Stocking a SHTF Medical Kit

A guest post by Gayle from Gainesville

[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win – First Prize a 10 Person Deluxe Family Survival Kit,  Second Prize an Herb Seed Bank or Third Prize a copy of Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.  For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]

The purpose of this post is to initiate a dialogue about medical kits. I am researching what I should include in such a kit. Based on the research I have done, here’s a list of essential items along with a brief description of their purpose.

Our lives may depend on how thoughtfully we stock our medical kits. Please read through the list I’ve made and help me brainstorm for a more complete list.

The basic approach I’ve taken heeds Patriot Nurse’s statement that the three primary causes of preventable death in a SHTF scenario will be improper would care, upper respiratory infection and diarrhea. Note that in a SHFT scenario we may not have access to running water. It is clear that the hygienic conditions of our ordinary, everyday lies will degrade quickly. In this environment, diseases such as Chorea will be problematic.

The following list assumes you have already stocked basic hygiene items such as soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, etc. When personalizing a list for you and your family, add necessary prescription medications.

Wound Care

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (topic cleaner)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (topical and dental cleaner)
  • Zinc oxide and/or petroleum jelly (diaper rash, chaffing, protects skin)
  • Hydrocortisone Cream (relieves minor skin irritations, insect bites, poison ivy)
  • Anti-fungal Cream (athletes foot, jock itch, nail fungus)
  • Anti-fungal Foot Powder (proper foot care is essential)
  • Triple Antibiotic (treats and prevents infections on skin from minor cuts)
  • Iodine (topic cleaner)
  • Saline Solution (eye wash, wound care)

Over-the-Counter Medications

  • Ibuprofen (reduces swelling, pain reliever, fever reducer)
  • Benadryl (relieves allergy symptoms, soar throat, airway irritation, motion sickness)
  • Tylenol (relieves pain from headaches, muscle aches, and other aches and pains)
  • Aspirin (relieves minor aches and pains, especially from arthritis)
  • Muscinex and Muscinex DM (breaks up chest congestion before infection sets in)
  • Imodium (anti-diarrhea)
  • Metamucil (laxative)
  • Pepto-Bismol (upset stomach)


  • 4 x 4 sterile gauze
  • 3 x 4 sterile pads
  • Non stick pads
  • Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
  • Butterfly Kits (wound closure)
  • Feminine Pads (wound care)
  • Sterile gloves (place in ziplock bag after opening)
  • Ace Bandages (assorted sizes)
  • Medical Tape (waterproof is best)
  • Mole skin (blisters)


  • Flashlight
  • Lighter
  • Water bottle with filter
  • Multi Tool/Knife
  • Suture Kit (or needle with waxed thread)
  • Surgical Kit
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clipper
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Canning magnet lid lifter
  • Magnifying glass
  • Duct Tape


  • Zip Lock bags
  • Heat Packs
  • Cold Packs
  • Space blankets

Question for the Wolf Pack: What have I left off the list? Let’s work on putting together a versatile, common sense medical kit list.

Suggested Resources

The Patriot Nurse

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Off the top of my head, I’d add liquid bandage, q-tips, colace (a stool softener), and some type of sleep-inducing medication like Nyquil.

    Also, I’d also add Primatene Mist. But you have to buy it before the end of the year! It will no longer be sold in 2012. Primatene Mist inhalers contain epinephrene, which is used for anaphylactic reactions. I have some stocked because I’m allergic to bees (normally I carry an epi-pen). It would be a last resort, but better than nothing. Even if no one in your posse has any allergies right now, you never know if someone will develop an allergy later (like to shellfish) or if someone will join your group who has an allergy.

    For mild allergic reactions, benadryl will help. If you take Zantac with it, it helps the benadryl work faster. So I guess I’d add Zantac to the list, too.

  2. Heya Gayle,

    I would add Quick-Clot to that in case of major bleeding injury. Seems pretty complete otherwise.


    • Super glue is also an alternative to Quick_clot. I buy the 12 packs at Wally World for a couple of bucks

      • Superglue, as I understand it, has cyanide in it and so should only really be used as a last resort.

  3. Old Hillbilly says:


    This may have been mentioned already, but if not, this stuff has a very good reputation. I keep a couple packs in by get home bag.

  4. We have a nice surgical kit with all the instruments in it but it only has a few packs of sutures & one needle. So, we need more sutures & needles – especially because I want to practice on some chicken parts (saw this on the TV show Best Defense – great Prepper show if you haven’t seen it!).

    I’m hoping someone here can help. My stuff is all sealed in a waterproof pouch & I don’t want to open it.

    What kind of sutures do we need – type & size
    What size needle is best?
    Does anyone know if the expired sutures are OK? I know they are for practice but for real use are they OK?
    Do you know of any sites that sell them cheap/in bulk?

    Thanks 🙂

    • I have found that Vycril sutures are best and last quite a long time in a veterinary setting (it’s the same stuff for people!). As far as sizes, I stock an assortment of needles but I am away from home at the moment and can’t remember which. Anyways, having multiple sizes is a MUST as every injury is different. Also throw in some surgical glue to help seal the wound in certain situations, and also butterfly closures for the small stuff. IMHO as long as expired sutures are still in their individual case, and sealed, I can’t see them going “bad”. You need several sets of hemostats as well, and most importantly, learn your stitches! Look up the 3-2-2 stitch first, and practice the loops. Try stretching a piece of cloth over a canning jar. You should be able to get 3-6 sutures out of a single needle when you are just starting out. On a good day I can get 8-10, but I’ve been doing this for a while. (I can close a 2″ incision with 7 sutures in 2-4 minutes start to finish.) Then move to 2 layers. remember skin has several layers and you may be required to suture inner and outer etc. otherwise you are only closing the top layer of dermis. the inner stitches will require a different suture knot called an “invisible knot” or such. If you pull too tight, the sutures will cut through the skin, etc. nicely. Too loose, and they don’t close everything and can more easily become infected, which is your biggest concern. PRACTICE!

