The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Best First Aid Kit of 2020

The right first aid kit is the one you bring with you. In this case  the AMK Ultralight/Watertight .7 provided much-needed blister relief on a 25 mile run in Yosemite NP.
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor
Monday September 21, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
Our expert gear testers have spent five years utilizing over 20 of the best first aid kits. For 2020, our selection includes 12 top-performing and popular first aid kits available. Kits were evaluated using a set of predefined metrics to allow us to rank and score these kits against each other fairly and evenly. Our test team is comprised of mountain guides and Wilderness First Responders who have a high need for quality medical supplies and have a higher level of training than the average person, making this review a trusted source of information about this critical piece of equipment that we hope you never have to use.

Top 12 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 12
≪ Previous | Compare | Next ≫

Best Kit Overall


Surviveware Small


Editors' Choice Award

$36.95
(8% off)
at Amazon
See It

82
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Quality - 20% 9
  • Usefulness - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Weight - 20% 7
Total Weight: 13.6 oz | First Aid Manual: No
Versatile
Well-organized
Sturdy packaging
Quality components
Supplies limited
Heavy
Low quantities

The Surviveware Small first aid kit is comprised of good quality supplies in a rugged case. Compact but not tiny, this kit features all the things you will need to treat small and large injuries. It has quality components that increase its value like hospital-grade forceps, trauma shears, and ace bandages. We appreciate that this small travel-sized kit includes gloves and a CPR mask.

We were a bit surprised by the absence of over-the-counter medicines in this kit, so that is one component you will need to stock yourself. We also added extra tape on most trips, as well as an extra pair of gloves. The case has plenty of extra space, so you can easily add more supplies to your kit to fit the needs of your trip.

Read review: Surviveware Small

Best Bang for Your Buck


Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker


Best Buy Award

$24.99
at Amazon
See It

74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Quality - 20% 8
  • Usefulness - 20% 6
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 8
Total Weight: 10 oz | First Aid Manual: Yes
Compact
Very packable
Great value-to-cost ratio
Contains medications
Minimalist
No CPR mask
Minimal quantities

The AMK Mountain Series Hiker kit is an excellent value. It's a compact kit that is barely as wide as a postcard, making it easy to squeeze into even the smallest of daypacks. It only weighs 10 ounces, and you can reduce the weight even further by taking out the first aid book. This is one of our favorite kits to bring along on day hikes, multi-pitch rock climbs, and mountain bike rides due to its small stature and its high quality-to-value ratio.

We recommend this product based on its value alone. However, it lacks a CPR mask and extra nitrile gloves, thus offering less protection to the user against bloodborne pathogens and making it less versatile. These components can later be added to the kit. The quantities in this kit are pretty slim, so it's most appropriate as a solo kit or for a group of two heading out on a short trip.

Read review: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker

Best for Day Hiking and Lightweight Adventures


Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Quality - 20% 8
  • Usefulness - 20% 6
  • Durability - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 20% 5
  • Weight - 20% 9
Total Weight: 8 oz | First Aid Manual: No
Low weight
Water-resistant case
Good quality implements
Small
Only good for smaller groups
Low quantities of components

If you're looking for a minimal, but useful, kit to toss in your pack for daily adventures, the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 is our top recommendation. We bring this kit along on adventurous days because it's reliable when you need it but goes unnoticed in your pack when you don't. It contains quality components in a lightweight package. The case is also waterproof and seemed to hold up well.

This kit is geared toward fast and light travel and lacks a few standard first aid items, such as a CPR mask, trauma shears, and ankle tape (the tape included is too thin for effective ankle wraps). Our testers chose to add these items to assemble a more inspiring yet still lightweight kit. It obtains its pack size and weight in part due to its low quantity of materials, which means you will have to resupply the kit more often. These caveats seemed to limit the usefulness of the Ultralight/Watertight .7 to day trips not too far from the trailhead. Although it can meet basic first aid needs, you probably shouldn't rely on it for far-out or extended trips into the wilderness.

