Here’s a Look Inside the First Aid Kit of an Army Medic

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

by Chuck Hudson

Note from Daisy: What’s in the “perfect” first aid kit? There are so many different kits out there all claiming to be there claiming to be the very best that it can get a little confusing. So I asked my good friend, Chuck Hudson, to share some lists with us. Chuck is a former Army Medic and Scout leader, and he loves to share his wisdom. Below you can find two very comprehensive lists to help you create your own “perfect kit.”

Me, I’m an old medic. I played with the Infantry for years. One thing my beloved grunts taught me was KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.  I was also an old Scout Master. For the most part, Scouts do NOT have a lot of money. So today we are going to talk about simple specialized first aid kits.  My scouts each carried a basic personal first aid kit. No, it would not take care of a rifle round to the upper chest. But it would take care of 90% of the injuries that could KILL you in a poop has hit the fan situation.

Infection is the primary killer in a bad situation. Remember that in an SHTF situation, a simple blister – we’ve all had one – could actually be the death of you. Left untreated the risk of septicemia rises exponentially.

The Personal First Aid Kit

This is the basic Boy Scout personal first aid kit and is perfect for your everyday carry.

  • Two 4-by-4-inch sterile gauze pads
  • One small roll of adhesive tape
  • One 3-by-6-inch piece of moleskin
  • One small bar of soap or travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer
  • One small tube of antibiotic ointment
  • One pair of scissors
  • One pair of non-latex disposable gloves
  • One CPR breathing barrier
  • Pencil and paper
  • 6 band-aids
  • 1 tube of Locktite Gel Super Glue
  • 4 feet of duct tape (Wrapped around the pencil)

Why duct tape? It’s perfect to remove those little bitty cactus spines, makes a great pressure bandage, and a wrap for a sprained ankle or splint.

Nothing very special here. Just a basic everyday kit that will fit in a pocket or purse.

Advanced first aid kit

If you are part of a small group, you’ll want a larger kit for the squad. If each person has a basic kit, there is no reason to duplicate those items in the larger group kit.

  • 2 1-inch roller bandages
  • Tourniquet – I prefer the SOF-T
  • 1 2-inch roller bandage
  • 1 roll of 1-inch adhesive tape
  • 1 roll of 2-inch adhesive tape
  • 10 alcohol swabs
  • 12 assorted adhesive bandages
  • 2 elastic bandages, 3 to 6 inches wide
  • 12 3-by-3-inch sterile pads
  • 4 Postpartum Sanitary pads
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • 2 triangular bandages, 40-inch  (for slings or head dressings)
  • 2 3-by-4-inch nonadherent sterile dressings (Telfa)
  • Israeli bandage or H-bandage (Pressure dressing)
  • 3 packages of butterfly closure bandages
  • Tincture of Benzoin
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Surgical or plain personal water-based lubricant
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • BP Cuff (The one linked to comes with a stethoscope)
  • Stethoscope
  • Aloe vera gel for sunburn
  • 2 pairs of latex gloves
  • Mouth-barrier device
  • Small bottle antihistamines (Benadryl)
  • Small bottle acetaminophen for pain and fever
  • Small bottle ibuprofen for inflammation, muscle aches, pain, and fever
  • Small bottle of Imodium for diarrhea
  • Saline solution
  • Bulb syringe for flushing wounds
  • Thermometer
  • Calamine lotion
  • SAM Splint
  • QuikClot
  • HALO Chest Seal
  • Nasopharyngeal airway set
  • Mylar thermal blanket
  • Bottle of Hibiclens (Chlorhexidine) Or Povidone Iodine. (You can get both Povidone and Hibiclens by the gallon)
  • Trauma shears
  • #15 Scalpel (it has a rounded shape great for deep cutting and lancing boils)
  • #11 Scalpel ( it has a pointed tip and is a bit more useful for removing stickers and such. It’s ok for small lancing, too)
  • Clamp kit (hemostats)
  • Penlight flashlight or LED headlamp

It can get real pricey buying each item by itself. What we did in our Scout troop is that we bought a large first aid refill kit and broke it apart for the individual kits and the main first aid kit. Then we bought separately the items not in it.