      I don’t know which sites are selling them as I get mine for work…

    • Tom the Tinker says:

      What Legion7 said… Tractor Supply, Farm and Fleet.. the Ag store in your part of the country. I have a flare for the obvious here I know…. google Suture sets and you will find alllllll you need. Can’t remember the name of the site… I had two sets of suture shipped came packed in a packed case in a shrink wrapped case. Added so desolving sutures I got from a nice PA and put em in a food sealer bag with a self made deccisent (sp?) pack.

    • The expired suture dates are to for the company to guarantee that they are sterile. The only time that you need to worry about such issues is if you are in a sterile environment. If you are in the field (non-sterile environment) then it does not matter. will have everything that you need. They even sell their expired sutures at a discount so you can practice or stock up for a fraction of the cost of sterile ones. If you are only repairing a wound on the surface, an easy alternative wold be skin stapler. It comes pre-loaded, and easy to use. Throw it away after your done. You need to make sure that you also get a staple remover. I use one of these in my hiking kit, to get me back to civilization if an accident occurs. Much easier to use on yourself too. Hope this help.

    • Oh yeah, forgot to add to your list Coban. It is a self adhesive rolled bandage (the stuff they use after you give blood). Stuff is awesome for a million (little exaggerated) medical uses. Good luck

    • Thanks everyone!

    • Old USAF Nurse says:

      Two types of sutures: nonabsorbable and absorbable (they “dissolve”). Two types of curved needles: taper and cutting.

      Absorbable sutures include chromic gut, Vicryl, PDS and other synthetics. Absorbable sutures are used beneath the skin and each has a different”dissolve” time thus they each have a different use due to strength loss over time. If this sounds like a complicated subject, it is.

      Nonabsorbable sutures are used on skin and under the skin for various types of tissues such as tendons, etc.

      Taper needles are sued for tissues under the skin. Cutting sutures are used for skin and tough tissue under the skin.

      In short, the most common use for sutures by non-surgeons is closing skin lacerations. The most “universal” type suture for skin lacerations is something like 3-0 nylon on a tapered cutting needle.

      Hope this helps– this subject is worth many hours of instruction and practice.

      • Old USAF Nurse says:


        “The most “universal” type suture for skin lacerations is something like 3-0 nylon on a CURVED (not tapered) cutting needle.”

        Sorry for the typo.

  5. Salt and sugar, for hydration drinks. The simplest of drinks to fix electrolyte imbalance. Fast food joints or gas station coffee counter packets of each in a snack size ziplock bag. There are mylar straws of sport drink mixes that would serve but just plain old salt and sugar packets won’t get raided as often. I keep some there on the KISS theory.

    • azyogi- What’s the formula for a drink to fix electrolytes?

      • JeffintheWest says:

        There was a column on this site a while back that mentioned homemade electrolyte drink formulas — including, in the comments, a link to a web site as I recall. You should be able to find it by doing a search on “Diarrhea” since I think that was the topic. The author was “Anonymous Nurse” if I’m recalling the article correctly.

  6. I went to the local thrift store one day and bought hand splints, knee splints, 2 pair crutches – regular and tall, a walker – every type of medical device I could find. I had a basket full – all for under $25.

    On ebay I found a set of emergency airways (in every size from infant to adult – probably 8 sizes in one container) for less than 10 because I have one family member that has a SEVERE allergy and goes into anaphylatic shock. Steptic sticks to help stop bleeding – as well as knowing plants (weeds) like plantain stop bleeding.

    I bought a bunch of ace bandages (at the dollar store of all places).

    From Amazon, I bought a big box of paper tape, bandages, gauze pads, paramedic shears, etc. I also bought two of those things you use when giving CPR to isolate you from the victims saliva – not that I was worried about family, but I’m not sure I’d want to give CPR to a stranger without it.

    Don’t forget to stock Kaopectate – remember the article about diarrhea from our lovely nurse several months ago.

    Buy and read a book on herbal cures and how to recognize the correct plants – and don’t forget, many of our modern day medicines come from herbs, plants and “weeds”. Not only are many herbs as strong as modern medicines, but they can also be just as deadly!

