or Laxative, x15
Note: If your uncertain what each of these does, click the link to find out more specific information about each recommendation.
Lotions and Creams
These are the medical creams you should add to your first aid kit to help keep wounds clean and free from infection, to control minor rashes, reduce inflammation, stop fungus growth, etc.
- Antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or equivalent)
- Anti-Bacterial Bar Soap (for wound cleaning)
Advanced Wound and Trauma Supplies
This is where a more advanced level of survival medical training comes in handy.
Treating wounds is not always a simple ordeal – especially trauma – and it is often a job that is best left to the professionals.
But in a survival situation, it may be your responsibility to treat these injuries to the best of your ability.
Realistically, outside of a hospital, no one is prepared for every medical emergency. Wounds can be ugly. Trauma can be horrifying! But here are some tools that will help prepare you for both:
Wound Treatments (Recommended numbers included)
- Nitrile gloves, 4+ pairs
- Irrigation syringe
- Sterile gauze pads, 5+
- Band-Aids, 20+ (various sizes)
- Alcohol wipes, 15+
- Ace Bandages, x2
- Triangle bandages, x2
- Tegaderm, x2
- Steri-strip or butterfly closures, 3+
- Sam-splint moldable foam splint
- Israeli bandage
- Suture kit
Popular Prescription Medication
Individuals seeking to build an advanced medical kit should consider including some prescription medications.
These drugs require an advanced understanding of medicine to administer. But if you have access to these supplies and have reason to believe you will need them in the field, prepare yourself accordingly.
- Epinephrine 1mg: Treats severe allergic reactions.
- 1ml small syringe with needle
- Ciprofloxacin 500mg: Treats infections, also given to individuals exposed to anthrax.
- Azithromycin 500mg: Treats atypical mycobacterial infections and bacterial infections of the heart valve.
- Bactrim d.s. 160/800mg: Treats bacterial infections
- Amoxicillin 500mg: Treats infections or stomach ulcers.
- Flagyl 500/400mg: Treats bacterial infections.
- Fluconazole 100mg: Prevents and treats certain fungal infections.
Misc. Medical Supplies
- Asthma Inhalers: Albuterol is a basic prescription drug that people carry who have difficulties breathing.
- Vitamins: Pack your favorites, or pack them all. Multivitamins are handy for saving both space and weight.
- Epinephrine: Mentioned before in the prescription section. Epinephrine is a medication for severe allergic reactions. It usually requires a certification to administer to another person (except in the case of a life-threatening emergency).
- Small toy or puzzle: Children can be distractions, and in medical emergencies, they can often be a danger to themselves. Keeping a small toy or puzzle to calm a child down, or to offer comfort can be as good as any medication for agitation or distress. It can sometimes even work with adults.
- Toiletries: Just a razor, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste can make a huge difference in survival. Having extra hygiene supplies never hurts.
- Aquamira or other iodine tablets (for water purification)
- Bug repellent
- CPR pocket mask
- Survival lighter and waterproof matches
Medical Kit Packing & Storage Strategies
Keeping an organized medical kit is equally as important as any of the contents.
In a medical pinch, time is of the essence. Neither patient nor caretaker can afford to waste any time sifting through a sack full of unlabeled drugs and sterile swabs. Preparation is everything.
Divide your kit into a few general categories. There are a number of ways you might approach this, but one effective example is to separate the contents as follows:
- Prescription medication
- Over the counter medication
- Personal supplies
Trauma and prescription supplies are typically required in more urgent scenarios.
So make sure to keep them stored in an easily accessible part of your med kit.
Here are several ways to keep these categories separate and organized:
Separate The Compartments
It may be as easy as using the existing compartments of your container (like in a medic backpack or utility box) to separate your categories.
Most are made from water-resistant material and are extremely durable, very light and highly packable.
They are available at almost any outdoor retailer, surplus store or online.
These also come in different sizes, shapes, and colors for storage and color-coding.
Additionally, Tupperware is relatively cheap and accessible anywhere with a grocery store.
Use a sharpie to label them clearly.
Zip-lock bags are also effective at containing spills so that leaky soap or iodine bottle doesn’t taint the rest of your emergency survival kit.
A good rule-of-thumb: if it can leak, keep it in a zip-lock bag.
They are also extremely useful for keeping Band-Aids and other small components organized.
They are cheap, reusable, and recyclable.
Keeping Yout Kit Updated
So, the contents have been acquired and organized. The container has been chosen and packed. And you are prepared to deal with a medical emergency to the best of your ability. But the work doesn’t stop there.
