The 8 Best First Aid Kits to Keep You Prepared at All Times, According to Reviews
Accidents happen more often than we'd like, so it's always a smart idea to be prepared for anything. Whether it's a small cut in the kitchen or a sprain on your morning run, it's important to be able to treat minor injuries as soon as possible—and take care of bigger ones until you can get professional care. That's where first aid kits come in handy. With different versions available for nearly any situation, they come stocked with basic supplies like bandages, gauze, and antibiotic ointment.
To help you decide which first aid kits are worth buying, we tapped two doctors who specialize in emergency medicine and found out which first aid supplies are most essential. With their advice in mind, we dug through thousands of reviews to find eight customer-loved options, from a mini first aid kit for travel to a fully stocked backpack.
These are the best first aid kits, according to reviews:
- Best Overall: First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit
- Best Value: Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Compact First Aid Kit
- Best for Cars: Protect Life First Aid Kit for Car
- Best for Hiking and Camping: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker
- Best Survival Kit: Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit for Outdoor Preparedness
- Best Mini Option: General Medi Mini First Aid Kit
- Best Backpack: Lightning X First Responder EMT/EMS Backpack
- Best for Kids: Welly Excursion Kit
There are plenty of places where you might need a first aid kit, so you'll want to make sure you have one at home, in the car, and in your bag while on hiking trips or vacations. Just like medications, storing your first aid kit in extreme temperatures can have a negative impact on its contents—but it's also important to simply remember where you put it. "Kits should be stored in an easy-to-find location so when the time comes to use it you are not scrambling around trying to find [it]," Christopher Sampson, MD, emergency medicine physician at University of Missouri Health Care, tells Health. As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend checking on your kit and the manufacturer-set expiration dates every six months to a year.
What is in a first aid kit?
"The most common first aid issues in the home are usually minor cuts and orthopedic injuries, so at a minimum have supplies for wound care and splinting," Michael Billet, MD of Mercy Medical Center, tells Health. "Just having adhesive bandages (Band-Aids), elastic bandages (ACE Wraps), clean gauze, and medical tape gives a ton of versatility. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are great medications for pain relief and allergic reactions."
You can also consult this list of first aid supplies from the American Red Cross as a resource for deciding what should be in your kit. While that list is a great place to start, experts recommend customizing store-bought first aid based on your personal preferences and health requirements.
"All kits should have basic items, but can be tailored to meet other needs," says Dr. Sampson. "For example, one you keep in your car may include extra water or winter gloves depending on where you live. In the winter you may keep an extra blanket with the kit in case your car breaks down… If [you're] heading to a remote location, having a tourniquet is an important additional item to pack in a kit."
"For those with limited first aid knowledge, a card with basic first aid guidelines may be helpful," adds Dr. Sampson. He also recommends including an EpiPen in your first aid kit if "someone in the family has severe allergies to food [or] insect stings."
Keep reading to learn more about the best first aid kits for cars, homes, hiking, and more.
Best Overall: First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit
With an average 4.8-star rating from more than 41,000 customers, the First Aid Only Emergency Kit is the best-selling option on Amazon. It contains everything you'd need to treat minor injuries, like gauze, bandages, alcohol wipes, burn gel, over-the-counter pain relievers, and antibiotic ointments. And considering that it contains 299 items, the kit itself is relatively compact (9.5 inches tall and 7.25 inches wide), and everything is divided into clear pockets. Plus, some customers note that there's extra room in the pouch so you can add other items specific to your personal needs. There's even a first aid guide included so you always have helpful instructions on hand. "This is one of the most thorough first aid kits at this price that I have come across," wrote one reviewer. "It has plenty of items (including several types of non-aspirin pain relievers) and they are well-organized."
Best Value: Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Compact First Aid Kit
At just $12, Johnson & Johnson's first aid kit is a great budget-friendly option. It comes with 140 items that can remedy a number of different issues, all from recognizable brand names you're used to seeing at the store. There are Band-Aid gauze and bandages, Tylenol packets, and Benadryl itch relief cream, for example. It even comes with a full-sized tube of Neosporin and an instant cold pack from Bengay. Some customers mention that you might want to add medical tape to use the gauze. "This is a great starter first aid kit for your house," said a customer. "It has all the essentials that you really need, and none of the stuff you don't. It's perfect for a college dorm, apartment, or anywhere else."