  7. Just off the top of my head…

    – Triangular bandage (aka: cravat), can be used to make a sling, hold bandages in place, tie a limb to a splint, etc.
    – Burn kit. Ours was manufactured by Water-Jel. A little pricey but it works GREAT on small household burns. (located ours at CVS)
    – Aloe Vera Gel. Excellent topical anti-inflammatory.
    – Polysporin. It’s for those allergic to the neomycin found in triple antibiotic ointment.
    – Affrin or Neo Synepherine. Beyond the obvious, a gauze pad moistened with Affrin can be packed into a wound may help to control bleeding.
    – CPR mask.
    – N95 masks. Nice if you can find them with a splatter shield for your eyes. If not, add some plastic safety glasses to the kit.
    – Gloves. Lots of them. I know “Sterile Gloves” has been listed, and those have a place in the kit. But, you’ll a large supply of clean general purpose vinyl, nitrile, or latex gloves. I prefer nitrile gloves over vinyl due to strength and stretchability.
    – SAM Splint. Lightweight foam-padded aluminum splint that can be adapted to almost any part of the body.
    – Safety pins.
    – Pencil and Sharpie Marker
    – 8″x10″ or 5″x9″ trauma pads. You can also substitute maxipads for these.
    – Kling or gauze rolls.
    – Cohesive tape.
    – 10-20cc syringe with 18 gauge catheter for wound irrigation.
    – Providone Iodine solution. Great for wound irrigation when diluted in water.
    – Tongue depressors. Beyond the obvious, these make great finger splints. If you’re a penny pincher, just bleach some popsicle sticks.
    – Dental floss.
    – Dental wax.
    – Temporary dental filling.
    – Eugenol.
    – I would only recommend these items if you already have the skills to use them: Oral and nasal airways. Endotracheal tube or King Airways.

    Additional resources:
    “A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine.” This is the go-to books in my kit. You can occasionally find used copies on Amazon. However, I just discovered a FREE DOWNLOAD. Enjoy!

    No need to buy saline solution. Here’s how to make it:

    I’ll look at my kit a little closer this evening to see if there’s anything that I missed. Nice topic, Gayle!

  8. I will probably have a few more things to say but this is off the top of my head, something for burns, and maybe some tucks pads or something. A lot of people are going to have a change in diet, which will make for an uncomfortable bottom half. Also it is a comfort for women who have just had babies.

    • Witch Hazel on a cotton pad [cosmetic aplicator/remover] held to the swelling works wonders on ‘the piles’ I’ve read conflicting whys as to how it works. Sufice to say work it does, and there are as many uses for witch hazel as spots on a speckled pups rump. For SHTF external remedies fits the KISS [as in keep it simple stupid] Though kiss and this afliction not a good pair.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Witch hazel, epsom salt, and alcohol were always in my parents’ medicine cabinet. With those three basic items, they could handle most illnesses, minor injuries, and infections.

      • all tucks pads are is witch hazel so doing it your way (on a cotton pad) would probably be a lot cheaper. Thanks for mentioning this….

  9. Gayle,
    This is a nice start. Although it’s not OTC, asking a friendly physician for a script for a few Epipens and knowing when to use them would be a good addition.
    • On the bandage front I would add a few Israeli battle dressings, Quikclot, and tampons (great for nose bleeds) as well as your feminine pads. These work very well to stop large bleeds.
    • Naproxen Sodium (aka Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn) as an additional ANSAID along with the ibuprofen.
    • Some basic baking soda along with the Pepto-Bismol.
    • Cough drops or cough medicine with Eucalyptus or Menthol.
    • Smelling salts.
    • The thermometer would be best if it’s the old glass style and not any of the newer electronic ones.
    • Electrolytes (powdered to add to water, or the proper ingredients to make your own) for folks with diarrhea.
    I suspect I’ll think of more, and with the whole crew here kicking in suggestions I think you will have a very complete kit before this is all over.
    I do have one question to the entire group. Have you taken first aid or CPR training? If not, it’s way past time.

    • Ohio Prepper,

      I’ve picked up some of these items since I submitted the article. I got some Pepto Bismo in chewable form (very lightweight), I picked up the old-style thermometer, and some cough drops.

      I like Azyogi’s suggestion of sugar and salt packets–they can be mixed with water to make poor man’s gatoraid.

      I have looked into taking a first aid class. That was one of the projects listed in M.D.’s book.

      I feel like a sponge, just soaking up all this information. It’s great.

  10. I would also add “Super Glue” to the list! They use in the hospitals all the time for closing up wounds that are clean cut!

  11. George Zanmiller says:

    The items listed are good for garden variety wounds & situation but in a tough situation I’d prefer to be able to deal with as much major stuff as I can.

    I’d suggest adding “Quick Clot” or a commercial variation of same along with standard issue GI compression bandages.
    Details Here:

    A GI issue tourniquet(CAT) that allows you to self apply is also a pretty good idea. Details can be found here:
    that allows you to self apply is also a pretty good idea.

    These items are not inexpensive but will give you a real fighting chance if you encounter wounds more than scratch & nick.

    Each member of my family carries these items in their Walk Home Kit (WHK)and has been trained in their application

    • Tom the Tinker says:

      Gayle…. Are you listing all these web sites? Are the rest of you? Thanks Gayle, you have really shaken the bush. Lots of useful addresses in here today…. Thanks…. All of You….

  12. Medications for family members. I found that on my ins I can fill my prescription about two weeks before I run out so I am able to get two weeks put away every 3 months . Now have about two months worth stored and rotate it. Read some about stock piling antibiotics get a script from a friendly source or read about buying at pet stores. The biggest thing is knowlege, and advanced first aid course or even better a emt or paramedic class. Would be a time and financial commitment but invaluable if no other resouces are available.

  13. + 10 , Bravo ! this is the kind of thing we need more of , well done .

  14. I’ve read through the comments and most of what i would suggest has already been brought up. One thing would be an asherman or hyfin chest seal-they are non penetrating but still effective for treating a sucking chest wound. A non-valved seal for the exit wound is required for through-and-through wounds but duct tape and a ziplock bag work fine in this case. Also, you can use duct tape and a ziplock to make a flutter seal if you don’t have a dedicated chest seal.

