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Emergencies can happen anytime, so it’s best to be prepared with a first aid kit. Whether you are active outdoors, live in an area prone to natural disasters, or just want medical equipment to be easily accessible, a first aid kit is a must. There are an overwhelming number of options out there ranging from kits with basic essentials such as bandages and gauze to more advanced options used by first responders. Want some advice when it comes to buy one? Here are the best first aid kits we recommend.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Swiss Safe 2-in-1 Kit
For a well-stocked medical kit at a reasonable price, the Swiss Safe 2-1-1 Kit is a solid option to have around the house or in your vehicle in case of emergency. The kit comes with 120 medical grade items in a compact flexible, yet durable container measuring 9 x 3 x 6 inches and weighing 1.2 pounds. The FDA-approved kit is equipped with stainless steel trauma shears, an instant ice pack, a variety of bandages including gauze pads and butterfly bandages, first aid tape and a CPR mask. Also included is a smaller pouch inside with an additional 32 items as a mini kit.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Surviveware Small First Aid Kit
If saving space is an important factor in buying a first aid kit, then the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit is a great option. The kit comes with 100 essential basic items while weighing only one pound, and measures 5.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 inches. The small size means it can fit into a glove compartment or be attached to a bicycle or backpack without adding much weight. Made of water-resistant polyester fabric, the contents inside are kept in re-sealable laminated bags. Each inner sleeve is labeled with the items function, saving time in an emergency. There are separate pockets for each item, including CPR breathing masks, sheers, personal medicine bags, gloves, tape and bandages.
Best Trauma Emergency Kit: Lightning X Small First Responder EMT EMS Trauma Bag
While many first aid kits are designed for simple scrapes and bruises, be prepared for more serious injuries with the Lightning X Small First Responder EMT EMS Trauma Bag. This pricier option helps prepare for any emergency situation and comes in a shoulder bag with a “Star of Life” logo on it, as well as reflectors for added visibility. In addition to gauze pads and various bandages, the kit includes a stethoscope, splint, CPR mask, penlight, oropharyngeal airway kit and eye wash. It is organized into divider pouches, with dedicated slots for scissors, tweezers and other small items. The trauma bag measures 17 x 9 x 11 inches and comes in seven different colors.
Best Large: Total Resources 326-Piece First Aid Kit
With 326 pieces of medical equipment included in this massive first aid kit, there’s enough here to take care of 100 people or more — a quantity that exceeds the 2009 guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the American National Standards Institute. It’s great for offices, family use, or if you’re heading out on a trip with a large group. It comes with a huge variety of essentials: three dozen prep pads, six sting relief pads, and around 140 band-aids of different sizes.
We love how the case contains a compartment with tilting shelves for easy access and straight-away visibility when time’s of the essence. The impact-resistant case itself is highly portable (or it can be wall mounted), and contains everything in a surprisingly compact area 13" x 12" design, locked securely by an easy-slide fastener that’s backed up by an airtight rubber seal to keep products usable. Handily, the case also comes with a refill order form to make topping up supplies a freeze.
Best Compact: TripWorthy First Aid Kit
If you’re storing the first aid kit in a small area and need to save room, the compact first aid kit from TripWorthy is a great selection. Perfect for travelers and campers, the kit measures 5.1 x 7.5 x 2 inches and weighs just one pound, easily allowing it to fit in a carry-on suitcase without hogging up space. The FDA-approved kit has a water-resistant, bright red exterior and contains more than 30 bandages of various sizes, first aid tape, moleskins, gauze pads, butterfly closures and sanitary prep pads. There are also useful items such as a rain poncho, safety pins and an emergency blanket. Amazon buyers noted that the kit does not include standard pain relievers, so adding a small bottle is a good idea.
Best Basic: AQGoodLife First Aid Kit
The first aid medical kit by AQGoodLife is perfect if you are just looking for a portable, basic kit that has the main essentials. The 45-piece kit is ideal for small scrapes and minor injuries, and includes a variety of bandages, antiseptic, scissors, gloves and gauze pads. However, for more active adventures you may want to consider a more advanced kit. The water-resistant, nylon pouch measures 8.46 x 5.91 inches and fits easily into drawers, backpacks and glove compartments, making it perfect for day outings, joggers or light hikes. There is added space so it is possible to add items such as allergy medicine, needle-nose tweezers, moleskins or other medications.
