Survival First Aid Kits

What are Survival First Aid Kits?

Survival First Aid Kits are a set of materials and tools used for giving emergency treatment to a sick or injured, person or animal. They are containers for these tools and supplies, that need to be carried with you, on all your wilderness adventures.

Survival First Aid Kits are built and classified by the size of the group being served, and the distance to the nearest medical center.

Let’s get Real!

Survival First Aid Kits

A few fishing seasons ago, I was river fishing for Chinook and Coho Salmon on a popular local river. The day was warm and sunny, and a pleasure to be on the river. Surrounded by mountains that had just received a dusting of snow, it was hard to imagine a better way to spend this early Autumn day.

Sometimes, when I river-fish, I line-up with the group along the river’s edge, and trade fishing stories when the fishing is slow. Other times I choose to wander up or down the river to study this season’s new river topography, and put my water-reading skills to the test.

This exercise produced one feisty Pink Salmon, that rewarded me a few exhilarating minutes of fun. I brought my fish in as quickly as I could, because my intention was to release it back into the river.

I could not be retain my fish, in this river, at that time, and this worked well for my fish and me. A nice 5 or 6 pound fish on a rod, on a river, is why I spend many days a year walking this river’s sand and gravel. It’s an experience that is easy to get addicted to, and with the right attitude, it makes for a pleasant day, well spent, on the river. I released my fish, and watched him disappear into the lively waters. I washed and wiped my hands clean, and said goodbye to that piece of real estate.

I then decided to focus my efforts upstream. This soon brought me to a familiar deep hole that was literally alive with these Pink Salmon fish. I could see 100’s of fish in this hole, thanks to my polarized lenses,  but try as I might, there was no way they were going to accept my offering. A few other fishermen stopped by, and most left, after a short effort. No tight lines!

The fact that these fish were not biting, and not being able to keep them anyway, soon had me on the move again. I love walking the river gravel, and if there is no reason to sit or stand still, I am soon on my way. I like to cover lots of water and this I consider good steelhead training and scouting.

A few hundred meters of riverbed hiking and exploration brought me to an enthusiastic and very energized group of fishermen. As I made my way past this group, I saw a few beautiful Coho and the odd large Chinook, that had only recently been caught. Glancing through the group, I spotted my friend Don. Don is a calm, patient, and easy to talk to “kind-of-guy”, who knows how to appreciate a good river. We have become close friends because of this, and we often share fishing tips and fishing stories. Today, however, Don was a little less relaxed than normal, and I asked him why he didn’t seem to be his usual self?

He said, … “you just missed a very ugly accident”. Someone had just broken their eyeglasses with a fishhook that had dislodged itself from a monster Spring Salmon. The tension on the line shot the hook straight into his eyeglasses and broke his eyeglass lens.

This, unfortunately, left pieces of glass in his eye, and this had happened only minutes before I arrived. His fishing buddies quickly took him away, to the nearest medical center.


I have no statistics on this type of accident at this time, (unset hook coming towards your face/eyes), but, I am hearing of more and more stories of accidents happening on the river, and in the wilderness. These 10 to 20 pound fish are strong and powerful, and feeling the bite and setting the hook, is an art that separates the good, from the great.

This is not a fishing seminar but a warning about fish hooks coming towards your face and your eyes. Leaning the rod slightly away to the left or right will give you a better chance of missing your eyes and face, but this may not always be the case either. A good reason to wear safety glasses.

Would you have known what to do?

Could you have helped this fisherman? What if he was your fishing buddy, or perhaps even your son or daughter?

Falls, tumbles, or a fishhook in your hand, or in your ear, always get a few chuckles, but this event was much more serious. Nobody wants to see anyone lose an eye!

If you had been there, would you have known what to do?

Yes, I would have! … in reply to Don’s asking.

I am not a Medical Doctor, and I am not certified nor qualified to dispense medical procedures on the web. For this reason, I will not describe the required procedure in this blog. Further to the above, I would not comment on an injury from 2nd-hand  information and knowledge, and I trust you appreciate my position on this matter.

Is this is a good reason for someone to learn First Aid?

Don was a bit surprised to hear that I had taken First Aid courses from St. John Ambulance.