    Just as important as having all the proper life saving equipment is the knowledge to use it. I highly reccommend getting trained in TCCC or PHTLS. You can have a $10k bag of whiz-bang goodies but its worthless if you dont’ know what to do with it.

  15. Michael in Ky says:

    a bunch of antibiotics, for those that cannot get them from the doctor you can get them from pet stores or the vet. most are the same grade as what we use. A must get is quick clot. sucking chest wounds might want to get a couple of those or you can make them yourself.

  16. Israeli Combat bandages ($5-$10) But it was the only bandage that did not fail at the VT shooting
    Check Tractor supply they sell the 3m gauze wraps for horses, (same thing in the first aid dept but cheaper)
    CAT Tourniguets find them at gunshows $10
    Airway tubes
    Extra strength oral jel
    Each of us has a trauma kit, in addition we have a group Trauma care back pack, and as of now 3 orange 26 Gal storage containers of medical supplies
    Highly recommend the books Where there is no docter, and where there is no dentist.

    • The Duck,
      “Check Tractor supply they sell the 3m gauze wraps for horses,”
      I listed an online source above that has these for about 1/3 the TSC price.

  17. Is this a carry kit as in BoB? Standard issue for a car trunk? Or a medic pack transportable to an injury site on or near the homestead? Maybe it is a master list.

    For the homestead, I have been considering splitting my medical supplies into First Aid and Sick Call. First Aid would be stopping bleeding, etc. and transportable. Sick Call would be aspirin, cough drops, Pepto, etc and not prepared for transport although probably included in a vehicle bugout. There would be some crossover between the two categories. Opinions?

    • david,
      Sounds like a good idea. It’s the same concept of your GHB not having to contain items in your EDC. Less weight, volume, and duplication.

      • Tom the Tinker says:

        Ahmen! Just sayin here… I work with some good men and women on volunteer FDs in Monroe county and Wood & Fulton counties. These folks will set you on the right path as to kits you may want to set aside as Dave suggests. My BoBo kit is in the hall closet. My call out bag was purchased via the Refinery Fire Dept. and packed by the Co. emt. the SHTF locker is a composit of the best ideas of all of the above and you guys in here. I hope it is enough.. and I hope to be up to speed as to skill sets to put it all to its indended use. Thanks Again…. all of ya…. Ohio Prepper: TDI field Medicine this Fall…….

  18. PS if you are on a budget bind, Cargo straps with a rachet closure can be used as a tourniquet.

  19. One other item to consider is a Physicans Desk Reference, I’ve found them used for around $3 at Abe Books

  20. Bitsy’s list, plus:
    Oral Antibiotics
    Permethrin %5 cream
    DenTemp, dental probes/mirrors/pics,clove oil, orajel
    Sched-3 drugs, pain management
    Oropharyngeal Airway Kit, non-rebreather masks, bag valve mask
    Potassium Iodide

  21. Very good list.
    I would add cold medicines. That is one of the things that seems everyone gets right off the bat is a cold. For compactness I guess you could get some of that lemony-mix stuff. Anything to make a feller feel better.
    (also a little bleach in the dish water will get rid of a lot of crap)
    Nite time and the name brand can also be used for allergies, been using it for years now.
    I would add Vicks or Mentholatum especially. Been used for years till the doctors got tired of smelling it and said it seeped into the lungs. If that was the case I should be double-dead.
    HINT: If you have instruments that are going to be used for wound care make sure they are cleaned ( boiled) and put in sucker type bags. Wrapped in sterilized hand towels so they do not puncture the bags. When going to use them REMEMBER this use of alcohol: SOAK
    5 minutes to sanitize
    20 minutes to sterilize
    (Do not put dirty instruments back into the alcohol. You need it for future use).
    If you make bandages (and hand towels and towels) they can be sterilized 350 degrees for 3 hours in the oven (yeah I know sounds like they would be kinda crispy). Make up different sizes. Several pieces of material sewn together. Cotton is the best material for this. Put them in sucker bags and label what the sizes are. I would boil water and sterilze some tongs to pick them up with. I was also thinking of old T-shirts cut in strips, they are stretchy and can be used to tie the bandage on (therefore using less tape). Sterilize this also and have one for each bandage (even though this will be on the outside).
    Rubber gloves. Even though it would seem that these are not sterile, it keeps your germs from the wound. After putting them on pour alcohol in one cupped hand and do your hands like your washing them.
    Remember to not give ASPIRIN to those who have wounds and or bleeding problems. Thins the blood. But is a must for fever reduction. Aspirin supositories would be good to have.
    Get prep-H and all the things for the rear. Nothing more miserable than a itchy, stinging rear end. Don’t want to be skooting on the ground trying to relieve some of the symptoms.
    Kids bandaids. Just don’t let them know you have them or they will be used up for everything even time outs. And plenty of kisses. I don’t know how or why this works but kisses for kids are a must.
    If you are in a stable location be sure to have plenty of sheets, towels and washrags. If there is no electricity for the washer and or no solar power you are going to have to have extra just because and in case of sick room changes.
    And a large container to soak sickroom sheets and all in. 5 gallon bucket or something.
    I know I have rambled and went from a medical bag to other things but if you are in you main retreat these things should be kept.
    If I think of anything else will be back like a boomarang.

    • Another way to sterilize instruments is a steam autoclave. If you don’t happen to have one, then how about a pressure canner. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work, but if anyone does, speak up. Details on Time, Temperature, and Pressure can be found here:

    • Nor' Country says:

      I’m with Ellen… You need gloves.

