If there’s one piece of advice we’d give to all travelers, it’s plan for the best, prepare for the worst.

Travel – whether backpacking through rugged backcountry or lounging at a beach resort – is unpredictable. Accidents can happen anywhere, any time, and preparedness is the best way to prevent a mishap from becoming something much more serious or downright dangerous.

Whatever you do, don’t consider a travel first aid kit as a nice-to-have packing list item. Especially if you’re an adventurous traveler that partakes in high-risk activities, or you’re traveling to a remote, third-world, or under-served area – a travel medical kit stocked with essentials is a must-have.

Having a first aid kit on hand doesn’t need to mean hauling a lot of extra weight, but you need to carefully consider where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and how large your travel party is when making your final decision.

To help you choose the right travel medicine kit to keep you and your travel buddy safe during any type of venture, we’ve compiled this list of best travel first aid kits…

Let’s get to it…

Quick Answer: These are the Best Travel First Aid Kits of 2020

#1 – Overall Best Travel First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel

AMK Smart Travel First Aid Kit is our pick for overall best travel first aid kit

Specs
  • Best Use: Travel/Backpacking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): multiple days
  • Weight: 1 lb. 1 oz.
  • People: 1 – 2

When it comes to a travel first aid kit that has it all, this Adventure Medical kit doesn’t disappoint. The contents are neatly organized into clearly labeled compartments that help you quickly identify what you need by treatment type – medical information, medications, and wound care.

It makes for the best backpacking first aid kit because it has everything you need to treat blisters, plus pain or fever medication, all types of bandages, antibiotic ointments, and antiseptic.

A useful item that’s included is a rehydration mix that can be a real lifesaver on an intense, hot day outdoors. The travel emergency kit also includes a disposable thermometer and forceps to remove splinters or ticks.

Another huge plus is its packability and portability. The three compartments fold into a carrying case with a hook that lets you easily hang it anywhere. It’s not the lightest option, but it’s compact and well-equipped for trips lasting over multiple days. For a travel medical kit fit for solo or couple travel, the Smart Travel First Aid Kit is the best.

Pros
  • Ultra organized and clearly labeled for quick access to needed supplies
  • Includes a variety of treatments for sickness, pain, and injuries/wounds
Cons

#2 – Best Travel First Aid Kit for Long-term Travel

Adventure Medical Kits World Travel First Aid Medical Supply Kit

Adventure Medical Kits World Travel

Meet the best travel first aid kit for long term travel: AMK World Travel First Aid Kit

Specs
  • Best Use: Travel
  • Number of days (kit is good for): multiple days
  • Weight: 1 lb. 9 oz.
  • People: 1 – 4

For travelers with plans for a lengthy trip overseas – especially to third-world or remote areas with limited access to medical aid – this world travel first aid is the best back-up you could have. There’s even a visual communication tool you can use when language is a barrier to getting the medical care you need.

It’s not uncommon while traveling for an extended period to encounter bad roads that are sometimes impossible to drive, to have bad cell phone reception, or simply be unable to communicate.

So it’s important to feel safe knowing you have access to a variety of first aid items should an emergency occur. You’ll enjoy peace of mind with all the emergency supplies this travel medical kit contains for injuries, wounds, bleeding, and other issues that need immediate care.

 If you get adventurous with foreign food and your stomach doesn’t agree with your bravery, there are several OTC medication options to help you out. There’s also extra space to add custom items to complete your stockpile. The amount and array of options in this travel emergency kit for extended trips can’t be beaten.

Pros
  • Wide array of contents is helpful for adventure and remote travel
  • Has a Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel book with medical tips and advanced patient care info
Cons
  • Must be packed into luggage due to its size and weight

#3 – Best Travel First Aid Kit for Active Weekends

HART Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

HART Outdoor Weekend

Our top pick for the best travel first aid kit for active weekends is HART Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

Specs
  • Best Use: Hiking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 2-3
  • Weight: 9.5 oz.
  • People: 1-2

If a compact, well-rounded travel medical kit that fits easily into your backpack is what you need, then this little guy is perfect. It packs a surprisingly large amount of your essentials to cover you for common outdoor afflictions and other small emergencies. The large pockets have some room to spare to add custom items that suit your needs.

The transparent pockets are clearly labeled, and there’s even a supply list printed on the back that makes it easy to keep track of its contents and what needs restocking.

Including adhesive bandages, OTC medications for common ailments, gauze, and wound-care products, the Hart Outdoor travel first aid kit is the ideal addition to your weekend packing list and worth every inch of space.

