OB10: First Aid Kits

A first aid kit is something that should be carried in your vehicle regardless of whether you’re out running trails or driving around in the city. It’s an item that may never be needed, but you’ll be glad you have one if you do need it. A well-equipped first-aid kit is going to cost some money. The piece of mind it provides for dealing with emergencies is worth the price in purchasing a premade one or piecing one together yourself.

A basic first aid kit is not an overly expensive item to purchase and carry. Depending on who you travel with and the level of training you have, the cost can increase as more and more items are added to it. Traveling with kids, for example, doubles the types of medications you might carry because children’s medications and dosages are different than what an adult would take.

It’s a good idea to carry several first aid kits in different spots in your rig. Having an easily accessible one in the glovebox or center console and a larger more robust one in the cargo area is a good idea. The larger kit should include the smaller kit items plus more specialized and larger pieces that might only be needed in serious emergencies.


Building or buying a first aid kit comes down to establishing a baseline kit and adding in additional items. Evaluate where you will be traveling, what you will be doing, and what some of the potential injuries are that you could encounter. Having the kit though doesn’t do any good if you don’t know how to use the items contained within it.

The best way to do this is through taking some training courses and repeating those courses frequently. Repetition allows the principles to become ingrained in your brain. Training every year also allows you to learn new techniques to build upon what you already have been taught. Start with basic first aid that can be applied anytime and work into more advanced first aid classes that get specific about topics.

The Basic Kit

The Red Cross has a pretty good listing of what you should start with as a baseline. From what is listed below, you can expand and add items in as you see fit. It goes without saying that you should have multiples of each of these items in your basic kit.

  • Adhesive bandages, assorted sizes
  • Antibiotic ointment packets
  • 3×3 sterile gauze pads
  • 4×4 sterile gauze pads
  • Antiseptic wipe packets
  • Aspirin packets
  • 5×9 absorbent compress dressings
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Hydrocortisone ointment packets
  • Triangular bandages
  • Space blanket
  • 10y x 1in roll adhesive cloth tape
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Breathing barrier
  • Oral thermometer
  • 3in roller bandage
  • 4in roller bandage
  • Instant cold compress
  • First-aid instruction booklet

Expanding Your Kit

The basic first aid kit contains most items you would find and use day-to-day. Once you’ve taken some first aid training, you can expand the basic kit with more advanced items. Some of the items in the expanded kit might also be out of your normal usage but are good to have if someone you’re traveling with works in the medical field.

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