      The first thing I was taught as an EMT was “body substance isolation” and that means wearing gloves. Also means wearing a mask and safety glasses if the injury dictates.

      I’d consider some sort of an “OB” kit for child birthing…

      Also consider adding a couple of N95 masks. Considering that you may not just be treating a trauma, but a medical emergency as well, the N95 mask is for your protection. There are quite a few people in my region that have active TB… Some people can tolerate the mask and others can’t. I have to wear the type that has the exhalation valve on it because I just can’t “re-breathe” my breath inside the mask without getting mildly spooked. Just the way I am. The biggst thing to consider is the fit, it has to seal properly on your face or it just won’t protect you. I’m sure you can find fit testing information on-line. I use a kit made by 3-M to fit test co-workers and it is pricey, but my employer pays for it and has never questioned the price.

      That’s my 5 cents worth (2 cents for the opinion, 3 cents added to adjust for inflation)…

  22. Its great to see Patriot Nurse, she is very good
    Alot of economic problems

  23. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Amen on the syringe irrigation suggested above, flushing a dirty wound out of debris is almost impossible in the field. Boiled water shot through this would be a godsend – I got two free at our vetenarians office who had some BIG bodied tubes (maybe for horse or cow immunizations?) for this.

    Great topic – I’m no way a doctor or EMT, this is something I should study on some.

  24. I’ve read hundreds of these lists and the one thing usually neglected is the entire idea of triage. buckeyemedic touched on it a little, but it is as important to know whom to treat as it is to know what to do for them – and have the right stuff to do it.

    Your time, resources and “window of opportunity” will be limited, no matter how much you prepare. You can only carry so many supplies. The injured person, especially in bleeding or respiratory problems, has a very narrow window of time when treatment is even possible, let alone effective. And, no matter how much you care or want to help everyone, you have a finite amount of time before exhaustion overcomes both physical strength and your judgment.

    So, it is vital to be able to choose from multiple casualties those cases that will be most likely to survive, yet are the most urgent, to deal with first. You must make the most effective use of both your resources and your energy. You have to accept the fact that you might well not be able to help everyone. And that takes some serious training and experience that a basic first aid class is not going to provide.

    Outside of recruiting a combat medic to your group, you’ll have to do the best you can with books, available training courses, and some serious practice sessions. Just be aware of the potential and do what you can to prepare to meet it.

    • Tom the Tinker says:

      Mama…. Triage! Wouldn’t your ‘triage’ be based on your skills in this area. Not flaming here, just communicating I hope. Me… if your gut shot or down with a nasty Staph envasion of the blood system… or something outside the skills of a basic emt…. for now….. your a Heres hoping for more time to read and absorb and practice and…………

  25. For irrigating wounds, those squeeze bottles for ketchup work great. I think I picked up a pair for a dollar or two.
    If I mention something someone else has commented on already, sorry.
    I would also add some razors, in case some hair needs to be removed from around a wound. I think someone mentioned nyquil, but I would also add tylenol or motrin pm. Probably also some type of muscle rub like bengay or icyhot. Epson salt, ace bandages, orajel, eye patches, antacids, eyedrops, glucose monitering kit, glucose. I also have a spray bottle for rubbing alcohol, and I found one at walmart that has peroxide in it, I just refill as needed. It really helps control how much I use.

  26. Single Dad says:

    Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge!!! If you have the time and a little extra cash (like anyone has extra these days) get thyself to a first aid class, the more you know now the more invaluable you will find this information later on. Comunity colledge courses on EMT training, advanced first aid, etc etc etc.
    2 good books to get now are the U.S. Marine Corps Wilderness Medicine Survival Course and Military first aid book
    and the
    Military First Aid and Ranger Survival Book
    Both are available from
    Get them read then PRACTICE THEM!!!!

    • buckeyemedic says:

      Good point! Without the knowledge and training some of these procedures probably wouldn’t end well. Without the training one could intubate in the esophagus which = bad. Although the king prevents that. Again in a normal situation it would be ok to have those skills but in a shtf situation it would be hard to ventilate someone by hand for any significant amount of time.

  27. Bill Luban says:

    Rubber bands. LOTS of rubber bands and many assorted sizes from very small to extremely large (And wide). Topical anesthetic like the Anbesol tooth-ache stuff you dab on your gums to qwell pain. If you get a nasty cut that needs stitching, you need to deaden the nerves to hold still. A high-efficiency water filter that removes ALL germs, viruses, protozoa, etc. New, CLEAN 5 gallon plastic buckets AND sealing lids. Silicone rubber tubing to use for tourniquet. A blood pressure machine.

  28. lots of good ideas here. I would pass on the quick clot and go for CELOX. quick clot causes burning in all patients and if you are allergic to shell fish game over. CELOX doesn’t have that problem. I would also add turniqets, or materials to make them.

    • Sorry… your information is dated and incorrect.

      The current formulation of Quik Clot DOES NOT cause burning. The old formulation which may have caused burning was discontinued in 2008. And if you have Quik Clot from 2008 or earlier, it’s expired and it’s time to get rid of it. The active ingredient currently in Quik Clot is kaolin, a naturally occurring inert mineral. NOT shellfish or any other animal proteins.

      CELOX contains chitosan from the “shellfish” you mention. It’s highly purified chitosan and was tested on individuals with shellfish allergies – none showed any reactions. Further, it appears the Celox folks haven’t seen any adverse reactions since releasing their product in 2006.