Read review: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7

Best for Travel


Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel


Top Pick Award

$49.95
at REI
See It

64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Quality - 20% 7
  • Usefulness - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 5
Total Weight: 17 oz | First Aid Manual: Yes
Quality
Useful first aid guide and visual aid
Includes medicines for travel-related illnesses
Not our favorite carrying case
No scissors

The AMK Smart Travel Kit stands out as an ideal offering for world travelers. This kit could be brought along on a hiking trip, but we found it to be best suited towards someone going on a vacation or a trip abroad. The included materials and medications are more applicable, such as an easy to use visual guide to support people with a language barrier at foreign clinics. The Smart Travel Kit has everything you need, except a passport.

The Smart Travel Kit is designed to be used on the go and can be hung from the back of a door. It's made of durable material that should resist wear and tear. This kit's main drawback is its layout and organizational structure, which was underwhelming compared to other products. We still feel like this first aid kit has a lot to offer to those who are traveling, especially in foreign countries, and it's small enough that people living out of their luggage should be able to bring it along without going over the weight limit.

Read review: Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel

Best for Large Groups and Long Trips


Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer


Top Pick Award

$54.37
(8% off)
at Amazon
See It

70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Quality - 20% 8
  • Usefulness - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 20% 7
  • Weight - 20% 5
Total Weight: 21 oz | First Aid Manual: Yes
Quality
Useful first aid guide
Excellent organization
High quantities
Needs more gloves
No ace bandages

The Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer is a great choice for large groups and longer trips. Many of the kits that we feature in our review are for minor, incidental injuries that occur close to the home or while on light hikes near the car. Since many of us also travel on extended sojourns deep into the forests, mountains, and deserts far away from definitive care, you may need more to really be prepared. This first aid kit provides a more comprehensive set of supplies to deal with heavier bleeding, a wider range of medicines, and extra informational resources to help you select the best course of treatment when you are unable to communicate directly with a medical professional.

Best suited for long trips far from the trailhead, this is not solely meant for overnight excursions. We also found it useful on day trips with large group sizes, so that we would have the resources to treat many small incidents and one large event.

Read review: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer

Best for Basecamp Use


MyMedic MyFAK


Top Pick Award

$120 List
List Price
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Quality - 20% 9
  • Usefulness - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 20% 8
  • Weight - 20% 3
Total Weight: 31 oz | First Aid Manual: Yes (eBook)
Excellent quality
Well-organized with a tear-away pocket kit
Advanced tools for injury and illness treatment
First Aid book only available as a digital eBook
Expensive

The MyMedic MyFAK is the burliest first aid kit that we have reviewed. It looks and feels like something that a combat medic might be issued. This kit features the heavy-duty medical gear that most other kits lack. Pressure bandages, saline irrigation tubes, medical-grade thermometers, and trauma shears are just a few of the quality equipment included.

This kit is bulky and heavy, which means you probably won't be bringing it along for shorter hikes. More than other kits, this model will be appreciated by those with legit medical experience. It is best for situations that require medical attention in remote areas when you don't have to worry too much about the weight of the first aid kit. We like this kit for car camping, job sites, off-road driving, or other activities where you can establish a well-stocked home base.

Read review: MyMedic MyFAK


A sampling of the many first aid kits we test year-round.
A sampling of the many first aid kits we test year-round.

Why You Should Trust Us


For review author and Mountain Guide Ryan Huetter, first aid isn't something to be taken lightly. As a mountain professional, injury prevention is his primary risk management tool, but he always carries a quality, well-stocked first aid kit for both personal and professional trips. Ryan holds a bachelor's degree in Outdoor Adventure Management from Western Washington University, and since earning this degree, he's racked up an impressive climbing resume, with over twenty Yosemite big walls and seven seasons in Patagonia, including an ascent of Fitz Roy. He is a fully certified IFMGA mountain guide and works around the world, guiding rock, ski, and alpine climbing trips.

Testing these kits was a combination of close examination, taking them out in our packs on several trips, and using them during Wilderness First Responder (WFR) courses. During the WFR training, we gave the kits to both novices and first aid veterans while noting the ease and effectiveness with which they were used. We took everything apart and evaluated the quality of the contents. We weighed the kits on a digital scale and comparing our measurements against the manufacturer's specs. We tested these kits strictly using trauma simulated during WFR training. The diversity of injuries and the simulated environment was an effective approach to gain loads of hands-on data to produce a comprehensive review.

Related: How We Tested First Aid Kits

Lots of items fit into this small case  and the back has a handy inventory checklist.
The cold compress used in this kit was the only one that worked  and it got quite cold!
One of the best items in this kit is the pre-cut moleskin  which is actually an Adventure Medical Kits product.

