How To Build An Emergency Survival Medical Kit From Scratch

By Will Brendza | Last Updated: January 2, 2022

How To Build A Medical Kit

Call it what you like –

Medical Kit – DIY First Aid Kit – Survival Medical Kit

The name doesn’t matter.

What matters is you have one in a time of need. And it’s ready at a moment’s notice.

Ready when misadventure strikes.

If you’re unprepared to handle a medical emergency, things can quickly go from bad to worse fast.

Having a functional medical kit is essential for survival.

That’s why everyone needs to build or buy a 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 and 2) learn how to use it.

They also know really good medical first aid kits, which provide 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:

Note: You can skip ahead to sections of this article by clicking any of the links above.

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Tactical First Aid Kit - First Aid Kit List

Best Survival First Aid Kits On The Market Today

High-quality medical kits can be hard to find at the right price, especially for the really great ones. But 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:

MyMedic First Aid Kits

If you want the best first aid kits money can buy, look no further than MyMedic.

The team over at MyMedic has perfected the art of putting together the perfect medical kits – from Solo kits to first aid kits – all the way up to full-fledged Medical Kits.

They’ve even crafted specialty kits specifically for surfing, boating, and firearms with their Boat Medic, Surf Medic, and Range Medic Bags.

Heck, they even have a Pandemic Medic Kit you can buy!

Now, I recommend the MyFAK Kit or the Recon Kit. Both are light enough to carry around but have all the necessary supplies to tend to most medical emergencies.

And what I really like about ALL the MyMedic Kits is how much attention to detail they give to both organization and quality. 

You won’t find cheap supplies or cheap tools in these bags – meaning they are worth every penny!

Here’s a thorough review video of MyMedic’s (FAK) First Aid Pack – it’s one of the best all-around kits –  you can tell the quality of ANY of their kits from this video.

SURVIVAL Work/Home First Aid Kit

Every component in this survival kit is meticulously labeled. This helps you identify each item and what it should be used for.

This helps prevent rummaging through your first aid kit for non-existent or outdated items!

The first aid kit bag is water-resistant and durable, with strong zippers and double-stitched handles.

There are also belt loops and reflective piping to help find the kit in the dark.

Small First Aid Kit for Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Travel, Etc.

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 quickly cut through clothing or seatbelts.

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.

Lightning X Extra Large Medic First Responder EMT Trauma Bag

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).

Adventure Medical Kits Trauma Pack With QuickcClot

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 in combat and everyday situations.

Durable, waterproof, and reusable packaging will stand up to abuse in the outdoors.

MFASCO – First Aid Kit – Complete Emergency Response Trauma Bag

Emergency response supplies are packed in this sturdy medical kit. Making it an ideal medical kit for natural disasters (Earthquakes, Tornados, Hurricanes, etc.)

This bright reflective bag has several large compartments. 2 front pockets and 2 zippered side pockets. 

It includes basic first aid supplies, 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.

Want a Downloadable and Printable Version Of This Survival Medical Checklist? Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

How To Build A First Aid Medical Kit From Scratch

The following describes everything necessary to build an emergency survival pack.

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 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.

Choosing The Right Medical Bag For YOU

Collecting a survival medical kit’s contents is the second step in building your own DIY 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 full-on survival 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:

Unigear 600D Dry Bag Sack

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 extremely wet or humid environments.

Compact Tactical MOLLE Rip-Away EMT Medical First Aid Pouch

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.

MedPac 3800 Medical Bag

The MedPac 3800 is not just a bag you convert into a medical kit bag. Instead, it is a bag made to be a medical kit.

So its compartments are made for medical supplies and keeping it all organized.

The spacious main compartment has 5 adjustable dividers to organize larger supplies and equipment.

The MedPack 3800 has an adjustable buckle assembly that 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.

22″ Military Duffel Travel Bag

If the MedPack 3800 gave you sticker shock. Consider this large 22″ tactical duffel bag instead.

No, it’s not specifically made for medical supplies, but you can make it work at this more affordable price point.

Regardless of the bag you prefer (duffel/backpack/etc.), make sure it’s a tactical one.