      Now, this is not to say that someone somewhere on this big planet isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients in either product. But, that chance is very, very low. Tremendously low. Many will live long and prosper due to both of these hemostatic agents.

  29. Chilly Beaver says:

    what basic antibiotics would be recommended?

  30. I see lots of good ideas. One thing people are forgetting is how to move the PT. Simple wool blanket and two strudy poles will do. Have to make sure to fold the blanket over the poles to make a stretcher. Another PT movement aid would be a folding chair. Old style. Not umbrella. Make ure you tie the PT down before moving. And take some FA courses that go over transportation and carry tech.

    Only real issue I see is stocking items for a massive chest wound in a end of the world senario. It’s possible there will not be any ambulance to take the peorson to the hospital or no way of getting there. Many of those people would die rather quickly without an operation. So, bare in mind a high death rate in such a case.

    Another item I keep on hand in my home for FA is an aloe plant. Easy to grow, very pretty and very effective. Just cut off a piece of the plant and smear it on burns, ect. Can also ingest it for stomach issues. I have a few aloe plants in my home. If I would have to bug out I would bring one wih m.

  31. Great post- I LOVE to see what’s in other folk’s medical kits. I am a faithful PN follower too . She is “top shelf”! GREAT RESOURCE ALERT = While recently looking into some first aid training , I stumbled across an excellent up to date free resource . Red Cross Wilderness /Remote first aid book and pocket guide for download here:

  32. Thank you for the post. Just a quick question… under Tools, what is the “Canning magnet lid lifter” for in the First Aid kit?

    The only other thing I can think of would be some plastic bags that could be tied shut for easy disposal of soiled items.

  33. Only Me,

    If you sterilize surgical equipment, the lid lifter gets them out. If you have a metal shaving in your eye, a lid lifter has magnet at the end. It can help remove metal splinters and bullet fragments.

  34. Old USAF Nurse says:

    Random thoughts from someone with more military and civilian trauma training and experience than I care to remember…

    Stock up on sterile telfa, 4x4s, 4 inch kling or kerlix (gauze rolls) and 4 inch ace wraps. That will take care of most trauma you are likely to encounter. You can’t have too many 4x4s. Add some SAM splints if possible. Stock up on OTC items of all sorts for everything from sore throats to runny noses to diarrhea and everything in between. Sterile 3cc syringes with 1.5 inch 22 ga needles are like 4x4s– handy and you can’t have too many. Same goes for sterile surgical gloves or at least good quality non-latex exam gloves.

    Fish antibiotics are available at pet stores or online — just avoid tetracyclines because they get dangerous after the expiration date. Penicillin / Amoxicillin and cephalosporins are best for long term storage.

    More advanced things such as surgical instruments are great but you have to know what you are doing. If you have them, someone may be able to use them sometime. If you don’t have them, Murphy (of the famous Murphy’s law) says someone with the skills to use them will show up for sure.

    Don’t triage the GSW to the chest as “black” right away. Many have survived and lived long and well with heavy metal in their chest. Maybe all you can do in a SHTF scenario is basic support with limited invasive procedure ability but that may be enough. As someone has already noted, without a fairly nice care facility with ventilator and associated critical care technology the ET tubes, ambu bags, oxygen, and such may be a waste of time and resources. A stethoscope and blood pressure cuff is always handy.

    From a military health perspective, don’t underestimate the importance of clean water, basic hygiene, balanced nutrition, adequate rest, a good attitude, and neosporin and a bandaid for minor wounds. Keep learning and stocking up. May God Bless, guide, & help us all.

    • To Old USAF Nurse and everyone,

    • Maybe you can tell me a little more about something I was reading about…. Wet to dry dressings. I was reading somewhere (sorry dont remember where) that in the case of any major wound to do wet to dry dressings. This person said it is a lot safer then to try and go in and repair anything, especially if you dont know what you are doing. Any thoughts on it?

      • Old USAF Nurse says:

        Wet to dry dressings are used to help debride open, usually infected wounds. It’s a good technique that can be used with saline- plain water would even work in a pinch. This is not an immediate post-trauma dressing, but is used later in the recovery when debridement of non-vital wound tissue is needed. Good question & is an old, but still useful technique.

        Below is a link to a document outlining the wet-to-dry dressing procedure in a modern healthcare setting.

    • NotHank's says:

      Regarding antibiotics, I believe the info on tetracycline turning toxic is no longer true, and I could never find any info to confirm if it ever applied to doxycycline. The DOD’s shelf-life extention program (SLEP) showed doxycycline capsules were good out to 7 years at least. Important info for those allergic to penicillin, and who are unsure if they’d have a reaction to a cephalosporin. Doxycycline (or erythromycin) are usually the antibiotics of choice when penicillin is indicated, but the patient is allergic to it.

      There’s also a wider assortment of ‘fish’ antibiotics available now if you haven’t checked recently, including clindamycin which adds a lincosamide antibiotic to your home pharmacy for better anaerobic coverage over metronidazole alone. I keep a wide assortment of antibiotics, and stack them deep. Even if you do have access to a Dr to prescribe one, no guarantee a pharmacy will be able to fill it. Great barter item too.

