There are a lot of items people put in a bug out bag first aid kit that are unnecessary. Having a great kit that will give you the supplies you need in an emergency is vital to your safety and the safety of your loved ones, but remember, the key element in a bug out bag is that it is mobile.
You need to be able to carry it comfortably, even if you are only moving it from your home to a vehicle. It needs to be even more physically economical if you are going to have to carry it any distance along with other supplies to keep yourself and your family safe.
Create Your Own or Buy a Kit?
Bug out bag first aid kits and home emergency first aid kits are two different things altogether. Most home kits are concentrated on fixing a minor cut, burn or bruise, not patching up a gunshot wound.
When you are looking for a bug out bag first aid kit, you can buy one, but most have things that aren’t completely necessary, or have too many items than what is really needed. If you really feel that you prefer to buy your kit, look for one designed for survivalists, not home care.
Making your own bug out bag first aid kit is the best way to ensure you have everything you really need, and none of the extra stuff that will weigh you down.
The Items All Bug Out First Aid Kits Must Have
These are the items you should always have on hand, no excuses. Keep your bug out bag stocked at all times and check it regularly to be sure the items inside are in good shape and haven’t been used or expired if they have a date.
- Duct Tape: Don’t laugh, duct tape really does fix everything. In a pinch you can close everything from a ripped medical bag to an open wound with duct tape. Using one type of tape for everything helps keep the weight of your overall bug out bag to a minimum.
If the idea of duct tape for a wound really turns your stomach, then your bug out bag first aid kit should have at least one type of waterproof medical adhesive tape inside.
However, that will mean you will likely want to have the duct tape as a part of your general bug out bag equipment, and that’s just carrying two types of tape where one will do nicely.
- Sport Wrap: Have at least one, or preferably two sport wraps of different sizes in the bug out bag first aid kit. These elastic wraps allow you to secure a sprain and keep moving, or help to place stick braces around a break to keep it immobile when you get injured.
- Sterile Cotton or Pads: These are to cover the actual open area of the wound, or edges, so that the duct tape does not come into direct contact with wounded flesh.
- Quik Clot: Quik clot helps you stop minor bleeding. It is surprisingly helpful even for major injuries, and can help drastically reduce the amount of blood loss until you get to help.
- Disinfectant: Make sure to thoroughly clean any wound before dressing it. You can use isopropyl alcohol, antiseptic wipes or peroxide. Have at least one or more of these products in your kit.
- Antibiotic Ointment: Always have a tube of antibiotic ointment to reduce the chance of infection. Apply the ointment on wounds whether they will heal themselves or to safeguard the area until you find medical help for more serious injuries.
- Pain Medication: If you are hurt when you are on the run, you will have to have a way to manage the pain and keep moving. Your bug out bag first aid kit should have your preferred type of over-the-counter pain killers inside. Having a chemical ice pack (the type that can be activated by breaking so they do not require freezing) and a topical pain killer like Lidocaine is also helpful to reduce swelling and pain.
- Diarrhea tablets: An absolute essential, especially if you are bugging out into the wilds. Diarrhea can at best incapacitate you, at worst lead to a severe loss of fluids, potentially resulting in death.
Your Unique Medical Requirements
Finally, your bug out bag first aid kit should contain items you or your loved ones specifically need for medical situations. If anyone in your party has an illness such as diabetes that requires insulin or testing supplies, enough should be in the kit to get you by until you reach a safe destination.
If anyone in your party is allergic to typical outdoor elements, has reactions to insect stings or even food allergies, be sure to bring an EpiPen or antihistamines in the kit.
Also, if you or a loved one has over-the-counter medical needs such as arthritis medication or anti-nausea products, make sure to have an emergency supply in the bug out first aid kit. You should pack at least a one-week supply of all general/occasional medical needs, and two weeks’ worth for pharmaceuticals.
Additional First Aid Tools
It is tempting to add a lot of extra tools to your bug out bag first aid kit, but your bag in general should have some items that would cover those types of things.
Your bug out bag should also contain such general items as bottled water and a warm blanket for each member of your team, so they are not included in the first aid kit essentials.
If your bug out bag does not contain general items like a cutting tool (knife, or scissors), a hand-held light, bug spray, etc. consider reinvestigating your emergency needs.
What Else Do You Need?
Everything else can stay behind. The idea of a bug out bag first aid kit isn’t to carry an entire medical unit along with you, but to get you safely to help if necessary when you are injured.
It shouldn’t be necessary to carry a variety of sizes of items such as gauze pads. You can cut large pads down to size, or buy a roll or cotton or gauze that can be cut to size.
Work smarter, not harder.
It is good to be prepared, but having too much in your bug out bag first aid kit will only make movement more cumbersome and tiring for you.