Do you own and carry a First Aid Kit?

Survival First Aid KIts

Do you carry a Survival First Aid Kit when you leave for an outdoor adventure?

The beginning of each new season is always a good time for me to re-access and re-organize my gear.  If you are like most outdoor types, you may be suffering from varying degrees of “gear-head syndrome”.

At this time, the long, hot summer is over and a new season is taking its place. Fear not, there is hope for you and your illness.

The Autumn season brings River Fishing, Hunting, and Photography into play. This also includes lots of Hiking, Backpacking, and Camping. The temperatures are beginning to fall, and the days and nights are becoming a lot cooler.

While most outdoor activities are very gear specific, one item that should never be excluded is a Survival First Aid Kit.

What is included in Survival First Aid Kits?

This is a list of some of the things that are necessary and some that are nice to have. Remember that any list is only a guideline to get you started. Some of the better kits come better supplied, but you can always add or subtract items that are more specific to you and your group’s needs.

  • an up-to-date first-aid manual
  • sterile gauze pads of different sizes
  • adhesive tape
  • adhesive bandages (Band-Aids) in several sizes
  • elastic bandage
  • a splint
  • antiseptic wipes
  • soap
  • antibiotic ointment
  • antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
  • hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • extra prescription medicines (this is specific to you or your group)
  • tweezers
  • sharp scissors
  • safety pins
  • disposable instant cold packs
  • calamine lotion
  • alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
  • thermometer
  • tooth preservation kit
  • plastic non-latex gloves (at least 2 pairs)
  • a headlamp and extra batteries
  • a blanket
  • mouthpiece for giving CPR (you can get one from your local Red Cross)
  • these items are from a commercially available kit, and they vary slightly from kit to kit. experience and training will help you construct the kit that best suits your group and activity

Extra tips and suggestions to consider for your home and vehicle.

Keep a blanket stored with your kit.

After you’ve stocked your first-aid kits:

  • Read the first-aid manual so you’ll understand how to use what’s in your kit. If you have children, and they are old enough to understand, review the main points with them. Read the manual from time to time and check to see if it is up to date.
  • Store first-aid kits out of young children’s reach but where adults can easily access them.
  • Check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or anything that has expired.
  • Make sure babysitters and other caregivers know where the kit is and how to use it.
  • Include a headlamp in your kit and make sure to check the batteries often. A flashlight is great as a backup, but a headlamp is the way to go. Performing First Aid in poor lighting with a flashlight in your mouth is not your best option. Again keep an eye on your batteries to make sure they work.

What should you do now?

  1.  If you don’t own a First Aid Kit, … Get one as soon as you can!
  2. If you have NOT taken a First Aid course, this is your second order of priority, but it could also be a first priority. Take a First Aid course in your area. There are many well-trained people in your region to assist you.

What Type and Size of First Aid Kit should you carry?

The size and type of First Aid Kit, is determined by the size of your group (number of people), and your distance to the nearest medical facility or hospital.

Do you need training in First Aid?   … YES!

This is an easy question to answer. The answer is … of course you do!

No one is born “hardwired” with First Aid training.

Imagine that the above incident had happened to one of your friends, a family member, or to your child or partner. How important is First Aid training when it hits home? First Aid training is like house insurance, car insurance, and fire insurance. Seems unnecessary until the SHTF! Right!

Don’t neglect this training. Don’t think of whether or not you’ll need it. Think of the knowledge and skills you’ll have to help others. Don’t be selfish on this one!

Where can I get this training?

In Canada, where I live, St. John Ambulance offers excellent, professional training in First Aid throughout the year. There are always courses available.

St. John Ambulance has been providing for the health, safety, and quality of life of Canadians for over 125 years. St. John Ambulance provides training in many countries throughout the world.

St. John Ambulance offers comprehensive, first aid and CPR training programs for the workplace, the home, and the community.

These courses are available in:

  • workplace
  • pre-hospital and healthcare
  • CPR and AED
  • Emergency First Aid
  • specialized industry
  • family, children, and youth
  • instructor development
  • Pet First Aid
  • and many others.

How much will this training cost?

Costs vary with different programs and levels of training. Contact your local chapter and inquire.