Family Emergency Kit Storage Box

There are a number of medical boxes out there that are highly durable and great for staying organized.

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.

TravTac Stage II Small Sling Bag

A military medic backpack is one of the most functional containers for a survival medical kit. The number of pockets and high durability make them extremely functional options.

That’s why the TravTac “go anywhere” design is perfect when a larger pack is too big, too bulky, and too heavy.

This pack can fit many medical tools and supplies but is not so big to become cumbersome.

It can also be worn in 3 configurable ways (across the back, chest, or hand carry).

This is a MOLLE-compatible pouch and has 3 zippered compartments.

The TravTac Stage II is the right size, shape, and design to make an excellent portable survival medical kit.

Want a Downloadable and Printable Version Of This Survival Medical Checklist? Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Survival First Aid Kit List

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 often be the resources you use 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

Tactical Tweezers

Tweezers are a commodity. All tweezers are created equal…

Not even close! Cheap $2 tweezers are not good enough for your survival medical kit. Upgrade to these tactical tweezers to easily remove hard-to-get-at splinters and foreign objects.

Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer

You should look for a non-contact infrared forehead thermometer.

You want non-contact if you ever plan to use this in the field, especially during a pandemic. And you want infrared to make getting a reading as easy and painless as possible, 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.


Buy these online for a nice bulk discount, and it’s worth going with the Anti-Bacterial Q-Tips for an added layer of medical cleanliness.

Large Trauma Shears

These high-quality EMT shears feature a 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.

Surgical Grade Toenail Clippers

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 is good enough for medical emergencies.

Because there are just some medical tasks where nail clippers are the only tool for the job.

Scalpel with Blades

A sharp scalpel and blade will do, like this one, for basic medical emergencies.

But if you’re looking for something more advanced, get a suture kit.


The price range of stethoscopes is extreme. It’s hard to believe, but the more advanced ones are several hundred dollars.

But unless you’re 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:

Note: If you are 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.

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:

Blister Treatments

Wound Treatments (Recommended numbers included)

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 for 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.
  • Purell
  • Sunblock
  • Aquamira or other iodine tablets (for water purification)
  • Bug repellent
  • CPR pocket mask
  • Survival lighter and waterproof matches

Want a Downloadable and Printable Version Of This Survival Medical Checklist? Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Tactical Medical Bag

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 the 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:

  1. Trauma
  2. Prescription medication
  3. Over-the-counter medication
  4. Personal supplies

Trauma kits and supplies are typically required in more urgent scenarios.

So, keep them stored in an easily accessible part of your medkit.

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.

Stuff Sacks

These come in various sizes and colors, making them ideal for color coding and storage.

Most are made from water-resistant material, extremely durable, light, and highly packable.

They are available at almost any outdoor retailer, surplus store, or online.


This works well for those less concerned with their medical kits’ space and weight.

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.

Zip Lock Bags

These are excellent for a variety of functional purposes. They can be used for arranging and labeling drugs or different sizes of bandages.

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: Keep it in a zip-lock bag if it leaks.

Pill bottles

These bottles are great for storing medication.

They are also extremely useful for keeping Band-Aids and other small components organized.

They are cheap, reusable, and recyclable. 

Keeping Your 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 medkit has gone bad by the time you need it.

Be sure to check for expired medicine systematically.

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 their 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. Maintaining a medical kit and keeping it updated if you are sloppy about the process can be a major pain. 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:

Want a Downloadable and Printable Version Of This Survival Medical Checklist? Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Developing Your Survival First Aid Kit

Medical experience is an extremely helpful accessory to this project, but it’s not a skill set that everyone has.

The most important part of building an advanced medical kit is understanding 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.

You could also take a CPR class or two or even get your hands on something as simple as “Basic First Aid” or even “Medicine For The Outdoors.” Just make sure to read it cover to cover.

But I recommend you check out the medical information product called Survival MD.

Survival MD Training Guide

Survival MDIt’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 by what a difference it makes to finally know how to use your medical supplies and protect your family from even the worst medical emergencies.

Good Luck

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; the best way to stay safe is to stay prepared. Good luck out there.

Will Brendza

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