DIY First Aid Kit: 14 Basic Medical Supplies for Preppers

No matter how cautious you are, accidents and injuries can still happen. Something as simple as a sprained ankle might not be considered life-threatening, but it can easily escalate into a major problem when not treated promptly.

In a lot of scenarios, however, immediate professional help may take a while to respond. For this reason, you need to make a DIY first aid kit. You can easily find first aid kits for sale online, but if you want to have one that’s most suitable for your needs, it’s best to make your own.

Here’s what you need to know:

Your First Aid Kit at a Glance

preparing a DIY first aid kit

First aid kits should be compact and easily accessible. According to WebMD, your first aid kit should be able to treat the following aches and pains until professional help comes:

  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Abrasions (scrapes)
  • Stings
  • Splinters
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Cuts
  • Mild pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Skin problems
  • Allergies

If you’re moving your kit around, the container itself should be water-resistant and drop-proof. The items should be arranged in a way where they can all be easily found and used.

Don’t stuff your DIY first aid kit with too many supplies. It’s important to remember to stick to the basics and know how to use everything in your kit.

Storing Items in Your Kit

person carrying a first aid kit

Some items in your DIY first aid kit, like medications, ointments, and sterile supplies, will have expiration dates. Take note of this and routinely check that your supplies are fresh. To extend their shelf life, keep your kit in a cool, dry place away from humidity. You also have to make sure that all of the items in your kit are functional. For example, your scissors should be sharp and usable. Blunt scissors are unsafe and would just slow down the first aid process.

What Should Be in Your DIY First Aid Kit?

Your DIY first aid kit won’t look exactly the same as another person’s kit, but there are certain items that should appear in every kit.

Here are essential medical supplies for preppers:


There are many types of bandages. They each serve a different purpose. Your DIY first aid kit should at least have these bandages: adhesive, roller gauze, and triangular.

Adhesive bandages like Band-Aids are common in every first aid kit; they are used to treat small wounds and cuts. Roller bandages or common roller gauze bandages are used to hold a dressing in place. A triangular bandage (similar to a cravat) is helpful in a number of ways, including immobilizing an area and securing splints.

Sterile pads

These also come in various sizes and are needed to suppress any bleeding and to dress wounds. The Red Cross suggests keeping two sets of sterile gauze pads: one that’s 3×3 inches and another that’s 4×4 inches.

Alcohol Wipes or Cotton Swabs

These are needed for simple wound disinfection and dressing.

Antibiotic Cream

You’ll need this to treat minor wounds and cuts. You can also include povidone-iodine as a disinfectant.

Various Oral Medications

A stash of basic meds is necessary for any first aid kit. The usual medications include:

  • Pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen
  • Prescribed meds for cough and colds
  • Antihistamine tablets for allergies
  • Anti-diarrheals and emergency hydration packets
  • Anti-emetics and anti-nausea meds
  • Antacids for indigestion and hyperacidity
  • Activated charcoal if you suspect poisoning

If a family member has a condition that needs special medications, stock those prescribed medications in your kit as well.

Topical Medications

Topical medications are used to treat skin problems. They include:

  • Topical corticosteroids like hydrocortisone to treat rashes
  • Aloe vera gel ointments to treat minor burns
  • Calamine lotion
  • Insect repellent 

Surgical Glue

Surgical or tissue glues are now commercially available. You can use them to close wounds without any need for stitches.

Sterile Water

Useful when you need to reconstitute certain medications and for wound dressing.

Disposable Syringes

These are needed to administer medications.


Keep a set of both sterile and non-sterile gloves in your first aid kit. You need gloves to protect yourself when handling potentially infectious fluids like blood.


Scissors are used to cut gauze and bandages. Bandage scissors are the safest to keep in your DIY first aid kit as they have blunt tips and angled blades. This means that you can easily cut bandages or dressings without any risk of further injury.


You will need tweezers to pluck out debris like splinters on wounds.


This is needed to measure body temperature. You can store a digital oral thermometer in your kit.

Hot and Cold Pack

Hot and cold packs have various uses. It can be used to administer first aid to muscle strains and sprains as well as to treat inflammation.

Final Thoughts

These are the basic items that make up a first aid kit.

You can also add other personal effects to your DIY first aid kit, like inhalers for family members with asthma, or an EpiPen for someone who suffers from severe allergic reactions. Just remember to keep your medical supplies simple and organized.

Most of all, teach yourself and your family members how to use these items to administer first aid safely and effectively.

What other items would you add to your DIY first aid kit? Let us know in the comments below!

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