Do not procrastinate on this one. It could mean saving a life.

Time spent learning First Aid training is never wasted.

In Conclusion

A small and well-supplied Survival First Aid Kit is preferred for short excursions and EDC on your person when Hiking, Fishing, Camping, or Hunting. Use my links to purchase a Survival First Aid Kit, that is rugged, and not too big, so that you don’t leave it at home, or in your vehicle.

Its contents can be modified to your needs and preferences. Inexpensive scissors and tweezers can always be upgraded. You don’t need 25 small bandages. Get superior quality Elastoplast-types. Same goes for pads and tape.

With time and training, you can build yourself a Survival First Aid kit that you will be proud to show your friends.

Be sure to include a small manual and don’t forget to protect it against water damage. Check it often to maintain your supplies in good order.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about Survival First Aid Kits and First Aid Training, please do not hesitate to leave them in your email. You can Contact Me and I will do my best to answer all your concerns in a timely manner.

What should you do NOW?

  1.  If you don’t own a First Aid Kit, Get one as soon as you can!
  2. If you have NOT taken a First Aid course, this is your second order of priority, but it can also be a first priority! Take a First Aid course in your area. There are many well-trained people in your region to assist you.

28 thoughts on “Survival First Aid Kits”

  1. That is a good article regarding the necessity of keeping a First Aid kit on hand. I have one for the house, car, one specifically for my pets when they travel with me, and for my EDC (Every Day Carry) bag that goes wherever I go. On more than one occasion I’ve been able to provide bandaids, topical antibiotics, and minor wound dressings for those in need. 

    Clearly, more people should consider the possibility of needing a kit and having it on hand and your article highlights that point very well.

    First Aid kits are like fire extinguishers. You don’t often need one, but when you do, YOU REALLY NEED IT!  

    Emphasizing training is a fantastic recommendation. What good does it do to have the tools if you can’t effectively use them? 

    • I’m always pleased when I hear stories like yours KC.

      Lots of First Aid kits in the right places, and the skills to use them. Well done!

      We also agree on the importance of training, after all, what the point of having the tools and not being able to use them.

      Very few people have one for their pets, but you’ve got this base covered as well.

      Thanks for the great comments and I hope to hear from you again.


  2. First aid kit is very important in our various home. Whoever can tell, this kit can prevent people from getting worse when exposed to a very  harse or injured condition. Am a red crosser, so I know the importance of first aid kit. I could remember that first aid kit was one of the gifts we offered a college during a sensitization about first aid treatment during my national volunteer service year in my country.  Kids need protection and first help whenever they are injured. For a voluntary service that is still running in my vein, I do carry first aid kit around in my car. 

    • Happy to hear about your First Aid background, Stella.

      It’s such an important skill to have and with you being a Red Crosser, having a kit at home and in your car, you check all the boxes, in many regards.

      Congratulations and thanks for your service as well. Job well done.


  3. Some additional items I have in my kit are sugar packs to use as a blood stop agent in open wounds, 2-Octyl cyanoacrylate glue for quick temporary wound closures, and needle-nose pliers for hook removal.

  4. Over here in the UK, St. John Ambulance are everywhere. Whether you’re looking for local groups for joining or if you’re at an event, they are there. Pretty phenomenal organisation.

    We’ve got four children and for the entire length of the journey from toddler to young adults, we have had a well stocked medicine cabinet and a ‘First-Aid’ box in the car. It’s one of those things that is as present as the ‘wheel brace’, although I am not sure of it’s usefulness these days. Two things struck me from your article. I’m not sure how many of us would be able to administer proper first aid. I know my wife did a few courses when she worked in a Preschool environment. I’m also sure at least two of my children have taken courses through the groups they’ve been in. I have not, which now I look at it, seems odd, best get onto that. 

    The second thing is that, the first aid kit you have, looks much more better equipped to help in a situation. Ours has never looked like that. Our ability to be able to contact the emergency services has maybe made us forget that we still need to provide some form of care in the time between calling for help and help actually arriving. A great reminder.

    • Thanks, Romero.

      I’m pleased to hear that you have a kit and that many of your family members have the skills to use your kit.

      Think, if you were the one to have to use the box. There are many books on the subject as well. 

