You've got your bases mostly covered. Food, water, a dozen or so ways to create fire, a fully packed super ninja backpack, batteries, backup batteries, extra backup batteries, and about 10 miles of paracord. What are you forgetting? A first-aid kit? “Nah,” you reply. “I already thought of that and got one from Walmart.”

Well that's all fine and dandy, but how much thought went into that kit? Should you be carrying a potentially life-saving component that you didn't spend more than five minutes deciding on? Medical kits should be taken seriously. We're not saying that you're not serious about your medical care, but when most people shop for medical kits, there's a certain “Ah, that's good enough” kind of attitude attached to it. For most people, buying a first-aid kit just isn't as “fun” as, say, buying a 1,500-lumen flashlight or an awesome new knife. Maybe because buying things that don't come with a Kydex sheath just doesn't get the blood pumping. But you know what? Survival isn't fun.

Many people may choose to create their own medical kits, and kudos to those of you who have the time to do so. Generally, OFFGRID recommends you assemble your own homemade kit, as it'll be customized to exactly what you want and need in an emergency. They do take time to create, however. Researching what you want, sourcing what you need, and finding where to buy it in the right quantities requires time that many people don't have in their busy lives. That's where preassembled medical gear comes in. These pre-fab kits are wonderful at saving time and sometimes (but mostly not) save you money. Someone's got to pay for all that convenience.

Between balancing a job, a spouse, kids, and life in general, we've become fans of off-the-shelf medical kits. They take a lot of the legwork out of putting together a great kit that will work for our requirements. It's important to remember that it's unlikely that any kit will be a 100-percent perfect solution. Specific medications, prescription drugs, medical devices, even disposable contact lenses may be required and added separately.

Be aware of expiration dates. Most newly purchased kits are marked with “use by” dates that are two or three years down the road. That means you need to renew the kits or specific items in the kit every couple of years to keep them up to date. Keep in mind items that you might add yourself (i.e. EpiPens, asthma inhalers, diabetes medications, etc.) might have specific storage requirements and shorter expiration dates.

The kits you choose to store or carry depend on your individual situation. If you're looking for something compact that covers only the essentials to stuff in your already-overloaded three-day go-bag, there's a kit for you. If you're looking for a product that's good for a family hunkered down in a fortified shelter, it'll require a much different kit. Medical packs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and service many different functions. Some are small plastic boxes with handles or come sealed in a bag, while others look like mini backpacks.

Because it can be hard to figure out what's in a medical kit when you're shopping for them at a store or even online, we've taken the guesswork out of the following models to show you exactly what they come with.

First-Aid Kit Buyers Guide

  • 12 Survivors First Aid Roll Up Kit

    Weight - 2 pounds, 3 ounces
    Dimensions Rolled Up - 15 x 6 x 5.5 inches
    Dimensions Opened - 35 x 15 inches
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    Kit Contains - 1 Emergency blanket
    1 Poncho
    8 PBT elastic bandages
    4 Sterile non-woven gauze pads
    2 Wet cleaning wipes
    4 BZK antiseptic swabs
    4 Alcohol prep pads
    1 Pair of PVC gloves
    10 Adhesive band-aids
    1 Breath mask for mouth to mouth
    1 Pair of tweezers
    1 Zinc oxide adhesive plaster (tape)
    2 Pairs of scissors
    1 Tourniquet band
    1 Emergency dressing

    This kit offers all the first-aid basics in one life-saving heavy-duty nylon medical intervention containing roll.