  35. Tea Tree oil… wikki it… its strong enough it will kill MERSA

  36. SrvivlSally says:

    Clamps, curved needle and thread, vitamin C or Esther C for sensitive stomachs, corn & callus remover, Beta-Dyne, baking soda for heart burn but only as a short-term remedy- 1 tsp. to a glass of water (heart and high blood pressure patients and children should not use it), razor blades for cutting tape and bandages, arm slings or pillow cases with diaper pins or velcro attached can be used in place of them, triangular-shaped foam blocks for raising limbs above heart level or square foam pads for making surfaces softer when they become unbearably uncomfortable during the healing process, a body pillow for keeping a leg or arm raised while the injured are lying on their side, 24-inch by 24-inch bandanas to slow blood loss when needed or panty hose legs can also be used, deodorized garlic caplets for use as a natural internal/external antibiotic, pieces of foam-padded cedar lathe or padded stiff plastic strips of about the same width for securing breaks to limbs, back and neck braces for securing upper body after injury, anti-swelling socks for individuals with edema (one or both legs which may have swelling of the feet which may also reach to about their knees) from circulatory problems of the heart or sitting too much, cheap blood pressure kit (non-battery operated) with stethoscope, a large tub of vaseline for providing a protective skin barrier, hops tincture for sedative purposes (may not suitable for some individuals with certain mental or physical health problems as it affects the blood pressure), wool blankets to prevent anyone that is in shock or has an injury from losing additional body heat, rectal thermometers for babies and individuals which may bite the oral type, children’s chewable or baby aspirin, activated charcoal, a straight branding rod to cauterize a serious wound.

  37. For burns, an immediate cover is important to keep germs out of a raw area. Ordinary kitchen “Clingfilm” is clean enough, and peels off easily later, unlike many dressings, gauze etc. Not sure what you call it in USA – the transparent very fine plastic film in rolls, that you use to cover food in the fridge. It conforms to the shape of whatever you wrap in it and sticks gently to itself. In the immediate aftermath of a burn, the wound is pretty sterile from the extreme heat, so covering quickly helps reduce infection. Also if the area is large, fluid loss and hypothermia can occur rapidly so sealing the area is important.

    There is a tendency for sterile practice to become a bit like superstitious ritual, with the result that wounds don’t get cleaned properly because one is trying to conserve sterile water and gauze etc. In general it is better to do a generous clean with plenty of water and gloves that are reasonably clean, rather than a timid clean with everything “sterile”.

    • Old USAF Nurse says:

      Excellent point about sterile technique. A traditional military field-expedient irrigation technique for trauma is to use fresh urine. Fresh urine from a healthy gu tract is, of course, sterile. When it’s all you have, it’s all you have…

  38. I really feel the need to say something here, and I am sorry if I “irritate” anyone with this. Everyone who is looking into alternative methods for health care such as herbals and essential oils (EO’s), please, please, please read as much as you can from various sources. There is a lot of misinformation out there about them. A lot of people assume that since these remedies are made from plants that they are safe, they are NOT. Herbals and EO’s cause side effects, can be toxic if overdosed, and can cause allergic reactions. They can also interact with any pharmaceuticals you are taking.
    EO’s are very strong and should not be taken internally, unless you know what you are doing, and you KNOW, without any doubts that it is a pure EO and doesnt have any synthetics added to it. There are oils out there that if you apply them directly to your skin can cause burning. There are 2 oils that are generally considered safe for neat application (directly to the skin without being diluted) that is tea tree and lavender. Even still if you use them too often you can become sensitized to them. Other oils, even when properly diluted, if you use them and then go into the sun you can have adverse reactions. Even if you are not allergic to the plant you can have an allergic reaction to the oil. You want to do a patch test before using any amounts.
    Herbals are a bit easier than EO’s but still, not to be taken lightly. For example, echinacea, a lot of people know to take it for a cold or flu. What a lot of people dont know is that you need to take it when you first feel the symptoms. It does little if you decide to take it halfway through your cold. Also it is one of those things you dont want to take for long periods of time, just a couple of days. It also has possible side effects for people with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. You dont want to take garlic or ginko if you are on blood thinners (including aspirin). Ginseng should not be taken if you have high blood pressure or a “heart condition,” or anxiety. These are just a very few things when it comes to herbals.
    I am not saying to stay away from herbals or EO’s, just to be careful with them and learn as much as you can. I wouldnt go to only one source either, but “shop” around for the information.
    here is a good place to start if you are interested in EO’s

    • My greatest resource for herbal information is the Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines.

      • I didnt know there was a PDR for herbals. Thanks. I have been studying this stuff for about 15 years too.

  39. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    My own first aid kit has a couple of bottles of water so that the patient can swallow the pills.

    Do any of you ever watch “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” on the Animal Planet TV channel? There are 2 things that almost every one of those people need when they are injured and/or stranded in a remote area. 1)drinking water and 2)fire. Something to think about.

  40. I always like to have a little bottle of tea tree oil to help with any skin rashes or skin fungus. Works every time, very quickly

  41. what anti-biotics work successfully to eradicate MERSA?

    in lieu of indoor . . . how do you manage out-houses to prevent disease and treat the waste — with use by 5 or 6 people?

    thank you

  42. Another thing to add would be an Otoscope which would allow you to check for ear infections.

  43. I want to throw out – Claratin to add to the benedryl. I have one kid that is allergic to one but not the other and visa versa. Both have to have the right OTC or it makes them sicker. Food for thought.

