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The 9 Best First Aid Kits For Outdoor Adventures

Best First Aid Kit 00 Hero
Photo: VSSL First Aid Kit

Exploring the backcountry can be unpredictable, with its multitude of potentially hazardous and injury-inducing elements around every corner. Further exacerbating the situation is the ample proximity between you and a doctor or hospital that will be able to treat an injury. For these reasons, first aid kits are essential pieces of gear to have on hand when headed into the wild.

Unfortunately, not all first aid kits (or FAKs) are created equally, so it’s extremely important to know you’re relying on a quality kit, considering your physical health and well-being may be on the line. Consequently, we strongly believe that first aid kits are one piece of camping gear that you shouldn’t skimp on. But with literally thousands of different FAKs on the market, sorting through the enormous sea of offerings can be an incredibly daunting task — and one that may make you squeamish after a while. So, to help link you up with the most optimal off-grid medical packs for your specific situation, we’ve pieced together this guide to the best first aid kits for the outdoors.

Best First-Aid Kits for the Outdoors

What To Consider

Know Before You Go

Application: First and foremost, your first aid kit purchase should be guided by your intended use. Do some research regarding the type of trip you have planned, the route you’ll be taking, and what injuries are commonly associated with that type of journey and/or region, and then try to find a kit conducive to that particular application. This area should also determine whether you need features such as a waterproof storage/carrying case.

Amenities: This is essentially what makes a first aid kit a first aid kit, as the amenities are ultimately what constitutes the kit itself (aside from the travel bag or case). There are varying degrees of first aid kits, ranging in their abilities to treat injuries, from minor cuts and scrapes to serious life-threatening trauma. Keep an eye out for included medications and ointments, gauze, bandages, sutures, stitching gear, braces, tools, and so on. Your application should help determine which amenities you need.

Number Of Individuals: You should also consider the number of people in your group/on your trip. Obviously, a larger number of people means a greater need for medications and medical supplies. While you can assume not everyone in your party will get injured, a larger number of people does mean a higher likelihood of potential injury.

Remoteness: Like the number of individuals in your party, the kind of kit you want should also be partially determined by how far away you’ll be from medical help. If your location is quickly-accessible by ambulance or helicopter, you won’t need the same level of kit as you would if you’re several days away from assistance. This area also determines whether you’ll want your kit to include items like QuickClot packs, which are often included in military-inspired offerings.

Compactness: An immensely important area to consider with any piece of gear that you’ll be carrying on foot is the overall size and level of compactness in a kit. Fortunately, companies have become incredibly proficient at designing extremely compact packages that manage to accommodate a surprising amount of equipment. Similarly, weight is another area that should also be taken into account when buying a first aid kit. There are also larger kits designed for overlanding and other off-road vehicle applications.

Surviveware Waterproof Premium First Aid Kit

Surviveware Waterproof Premium First Aid Kit
  • Waterproof
  • Well-priced
  • Rugged
  • Zipper is a little tight when you’re trying to be hasty

Best Overall: Waterproof, rugged, and fairly priced, this Surviveware kit presents a tougher take on your typical first aid kit, with ultra-durable 600D TPU construction, waterproof zippers, fully-welded seams, and an IPX7 waterproof rating that enables it to remain fully submerged in 1m of water for a full 30 minutes without letting in a drop. Inside its hard-wearing case, the kit packs dozens of essential medical supplies for treating minor injuries, while outside it features removable MOLLE-compatible D-rings so it can easily be attached to other bags or gear. You can always find what you need in a hurry with the bag’s labeled compartments.

Weight: 2.25lbs
# of Pieces: 200

My Medic Hiker Medic

My Medic Hiker Medic
  • Segments the amenities according to application
  • Lightweight
  • Runs out of certain pieces quickly; you’ll need to restock

Best for Day Hikes: If you’re just going out for a day’s journey, you shouldn’t have to carry more than you need. This Hiker Medic from My Medic is an all-in-one survival kit specifically made for hikers. Weighing just 9.6oz and taking up just about 2L of space in your backpack, this updated version of the brand’s supplemental grab-and-go bag is HSA- and FSA-approved, put together by experts for your most low-maintenance expeditions. It’s not the most equipped kit out there but includes sunscreen, lip balm, sting relief, vitamin mixes, a space blanket, burn gel, bandages, ibuprofen, ointment, antibiotic pads, and even a paracord, among other things, all collected in color-coordinated bags and labeled by category (e.g., “Medication,” “Sport & Outdoor,” and “Hydration”).

Weight: 0.6lbs
# of Pieces: 39

Be Smart Get Prepared 110 Piece First Aid Kit

Be Smart Get Prepared 110 Piece First Aid Kit
  • Cheap
  • Compact
  • Not a lot of variety; it’s really bandage-heavy

Best Budget Pick: Staying safe shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. This 110-piece kit from Be Smart Get Prepared has the bare minimum for your next outing — which is more than enough most of the time — and for well under $20. Featuring 60 bandages across three different sizes, the kit won’t cover a ton of ground but does have some extras including wood splints, exam gloves, and an instant cold compress. There’s also a First Aid Guide book for those less familiar with how to treat wounds. Plus, the 7.75” x 10.75” x 7.25” hardshell plastic case is compact enough to fit inside most backpacks.

