Types of First Aid Kits

If you are considering buying a first aid kit, the first thing to do is think about what situations and scenarios it is likely to be needed or used. The reason this should be your first thought is that you will find that first aid kits can be categorized into 4 types, and while one type of might be suitable for one set of circumstances, it may prove to be unhelpful in another.

Although the categories that follow are not official or come from any medical authority, they give us a decent indication of the differences between them to determine which types of first aid kits are best suited to each one.

Travel First Aid Kits

These are also known as travel kits, as for many people it is a bit of a stretch calling them first aid kits in the first place. They generally do not have the number of items a normal first aid kit would have, but they still serve a very useful purpose in the right circumstances.

While they may be smaller and often contain no more than 20 items, they are normally small enough and light enough to fit into most carry bags, such as a sports bag or even a large purse. In fact, there are very small ones which can fit into the inside pocket of a jacket or coat.

As you’d expect you are not going to have a lengthy list of medical items but what you will have are those which are used to treat minor injuries or wounds. The sort of wounds we are talking about are cuts, scrapes, and sprains.

Most of these kits will have a small pair of scissors which can be used to cut open the packages that the medical items are in. These medical items will invariably include some sterile wipes, adhesive bandages, dressings, and medical tape.

Standard First Aid Kits

These are the most common type of first aid kits, and the one you are likely to find that people have at home, their office, or keep in the glove compartment of their car. They tend to be priced between $20 and $40, so they are not that expensive and are also small and lightweight, which makes them easy to store or carry.

Depending on the specific brand of first aid kit, you will have a good range of medical items for treating most minor wounds or injuries, and in a lot of cases, some items where more serious injuries and life-threatening scenarios can be dealt with.

The number of items you will find in standard first aid kits is normally well over 100 and you will also find a lot of differences when it comes to the quality of the items which are included.

Minor injuries which these first aid kits can be used to treat tend be cuts, stings, bumps, and bruises. For those where the skin has been broken, you will always have a range of cleansing wipes, band aids, dressings, and bandages to clean, cover, and protect the wound.

Bandages and slings for injured ankles, wrists, and arms can also normally be found in a standard kit, as well as a range of tools to help you like scissors, tweezers, safety pins, and disposable gloves.

Survival First Aid Kits

Thanks to the popularity of outdoor pursuits such as hiking and camping, there are many first aid kits which combine medical items to treat wounds, and survival items. They tend to be priced within the same price range as standard first aid kits and come in the same sized carry cases.

The medical items in a survival first aid kits will be standard and similar to normal kits, albeit there may be slightly less of them to accommodate the survival items in the case. With regards to the survival times which these kits offer, they vary greatly in terms of quantity, their usefulness, and the quality of them. Overall you can expect to have an average of 120 to 150 items in these kits.

The basic survival equipment tends to be simple items such as a compass, an emergency whistle, and a glow stick, which can attract attention, and allows you to see properly if you ever need to carry out first aid in the dark.

When the survival inventory is a bit more comprehensive you could find that a torch has replaced the glow stick, and more robust tools are included. These tools might be a multi-purpose set of pliers, a multi-tool knife, or a saber card.

Trauma First Aid Kit

Trauma first aid kits are the top-level kits and are normally priced at anything from $100, all the way up to $700. These are designed to be used by first responders and fully qualified first aiders, however, there is no rule that says you cannot buy one of these if you see the benefit of having one.

The bags these kits come in are sturdy, and tend to be heavy, but they are also very well organized, with everything easily accessible, and properly labeled.

Obviously, it will have the essentials, but these will be of a much higher quality than standard first aid kits, and the range will include bespoke items that can best treat a specific wound.

There will also be more equipment in trauma kits which can be used to deal with serious injuries and those which could lead to loss of life. These are items which can deal with the heavy loss of blood, treat serious burns, address breathing difficulties, and immobilize serious injuries including those affecting the neck.


Whichever first aid kit you choose, make sure it is the one that is most likely to be in alignment with sorts of activities and therefore the injuries that may happen.

For the home, office or car, a standard kit would be the first choice. If you want to carry a first aid kit while traveling, then obviously the travel kits are ideal.

For those who like to on outdoor pursuits, the survival kits may be best, although the standard kits are also suitable. Finally, if you want to have a first aid kit which has just about everything you will ever need, the trauma kits are the ones to go for.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

About The Author

Michael Chen

Michael Chen is of Chinese and American heritage. He has been writing for a friend during his time in the university as a way of earning his allowance. He grew to love it and decided to pursue writing instead. Michael has written lots of articles online and a few were published in newspapers and a couple of magazines. In the future, Michael dreams of publishing his own books.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top