Analysis and Test Results


Our methods of testing involved investigating all the items inside the case and using them in real or simulated medical incidents and emergencies. To score all models in an equal manner, we devised several test metrics based on the most important performance aspects users will likely demand from these kits. Below, we discuss the significance of each metric and the notable performers in every area.

Related: Buying Advice for First Aid Kits


Value


You can purchase a small watertight bag and make your custom kit. However, this is a time-consuming process, and the costs add up quickly.

You'd likely end up with plenty of supplies to restock your kit, but you'd have to spend much more than the price of a pre-built model. For those that want to forego this slow and expensive venture, retail first aid kits offer excellent value.

For about the same price  the Swiss Safe offers way more quantities than smaller kits  which could make it more valuable to you. It's a poorer choice  though  when heading out into the backcountry due to its size and weight.
For about the same price, the Swiss Safe offers way more quantities than smaller kits, which could make it more valuable to you. It's a poorer choice, though, when heading out into the backcountry due to its size and weight.

Tradeoffs in this gear category are typically the quality and quantity of the contents. A kit stuffed full of items of dubious utility doesn't provide the same value as a kit with a more selective approach to its contents, focusing on fewer, but higher quality contents. We would like to note that your specific needs can change the value of any product.

Quality


This is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a first aid kit. To test the quality of each particular kit, we carefully examined the tools, medical supplies, medications, and storage case or pouch.


It's frustrating to pull a component from a kit and have it underperform when you need it — just because the manufacturer wanted to save on costs. The quality of the components in the different models in our fleet ranged dramatically. For example, some came with solid trauma shears similar to those a paramedic uses in an ambulance. In contrast, other kits had small scissors made from cheap plastic that bent once we attempted to cut something with them. Unreliable tools in your kit exponentially decrease its utility, especially in time-sensitive situations.

The range of shears included in the kits went from hospital grade on top  to kindergarten grade on the bottom.
The range of shears included in the kits went from hospital grade on top, to kindergarten grade on the bottom.

Other items that exhibited a wide range of quality were the rolls of tape, triangle bandages, tweezers, and CPR masks. Overall, the Adventure Medical Kits, Surviveware, and MyFAK models impressed us with their high-quality components. We evaluated quality control from the manufacturer to ensure the list of contents matched the included supplies. We ensured any medication was in good standing with at least a year margin before its expiration date from when we purchased the kits.

Excelling in quality  the MyFAK kit has well-organized  name-brand materials that are sealed for better longevity.
Excelling in quality, the MyFAK kit has well-organized, name-brand materials that are sealed for better longevity.

While many of the first aid kits we tested contain supplies made in China, there is a wide range of quality in these medical supply manufacturers. Adventure Medical is no exception, but their kits are filled with higher quality products made by a reputable manufacturer. Thus, Adventure Medical Kits and HART Health have better quality control overall than others like I Go or First Aid Only. The Surviveware Small also backed up its quality contents with dependable quality control.

While we loved most everything about this kit  the shears were just too big  and so despite padding  they resulted in a puncture of the carrying case.
While we loved most everything about this kit, the shears were just too big, and so despite padding, they resulted in a puncture of the carrying case.

Another factor in this metric is a kit's internal organization. When medical incidents strike, it's reassuring to have your first aid contents clearly labeled and easy to find. The AMK Explorer, Hiker, and the MyFAK are a few of our favorites for their intuitive and intentionally designed organization features. Supplies in these kits are easy to locate, remove, and put into action. Fold-out organizer pockets and removable mini kits aid are our favorite methods of organization. Other models forced us to dig excessively or remove everything to find our desired item. After a few uses, they became hopelessly cluttered, which negatively impacts the entire kit's overall useability.

The organization of the MyFAK was one of the best in this review.
The organization of the MyFAK was one of the best in this review.

Usefulness


Given the potential scenarios we might encounter on a trail or mountainside when far from home, we want to be confident that the bulky bag of medical supplies we've been hauling along is going to be useful. We scored these kits based on how useful they were for their given weight. Of course, a large group could carry a duffel-sized first aid kit with incredible usefulness, but we wanted to see how well the smaller, streamlined overnight kits fared.