Best for Cars: Protect Life First Aid Kit for Car
If you need a first aid kit to keep in your car, opt for this well-equipped one from Protect Life. In addition to basics for minor injuries (like bandages, an instant cold pack, and a CPR mask), the first aid kit comes with a rain poncho, glow stick, compass, whistle, and an emergency blanket to ensure you're always prepared in case of an accident. Plus, the entire pouch is compact enough to fit under a seat or in the glove compartment. "As a mother of four who loves travel, and road trips in particular, I have made it a personal motto to always be prepared," one shopper wrote. "I hope I never have to use anything inside, but if I do have a first aid emergency, I feel very comfortable knowing that I'll be able to easily treat it with this kit."
Best for Hiking and Camping: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker
This first aid kit from Adventure Medical Kits is specially designed for short camping and hiking trips. At less than half a pound, the kit is super lightweight and portable. All of the supplies are organized by type of injury so you can quickly find exactly what you need, whether that's moleskin for blisters (a common hiking injury) or itch relief for bug bites. It also comes with various medications, bandages, gauze, and a wilderness-specific first aid guide. "Just returned from a week-long hike [and] camping trip and took this over my big kit to save weight," wrote a customer. "Filled all our needs from cuts, bites, pain relief, and a bout of digestive distress."
Best Survival Kit: Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit for Outdoor Preparedness
A survival kit, like this one from Surviveware, includes much more than just traditional first aid basics; you'll also receive versatile tools that can help out in a variety of tough situations. It comes with a multi-tool, wire saw, flashlight, and CPR kit, to name a few. The kit even has a paracord bracelet, which can be used as a fire starter and as a rope to tie things together. The pack itself is made of durable polyester that's water resistant and MOLLE compatible, so it can be attached to other gear. "Most 'survival' kits don't come close to this kind of detail," one shopper wrote. "It is really well thought out and organized, and the items in the kit are of very decent quality. I haven't seen a comparable kit like this on the market; most kits have sub-par products put together without much attention to detail."
Best Mini Option: General Medi Mini First Aid Kit
This mini first aid kit from General Medi is lightweight and compact enough to always have on hand. It even comes with a clip to attach it to your backpack, which makes it great for travel. Despite its small size, the first aid kit is packed with supplies that some larger kits lack, like a tourniquet, a CPR respirator, and an emergency blanket. It also contains basic essentials like bandages, gauze pads, and pre-cut moleskin padding. Since the entire kit fits in a single pouch, some reviewers said they wish it was a bit more organized. "It's small and compact, but has all the emergency tools needed to hold you over until you can get help," wrote a customer. "My favorite part of this kit has to be the packet that comes with it," added another. "This packet contains information as to what to do if you are poisoned, if someone is having a heart attack, or if another life-threatening event has occurred."
Best Backpack: Lightning X First Responder EMT/EMS Backpack
Designed for first responders and volunteer EMTs, the Lightning X first aid kit backpack is fully stocked with all the essentials you need for basic care. Some notable inclusions are elastic bandages, eye wash irrigation solution, oral glucose gel for low blood sugar, and a blood pressure cuff. The backpack itself has thoughtful features, too, like reflective detailing, padded shoulder straps, and foam dividers for organization. "We ordered this bag to serve as the traveling medical bag for a youth basketball team," one person wrote. "The bag is easy to carry and has room for plenty of ice packs, Band-Aids, and splints. The accessories that come with the bag may be overkill for what we need, but who knows… better to have more than we need than less, so we are keeping all that too."
Best for Kids: Welly Excursion Kit
This first aid kit from Welly can be used on people of all ages, but little kids will love the assortment of brightly colored bandages. Parents are impressed by the latex-free fabric bandages, especially when it comes to the variety of patterns—one said there's "something for even the pickiest kids." There are also individual antibiotic and hydrocortisone packets, wound prep pads, a vial of ibuprofen, and a roll of tape neatly organized in the metal tin. "My 3-year-old daughter loves these bandages," wrote another. "I even purchased one for her preschool because the quality and colors are so beautiful. They stay on even through bathing and swimming. I still replace them after she's in the water but they hold up very well."
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