Best Overland First Aid Kits
Help is there when the worst happens off-road
If you're spending time overlanding and off the grid, a first aid kit can suddenly become much more important. Sure, the chances of an injury are low, but when one happens and you're hours or days from help, you need to be able to take care of the issue yourself. That doesn't mean you need to become your own trauma care specialist, but it does mean some essentials should be in your kit. Not sure what to bring? We've got the best first aid kits for overlanding that have the gear you need when things go sideways.
Backcountry life is serious. You already know that, which is why you take loads of time picking out your rig, the parts that go on it, and everything you bring along for the adventure. Put that same effort into your first aid kit and be ready for when the country gets a little too rugged.
Being prepared can make things more fun, as well as more safe. You might not be worrying about injury, but being able to stop small bleeding or put an arm in a sling could make the difference between returning right now or staying out for the rest of your planned trip. And if you've had an injury in the past, there's a good chance the risk is front and center in your mind every time you go off the pavement.
What Do You Need in Your First Aid Kit?
The American Red Cross has a big list of all of the things your kit should have. They include gauze, compresses, wipes, blankets, and loads of other items. It's a comprehensive list, so we're not going to spell it out completely here. You could go out and get everything yourself, spending hours and buying far too much stuff, or you can get it all in a kit.
Below are our top picks for emergency kits.
Table of contents
- What Do You Need in Your First Aid Kit?
- Surviveware Waterproof Premium First Aid Kit
- My Medic - MyFAK Standard First Aid Kit
- AMK Mountain Series Explorer Medical Kit
- Homestock+ Professional First Aid Kit
- Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece)
- Adventure Medical Kits Workin' Dog Canine First Aid Kit
- Uncharted Supply Co The Seventy2 Pro 2-Person Survival System
- I've got the kit, Now What?
- Inspect Your Kit
Surviveware Waterproof Premium First Aid Kit
The first thing we like about the Surviveware kit is that it is waterproof. So if you're stuck in a downpour or ford a stream that's a bit too deep, your kit stays dry. That makes it great for boating as well as off-roading. It also has Molle straps on the back, so you can attach it quickly and easily to your vehicle. The 200-piece kit comes with all of the basics as well as extras like shears, a CPR mask, and first aid instructions. Everything is stored in labeled compartments so you can find them. Though it is lacking medications like Aspirin, which are on the Red Cross list of suggested items.
Waterproof, versatile, easy-store case
Missing OTC meds, small size means limited quantities
My Medic - MyFAK Standard First Aid Kit
The neat feature of the MyFAK kit is that it groups items used for certain tasks into the same resealable pouch. So all of the OTC medications, for example, are in the Medication pouch. And everything you need to treat a burn is in the burn pouch. This makes finding the right items in a hurry a whole lot easier. It also makes it easier to replace items you've used because you can just re-order that individual pouch (called a MOD). This kit includes compression bandages, eyewash, and other items that can come in handy to fix minor annoyances and not just full-fledged emergencies. It also comes with a first aid guide, but the guide is a download and not a paper book.
Modular supplies, completeness of kit
Bulky, first aid is an ebook so you need it ahead of time
AMK Mountain Series Explorer Medical Kit
Adventure Medical Kits suggests kit size based on the number of people and how long you'll be on the adventure. This one, for example, is good for a small group spending a week outdoors. It comes with the kind of first aid supplies you're likely to need including a thermometer for fever, OTC meds for allergies and pain, and wound closure strips. While it's not as cleverly packaged inside as some kits, the back is labeled with a guide to where you can find everything you need. It includes an irrigation syringe for wound care along with some trauma supplies. It also comes with a thorough wilderness first aid book.
Easy labels, illustrated first aid book
Heavy, no easy way to strap it to vehicle, case only water resistant
Homestock+ Professional First Aid Kit
The handiest part of this kit is that it can mount to (the back) of your vehicle's headrest. So it is always right there when you need it, bright red and easy to be seen. Inside, the kit has most of the necessary supplies and they're all in pockets that are marked as to what's inside. But they're tight pockets, so getting items in and out can be a tough one. While it is missing some items like OTC meds, there is a pouch reserved for extra items. It also comes with a CPR face shield that can be attached to a key ring.
Handy storage, well labeled, pocket CPR
Tight storage inside
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece)
This isn't the most comprehensive kit, but it is the most affordable. Despite the price, though, it comes with most of the items you'll need. And if you're not a first aid expert, it might have everything you can use. It also has multiples of several items, which can be good if you're not well-trained in how to use them. The kit comes with some items that are more breakdown-friendly, like a glow stick. But that extra light can be useful in an emergency as well. This one also comes with a backpack-sized 32-piece kit that's great for short hikes away from your main site.
Low price, lots of everything it contains
Not a lot of individual items, heavy weight
Adventure Medical Kits Workin' Dog Canine First Aid Kit
This kit is aimed at your furry camping buddy, because good doggos need different treatment than people. Some of those items include bandages that won't stick to fur, a tick remover, and a triangular bandage that can be used as a muzzle if they're having trouble calming down. The kit comes with pet-specific first aid instructions for common issues. It also has a spot on the back for your name and your dog's name, as well as your vet's number. Helpful for any first responders on the scene.
Pet-specific gear and info, contact info on case
Doesn't attach to a backpack so they can adorably carry it themselves
Uncharted Supply Co The Seventy2 Pro 2-Person Survival System
Ok, so this kit is a bit over the top for most people. It's not really aimed at most people, though. It's aimed at first responders and people who are preparing for the absolute worst-case scenarios. We'll start with the backpack, which is made with waterproof construction. It's also a backpack, so you can carry the entire kit. The inside has a wearable canvas insert and it has printed survival instructions. The kit includes first aid supplies, cold weather gear, sunscreen, a tent, masks, knife, shovel. Even emergency rations. If you break down somewhere rescue can't find you, this kit can keep you alive for 72 hours while they get to you.
Comes with everything you need for 72-hour survival
I've Got the Kit, Now What?
Most of these kits come with essential first aid knowledge books, but that's not a replacement for proper training. There are hundreds of groups offering certified first aid courses across the country. Find one and take it. And keep up to date. There's no point in having the gear if you have no idea how to use it.
Some courses are general knowledge, but others are tailored to specific activities. So you can attend the one that's most relevant to what you do. We're all hoping you'll never need that information, but if you have it then the life you save could be your own. Or the life of someone you care about.
Inspect Your Kit
Most first aid kit items have an expiry date. Yup, you hope you won't need them but you have to toss them every few years either way. Each item should be clearly marked with an expiry date, after that the manufacturer can't guarantee sterility or quality of the products inside.
Evan moved from engineering to automotive journalism 10 years ago (it turns out cars are more interesting than fibreglass pipes), but has been following the auto industry for his entire life. Evan is an award-winning automotive writer and photographer and is the current President of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. You'll find him behind his keyboard, behind the wheel, or complaining that tiny sports cars are too small for his XXXL frame.
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