Each model was scored on how useful the components are in a wilderness medicine situation. The Surviveware is full of useful items, like hospital-grade trauma shears and fine point tweezers, and not a lot of extra items that serve little or no purpose. It is heavy, but if you are engaging in activities with a high probability of serious injury, the MyFAK kit is perhaps the best equipped to handle large wounds among kits of its size. Kits that were heavy on bulky dressings and wound closure strips, but lacked over the counter medications or blister kits, did not rate as highly as those kits that had a more balanced range of supplies. Well-balanced kits provide enhanced versatility and allow you to take care of common trail injuries and the occasional serious one.

Be wary. Some manufacturers name their kits based on the number of pieces in the kit. This can overstate the utility of a kit by exaggerating how well-stocked they actually are. Does it matter if a kit has 299 pieces if 175 of them are just bandaids?

Irrigation syringes are useful for cleaning wounds in the field. Viren Perumal cleans a large avulsion on Julie Perumal's hand during trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
Irrigation syringes are useful for cleaning wounds in the field. Viren Perumal cleans a large avulsion on Julie Perumal's hand during trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon.

The Smart Travel model is incredibly useful for its designed application. As the name implies, it serves its user best when it's tucked in a carry-on during domestic or international trips. It receives a high score in this metric due to its great utility in travel scenarios, with its inclusion of antidiarrheals, rehydration salts, and a visual aid for communication across language barriers. However, it lacks some essentials for effective wilderness use.

This handy two-sided card allows you to point to reference injuries or illnesses   bypassing potential language barriers.
This handy two-sided card allows you to point to reference injuries or illnesses , bypassing potential language barriers.

As for cold compresses, we aren't entirely convinced of their necessity in a first aid kit. Modern medical courses have done away with the old standby RICE treatment (rest, ice, compress, elevate) from the current curriculum. Instead of treating with cold, current recommendations are to treat acute injuries with light movement. We've seen kits where the cold compresses did not work, such as the Swiss Safe, which barely became cool, or the First Aid Only, which never activated. We also noted that the kits with weighty additions did not necessarily increase the overall usefulness. For example, pressure-activated compresses can be readily replaced with things like stuff sacks full of snow or bandanas dipped in mountain streams. Those who leave their kits in the trunk of the car for roadside emergencies may find a need for glow sticks, but anyone who is going into the backcountry will likely already be carrying a headlamp and spare batteries. We think it's best to balance the need to treat things with specialized items with being resourceful.

Peaceful group yoga session in front of Banner Peak? Yes  until one of the group stepped on a fishhook and had to utilize the quality metal forceps to remove it! It would have been a painful extraction without those useful tools.
Peaceful group yoga session in front of Banner Peak? Yes, until one of the group stepped on a fishhook and had to utilize the quality metal forceps to remove it! It would have been a painful extraction without those useful tools.

How many people you plan to serve with your kit is also a key consideration. A small, lightweight kit like the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 could be incredibly useful for a day trip for a one or two-person group, but it pales in comparison to the usefulness of a deeper kit when traveling in a group of 3 or 4, such as the Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer. When going out with larger groups, make sure you bring enough supplies. We often add extra gloves, moleskin, bandages, tape, and medications, leaving the quantities of the less frequently used materials the same.

Durability


It's important to consider the durability of the bag and tools that you are buying because these are two components that will stay with you for the lifetime of the kit. Individual components will need to be replaced either from use or expiration (such as medications). We generally don't perform first aid on ourselves or hiking partners every day that we go out, so our kits can languish unused at the bottom of our packs for long stretches of time. While periodically checking to ensure that the contents are still in good condition is mandatory, we also expect long-term quality from the equipment we rely on during an emergency.


Some commercial organizations require that kits be re-inventoried after each trip. Many recreational users, however, may find that an unrealistic standard to follow. At the very least, keep your kit stocked up on consumable items like moleskin, over-the-counter drugs, and tape. To avoid being surprised by a fully depleted supply of an important item, you'll want to give your kit a full inventory once every few trips. Several of the manufacturers of these kits, such as Surviveware and Adventure Medical Kits, not only include a list of contents with which to inventory your bag, but also an easy medical supply reordering service so that you know that you are getting similar quality items to refresh your depleted stores.