Pros
  • Clam-shell design for packability and easy access to contents
  • Includes a small manual with basic first-aid how-to’s
Cons
  • Doesn’t include tweezers for splinter removal, so must be added

#4 – Best Travel First Aid Kit for Absolute Minimalists

Adventure Medical Kits Adventure First-Aid 0.5 Survival Tin

Adventure Medical Kits Adventure

The best travel first aid kit for absolute minimalists on our list is AMK 0.5 Survival Tin

Specs
  • Best Use: Hiking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 1-2
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • People: 1-2

This is your travel medicine kit solution if space is really, really tight, and you’re just looking to have the most necessary first aid supplies readily available. You can keep this tiny tin case onhand everywhere you go – whether it’s your backpack or your everyday tote bag. If you get a minor cut or wound, the included bandages and antiseptic wipes will do in a pinch.

If you’re in search of the best backpacking first aid kit for a destination that isn’t terribly high-risk, you can rest assured that the Adventure First Aid Survival Tin won’t be an issue to pack away easily.

But, if you happen to encounter an emergency, the kit includes a mini rescue howler whistle to signal for help. Again, this is a very minimalistic kit, so it’s a convenient choice if you’re sure you won’t need more advanced treatment and are safely within reach of medical care in case of an emergency.

Pros
  • Includes essential items for minor wound care
  • Small enough to fit anywhere
Cons
  • Doesn’t have space to add other items
  • Doesn’t include OTC medications or medical tools except for 1 splinter picker and 3 safety pins

#5 – Best Backpacking First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight

This AMK .7 Medical Kit is one of the best backpacking first aid kits around.

Specs
  • Best Use: Backpacking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 1-4
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • People: 1-2

Adventurous backpacking trips come with a handful of potential hazards – from minor blisters and stomach bugs to fractures and sprains. You’ll find the first aid essentials needed to treat common injuries, as well as trauma-care items for more serious events, like fractures or bleeding.

The contents of this travel first aid kit complete the gamut of immediate care while on the go, making the Ultralight Medical Kit the best backpacking first aid kit out there. 

Whether your backpacking ventures involve hiking and zip lining or white water rafting and snorkeling, your first aid essentials will stay safe and dry in the kit’s double-layer waterproof casing.

If you’re unsure about the conditions and elements you’ll face while on your travels, rest assured that this travel medical kit can withstand it all. And it won’t slow you down – weighing less than 8 oz, you’ll be prepared for anything while traveling light.

Pros
  • Designed for multi-sport travelers
  • Has 2-stage waterproofing features to endure all the elements
Cons
  • Doesn’t include separate compartments for organization by need

#6 – Best First Aid Kit for Day Hiking

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Day Tripper Lite Medical Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Day

Our top pick for the best travel first aid kit for day hiking is AMK Day Tripper Lite Medical Kit

Specs
  • Best Use: Hiking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 1
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.
  • People: 2

This travel first aid kit is perfect for day-trippers who love to spend a lot of time outdoors. It has everything a hiker would need to treat minor cuts or wounds while hitting the trail. It contains all your basic first-aid essentials while being small and lightweight enough to pack away easily in your daypack. 

This travel-size first aid kit is organized into injury-specific pockets for quick access to what you need. It includes hiking-friendly items like gauze, moleskin for blisters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, and some OTC medications for common ailments.

It’s conveniently designed to fold in half and zip up to keep everything from falling out. Despite its compact size, it still has space inside to add your own items.

Pros
  • Organized by injury type, with zippered pockets for easy portability
  • Includes items for wound/blister care and OTC medications for common ailments
Cons
  • Doesn’t include separate compartments for organization by need

#7 – Best First Aid Kit for Day Hiking #2

HART Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

HART Outdoor Weekend

Our pick for best first aid kit for day hiking #2 is HART Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

Specs
  • Best Use: Hiking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 2
  • Weight: 9.5 oz.
  • People: 3

If your hiking first aid needs require a level up from the basic essentials to cover a day trip, you’ll want to take a look at the HART Outdoor Weekend kit. This more robust yet compact travel first aid kit comes fully equipped with dirt and sweat-resistant bandages, gauze, wound cleansers, topical relief creams, OTC medications, and more.

The clear, labeled pockets make the contents easy to find, and the kit’s roomy pockets have space to add your own custom items. You’ll have everything you need at your fingertips when you include this handy travel first aid kit in your hiking arsenal.