  44. LurkerBob says:

    Listerine – Original
    General antiseptic and good for skin infection / rashes

  45. RabidConservative says:

    This is a good list which has certainly got me to reexamine my own kit, which is pretty comprehensive already. I modeled mine after the kits sold by Wilderness Medical Systems, specifically the Kilimanjaro. This kit is meant to provide the emergency medical supplies for 4 to 12 people traveling in the remote wilderness for 30-60 days. More information is available here:

    I didn’t buy any of their kits, but used the list of items they put in them to stock my own. However, I didn’t buy any airways for mine, because I don’t know how to use them and could probably do more harm than good. I did, though, buy the “flashcards” they include in their kits from them so I had a quick reference available if I need to use this stuff.

    Also if you are looking for prescription antibiotics to add to your kit, but you don’t have access to a doctor who will write you a prescription for them, then this website offers a good way to get them: It is run by a doctor who is a prepper and wants to make it easy for other preppers to stock up on the antibiotics the might need in an emergency situation.

  46. I included polysporin in my kit, it’s a good triple antibiotic gel for cuts and scrapes..
    Also witch hazel for minor cuts and bruises it’s great for reducing swelling. I hear from a friend it’s good on hemoroids and I’ve used it on poison ivy once as a kid.

    I also have a bottle of burn free ointment for burns.

    Lastly I include a copy of where there is no doctor, and several other medical books.

  47. Don’t know if these things have been mentioned as nearly a hundred comments would be a lot to read! Dramamine…good for nausea, not just motion sickness. And if you get the sleepy variety, a good sleeping pill alternative. Cough drops. And super glue. You can use it instead of the expensive wound glue for small lacerations. Tums or equivalent. And plain old aspirin…might save your life if you’re having chest pain and no access to medical care…chew one up and swallow.

  48. SAM splints are splints you can mold into place and tape.

  49. Calamity Jane says:

    All great ideas. Check out MedRepExpress for surgical instruments, medical supplies, and suture. Check out Atlantic Med Supply for IV supplies and UPCO for veterinary antibiotics.

  50. Orajel is a great idea but expensive it’s going to sound awful but anal ease (lovers lane) taste good and has more lidocaine ( numbing) then orajel! Great for teething lol and I would assume any other oral problem although if u plan to use for other things don’t be weird just get two bottles lol. Airways are good for temporary airways allergic reaction but if u put in an airway they cannot swallow/ or if unconscious so you will be of no help to them unless u have I’ve Benadryl, steroids , and pepcid. Those of us with kids I’m sure would love to think we can save them especially but in a true shtf situation there would be no help

  51. Slippery Elm’s a pretty good digestive aid, too – helps absorb most of what’s making your belly flip.


  52. A lot of great information here. I see a lot of stuff for bleeding (light to moderate) some trauma, some penetrating trauma and a little airway stuff here.
    Very glad that Chest seals (asherman, etc…but don’t forget an appropriate chest decompression needle) were brought up as well as air adjuncts (I recommend oral AND naso btw…esp NPA’s as a conscious “patient” will not like having a tube down their throat, but might tolerate a nasal), and tourniquets (min 2 per person bc chances are that if that level of trauma exists there could be multiple injuries) as well as pressure dressings (such as “Israeli bandage”) were mentioned.

    Also I would add:
    -BVM (bag valve mask) bc often a person will need you to “breath” for them..think, to stay alive air MUST go in and out, blood round and round; that is how you can keep someone alive for a little while at least
    -sterile saline (evisceration is a probability in SHTF)
    – heavy sterile plastic or occlusive dressing(s)
    – IV kits with hextend (essentially a plasma replacement), saline bags at a min.
    -Oral glucose…way faster than sugar of any kind, and just as critical for a diabetic as epinephrine is for an allergic reaction.
    -Trauma shears…amazing, versatile and MUCH better than a knife at times…but a knife works too 😀
    -Chemical hot packs and cold packs..a couple space blankets too.
    For larger kits (group) i would incl an AED. Roughly $2,000 but worth it for a group.

    Also large trauma pads (lots of blood sometimes) as well as C collar(s) and a SKED litter are part of my medic go bag.

    Best thing is practice / training! gear does no good if it cant be used! (i realize this point has been brought up already)

    the above is just some things in my bag (go and mass-trauma) based on 7 yrs active army infantry (yes, i have seen and helped patch up a few things which were not very “fun”) and two years as a volunteer EMT-B. Hope some of you find (even a portion) helpful.

  53. Anonymous Prepper says:

    Grain alcohol.

    antiseptic, fuel, heat source, solvent, flavor extractor for cooking, cleaner, and to knock someone out needing medical attention.

    For the latter you can use any booze. Booze and marijuana are great additions to SHTF and survival kits. Other than their medicinal qualities, they ahve other uses and are absolutely fabulous products to calm, soothe, and relieve, especially in stressful situations.

  54. Anonymous Prepper says:

    Straight Razors, leather strops, and sharpening compounds or multiple-grit wetstones.

    While not exactly a medical device, it can have medical/surgical uses, and definately heightens morale with a nice shave to make a stressed out individual in a SHTF scenario feel much better, especially after some time in the bush. Takes up alot less space than newer razors with hundreds or thousands of replacable blades you need to stock that will run our very fast, so its more sustainable in that regard. The strop, sharpening compounds and multiple-grit wetstones can also be used for other sharpening, honing, and polishing needs.

    • Anonymous Prepper says:

      Straight razors are also great for removing hair in areas that need medical attention.

  55. Anonymous Prepper says:

    Emergency lighting. Cant care for someones medical needs in the dark.

    Dynamo lights, candles, snap-stick glow lights, led’s, flashlights, batteries, battery charger, lanterns, etc. Something you can hang overhead would be great.

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