You should feel free to resupply your kits based on other lists as well, and with what you actually need for your intended application. The Washington Trails Association has a great list of supplies to use when you're ready to restock your kit.

Students on a Wilderness First Responder refresher course utilizing our first aid kits to tape a "patient's" ankle.
Students on a Wilderness First Responder refresher course utilizing our first aid kits to tape a "patient's" ankle.

The kit's storage case itself also reflects the types of trips you take. Those embarking on backpacking trips will likely benefit from having a case that secures the contents from damage and would do well to seek out a heavy nylon pouch like the one the Surviveware comes with. We were impressed with the effort put into making the AMK Ultralight/Watertight's bag, which is weather-resistant and protects the kit's components with a reversed watertight zipper and taped seams. Other products like the Be Smart Get Prepared kit uses a hard-plastic case that can be wall-mounted for easy access in a workplace setting.

The durable AMK Hiker case makes it a great choice for climbing and hiking.
The durable AMK Hiker case makes it a great choice for climbing and hiking.

Repackage groups of supplies together in ziplock bags, so that in the event of submersion, or the explosion of an antibiotic ointment tube, your kit's contents remain protected, and the mess is contained.

The contents of the bag need to be durable and able to hold up to the rigors of use. Although most kits we tested were not labeled as waterproof or even water-resistant, by containing the supplies in individual and resealable packages, a kit can be made more durable for wet or humid environments. We still suggest an additional dry bag when in these climates to keep your supplies from spoiling. It is not only annoying but also unsafe when bandages have opened up inside your kit due to moisture because they are no longer sterile.

The Ultralight/Watertight .7 will not last forever  as the inner plastic bag does deteriorate over time rendering it less than watertight.
The Ultralight/Watertight .7 will not last forever, as the inner plastic bag does deteriorate over time rendering it less than watertight.

Versatility For Multiple Environments and Group Size


This category takes into account how large of a group the different kits could serve and the range of activities they are good for. A kit lost points if it was too heavy and did not have the added benefit of being able to serve more people in a remote environment.


The most versatile models are those with the highest quality components and good weight-to-usefulness ratios. We also tried to consider how many potential injuries a kit could treat — some kits boast an astounding number of supplies but are mostly just stocked with simple bandaids and cotton swabs. We reviewed two kits that rose to the top for use on longer trips and with big groups, the AMK Explorer and the MyFAK. Both offer bigger-than-average storage for a wider range of supplies, making them the most versatile on extended trips. The Explorer boasts versatility on long trips and for larger groups, while the MyFAK is best utilized in a basecamp scenario. It's also our favorite for dealing with severe trauma.

The bigger your group  the bigger your kit should be. Consider the first aid kit to be group gear  and account for the worst as well as most common injuries possible.
The bigger your group, the bigger your kit should be. Consider the first aid kit to be group gear, and account for the worst as well as most common injuries possible.

Too often, we found kits filled dozens of bandages and alcohol wipes, perfect for small cuts and scrapes, but when we tried to find a piece of moleskin for a small blister or a roll of tape wide enough to effectively stabilize an ankle, we were out of luck. The Swiss Safe kit also included a small pocket kit, but this was not incredibly useful on its own.

On some group trips  we decide to bring a single main first aid kit and supplement with each individual carrying their own blister kit and medications  as these can be depleted quickly within a group.
On some group trips, we decide to bring a single main first aid kit and supplement with each individual carrying their own blister kit and medications, as these can be depleted quickly within a group.

The I Go displayed little versatility among the small kits. We continually swapped out tape, tools, and medications from more quality kits such as the AMK Hiker or the Surviveware Small to feel more confident in our abilities to provide effective treatments. And while we liked the usefulness of the Smart Travel kit in travel scenarios, it was far from being an all-around champ.

Buy the first aid kit you are actually going to bring with you on your trip. There is no sense in getting the best and biggest kit if it sits in your car because it is too heavy to carry with you.

Just because your kit isn't as versatile out of the box as you would like it to be, don't let that stop you from replacing consumable items like athletic tape or moleskin with the supplies you actually need and use. After reviewing each individual kit, we began mixing the contents to build the ultimate kits for both short and long trips. By combining the Surviveware Small kit and the AMK Ultralight/Watertight .7, we found that we had an excellent selection of resources. We were able to build a robust kit perfect for a large group on an extended trip. And by splitting them up, we could reduce weight and size as well as compensate for some of their individual deficiencies, such as the lack of shears in the Ultralight/Watertight .7.