Pros
  • Contents are organized into labeled pockets
  • Supply list printed on the back for easy identification of contents
Cons
  • Doesn’t include separate compartments for organization by need

#8 – Best Dog First Aid Kit for Travel

Adventure Medical Kits ADS Me And My Dog First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits ADS Me And My Dog

The best dog first aid kit for travel is Adventure Medical Kits ADS Me And My Dog First Aid Kit

Specs
  • Best Use: Hiking
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 1-3
  • Weight: 1 lb 8 oz.
  • People: 1 + dog

When it comes to first aid preparedness, it’s important to consider all your loved ones – including your four-legged travel buddy. This handy travel first aid kit has everything you need to treat and provide immediate medical care to both your human and canine companions.

Useful canine-specific items include a triangular bandage to muzzle your dog for safe first aid administration, self-adhering bandages that don’t stick to fur, a splinter/tick remover that can be used on both humans and pets, a 5-inch nylon leash, and more. Venture off with more peace of mind knowing that all outdoor adventurers are covered.

Pros
  • Includes dog-friendly medications and wound treatment items
  • Manual includes information for pet first aid
Cons
  • A bit heavy for lightweight travel
Want to save the world?
Grayl Geopress Water Purifier Bottle

Another must-have piece of kit that sort of goes hand in hand with a first aid kit? Meet the Grayl Geopress…

The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered.

Read our full review of the GRAYL GEOPRESS!

Honorable Mention for the Pros:

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Guide Medical Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Guide
Specs
  • Best Use: Mountaineering
  • Number of days (kit is good for): 14
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 2.4 oz.
  • People: 7

For those who need a more robust, all-inclusive travel first aid kit, we’ve included this larger-sized medical kit on the list. This is good for trip leaders going to say, K2 Base Camp, or for any type of group adventure travel.

This travel medical kit includes enough to administer first aid care to several people over the course of multiple days. It includes more advanced tools like hospital-quality EMT shears, a digital thermometer, and a CPR face shield.

A kit map organized into injury-specific pockets is printed on the back of the case that identifies where to find the contents you need at any given time. For large-group first aid care, the Mountain Series Guide medical kit is the best all-inclusive compact travel emergency kit for guides.

Pros
  • Includes everything a professional guide needs for any type of emergency out in the wilderness
  • The organized layout makes what you need easy to find by treatment type
Cons
  • Has extra space to add items, but not very much without the bag getting too tight
Product
Description
Overall Best Travel First Aid Kit
Overall Best Travel First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel First Aid Kit

  • > $$
  • > Includes a disposable thermometer and forceps
  • > Packability and portability
Best Travel First Aid Kit for Long-term Travel
Best Travel First Aid Kit for Long-term Travel

Adventure Medical Kits World Travel First Aid Medical Supply Kit

  • > $$$
  • > Visual communication tool
  • > Extra space to add custom items
Best Travel First Aid Kit for Active Weekends
Best Travel First Aid Kit for Active Weekends

HART Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

  • > $
  • > Large pockets
  • > Supply list printed on the back
Best Travel First Aid Kit for Absolute Minimalists
Best Travel First Aid Kit for Absolute Minimalists

Adventure Medical Kits Adventure First-Aid 0.5 Survival Tin

  • > $
  • > Tiny tin case
  • > Includes a mini rescue howler whistle
Best Backpacking First Aid Kit
Best Backpacking First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit

  • > $$
  • > Complete the gamut of immediate care
  • > Double-layer waterproof casing
Best First Aid Kit for Day Hiking
Best First Aid Kit for Day Hiking

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Day Tripper Lite Medical Kit

  • > $
  • > Small and lightweight
  • > Designed to fold in half and zip up
Best First Aid Kit for Day Hiking #2
Best First Aid Kit for Day Hiking #2

HART Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

  • > $
  • > More robust yet compact travel first aid kit
  • > Clear, labeled pockets
Best Dog First Aid Kit for Travel
Best Dog First Aid Kit for Travel

Adventure Medical Kits ADS Me And My Dog First Aid Kit

  • > $$
  • > Both for human and canine companions
  • > Include a triangular bandage

How to Choose the Best Backpacking and Travel First Aid Kit

Trip Length 

Most travel first aid kits have a rating about how many days worth of supplies they can contain. Make sure you’re choosing a medical kit in line with the actual length of your trip. You need to stay safe and prepared the entire time, but don’t want to slow yourself down with medical-supply overkill.

best travel first aid kits
Pack a first aid kit every time you head out. Photo: Chris Lininger

If you’re going on a rugged ten-day hiking trip, opting for a small kit made for one or two days – while lightweight and compact – leaves you at risk for lack of supplies in cases of emergency. Whereas packing a large travel medical kit in your backpack for a day hike means hauling around unnecessary extra weight.

