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


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


  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.