The 10 Best First Aid Kits of 2021

The best kits and supplies to stay prepared on your travel adventures

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TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

The Rundown

Best Overall: Swiss Safe First Aid Kit at Amazon

"The 200-piece first aid kit from Swiss Safe is a go-anywhere, treat-anything kit."

Best Budget: Be Smart Get Prepared at Amazon

"This kit specializes in cuts and bruises, with a full complement of items to clean and bandage these injuries."

Best for Home: M2 Basics 300 Piece First Aid Kit at Amazon

"The kit includes earthquake preparedness items as well as items for every member of the household, from babies to pets."

Best for Travel: DeftGet Compact First Aid Kit at Amazon

"The kit designers upgraded the survival tools, which now include multi-purpose pliers, a flashlight, a raincoat, and other items."

Best for Camping: Adventure Medical Kits Family First Aid Medical Kit at Amazon

"This kit accommodates one to four people for up to four days in the outdoors."

Best for Hiking: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight Medical Kit at Amazon

"The kit includes wound care essentials as well as a couple trail basics, such as a bite and sting treatment pad and moleskin to protect blistered feet."

Best for Trauma: Lightning X Small First Responder EMT EMS Trauma Bag Stocked First Aid Fill Kit B at Amazon

"This kit includes bandages, eyewash, splint, blood pressure cuff, and stethoscope."

Best Compact: Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit at Amazon

"This 140-item kit includes a variety of band-aids, gauze pads, non-stick pads, Neosporin, Tylenol, and more."

Best for Biking: Welly Quick Fix First Aid Kit at Amazon

"At 8 inches long and just over an inch thick, and weighing a half pound, this kit tucks into bike pouches and side pockets."

Best for Hunting: EVERLIT Emergency Trauma Kit GEN-I with Aluminum Tourniquet at Amazon

"The kit includes some of the best massive bleeding control items on the market."

First aid kits are essential tools in an emergency, but the best first aid kit for you depends largely on the group you’re with and where you’re going. If you’re planning on going to the local park with one person, you may not need extensive supplies. However, if you’re taking a remote trip with a group, you’ll need a larger range of items tailored to the unique conditions you may be facing. But Robb Rehberg, first aid program technical consultant for the National Safety Council advises, “The best first aid kit is the one you’ll actually use. So, the first step in picking out a first aid kit is to know first aid. Taking a first aid and CPR course and learning how to use what’s in the kit is essential.” 

First aid kits aren’t a once-and-done purchase. If your kit has been collecting dust in a closet for a while, it may be time for a replacement or restock. Jeffrey L. Pellegrino, PhD, MPH, and member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, advises, “Packaging of sterile bandages will deteriorate, OTC medicines will expire, etc. Before every trip I take a look at what I have to make sure no one has used all of something.” Read on for the best first aid kits for every occasion and group.

Best Overall: Swiss Safe First Aid Kit

The 200-piece first aid kit from Swiss Safe is a go-anywhere, treat-anything kit. Its wide-ranging supplies include a standard set of bandages, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment. Since 2021, it also includes survival items such as a fire starter rod, wire saw, fishing line, and mylar blanket. Even with all that gear, the kit only weighs 16 ounces, so it’s easy to carry along with you in a backpack for outdoor adventures, stash in a car glove box, or leave at home for all your needs there. The bag is water and moisture resistant, so even in the field, you can rest assured your emergency supplies are protected and ready to use.

Best Budget: Be Smart Get Prepared

With 100 pieces and an affordable price, the Be Smart Get Prepared kit offers just the essentials. This kit specializes in cuts and bruises, with a full complement of items to clean and bandage these injuries. However, if you’re anticipating more complex injuries, you should opt for a more thoroughly stocked kit. A hard plastic case with a handle allows this kit to be carried along to work and during travel, and it protects the items within from the elements.

Best for Home: M2 Basics 300 Piece First Aid Kit

The compressive, 300-piece M2 Basics first aid kit will keep your home stocked for a variety of natural disasters and for multiple individuals. In addition to the standard lineup of wound care items, the kit includes earthquake preparedness items, such as an emergency blanket and whistle, as well as items for every member of the household, from babies to pets. If your first aid skills aren’t as polished as you’d like them to be, the kit includes a guide to lead you through basic treatments.

Best for Travel: DeftGet Compact First Aid Kit

This small-but-mighty lightweight kit is perfect for travel. The kit comes with 163 pieces of medical equipment, including the typical bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, and more. Beginning in 2020, the kit designers upgraded the survival tools, which now include multi-purpose pliers, a flashlight, raincoat, and other items. At only 1.2 pounds, this compact kit with a watertight leather case will easily fit in your luggage without causing your bag to exceed weight allowances.

Best for Camping: Adventure Medical Kits Family First Aid Medical Kit

The Adventure Medical Kits Family First Aid Medical Kit accommodates one to four people for up to four days in the outdoors. In addition to the typical wound care essentials, this kit includes additional items to treat any ailments you may encounter during family adventures. These items include moleskin to protect blisters, forceps to remove splinters and ticks, and after-bite and sting relief wipes. The kit has a deep stock of commonly used items, such as bandages, so it’s sure to last a long weekend of camping. An outer nylon layer and inner plastic waterproof layer protect your gear from the elements.

