Building a First Aid Kit for your Bug Out Bag

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Building a First Aid Kit for your Bug Out Bag

When you're packing the food, weapons and gear you need to effectively bug out from a disaster, many people get their first aid kits horribly wrong. The real survivalists typically land at one of two extremes. They either throw in a roll of duct tape and believe "it'll be alright," or they pack every single item they imagine they could possibly ever need, and end up with a bug out bag that's 10 times heavier than it should actually be. You're looking for the happy balance between the two. As you get started on this task, remember to:
  • Create your first aid kit for you. Don't forget your bug out bag is designed for a single person.
  • Pack the items you need for the situations you face. Don't blindly follow a packing list.
  • Consider the weight. Each item alone doesn't weigh much, but together it adds up to a lot.
Our recommendation is to build your own first aid kit. Of course it's much easier to buy one that is pre-made, but these are often stuffed with poor quality items, and you never really get enough of the things you actually need. When you build your own, you'll know exactly what it contains, and have a pretty good idea how you're planning to use every single part of it. Hopefully the biggest problem you face as you're bugging out is a set of blisters, but if you land yourself in trouble, your first aid kit acts as the lifeline to help you deal with major trauma. Think about your bug out plan, and how you would deal with the following situations:
  • Severe burns
  • Broken bones
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Knife wounds
  • Car crash injuries
  • Injuries from falling
  • Sprained ankles
  • Knee injuries
  • Torn ligaments
Most of these situations would severely limit your mobility and has the potential to ruin your bug out plan. Whilst they're not all life-threatening, if you can't escape a dangerous location - you're going to be in big trouble very fast. Plan your bug out bag's first aid kit with the supplies you need to treat these injuries and get you mobile again, so you can get the heck out of dodge. Here's what our team of survivalists at APE Survival recommend to include in your first aid kit:
  • 4 x Sanitizing alcohol wipes. Keep your hands and any open wounds clean.
  • 2 x ACE bandages. Use these to wrap and support twisted knees or ankles.
  • 1 x Normal bandage. To wrap and close a large wound, use ACE bandages if you need more.
  • 1 x Triangle bandage (or bandanna). For splints or constructing a sling.
  • 2 x Non-stick dressing/gauze. Helps close larger wounds.
  • 1 x Syringe. Used to drain a large wound to prevent infection.
  • 4 x Wound closure strips. Helps keep larger wounds closed.
  • 1 x Blood clotting agent. Speeds up blood clotting to reduce blood loss on a large wound.
  • 1 x Medical tape (small roll). Many uses, in addition to keeping bandages tight.
  • 1 x Utility tool (small). Contains scissors, tweezers and a knife.
  • 2 x Safety pins (large). Keep bandages tight, helps close a poncho/Mylar blanket.
  • 1 x Moleskin pack. Stop blisters so you can walk further.
  • 1 x Mylar blanket. Helps prevent up to 80% of body heat loss.
  • 1 x Needle. Use with dental floss to stitch anything closed.
  • 1 x Dental floss (small roll). Strong thread has many uses, not just good dental health.
  • 1 x Superglue (tube). Instantly close small wounds and cover small burns.
  • 1 x Razor blade (single edge). Much sharper than your knife to make an incision.
  • Water purification treatments (such as iodine). Never rely on a single filter or source.
Medication (don't forget to make a note of any expiry dates):
  • Antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin or dicloxacillin). Treat infections.
  • Ibuprofen. Temporary pain relief and an anti-inflammatory.
  • Antihistamine (such as benadryl). Treat insect bites or any allergic reactions.
  • Imodium. Stops diarrhea.
  • Electrolytes. Replace any lost minerals from sweat or sickness.
In addition to our list, remember to pack any prescription medication you need, as well as an epi-pen if you suffer from severe allergies. Those who wear contacts should include saline solution in their kits, as well as an additional two sets of contact lenses. If you're bugging out through an area packed with real bugs, add insect repellant to the list, and if it's sunny and hot add sunscreen as well as a lip-balm that offers protection from the sun. Once you have your supplies together, you need a container to keep these organized and easily accessible. Many survivalists use small fishing tackle boxes, because of the added water protection, and store each item in zip-lock bags to keep everything sterile without compromising on space. We recommend finding a solution that's waterproof, your first aid kit will be useless if everything inside gets soaked in stagnant swamp water. As your packing your first aid kit, look at each individually and ask yourself:
  • Is it critical I pack this item?
  • What will happen if I don't have this item?
  • What is missing from this kit?
Being a little harsh at this stage is fine, you can always add more items to the first aid kit you keep in your car, as well the fully stocked first aid kit you keep at your bug out location to cover a wider range of scenarios. Many novices forget their bug out bag's are intended for only 72 hours of use, and they tend to over-pack. You really just need enough supplies to help you deal with the handful of injuries that may occur, to keep you mobile and on track to reach your bug out location. Our list is a fantastic starting point, so take this resource and start putting together the items you need for your first aid kit today. You never know when you might need it.