  • Camillus Les Stroud Slingpack First Aid Kit

    Weight - 1 pound, 2 ounces
    Dimensions - 12 x 9 x 5 inches
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    Kit Contains - 10 Bandages (1 x 3 inches)
    2 Butterfly Wound Closures
    2 Gauze Pads (2 x 2 inches)
    2 Eye Pad Bandage
    1 Extra Large Woven Bandage
    1 Stretch Gauze (2 inches x 5 yards)
    1 First-Aid Tape Roll
    1 Triangular Bandage
    4 Ibuprofen Tablets
    4 Non-Aspirin Tablets
    2 Diphenhydramine (Allergy) Tablet
    4 Loperamide (Anti-Diarrhea) Tablets
    5 Cotton Tip Applicators
    2 Nitrile Exam Gloves
    1 Pair of Steel Forceps
    1 Pair of Titanium Non-Stick Scissors
    1 Les Stroud First Aid Kit Guide

    Survivorman's Slingpack First Aid Kit is similar to his aforementioned Triage First Aid Kit, only in a larger package.

  • Camillus PhysicansCare Les Stroud Triage Frist Aid Kit

    Weight - 5.4 ounces
    Dimensions - 5 x 6 x 2.5 inches
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    Kit Contains - 4 Antiseptic Wipes
    4 Alcohol Wipes
    1 Hand Sanitizers
    2 Burn Cream Packets
    2 Antibiotic Ointment Packets
    10 Bandages (1 x 3 inches)
    2 Butterfly Wound Closures
    2 Gauze Pads (2 x 2 inches)
    1 Stretch Gauze (2 inches x 5 yards)
    1 Extra Large Woven Bandage
    1 Triangular Bandage
    1 First-Aid Tape Roll
    1 Eye Pad Bandage
    2 Ibuprofen Tablets
    2 Non-Aspirin Tablets
    1 Diphenhydramine (Allergy) Tablet
    1 Pair of Steel Forceps
    1 Mini Scalpel
    1 Les Stroud First Aid Kit Guide

    The Triage First Aid Kit comes direct from Les Stroud's Signature Series line of first-aid gear by Camillus.

  • Chinook Medical Gear MinimalistPAK

    Weight - 9.2 ounces
    Dimensions - 8 x 3.75 x 2.25 inches
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    Kit Contains - 1 Stretch Gauze (3 inches x 12 yards)
    1 Wound Closure Strips (0.25 x 4 inches)
    2 Non-Adherent Dressing (3 x 4 inches)
    3 Povidone-Iodine Prep Pad
    4 Sterile Gauze Pad (3 x 3 inches)
    1 Elastic Bandage Wrap (2 inches x 4.5 yards)
    2 Aspirin (Analgesic)
    2 Diamode (Anti-diarrheal)
    2 Diphen (Antihistamine)
    2 Ibuprofen (Anti-inflammatory)
    3 Hydrocortisone 1% Cr_me (1.5 grams)
    3 Triple Antibiotic
    Ointment (0.9 gram)
    1 Hydration Powder
    1 Tweezers
    1 Flat Duct Tape (1.89 inches x 2 yards)

    If you're looking to add to an existing med kit of your own or want to go with a minimalist approach to your medical kit, you'll want to take a look at this one.

  • Chinook Medical Gear Plight of the Living Med IFAK

    Colorway - Black, olive drab (shown)
    Weight - 1 pound, 8 ounces
    Dimensions - 5 x 6.5 x 3.5 inches
    URL - Kit Contains

    Chinook has more than 20 years of field medical experience working with U.S. military, government, and law enforcement, and they've taken that experience and put it into a zombie survival individual first-aid kit (IFAK).

  • Ready America First Aid Kit Value Pack

    Weight - 14.8 ounces
    Dimensions - 8.25 x 6 x 3 inches
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    Kit Contains - 12 Adhesive Bandages (1 x 3 inches)
    6 Adhesive Bandages (1 x 3 inches)
    12 Adhesive Bandages (3 x 0.75 inches)
    6 Adhesive Bandages (1.75 x 3_8 inches)
    3 X-Large Strips
    2 Knuckle Bandages
    2 Fingertip Bandages
    2 Butterfly Wound Closures
    1 Moleskin (2 x 2 inches)
    1 Tape Roll
    1 Triangular Arm Bandage
    1 Trauma Pad (5 x 9 inches)
    1 Eye Pad
    4 Gauze Pads (2 x 2 inches)
    2 Gauze Pads (3 x 3 inches)
    1 Gauze Rolls (2 inches)
    2 Examination Gloves
    1 Instant Cold Pack
    1 Pair of Tweezers
    2 Antibiotic Ointment
    2 Burn Creams
    6 Alcohol Pads
    3 Antiseptic Cleansing Wipes
    1 Safety Pin
    1 First-Aid Guide
    1 Case