Best for Hiking: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight Medical Kit

For day hikes, travel light with the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight kit. At just 5.25-by-5 inches, this down-to-basics kit is easy to tuck into a backpack. And weighing in at only 2.3 ounces, it won’t bog you down on the trail. The kit includes wound care essentials as well as a couple trail basics, such as a bite and sting treatment pad and moleskin to protect blistered feet. This kit is made for day hikes during which you’ll only be out for a few hours. For more extensive backcountry adventures, you may want to invest in hardier kit. 

Best for Trauma: Lightning X Small First Responder EMT EMS Trauma Bag Stocked First Aid Fill Kit B

If you can’t have a first responder on the scene, this bag is the next best thing. In fact, it’s designed for volunteer EMTs; however, for trained individuals it also can serve as a first aid kit for home, school, or business. The kit includes the customary bandages for small scrapes and business, as well as items for more serious injuries: eyewash, splint, blood pressure cuff, and stethoscope. The bag comes in a variety of bright, easy-to-spot colors, has reflective striping for added visibility, and includes multiple pockets and compartments to store and organize even smaller items such as scissors and tweezers.

Best Compact: Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit

With 140 items, the Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit is a handy and lightweight solution to many first aid needs. It helps care for minor wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, burns, skin rashes, and insect bites. It has a hearty stock of Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages in a variety of sizes, as well as Band-Aid Brand First Aid Products gauze pads, non-stick pads, and rolled gauze for larger wounds. The kit also includes a few other brand-name items, such as Neosporin to prevent infection, Extra Strength Benadryl to soothe itching, and Tylenol Extra Strength acetaminophen caplets to ease pain. It comes with a first aid guide to keep you calm and focused as you treat injuries.

Best for Biking: Welly Quick Fix First Aid Kit

When you’re on the go, you don’t want to be weighed down with a bulky first aid kit. The Welly Quick Fix First Aid Kit is the solution. At 8 inches long and just over an inch thick, and weighing a half pound, this kit tucks into bike pouches and side pockets. The items included are limited; it includes 18 bandages in two sizes, three packets of antibiotic ointment, and three hand sanitizer packets. The supplies aren’t much, but after a minor crash, they will patch you enough to keep riding until you can get further treatment.

Best for Hunting: EVERLIT Emergency Trauma Kit GEN-I with Aluminum Tourniquet

Hunters encounter injuries that go beyond the minor scrapes and bruises most first aid kits are designed to treat. They need specialized emergency care, and the EVERLIT Emergency Trauma Kit delivers it. The kit includes some of the best massive bleeding control items on the market, including a military-combat-level tourniquet, tactical pressure dressing, and compressed gauze. After a serious injury, shock can be a threat, and this kit offers a thermal blanket to keep body temperatures from dropping. U.S. military veterans designed the kit and own/operate EVERLIT, so you’re buying a kit from people with field experience.

Final Verdict

We like the Swiss Safe First Aid Kit (view at Amazon) for overall versatility. With 200 pieces, it offers the full complement of wound care for minor injuries. The newest version also offers a few survival-oriented items that make this kit a great choice for home, travel, or the outdoors.

What to Look for in a First Aid Kit

Number of People

Your kit should have sufficient supplies for the number of people it’s meant to serve. The Red Cross offers guidelines for numbers of supplies.

 Supplies

Basic kits should include items such as compress dressings, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, a breathing barrier, a cold compress, and nonlatex gloves. Jeffrey L. Pellegrino, PhD, MPH, and professor of emergency management and homeland security at the University of Akron in Ohio, says familiarity with the items is paramount. If you can’t use the items effectively, he recommends taking a first aid class­­­­­­.

 Size

Your kit should be sized based on where you plan to use it. If it’s too large to take with you, for example in the car, on a boat, or in a backpack traveling, it isn’t much use.

FAQs

Where should first aid kits be stored?

“Naturally, you’ll want to keep your first aid kit somewhere that is easily accessible—and perhaps even visible—when you need it most,” says Rehberg of the National Safety Council. “If you’re home, this might mean a common room, such as the kitchen. It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit in the car as well.” However, while it should be accessible, it should be out of reach of small children.

You’ll want to think about the conditions where you’re storing the kit as well. Jeffrey L. Pellegrino, PhD, MPH, and professor of emergency management and homeland security at the University of Akron in Ohio advises, “Temperature, exposure to humidity, or it just getting wet will potentially damage elements of a kit.”

 How often should kits be checked, or items swapped out?

“Many of the elements of a good first aid kit do expire,” says Dr. Pellegrino, of the American Red Cross. So, they should be analyzed regularly to make sure the items are within their expiration dates and can be used effectively.

 What items should a kit include?

Beyond the standard bandages and antiseptic ointments, first aid kits should include items tailored to who you may be treating. Dr. Pellegrino advises talking with others about their health histories and supplementing kits with items such as aspirin, anaphylaxis kits, or glucose tablets, depending on their needs.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Freelance travel journalist Ashley M. Biggers took her first aid class in an elementary school summer camp. Since then, she’s never left home without a kit of some kind, whether she’s hiking in the mountains of New Mexico or traveling around the world.

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