This kit will fit in the bottom of a small backpack. It contains the items to handle everything from a blister to a Scout tripping and falling during a game of Capture the Flag, getting wrapped up in a barbed wire fence, and at the same time falling and impaling his leg on a piece of rebar. ( Yes this happened. Spring Camporee 2012)

Make sure to have a good guidebook.

One thing that is not on the list but needs to be is a good book. There are hundreds. I am still working on my own that is a compilation of my classes distilled into a handbook. But it isn’t ready yet.

The one that I can recommend is The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is NOT on the Way By Joseph Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP, I have the 1st edition and it is AWESOME!

Keep your first aid kit simple!

First aid kits can be as simple or as complex as one can make them. Keep them simple. Keep them fresh. Keep up to date on them. Most importantly HAVE ONE!

Take classes on how to use them. Not all injuries happen on a beautiful spring day 68 degrees and sunny. Some happen during the worst times or the worst weather. Practice using it in different conditions.

The life you save with it may be the most important to you.

What about you? What are the most important things in your kit? Do you have any training? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Leave a Reply

  • I would add organic powdered cayenne pepper to the list. Do not buy it from the store, as most spices contain fillers. Get it from a reliable source like Mountain Rose Herbs .
    It can be used to stop bleeding, even really deep cuts that might require stitches. You Tube has various videos on how to use it. I have used this for a really bad knife cut when I was cooking, and it did work. I poured the cayenne pepper right on the wound. It did stop bleeding but took about 30 seconds to do so. Once the bleeding has stopped, then you can bandage the wound. Don’t rinse the pepper off. And did not find that it burned.

    Some put the pepper on a bandage rather than directly into the wound., but if you are alone and bleeding alot, getting the bandage ready is not a good option. There are several videos on You Tube you can watch on this subject.

    • It should also be noted that while cayenne can stop external bleeding (cuts, scrapes, etc), it does NOT stop internal bleeding. In fact, some recommend drinking a spoonful of cayenne in water in case of suspected heart attack (to help break up clot). Obviously, do your own research and make your own medical decisions. I am not a doctor nor do I play one on tv. BTW, we use the cayenne on cuts all the time. Yes, it stings a little. But it is hard to tell if it is the cayenne that stings or the cut itself.

      • @ Kat – I disagree with your statement. In the Old West Days, herbalists would use cayenne pepper to save people from gunshot wounds? Mixed with water in the form of a ‘tea’, very hot cayenne pepper would be mixed with water and given orally to the victim. In most cases, by the time the herbalist would count to ten, the bleeding would stop.

      • It can be used as a substitute for nitroglycerin to treat angina. My brother used it as such and reported excellent relief.

    • Cayenne is great for your heart. Good post. Who would have thought organic products were so useful.

  • flour works well to stop bleeding if i accidently trim too much nail off of the dog. and that wound bleed profusely. may wanna test that out.

  • I’d avoid ibuprofen. It can create issues especially stomach. Use curcumin instead. Something to add, Organic Clove Oil and/or Organic peppermint oil. These are great when no dentist is available and you are in pain.

  • In my personal observation the listed “first aid kit” is far to mininal and the “advanced” one is advanced a bit to far. Any first aid kit that does not contain quickclot or something that covers that purpose is useless. Buttery fly bandages would be a good addition, as super glue does not cover all the possible scenarios. Without it you could fill the two 4’4 gauze pads with blood very quickly, requiring they be changed out.
    Then you are out of luck. Most of the stuff that the listed first aid kit, would handle is minor cuts splinters, etc. I would just deal with them.
    Although during SHTF such injurues can lead to future problems, the word survived long before the advent of “modern medicine”. If you don’t overuse antibiotics now and have a decent immune system, most injuries will not be a problem if kept reasonably clean and washed with soap and clean water.