Much like a plant, or a pet, your medical kit needs regular attention and updates. Medicines expire, and it serves no one if everything in your survival med kit has gone bad by the time you need it.
Be sure to systematically check for expired medicine.
Occasionally, container seals fail, and leakage amongst your supplies is bad. It helps to unpack and repack your entire kit once every few months to take stock and replace whatever is necessary.
Some may find it useful to create your own first aid kit list and keep it with their medical kit at all times. This can help to keep track of what you do and do not have, how much you’ve got, and when certain medications are due to expire.
Devise a system for this step. It can be a major pain to maintain a medical kit and keep it updated if you are sloppy about the process. Be scrupulous and you’ll be prepared.
Below is a long but extremely detailed DIY Tactical Medical Kit Build video (worth watching if you’re serious about building your own medical kit). It may be more advanced than what you’re looking for but you’ll learn a ton about building a tactical medical bag:
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Best First Aid Kits You Can Buy
High-quality medical kits can be hard to find at the right price, especially for the really good ones. However, we’ve done a ton of research to find them anyways.
You can purchase one and then customize it by adding extras and personals. This is a very efficient and hassle-free way to build a versatile survival medical kit.
Here are several high quality, professional medical kits ready for any survival scenario:
Every component in this survival kit is meticulously labeled. This helps you identify what each item is and what it should be used for.
This helps prevent rummaging through your first aid kit for non-existent items or out of date!
The first aid kit bag is water resistant, durable, strong zippers, and double stitched handles.
There are also belt loops and reflective piping to help find the kit in the dark.
This small first aid kit is made out of 600D Polyester. Making it one of the strongest bags in its price class.
This kit includes large stainless steel scissors that can cut through clothing or seatbelts fast.
The kit comes with 100 essential basic life-saving items but still only weighs 1 pound. It’s small enough to fit into your car’s glove box.
It also includes MOLLE compatible straps on the back. This allows you to add to larger bags or your belt.
The water-resistant bag and waterproof inner laminate bags protect all items from moisture.
If you’re looking for a complete EMT Trauma Bag without the hassle of building it yourself, this First Responder Bag by Lightning is about as good as it gets.
This bag has everything you can think of organized and ready to go.
However, if you’re new to medical emergencies and survival, then this bag has way more medical gear than you need (or even know how to use).
The biggest perk of this small pack is the waterproof container, which comes with QuickClot, gauze, a trauma pad, triangle bandages, and more.
This adventure kit is specifically designed to respond quickly to control bleeding at the scene before seeking more advanced care. Making it ideal for major trauma for combat and everyday situations.
Durable, waterproof, and reusable packaging will stand up to abuse in the outdoors.
This bright reflective bag has several large compartments. 2 front pockets and 2 zippered side pockets.
It includes basic first aid supplies plus a basic blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, gauze pads, burn gel, eye wash, triangle band-aids, & multi-trauma blood stop dressing.
It contains enough first aid supplies to treat any basic emergency.
Developing Your Survival First Aid Skills
Medical experience is an extremely helpful accessory to this project, but it’s not a skillset that everyone has.
The most important part of building an advanced medical kit is an understanding of how to use what ‘s inside.
Sure, you could enroll in an EMT course at your local community college. Or you could sign up for Wilderness First Responder training. Both of those options are excellent if you have money and time.
But I recommend you check out the medical information product called Survival MD.
Survival MD Training Guide
It’s the only complete medical survival guide for the laymen (like you and me). It shows you how to treat yourself and your loved ones in an emergency when doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals are shut down.
It’s a simple and straightforward, step-by-step program. And you don’t need any medical training… plus: there’s no need for a medical professional to look over your shoulder.
And here’s the best part: You won’t need to spend a bucket load of cash or waste weeks poring over hundreds of pages either. Because there are no weird medical terms to learn!
It’s so easy, a 12-year-old can understand it.
You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes to finally know how to use your medical supplies and protect your family from even the worst medical emergencies.
Unfortunately, it is no cheap endeavor to prepare for a medical emergency. Whether you buy a pre-made survival medical kit, build one of your own or buy one that you improve upon it will likely cost you a pretty penny.
But if things ever go bad and you need to use your survival medical kit, every cent will have been well spent.
A prepared future is a worthwhile investment.
Under the luckiest circumstances, your survival medical kit will gather dust where you store it. You hope that it remains unused (though well-updated).
Emergencies are never fun, especially when it involves severe trauma. And any day you have to break out your tactical medical kit is a bad day.
The best precaution is safety, and the best way to stay safe is to stay prepared. Good luck out there.
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