Weight: 0.77lbs
# of Pieces: 110

Chinook Medical Operator Pack 

Chinook Medical Operator Pack
  • Extremely rugged and tactical
  • Features gear that most kits don’t come with
  • Heavy
  • Will be too advanced for novices

Best Backpack: Designed using feedback and input from elite military operators, Chinook’s Medical Operator Pack was born out of the armed force’s need for a compact yet robust FAK with an ultra-low profile. This ultimately gave way to the kit’s 500D Cordura nylon construction, multiple rows of PALS webbing, reinforced attachment loops, and its bevy of customizable/interchangeable labeled compartments and supply pouches, filled from top to bottom with some of the most advanced medical supplies. Made in America, this kit is also NTOA Member-tested and recommended. And while it is available to the civilian population, this Chinook offering is a genuine piece of battle-tested military kit.

Weight: 10.6lbs
# of Pieces: 65

Outer Limit Supply x Overland Bound 3-in-1 First Aid Kit

Outer Limit Supply x Overland Bound 3 in 1 First Aid Kit
  • Has basically everything you’ll need
  • Organized extremely well
  • Very expensive

Best All-Encompassing: Whether you’re overlanding or trekking from site to site in an off-road camper, an advanced medical supply kit is your best bet for being prepared in any situation. This collaborative effort between Overland Bound and Outer Limit Supply would be impressive if it were merely a backpack alone, but manages to pack an incredible amount of first aid whether you’re camping by yourself or with a larger group of people. Designed and configured by emergency experts, the pack features plenty of PAL webbing, multiple grab angles, and even a water bladder. Inside features three compartmented packs — for trauma, basecamp, and bleeding control — with enough extra space for you to bring along your non-emergency adventure gear as well.

Weight: 3.5lbs
# of Pieces: 106

VSSL First Aid Kit

VSSL First Aid
  • Doubles as flashlight and compass
  • Easy to find in your bag
  • Not as comprehensive as other compact kits

Best Gadget: Undoubtedly the most innovative FAK of the last decade, the VSSL (pronounced “vessel”) First Aid Kit uses a combination of a roll-up sleeve and a number of small puck-shaped capsules that neatly fit inside the system’s compact, cylindrical housing. Made from military-grade aluminum, the gadget’s housing itself is not only waterproof but also includes an integrated precision compass and a four-mode, 200-lumen LED flashlight. Amenities in the kit include tweezers, 3M Steri-Strips, several medications and ointments, a hemostatic agent, a safety whistle, a thermometer, and numerous bandages, gauzes, and tapes. Definitely better for day hikes and solo outings, this kit is more than just a pretty face.

Weight: 1.06lbs
# of Pieces: 45

Coleman All Purpose Mini

Coleman All Purpose Mini
  • Extremely lightweight and compact
  • Nice as a mini-booster pack for larger kits
  • Tin is surprisingly strong
  • Not as good for serious injuries

Best for Backpackers: While shedding weight on your days-long trek is crucial, you’ll probably be willing to tack on some extra ounces when it comes to your own safety. Nevertheless, this pack from Coleman measures less than 4” in length and weighs just a hair over 2oz, all while managing to cram 27 essential pieces of first aid items into an extremely compact and travel-friendly metal tin. Obviously, this item isn’t adequate for treating more serious injuries, though, with antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, a razor blade, and a myriad of bandages, it’s still good for cleaning cuts and scrapes in the wild and treating mild injuries.

Weight: 0.13lbs
# of Pieces: 27

Adventure Medical Kits Tactical Field Trauma Kit with QuikClot

Adventure Medical Kits Tactical Field Trauma Kit with QuikClot
  • Comes with QuikClot for heavy bleeding
  • Surprisingly comprehensive
  • Black color makes it easy to lose in a dark bag

Best Trauma Kit: Adventure Medical Kits has one of the most versatile ranges of first aid kids out there, and this Tactical Field Trauma Kit is among the brand’s best. It can fit inside your bugout bag while providing you with everything you need in case of a super-serious emergency. Like all of the company’s kits, this is also offered at a fantastic price while maintaining the brand’s tradition of producing robust yet highly compact first aid kits, while lending itself to treating more serious in-the-field injuries. As such, the kit includes a QuickClot Sport Sponge, a biohazard bag and disposable gloves, precision forceps, a handful of wraps and bandages, and an assortment of medications that enable it to handle more serious trauma such as broken bones and puncture wounds. And, unlike AMK’s plastic kits, this tactical item comes housed in a rugged, blacked-out zippered nylon carrying case.

Weight: 1lb
# of Pieces: 54

Adventure Medical Kits Me And My Dog First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits ADS Me And My Dog First Aid Kit
  • Plenty of dog-specific items
  • Comes with pet-focused First Aid Manual
  • There are better options if you’re hiking sans pet
  • Included waterproof bags are flimsy

Best for Pets: If you’re going to be bringing a four-legged companion along on your journeys, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for an injury, whether it happens to you or your dog. And that’s the thought process behind Adventure Medical Kits’ Me And My Dog First Aid Kit, which is part of its Adventure Dog Series. In addition to providing supplies for human first aid, the kit also includes dog-specific medical items like a muzzle, self-adhering bandages that won’t stick to fur, and a first aid manual for pets.

Weight: 1.5lbs
# of Pieces: 58

How to Build a First-Aid Kit

Perhaps you already have an abundance of first-aid supplies or you just don’t want to buy an all-in-one kit. Well, you can always put together your own using the information found in our guide to how to build a first aid kit.