    If you're looking for affordable and weather resistant, you'll be glad to know that this Ready America First Aid Value Pack is only $12 and comes in a rubber-gasket-sealed plastic container.

  • SOLKOA Survival Systems Medical Module – Core

    Weight - 3 ounces
    Dimensions - 3 x 5 x 2.25 inches
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    Kit Contains - 1 Adhesive Bandages
    2 Antiseptic Pads
    2 Alcohol Pads
    2 Iodine Pads
    2 Antibiotic Ointment
    1 Topical Ointment
    1 Burn Jel
    1 Anti-Itch Cream
    1 Micro EMT Shears
    1 Antihistamine
    2 Anti-Diarrheal
    2 Electrolyte Tabs
    2 Ibuprofen
    2 Aspirin
    2 Non-Aspirin
    1 Scalpel Blade
    1 Duct Tape (24 inches)
    1 Flat Pack Nylon Stuff Sack

    The Medical Module - Core contains supplies for maintaining personal health during an unexpected night stranded in God-knows-where, as well as short-duration emergencies in normal environments.

  • TSSi TACOPS Emergency Aid Kit

    Weight - 1 pound, 12 ounces
    Dimensions - 9 x 4.5 x 5 inches
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    Kit Contains - 1 QuickClot LE Combat Gauze
    1 Sterile Gauze Pads (4 x 4 inches)
    1 Sterile Burn Dressing
    1 Emergency Bandage (4 inches)
    1 Nitrile Black Large Gloves
    1 Combat Application Tourniquet
    1 Hypo-Slik Tape (1 inch x 10 yards)
    1 Antiseptic Towelettes
    1 SAM Splint (36 inches)
    1 Elastic Bandage (4 inches x 5 yards)
    1 EMT Shears
    1 CPR MicroShield
    1 Emergency Blanket
    1 Survival/First-Aid Card
    1 Fabric HD Bandages (7_8 x 3 inches)
    1 Fabric HD Knuckle Bandages
    1 Fabric HD Fingertip Bandages
    1 General Purpose Black Pouch

    The TACOPS Emergency Aid Kit (EAK) is designed to give the user the correct medical supplies to treat a variety of moderate to life-threatening injuries.

  • TSSi TACOPS Range First Aid Kit

    Weight - 3 pound, 1.6 ounces
    Dimensions - 10.63 x 9.69 x 4.88 inches
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    Kit Contains - Emergency Bandage (4 inches)
    1 Emergency Bandage (6 inches)
    1 SOF Tactical Tourniquets
    1 Cravat/Triangular Bandages (40 x 40 inches)
    1 Compressed Gauze
    1 Water-Jel (4 x 16 inches)
    1 Triple Antibiotic Ointment
    1 Adhesive Bandages (7_8 x 3 inches)
    1 Large Fingertip Adhesive Bandages
    1 Knuckle Adhesive Bandages
    1 Chest Seal
    1 QuickClot LE Combat Gauze
    1 Disposable Gloves
    1 Trauma Shears
    1 Permanent Felt-Tip Marker (blue)
    1 SAM Splint (18 inches)
    1 TacNotes (4 x 6 inches)
    1 CamoForm Tape (2 x 48 inches)
    1 Waterproof Case
    1 Basic First-Aid Card
    1 CPR Pocket Mask
    1 Cleansing Towelettes

    The Range First Aid Kit was specifically designed to treat everything from a routine knee scrape to life-threatening injuries that could occur in combat or at tactical training ranges.

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