      If your children have the skills, you could always have them teach you. This is a fantastic way to bond with the kids, and a great confidence boost for them.

      Stay safe and learn First Aid. It’s an easy thing to carry.


  5. Hi Paul, your review about owning a survival first aid kits is so helping, any topic that talks about health life  health i don’t joke with it, I know what it takes to loss part of the body or person, there should be awareness about every one getting a survival first aid kits for this reason i will share and tag friends about your post, it counts a lot, First aids have saved many lives and  many lost lives would have been saved assuming there is first aid.

    • True that, Samuel.

      First Aid is always a winner. 

      The feeling of confidence from knowing these skills is very satisfying and there’s also the option of teaching these skills to others as well.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  6. Wow, what a sobering story! And, some excellent advice too. It made me rush to our medicine cupboard to check if we have all the supplies you mentioned. Also, I so agree with you, we don’t need the endless supply of bandages, rather some great quality ones that will serve the purpose in case of emergency. 

    Must admit, I’ve gone through the First Aid training several times, but have to say, I’ve forgotten a lot of the detail and this article has inspired me to go over those and remind myself what needs to be done in certain emergency situations. 

    Thank you for the great info and looking forward to more. 

    • Thanks, Alenka.

      First Aid is a learned skill that needs practice. Unless we work daily as medical professionals, these skills can be quickly forgotten. A review of these does not require all the effort that it did in the beginning. 

      Keep your kit well supplied and your skills sharp.

      Stay safe.


  7. Great information.

    I did a 1st Aid course around 8 years ago. It was staggering what I learnt. We all tend to take 1st Aid for granted and assume that someone else will take care of things in the case of an emergency.

    Having a survival 1st Aid kit seems such a good idea. In the US and Canada where the country and space is so huge a kit like this could well save a life as well as easing an immediate minor issue.

    I am in the UK which is much less open and smaller but if camping or hiking I always take the 1st Aid basics with me.

    Regards Mike

    • Thanks for reading my post, Mike.

      As you’ve learned from your First Aid training, the SHTF very quickly. 

      It’s always convenient to know the basics of First Aid and this is a very important skill to possess. Regardless of the proximity to medical services, First Aid can and does save many lives. 

      Think of a “choking” situation, or a near drowning. There are many times when HELP cannot arrive on time to save a life.


  8. Hi Paul! Thank you very much for your article, as I was planning a little hike in the Adirondacks in a near future. And when I start planning such things, I know I am supposed to carry a First Aid Kit with me, but I never to what to put in it.

    Thank you for clarifying this for me. In addition, I must confess I never saw fishing as a potentially dangerous outdoor activity, but I realise danger is everywhere, especially when you least expect it. Take care. Purdey

    • Yes, Purdey.

      “Stuff” happens pretty quickly, and most of the time, this is the case with all accidents. We never leave home in the morning with a plan to get hurt, but take a look at the thousands of accidents that medical providers deal with everyday.

      Even though all accidents are not serious, it’s always nice to be prepared to deal with life’s little mishaps. Any form of wilderness hiking and adventure is a good reason to get a survival first aid kit and the training required to make effective use of it.


  9. Brrr, your story made me shudder. Initially, such an accident seems unlikely but it’s interesting that you have heard it more and more as you have gone fishing. This is why having a decent first aid kit is so important when we go outdoors to remote places. When I go skiing, my first aid pack is essential but I must confess that it is so long since I had any training, I’m sure I would learn something new. And I’m sure that there is much new information out there to take on board. Thanks for your article, it’s made me think ahead of the next trip that I take.

    • Great on you, Oliver. 

      We all get too complacent at various times in our lives. It’s “harsh”, to realize that it often takes “tough medicine” to bring us back to reality. 

      It is as easy as taking a 1-day-course” to bring you back to the real world. Force yourself to spend  1- day on First Aid Training! You will never regret it! 


  10. Oh yes First Aid Kits are essential whenever you are getting out of the house and into the wilderness, or anywhere else with a potential for injury for that matter! A couple of buddies and I went for a sunrise hike a few weeks ago, and with minimal light I tripped and sliced my hand on a sharp rock at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately nobody had a first aid kit so I had to manage all the way back down the mountain with a make-shift tee shirt turned gauze pad. Learned that lesson the hard way. Thanks for sharing your story and all of the great info!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Connor. 