If your group size is large enough (over 4-6), then you might consider opting for the double kit system we mentioned above. Groups do split up, itineraries can change, and injured or ill victims may require evacuation while other group members stay in the field, so having the option to split up resources is a good idea. Even for short hikes away from camp, it can be nice to take a small kit with you while the large base kit stays in camp.

Over the counter medications make a first aid kit much more versatile.
Over the counter medications make a first aid kit much more versatile.

Weight and Size


We measured the weight of all the kits in our review, and ranked the different models accordingly, while also considering what contents they included. Except for one kit, all were compact enough to fit into a daypack, which was the shortest test scenario for our review.


Some kits like the I Go were quite light but filled with unnecessary or bulky supplies that undermine their packability. While sitting in the middle of the pack at 13.6 ounces, the Surviveware kit scored well because of how much you can do with it without the extra baggage. A key consideration in cases where every ounce and cubic inch matter, such as alpine climbing and lightweight backpacking, we awarded the top score to the AMK Ultralight/Watertight .7 due to its weight and usefulness in these specialized applications, and give an honorable mention to the scant 10-ounce AMK Hiker and HART kits.

From Left to Right  Home based (Be Smart Get Prepared)  Overnight (Surviveware Small)  and Day Trip model (Adventure Medical .7).
From Left to Right, Home based (Be Smart Get Prepared), Overnight (Surviveware Small), and Day Trip model (Adventure Medical .7).

If you're mostly river boating or car camping, a heavier or bulkier model should work fine. The main outlier in this metric was the Be Smart Get Prepared model, which is a home and office-specific product that is hard to compare to others designed for wilderness outings. Our favorite kit that is less likely to come with us on a hiking trip but is actually super useful and addresses heavy trauma better than any kit we tested is the MyFAK by MyMedic. Car and home-based kits can afford to have greater quantities of common supplies as well as heavier and bulkier components like Ace wrap bandages and cold compresses since space and weight are not an issue. The Red Cross has a great list of items that should be considered for a home kit.

AMK's Smart Travel model also lands on the heavier side of the spectrum, yet it's appropriate for its intended usage. Several extra ounces in a suitcase is less of a concern than it is in a backpack. Furthermore, if you are skilled and confident enough to embark without needing the first aid manual in the Smart Travel model, you can save weight and space by leaving it at home. If you aren't trained in first aid, however, it's probably best to bring the manual along, and it's a good piece of reading material when you finish the group's shared copy of Moby Dick.

An incredibly useful resource for traveling  especially when you are away from an internet connection.
An incredibly useful resource for traveling, especially when you are away from an internet connection.

Most of the overnight models we looked at were of similar size because you can only go so small without compromising on the contents you bring with you. The day-tripping models that garnered such high scores in this metric were indeed featherweight — there is no comparing the Surviveware to the slim AMK Ultralight/Watertight .7 — though be careful how light you go before you lose the usefulness you desire.

Two different ends of the weight spectrum  these award-winning kits are both incredibly useful but appropriate for much different applications.
Two different ends of the weight spectrum, these award-winning kits are both incredibly useful but appropriate for much different applications.

Two of the heaviest models that we would actually take with us on a trip rather than leave behind at home or in the car are the AMK Mountain Series Explorer and the MyFAK. Both of these kits are much better suited for big groups, long trips, or heavy trauma with their extensive toolsets. Each fills a slightly different role — the Explorer received an award for keeping weight and bulk low while still offering the ability to care for multiple people for multiple days. The MyFAK gets its own award for being so burly and of such high quality while recognizing its best use is in a basecamp scenario. Weight matters, but life-saving equipment weighs something, so you might just have to suck it up and leave that extra flask of sleeping aid behind!

Conclusion


Everyone needs a quality first aid kit. Whether you never leave the house or you go out for multi-day treks deep into the mountains, you should be prepared for unforeseen medical emergencies from minor cuts to major trauma. Frontcountry and backcountry users alike will keep themselves, their friends, and bystanders safer if they're equipped with a first aid kit. We hope that you never need to use them, but being prepared is the first step after prevention. Thanks for reading this review, and stay safe out there doing the things you love to do!

Ryan Huetter