First Aid Kits for Vehicles and Your Get Home Bag

by Penrod, The Survivalist Blog

FIRST AIDWe keep several 1st Aid kits: A day-to-day kit in our bathroom cabinet, a big disaster kit in a small rollaway suitcase (carry-on size) under our bed, and kits in our vehicles.

My DW keeps one kit in her car. I have different needs, so I keep three.


Since I hit the swap meets three mornings per week, I like to keep a very small kit in an end pocket of the khaki 5.11 Bail Out Bag (shoulder bag) I wear there. I lucked into the bag for around $5.00 at the swap a year or so ago, but you can get one new though M.D.’s Amazon link. They aren’t cheap at retail, but they are quite well made: they won’t let you down.

In that are:

  • Half dozen WetOnes hand wipes, individually packed
  • 1 2.5 oz bottle of alcohol based hand sanitizer
  • 12 Alcohol cleansing pads
  • 1 ounce tube of Triple Antibiotic
  • 10 BandAids
  • 1 small pack of Kleenex tissues
  • 1 Cotton handkerchief
  • 2 Mylar blankets.

Since I get to the swap before dawn, in a separate pocket I keep a Coast HP1 LED flashlight which runs on a single AA battery. This is a back up to the one in my watch pocket, and to the Duracell 1000 lumen 4C cell light I use for my aerobic browsing. When I’m not using the Duracell, it lives in the main compartment of the bag. In the same pocket as the little Coast light is a small spritzer of pepper spray. I guess that could qualify as 1st Aid of a sort.

The next pocket has a pen and a small note pad, which can be handy if a surprisingly serious medical event occurs and I want to take notes. Otherwise it is handy now and then for non-medical notes.

On my belt I wear a Victorinox Swiss Army knife model which has the pliers ($8.00 swap). They aren’t a lot of use to me as pliers but they are great for tweezers, incomparably better than the little flimsy tweezers which fit in the handle. I would recommend getting the pliers for tweezers alone.

I also keep a very small, flat pill case in my pocket with aspirin and Omeprazole antacid pills.

Day to day, none of these but the knife get much use, though sometimes I’ll handle something greasy or really grubby at the swap meet, or will buy some spring rolls or such, and will clean up on the spot with a WetOne. Last December I used the WetOnes, triple antibiotic, and BandAids to patch up a young Boy Scout who had developed and popped a blister on his hand while the troop was cutting bamboo in the mountains for a Scout project.

The alcohol pads are dinky: 1 inch square. They are probably intended mostly for cleaning skin before an injection, but can be used around a small wound.


What I think of as the Vehicle 1st Aid Kit is in a blue metal Johnson & Johnson 1st Aid Kit box (swap meet, of course. $3.00) in a back of the seat organizer (also from the swap meet. Duh: I’m a tightwad. Get used to it.) on the passenger seat. The organizer also has two plastic containers of 48 count WetOnes.


  • MiniMagLite, LED
  • AA batteries, 4
  • First Aid pamphlet
  • Matches, one book, in a ZipLock
  • Mylar blanket
  • Medical scissors, Prestige Medical Fluoride Scissor, Black, 7 1/2 Inch (from Amazon)
  • Folding knife, lock blade, 2 ½” blade
  • Tweezers
  • Kelly forceps (swap meet)
  • Kelly forceps, curved (swap meet)
  • Small pad of note paper
  • Sharpie, black
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Pencil
  • Bandages, assorted sizes, c. 50, in a ZipLock bag
  • Sterile gauze pads, 3” X 3”, 10 count, in original box
  • Non-stick dressing, 3” X 8”, two in a ZipLock
  • Moleskin, 3 sheets @ 4 5/8” X 3 ⅜”
  • Adhesive medical tape, ½” X 10 yards
  • Rolled gauze, 2” X 4.1 yards
  • Self-adhering Ace bandage, 3”
  • Bandana, large cotton, in a ZipLock
  • Cord, braided nylon, c.8 feet
  • Safety pins, BIG ones, 18, in a ZipLock
  • Cotton swabs, double tip, 24 in a plastic package
  • Alcohol swabs, 26, in a ZipLock
  • Triple antibiotic ointment, 1 oz tube


My Get Home Bag (GHB) is a small backpack (and yeah, it is from the swap meet. About three bucks.) kept behind the passenger seat, with it’s own small first aid kit. In an emergency which required hiking home, of course, I would evaluate conditions as best possible and consider transferring some supplies from the vehicle kit into the GHB. The metal box would be heavy to pack home.