Best Waterproof: RFX+CARE First Aid Kit
If you’re heading out on the water or into the backcountry, where weather can change frequently and slips and scrapes aren’t exactly uncommon, you’re going to want to have a waterproof first aid kit that keeps necessary supplies free from water. With 200 pieces included in this kit, including an emergency blanket (slightly unusual in compact cases like this, but welcome), more than 100 adhesive bandages, and tick remover, you’ll have plenty on hand to treat injuries and ailments on the go (all items are latex-free too, which is a bonus). And rest assured: The waterproofing does exactly what it’s supposed to. Each item is good for at least three years and up to five, so you don’t have to worry too much about expiration dates. We also like how the interior is organized: It’s cleverly divided into separate compartments for easy access, and there’s room left over for a few tried-and-true medical supplies of your own to add.
Best Lightweight: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight
If you plan on going hiking, backpacking, climbing or on any other adventure where every ounce of weight packed into a rucksack matters, consider the “Ultralight, Watertight Kit” from Adventure Medical Kits. The space-saving kit weighs just 3.6 ounces, measures 7 x 6 x 11 inches and is designed with enough medical equipment for one person on short trips (if you are doing a long adventure, you may want to consider a medical kit with more expansive items). The kit includes moleskins, bandages, blister/burn care, sterile gauze dressing (adhesive and non-adhesive) and butterfly enclosures (plus several other items). The bright yellow pouch also features a two-stage waterproofing system.
Best Survival: Perfect Survival Kit
If you live in an area prone to natural disasters or plan on going on some serious adventures, you may want to consider a combination package of a first aid kit and survival kit. The Deluxe Two-Person Perfect Survival Kit includes a basic first-aid kit with instant cold packs, gloves, tweezers, bandages and gauze, as well as sanitation items such as an infectious waste bag, wipes, toothbrushes and toothpaste. It also includes individual pouches of sanitized water, survival fruit bars, battery flashlights and a radio, body warmers, a tube tent and ponchos. The water-resistant kit comes in an easy-to carry backpack, but at 14.4 pounds it is a very heavy option.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent two hours testing a top-rated first aid kit. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this first aid kit, from its weight and size to the quality of what’s inside. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a First Aid Kit
Typical conditions When deciding which first aid kit is right for you, think about the places you typically travel. For example, you’ll likely want Band-Aids, gauze, and pain meds no matter what, but if you plan on venturing to places known for questionable food handling, be sure the kit includes anti-nausea medication. Those heading deeper into the wild should consider one that has burn treatments, splint kits, eye-flushing fluid, and more. If you’re backpacking, kits nestled in waterproof bags (or those that cater to sport-related injuries like blisters) add another layer of reliability.
Weight and size Size and weight matter in the world of modern travel. For air-bound trips, look for a kit that can compress nicely and pack easily in your checked luggage (most first-aid kits will have to be checked). But if you’re road-tripping or going on a vacation where space isn’t an issue, feel free to over-prepare.
Applications beyond travel If you want a kit that works in a variety of situations, cast your net wide when evaluating features. If a go-to kit in an emergency is your goal, look for ones that include things like cold packs, sanitized water, and infectious waste bags. If you’re just looking to stash your kit in your basement or in the trunk of your car, a more basic model might work best.
Test Results: Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (Best Overall)
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Could use more supplies
Low-quality adhesive bandages
If you’re looking for a basic first aid kit, our reviewers agreed that this is the one. According to one tester, it's “a good and comprehensive emergency kit that's easy to carry and will meet most first aid needs.” One person raved about the mini-kit feature, and said it’s “a great idea for day-to-day carry and can be customized to include what you think will be most useful.” However, one of our reviewers wished it had more features like “a suture kit for those rare situations where gauze and bandages aren't enough to stem more serious bleeding.” He also added that the kit included low-quality bandages: “I'm not sure how well they'd hold up to wet conditions or extended use.”