    If I go overnight camping or hiking. I carry my own version of an advanced first aid kit. One designed to deal with more tramatic emergencies.
    I have a similar kit stored in the car, but it also contains basic survival tools; fire starter, survival saw, swiss army knife, compass, emergency poncho, etc.

    The thinking here seems to be that you will be part of a group. But tramatic injuries are far more likely to occur if you are alone(or get seperated from a group), in which case you will need a better personal first aid kit.

  • After personal experience, I’d add those flat stypic pencil things and a close pin w/cushion looking gizmo to stop those 3 hr nose bleeds.

  • As a former Paramedic and Trauma RN, my kits are quite a bit more extensive than what the author lists. I believe building your kit is the better option, but that really depends upon your skill level, and that’s going to vary person to person, with experience and knowledge.
    For those just beginning to assemble a Med Kit, one option is the M3 Kit, available on Amazon and at various Surplus Stores. It has a decent range of Beginning to Intermediate First Aid supplies, and is a good starter kit to add to. They run from $50 to $70 depending on the site. It’s a moderately sized kit in a bag large enough to add more to as you go.

    CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Rescusitation, is something that’s often mentioned, but not discussed as thoroughly as it should be. There are two types of Cardiac Arrests, Witnessed and Unwitnessed. That’s self explanatory. A Witnessed Arrest means you’ve seen the individual go down. An Unwitnessed Arrest means you’ve come upon someone already down. With the Witnessed Arrest, you know approximately when their heart stopped. In an Unwitnessed, you have no idea how long they’ve been down. This is important because of the Rule of 3’s. 3 minutes of Anoxia, and cell death begins, and it begins first in the heart, followed by the brain.
    In real life, the statistics of CPR are not real good. In a Witnessed Arrest, it’s only successful about 12% of the time with Basic Life Support (Oxygen and Chest Compressions), and 24% with Advanced Cardiac Life Support (Drug Therapies, EKG, Oxygen, Chest Compressions and a Defibrillator available) outside of a Hospital.
    In a Hospital, CPRs effective about 40% of the time with full ACLS available. I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to make you aware of the reality, so you don’t blame yourself if your effort is unsuccessful. CPR can be successful, but the odds are, it won’t be. That doesn’t mean you don’t try. Just be aware that it’s not like Hollywood portrays it.
    Unwitnessed Arrests are the worse, because you don’t know how long the victim’s been down and without Oxygen. If it’s cold out, chances rise a but as the cold retards the progression of events. Be prepared that success is highly doubtful. Though I’ve seen victims that good Compressions managed to start the heart (usually followed by ACLS), only to find there’s significant neurological damage to the victim. Personally, especially in a SHTF scenario, I would think twice about starting CPR if I stumbled on someone down. That’s a decision I pray none of you ever have to face.

    I was hesitant to bring this subject up, but it does need to be addressed, and I’m not trying to offend anyone with pointing out the seldom mentioned realities of CPR. It is a valuable tool in your arsenal, and I encourage everyone to take a course in CPR. It can and has saved lives, but its success isn’t guaranteed, and its limited by factors beyond anyone’s control.

    Blessings to All and keep Prepping.

    • Superior post and very sobering advice. It never occurred to me there could be negative consequences to a successful CPR application. I e been through several CPR courses for my skipper license, guide license, land safe cert, not once were success rates given for CPR or ACLS when available in either field or hospital settings.

      Thank you

    • What a great comment!
      Always good to hear from people with real world experience as extensive as yours.
      Thank you for sharing that!

  • whether it’s quikclot or cayenne, you should know that a serious wound will have to be cleaned out when the victim makes it to “real” medical facilities. that will start the wound bleeding again and will be quite painfulfor the victim. so, use it if you really need to, but not just because you have it and want to try it out. if emergency medicine is an interest, reading is good, cert training is better (free! Citizens Emergency Responce Training is just about everywhere), and real Emergency Medical Technician (costs $) is better yet.

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

    We respect your privacy.
    Malcare WordPress Security