Behind the seats with the GBH is a small synthetic blanket (TJ Maxx) and a couple light jackets (you guessed it: a couple bucks each at the swap meet), all handy if needed to keep accident victims warm. Day to day, the jackets are handy for unusually cold mornings at the swap during our Brutal Hawaiian Winter, or for spending a couple equally brutal hours in a movie theater.

I also keep a gallon or so of commercially bottled water on the floor behind the driver’s seat, and an empty stainless steel water bottle. The water, besides being very nice now and then for a drink, could come in handy for irrigating eyes or cleaning a much bigger wound than I hope ever to have to deal with.

Contents of GHB 1st Aid Kit:

  • Plastic Poncho, blaze orange (can be used as ground sheet or cover for an accident victim)
  • All in a one gallon ZipLock:
  • Victorinox Swiss Army knife, Climber (?) model, has scissors (swap meet)
  • Sharpie, black
  • Magnifier, two lens
  • Hand sanitizer gel, 2.5 oz bottle
  • Antacid pills, Omeprazole 20mg, ten count
  • Chamois Butt’r (skin lube to prevent/treat chafing rashes. VERY important)
  • Mylar blanket
  • Moleskin, 2 strips, 4 ⅛” X 3 ⅜”
  • Bandages, assorted, 30 count
  • Anti-Diarrheal pills, 24 count
  • Safety pins, assorted, 5


As you might guess from the number of things I picked up second hand at the swap meets, these kits did not get put together as they are now in a couple days, or at great expense.

When I decided to start on them, I looked at what we had in the house and raided those supplies for spare things like BandAids, WetOnes, an Ace bandage or two, tweezers, a small flashlight, whatever I wanted and was willing to transfer, and made little kits with ZipLock bags or plastic kitchen leftover containers. The flat, shallow containers are handy as nothing gets buried way down at the bottom, and I added a big cross and “1st Aid Kit” to the covers with felt tips. Then I added as I found things or decided to break down and actually buy at a store.

There is no need to be fancy. My DW’s vehicle kit has been in her trunk for probably 8 years, and only a few weeks ago got a nice metal 1st Aid Kit box which I found at the swap. Until then it was in a plastic leftovers container, which worked just fine. For some people, the leftovers container might be better, as it could be thrown into the GHB. It’s lighter than the metal boxes.

You can buy already made up 1st Aid Kits from many sources, and they are usually better than not having one at all, but I think anyone can put together much better ones themselves. First of all, each of us knows our own circumstances better than any else can, so we know better what we need, what would be nice, and what would probably be unneeded in our circumstances.

We can also decide for ourselves if we think a particular item, for example scissors, can best be scrounged from the house, bought second hand, or if we want to pop for serious medical black handled scissors from Amazon. (The ones I eventually bought from Amazon run less than $8.00, and have hundreds of positive reviews from medical pros. You can use them for cutting seat belts, blue jeans, moleskin, bandages, whatever.) There are times to hit high, and times to hit low, like with a leftovers container. Only we have the information needed to make that decision.

My major recommendation is to get started and to keep going.

My major request is for suggestions on things I have forgotten. The vehicle kit box is getting full, but some things I might add are water jel burn dressing, QuickClot combat gauze, and 4” Israeli Battle dressings. We already have those stored with our camping gear on the Mainland, and with our camp gear here, so I may just move them over from storage here to the vehicles. They might prove to be life savers in a vehicle accident.

Thanks, Pack!

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