Accidents and emergencies can happen to anyone without warning. In those situations, quick access to a first aid kit is incredibly useful. Because most injuries are unexpected, being prepared means having one on hand at all times.
There are a huge range of kits available, but many aren’t suitable for everyday carry (EDC). An EDC first aid kit needs to be portable, compact, and include the right supplies. Unfortunately, there are kits out there that use second-rate items. It’s a challenge to find a great kit amongst all the not-so great ones.
We’ve researched the best EDC first aid kits available, and examined hundreds of reviews to help you make sense of it all. We’ll also provide a couple great suggestions for you to check out.
Why have a first aid kit in your everyday carry?
Often, you’ll find yourself in a place that doesn’t have a first aid kit on hand. We all have accidents from time to time—usually minor injuries that don’t require a visit to the doctor. You don’t want to rely on someone else, or pay for a doctor, when you just need a quick patching-up.
Even small cuts, burns, blisters, stings, or scrapes can become a big problem if not treated quickly. An injury is far more likely to get infected if not cleaned and dressed as soon as possible. Aside from the risk of infection, rapid treatment hastens recovery time and minimizes scarring.
There’s also the matter of comfort and time. An EDC first aid kit will let you get back to whatever you were doing fast, and with a properly-treated wound.
What makes a good EDC first aid kit?
There are three especially important things to consider when deciding on the best first aid kit for EDC. These features include:
- Size. Do you carry a backpack, or do you prefer to travel light? Your EDC load-out depends largely on how much stuff you’re comfortable keeping on your person.
- Price. You get what you pay for. It’s important to balance the price against the utility and quality of the kit.
- Contents. Which items are you likely to need? Are you a outdoorsman who often gets bug bites? Do your job duties often include handling sharp objects? To find the best first aid kit for your needs, think about what injuries you’re likely to be dealing with.
For everyday carry, size can be a major frustration. Lots of kits out there are too bulky to fit comfortably in your backpack. Others are small enough to squeeze into a pocket, but lack essential components. Additionally, weight is as important as the bulk. Many of us optimize our EDC down to the ounce.
You need a kit that’s comfortable to carry at all times. Don’t take the chance of leaving it at home, because that might be the very day that you need it!
For medical supplies, the price varies remarkably when it comes to the quality of items. While you don’t want cheap products, like adhesive bandages that fall off, you also don’t have to get the very best, either.
Remember, this is only a first aid kit and not a doctor’s office. As long as the products are not poorly-manufactured, even basic, off-brand items are acceptable.
Which supplies are necessary is a tricky question to answer. Depending on your particular circumstances, you may want to add or remove certain items to suit your needs. An EDC loadout tailored to an urban setting might not look the same as one geared toward the consummate outdoorsman.
Recommended first aid kits
The models listed below are all reviewed favorably by most people. The contents have been carefully chosen to suit most first aid situations. If you’re searching for a first aid setup for your EDC, these kits are a good place to start.
Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight and Watertight .5 Medical Kit
Adventure Medical Kits are highly respected and frequently recommended by athletes, campers, preppers, and a wide range of everyday users. While they have a number of sizes available, the .5 is probably the best for EDC. This kit is very small, light, and has many positive reviews.
Buyers of the .5 medical kit say it’s extremely well-thought out and contains a great selection of first aid supplies. The .5 kit can treat small burns, grazes, cuts, blisters—even minor fractures and sprains. It also includes a few common medications, all stored within a compact, waterproof, high-visibility pouch.
One potential concern with this kit is that it doesn’t include as many items as you might want. However, it’s amazing for something this size. If you do feel like something’s missing, there’s extra space to store a few additions.
AMK has a range of great first aid kits—all with fantastic reviews. If you want a more complete medical kit, check out the 0.7 model, which, although obviously larger, is still suitable for a backpack EDC.
Lifeline 57 Piece Trail Light Dayhiker
This is a very small kit, so there’s no excuse to leave home without it. Reviewers say this kit from Lifeline contains most of the supplies they need for basic first aid. However, it may not offer enough to please everyone. Like any first aid kit, you’ll find yourself updating and adding to the kit, as well as replacing used items. There’s plenty of space for extra supplies in the handy pouch.
For a price that’s just a little more than box of adhesive bandages, you get a lot for your money. What you don’t get is the hassle of buying everything from scratch. Plus, some of the included items can be hard to find elsewhere. That’s a bargain!
From hikers and bikers to subway riders, reviewers say the Light Dayhiker is great little pack that has most of what they need. While it does not contain an exhaustive list of medical supplies, it’s perfect for EDC and is available at a great price.
Don’t let a minor injury ruin your day: get yourself a good everyday carry first aid kit. Because cuts, burns, and other minor injuries can occur anywhere and are always unexpected, you need a first aid kit at all times. A good EDC first aid kit will be compact and lightweight, and offer a range of well-planned, quality items that treat most common injuries.
As there’s space to add extra items as needed, and because it’s already one of the most well-stocked kits of its size, we recommend the AMK 0.5 model as the best first aid kit for EDC.