First-Aid Kit

Here I describe the comprehensive first-aid/trauma kit I put together, primarily kept in my vehicle.

The kit ended up being a tiered system overall, where I keep many of the most frequently used or most urgent supplies on hand in the “EDC” backpack I carry to and from work, on trips, etc. The second tier is the main kit in my vehicle’s trunk (along with other emergency supplies), which is the main subject of this page. The third tier is at home, which is mostly extra supplies. The EDC kit and the vehicle kit are complementary, but there is some redundancy, like nitrile gloves and band-aids.


First-aid kit contents spread out on bench



I have bought and used pre-packaged kits before, but none had good enough quality or the right mix of supplies. I’m more comfortable relying on the hand-picked contents of this custom kit since I am more familiar with each item.

I wanted to ensure I’d have no problem getting replacements for the consumables. I want them to be cheap, available from more than one source, and fast to arrive (if shipping is even required). In the past with some proprietary kits, knowing replacement supplies weren’t easy to source has kept me from using things. A kit that I’m reluctant to deploy is not as much use. Supplies I can get from Walmart, Amazon, or similar are best. To further encourage use of the various supplies, I keep extras of most things at home for a two-stage replacement strategy: I can immediately replenish my car kit w/ the spare supplies at home, then I purchase replacement supplies to replenish the backup ones at home.

Additionally, just about every item has a shelf life, so part of assembling the kits was documenting each item’s expiration date and putting in place a system to ensure they’re replaced at that time. And readily-available supplies make it easier to keep up with replacements.


Kit Contents


ItemEDCVehicleHomeShelf LifeReplacementsNotes
Nitrile Gloves325+HFT, Walmart
Face mask125+Costco
CPR face shield11LAPG



ItemEDCVehicleHomeShelf LifeReplacementsNotes
Trauma shearsSmallStdStdLAPG
SAM splint1LAPG, ITS
Thermometer11Dollar Tree
Syringe w/ 18Ga tip11REI
Pocket guide1various
Finger splintsXvarious



ItemEDCVehicleHomeShelf LifeReplacementsNotes
Chest seals (vented)225 yrsLAPG
S-rolled gauze (hemostatic)115 yrsLAPG
Roller gauze (non-hemostatic)245 yrsLAPG
8″x10″ or 5″x9″ sterile trauma pad1X5 yrsLAPG
4″x4″, 3″x3″, 2″x2″ sterile dressing33+5 yrsLAPG
Burn dressing (to use w/ burn gel)X2Dollar TreeVehicle kit has narrowed and flattened roll of 45 ft.-length saran wrap
Compression bandageSmallLg 6″Lg 6″8 yrsLAPG
1/4″x4″ wound-closure strips10X5 yrsREI
Medical tapeWideStd and WideLAPG
Triangular bandage/cravat, safety pinsXXLAPG
Adhesive knit bandageXXvarious
Elastic roller bandage (Ace)XXvarious
Moleskin and hydrogel pads w/ adhesive coverings.XXXvariousSquare moleskin pack, also “Skin-on-skin” or “Spenco 2nd Skin” dressing kits


Other Consumables

ItemEDCVehicleHomeShelf LifeReplacementsNotes
Mylar blanket111various
Mylar bivvy1various
Q-tips/cotton swabsXXXvarious
Duct tapeXXXvarious
Zip-lock bagsXXXvarious


Chemicals/Ointments/Misc. Liquids

ItemEDCVehicleHomeShelf LifeReplacementsNotes
Antiseptic towelettes w/ benzalkonium chloride3X5 yrsLAPG
Alcohol wipes225LAPGUsed to clean skin for better bandage adhesion (incl. moleskin)
Triple antibiotic ointment45X5 yrsAmazon
Povidone-iodine solution USP 10% (e.g. Betadine)XX>2 yrsLAPG[shelf life at least 2 yrs based on expiration date]
Saline for wound irrigationXDollar TreeUsing saline nose spray bottle
Burn gel (w/ aloe and lidocaine)XLAPGAfterBurn
Hydrocortisone creamX>3 yrsWalmart
Tincture of benzoin (or other skin adhesive)XX?REI
Electrolytes4X6 yrsREI
Anti-chafe balm (e.g. Body Glide)XX?Amazon
Lip balm (Carmex)XXvarious
Insect repellantXWalmart
Sun screen10X2 yrsAmazon
Ammonia towelettes224AmazonSmelling salts



ItemEDCVehicleHomeShelf LifeReplacementsNotes
IbuprofenX6X>2 yrsAmazon
AspirinX4X>3 yrsAmazon
Acetaminophen (non-aspirin)6X>2 yrsAmazon
Goodys headache powder23X>2 yrsAmazon
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)3X>2 yrsAmazon
Loperamide (Imodium)2X>2 yrsAmazon
Antacid4X>3 yrsWalmart
Papaya enzymeXX>1 yrvarious
Glucose gel11X>2 yrsAmazon
Prescription medsXX?CVS


Everything is stored in a Condor Rip-away EMT Pouch.


Sources for Supplies

I found these websites and stores to be decent sources for most of my supplies:



Most of these supplies are not useful if you do not possess at least basic first-aid and CPR training. Some interventions can cause more harm than good, so learning what to do is a top priority.

I took two courses from the American Red Cross:

  • Adult/Child/Baby First Aid/CPR/BLS
  • Severe Bleeding First Aid

The online versions of each class is $30 and can be completed at your own pace. They take you through interactive scenarios in which you must respond to various emergencies. I learned a lot and revisit the material every now and then (there is no expiration on access).



In addition to the American Red Cross classes, I read a few informative books and found useful info all over the web, so I’ve pasted all my notes and links here:

  • A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine by Eric A. Weiss
  • Immediate Care of the Wounded by Clifford C. Cloonan