      We all seem to like learning our lessons the hard way. As you have probably read, a good First Aid Kit can be purchased quite inexpensively and can weigh in the 1-2 pound range. 

      This is certainly not a “hospital-a-box”, however, they can contain a lot of emergency supplies that can get you through many bad situations. 

      Next on the list, is to take a First Aid Course. 

      Another piece of equipment to carry in your day pack is a headlamp, but that’s probably also on your list by now! 

      Happy Trails and Stay Safe.


  11. Wow, what a crazy story. Definitely, haven’t heard that one before.

    Your site is good and is definitely educational. Also, a somber reminder that I definitely need to acquire a first aid kit, especially with all the natural disasters coming on.

    I appreciated the fact that you provided information on where to get this important training and all the information about the first aid kits.

    • Thanks Matt, for stopping by to read my blog. 

      Like you, I had never heard about this until I started fishing “hardcore”. However, from talking to a lot of seasoned fishermen, it has happened before and will most likely happen again. 

      Thanks for your positive comments. I am also very pleased to hear that you will be getting a First Aid Kit. There are many “day courses” that can be taken on weekends so there is no valid reason to not do so. 

      Do yourself and your family a favor. Get a kit and take the course. 


  12. Fantastic and informative article. The injury you had described regarding your friend is the very example of a “freak” accident and goes to show that we need to be prepared for anything that may arise, especially in the great outdoors where access to medical facilities are far and wide. I agree that a First Aid kit is a definite must-have within your gear. I’m a firm believer that anything can and will happen, and you’ll thank yourself for being prepared – and may even save a life.

    • Well said, Christina. 

      Tragedy and mishap do not follow any specific timetable. Sometimes they can be avoided and other times they are way beyond our powers to control. 

      Being prepared will never go out of style and is always very useful. First Aid and Training are always important, however, when your out in the wilderness and far from any type of help, this factor goes up, exponentially. 

      I trust that you own a First Aid Kit and have sufficient training to use it well. 


  13. What a freak accident, having your glasses shattered by a fishhook. It’s great advice to carry a first aid kit when you are hiking, camping, fishing, really anywhere enjoying the outdoors. We camp a lot, and that is honestly one thing we lack, is a good first aid kit. I really appreciate the reminder! We have some bandaids, etc, but not a full blown first aid kit. I guess that is better than nothing, but that is something that we need to beef up. If you are in a remote area and are not prepared, you could be in trouble. That scrape could become infected and get much worse. We also have a dog that is always with us. What types of items should be included for pets?

    • Good Day, Steve and Kris.

      Accidents are for the most part “freaky” events. 

      They always occur when we are not ready or prepared. No one plans an accident except a research lab. The range of accidents that can and do happen would blow your mind. 

      For instance, this fishhook accident that happened a few days ago on the river was the last thing that I would have expected to encounter on my fishing trip. 

      This is the number 1 reason to carry a First Aid Kit and to learn how to use it. St. John Ambulance actually has a First Aid Course for pets. To answer your question on pets, most cuts, scrapes, and broken bones can be treated like human injuries. 

      Basic First Aid is to stabilize the patient and seek professional help.

      Do yourself a favor, … purchase a First Aid Kit and take a First Aid Course!


  14. It goes to show accidents can happen anywhere!
    I am usually prepared with band aids in my handbag along with hand sanitizer. Recently because I cut my left pinky while preparing food I remembered to put a first aid kit in the car. It’s only a small plastic one with some basic items that I got at the local drug store. I am hoping to build it up and be more prepared and be ready for emergencies. 🙂

    • Yes, Dinh, accidents can and do happen very quickly. It’s always nice to be prepared. Preparation is just a state of mind and very easy to achieve. I like your idea very much.

      Building a kit on your own from scratch is a very sensible exercise. Many of these items are probably in your medicine cabinet right now. Gathering them all together in a small plastic case is an excellent beginning.

      First Aid training is always a great idea for young scouts as well. Good Luck and stay safe.


Leave a comment