Number of People in Your Group 

This is also an important factor to consider. Do you travel alone, with your partner, or with a bigger group? You want to make sure your kit contains enough of the essentials to cover everyone. If you’re in a big group and everyone gets a stomach bug simultaneously, having enough medication to treat every traveler is key.

best first aid kit for travel
Keep all of your amigos safe. Photo: Chris Lininger

If you’re a solo traveler, a compact and lightweight kit will likely suffice. If you travel alone to remote, rugged terrain areas, you may want to consider a travel first aid kit with room to add extra items that may not be included in the smaller kits. Always think about how you can be prepared to stay safe as a solo traveler if medical aid isn’t in proximity.

Adding Stuff to Your First Aid Kit 

Adding more items to your travel first aid kit may be necessary for solo and non-solo travelers alike. Depending on where you’re hiking or traveling, making custom additions to the kit’s supply is highly recommended. In times of Covid, masks and hand sanitizer are the obvious choice. 

what to pack for a hike
Adding extras for a place like Pakistan is a must. Photo: Chris Lininger

If you’re traveling to third-world countries or for long periods of time in a foreign country, it’s a good idea to have a general stomach bug antibiotic, like Ciprioflaxin, included in your kit. For intense hiking or activity in hot, humid areas, consider having electrolytes on hand. There are other medications you can customize, such as motion sickness pills.

Weight 

It’s also important to honestly ask yourself how much weight you’re willing to carry. Medical pills and small items may seem low-weight enough, but every ounce can add up quickly. This is especially true for backpackers, as every bit of weight means a heavier load to haul around on your back.

osprey aether 70
If are already hauling gear, keep your kit light, yet stocked with what you need. Photo: Chris Lininger

Either way, carefully consider your needs vs. weight limits. Definitely don’t sacrifice an important item that is essential in keeping you safe in cases of emergency just to save a few ounces, but do your best to determine how much you can handle.

Waterproof or Not 

If you are traveling to a rainy place – for example, Thailand during monsoon season – having a waterproof first aid kit is not a bad idea. Bandages and medications are enclosed in paper wrapping, and getting them wet can ruin them for use.

If you have a waterproof backpack that your travel first aid kit will be stored in, then having a waterproof case may not be necessary. If you’re unsure, consider getting a waterproof kit, just in case.

grayl geopress forest
Keeping your kit dry in wet conditions is very important! Photo: Chris Lininger

If any part of your travel involves water activities – rafting, boating, etc. – then a watertight first aid kit is advised. Especially if you’re using a water-based vessel to explore remote areas, you’ll want to have a dry supply of first aid items readily onhand.

Medical Safety 

Ensure you understand exactly what is inside your kit when you buy it, and know how to use it. If there are many things you don’t need or know how to use, then maybe the contents are too advanced for your own personal needs. Reading the manual if you’re unfamiliar with some of the contents is a good start.

travel first aid kit
Get to know your kit before you need to use it. Photo: Leszek Glasner

Whatever you do, do not use a medication without knowing exactly what it is and its intended use. Do your research or basic first aid training beforehand, or opt for a basic kit with items you are familiar with and knowledgeable about.

While some medications can be used to treat similar symptoms, be sure you know the names, and be knowledgeable about every item you’ll be taking with you for medical purposes.

Travel Insurance

world nomads insurance banner

Ok, you can’t pack travel insurance in your backpack, but you can take out a cheap policy to insure yourself against theft, flight cancellations, accidents, etc. In the end, having insurance is just as important as packing a good travel first aid kit.

I admit I traveled for many years without having travel insurance. Because of it, I paid the price a few times in foreign hospitals and was handed a hefty bill to go with my injuries!

We use either World Nomads or SafetyWing. You’ll be happy you did if the time comes to use it.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our prudent, adventure-loving travelers! This is all you need to know about the best travel first aid kits and best backpacking first aid kits available to suit your needs – and what you need to know to find the right travel medical kit for you.

There are several factors to consider when making a choice, but you’ll be happy you took the time to do your research should the moment arise when you need to use your first aid supplies. 

Good luck out there amigos. Photo: Ziggy Samuels

For a go-to, well-rounded travel first aid kit that serves most basic needs, we again recommend the Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel First Aid Kit as your best option. Unless your needs are extremely specialized, you can count on this kit to have what you need and to have the extra space to add a few items of your own.

We hope you found this travel first aid kit shopping guide useful. Remember, not everyone has the travel style – but accidents can happen any time and anywhere, so it’s crucial to be prepared.

Stay safe!

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