How to Pick an Outdoor First Aid Kit

Being well-prepared for minor to major accidents may mean the difference between life or death. For natural disasters, outdoor adventures or common injuries at home such as burns and cuts, 12 Survivors has a first aid kit made for almost any situation. Building on the basic supplies such as bandages and antiseptic wipes that treat minor cuts and scrapes, prevent infection and stop bleeding, to items that help handle trauma and shock, 12 Survivors first aid kits are all designed to be easily transportable and more user-friendly than most first aid kits on the market.

Two people pack up their backpacks from a jeep ready for a hike

12 Survivors wilderness first aid kits will cover you on rugged trails and day hikes.

Knowing that timing is critical during an emergency, all but one of 12 Survivors’ first aid kits feature Velcro identifying patches above each zippered compartment, so finding what you need is quick and easy. These are customizable, so if you need to add or remove items, there is no confusion what supplies are in what pocket when it matters most.

With all first aid kits, it is important that you customize it to your specific individual needs, such as essential allergy and prescription medicines and other unique requirements. Each kit has plenty of room to fit additional supplies such as pain relief, QuikClot, cotton swabs, insect repellant, a snake bite kit or itch relief. What you will add is dependent on how many people you would possibly be treating, your location, typical activities, or the length of your trip. There are four 12 Survivors first aid kits to choose from. Three roll-up kits and one mini, wallet-style kit. Three of them feature MOLLE-webbing for attaching it to your backpack and all are designed to be as lightweight as possible.

You should keep two first aid kits—one at home and one in your car. Each kit will vary slightly of its contents. 12 Survivors first aid kits will work for both, but they are designed with wilderness and outdoor adventures in mind. These outdoor first aid kits are for the hiker, backpacker and camper.

Which one is best for you? Read the following break-down to help you decide.

First Aid Roll Up Kit

Roll-up first aid kit from 12 Survivors

For longer trips and to treat more than a few people, the roll-up first aid kit will treat minor accidents to severe bleeding.

Inside of a nylon first aid case with Velcro labels.

The largest of the kits comes pre-labeled to quickly identify supplies.

Best for:

  • Long hikes
  • Primitive camping
  • Backpacking in rugged terrain
  • Vehicle kit
  • Natural disasters
  • Gun range

The largest of all 12 Survivor’s kits, the large roll-up kit includes everything you need to perform CPR and take care of more serious injuries like severe bleeding and trauma, along with basic first aid supplies. Extras included are a tourniquet, large emergency dressing, two pairs of scissors—regular and EMT shears—one plastic poncho, an emergency blanket for shock or hypothermia, mouth barrier, and a triangular bandage used to treat large wounds or as a splint to stabilize broken bones. These extra items help with more serious injuries and accidents, especially if you are far away from medical professionals. This kit has a total of 42 pieces and weighs 2.02 pounds. It measures 15 inches long, 6 inches wide and 5.5 inches tall. It comes pre-labeled, so you can quickly identify where much-needed supplies are located, but you may also remove the Velcro labels and make your own.

Mini First Aid Roll Up Kit

Man opening a first aid kit

The smaller roll-up kit includes everything you need to treat minor cuts, scrapes and burns.

Best for:

  • Car camping
  • Day hikes
  • Sporting events
  • Vehicle kit
  • Hunting lease
  • Weekend trips
  • Every day

This all-purpose kit is modeled after the large roll-up kit but has fewer trauma supplies. This kit is designed for everyday cuts, scrapes and bruises. This kit will serve small groups and families and is perfect for overnight or weekend trips. It has 72 pieces—various bandages, tape, gauze, antiseptic wipes, gloves, and an emergency blanket. It weighs only 11.3 ounces filled and measures 10×43 inches rolled up. A carry handle and three rows of MOLLE webbing make this kit easy to attach to your backpack. It has seven separate zippered compartments. Included in the mini roll-up kit are plenty of different-sized bandages and antiseptic cleaning wipes to clean out cuts if no water is available Specialized supplies includes a sterile gauze pad safe to treat minor burns and antibiotic ointment to remedy cuts and scrapes.

Man putting a first aid kit in his backpack getting ready for a long hike

The UltraLite is best for hiking, backpacking and sports.

UltraLite Mini First Aid Kit

Best for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Beach or lake trips
  • Every day carry
  • Home use
  • Sports

The UltraLite Mini first aid kit is constructed of ultralight moisture-wicking nylon ripstop to help keep the overall weight down to only 11.3 ounces, even when filled with its included contents. Six zippered pockets hold everything you need to treat light sports injuries, with plenty of room to add your own contents. It has more medical tape than any of the other kits.  There are 90-pieces of first aid supplies that come with the ultralight mini first aid kit—butterfly bandages to seal small deep cuts, Tweezers, sterile gauze, bandages, alcohol wipes, EMT shears and an elastic band with clips to wrap up sprains. Nine pieces of cuttable moleskin are also included to prevent painful blisters. The UltraLite is a very practical first aid kit for hikers and for those who play sports.

Mini Medic First Aid Kit

Best for:

  • Everyday carry
  • Road trips
  • Classroom
  • Scouting trips
  • Bug-out bag
Wallet-style mini first aid kit with bandages and tweezers.

This mini first aid kit will fit in cargo pockets—perfect for EDC.

The Mini Medic wallet first aid kit has all the bandages you need to cover minor cuts and scrapes. Slightly larger than a tri-fold wallet, it includes cleaning wipes and bandages—including butterfly bandages. It easily fits in a purse, backpack and even some big pockets! It is perfect for a day at the playground, at the kid’s games, or a short camping trip. Two snapped straps will attach the mini first aid kit to your belt or other MOLLE-compatible accessories. This 51-piece kit weighs only 4 ounces and measures 5.25 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches. Smaller kits like this one are not designed to treat trauma but will take care of minor cuts, blisters, scrapes and burns. This is not the kit to pick if you are going to be far from medical help.  The Mini Medic is perfectly sized to work as a personal first aid kit and is small enough to add it to your everyday carry (EDC.)

First aid kits can be useless if you don’t how to use them. Some serious injuries need specific care and if you try and care for a person without knowing how can make the accident victim worse. Medical experts and first responders all agree—take a local first aid and CPR training class to learn how to utilize all the first aid supplies in your kit properly.

What do you think are essential first aid supplies? List them in the comment section.

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