A Ziploc Bag First Aid Kit

I keep a ‘do-it-yourself’ First Aid Kit in a quart size Ziploc bag. It’s purposed to fit into any number of my various bag kits.

Why do I do keep a First Aid Kit in a Ziploc bag?

While I do have a few other more substantial First Aid Kits, the minimalist (Ziploc) First Aid Kit works well for me. I can just slide it into a small space in my pack. Even if the pack is full, there’s a way to get it in there… Actually I just leave these Ziploc kits in the various bags so they’re always there.

There’s no extra bulk or weight of a hard container and there is the advantage of being able to see right into the Ziploc and what’s inside.

What First Aid kit items do I keep in a Ziploc bag?

Good question! It seems that I’m changing it around from time to time. Admittedly the problem that I have is that there’s always a good reason to add more Fist Aid items, however then it gets too big! There’s really no right or wrong kit, so do what works for you.

I might tailor it depending on what I’m going to be doing and where I may be going (with the associated risks thereof). However I do keep the basics in there for starters.

Items to put in a Ziploc bag Diy First Aid Kit

Various size ordinary band-aids for ordinary cuts
Butterfly closure bandages
QuikClot clotting sponge or clotting gauze
Antiseptic wipe packets
Small tube of antibiotic ointment (e.g. Neosporin)
Various size sterile bandages (2×2, 3×3, etc..)
Gauze wrap
Adhesive cloth tape
Packet of Ibuprofen tablets
A ‘feminine pad’ (for bleeding not bad enough for QuikClot)
ACE bandage (folded to fit within Ziploc)
Tweezers (for those nasty slivers)

Additional suggestions:
-Latex, vinyl, nitrile gloves (Vinyl Medical Exam Glove, Latex Free)
-Super Glue (emergency stitch)
-Israeli bandage (How To Use The Israeli Bandage)
-Aspirin (heart attack? chew two tablets, call 911)

[ Read: 10 First Aid Kit Ad-on Items, Like Good Tweezers, Better Scissors… ]

I have had more or less than that stuffed into a quart-size Ziploc bag, however keeping at least a handful of basic First Aid supplies in some sort of ‘small’ kit will enable you to pack it into a small bag for an outdoor activity that you might be involved in (hike, camp, hunt, fishing, boating, 4-wheeling, snowmobiling, etc..).

Share your thoughts and ideas too…

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Love this idea! I’m going to do this for my purse. I have outgrown the small zippered bag w/ first aide items. Then I’ll head out to my truck right to get my GHB so that I can make one for that bag too. I’ve merely put first aide items in the pockets of my GHB so this will greatly organize things. Needing any of these items, especially in an emergency, puts them all in one place.
Thanks for this!

I reorganized my day pack a couple of months ago. I got tired of having too many loose items floating around in there, so I put all my 1st aid stuff into a gallon zip-lock bag and it’s perfect. I also have a sheet of Benadryl tablets in mine because I struggle with mild to moderate seasonal allergies – I never know when I am going to come across something that is going to trigger the sneezing and itching.

Thank you Ken for such a useful helpful post today.
I keep a smaller Ziploc in my purse with a number of the above mentioned items. I update it every so often too. I have a large bag in my car at all times.

Men, unless you have an EDC bag, please put something like this in your car.

If you have teens or college age kids, encourage them do the same, even make one for them.

other suggested items:
Vaseline small tube or other non-medicated balm
hard tack candy
a couple of sealed Imodium tablets and/or Pepto tablets
and/or couple of Pepcid AC or the like (can help with heartburn or hives allergic rxn)
couple of sealed OTC meds (that are clearly labeled) that you know are safe for you

Especially important when traveling to have such kits with you.

Blessings of safe travels and good health everyone :)

Consider adding some chewable baby aspirin also. Can’t beat it for a heart incident. I found a finger splint at Dollar General too.

If you suspect a heart attack chew two adult aspirin. You need a larger dose to effectively inhibit platelet function in an emergency. Call 911, lie down and wait for help.

Good topic Ken:

My daypacks and backpacks are collections of ziplock bags contained within. Ziplock bags are used to store everything from trail mix to toilet paper. I now live in an area where it rains more than my old home state. Bagging things in plastic is the way to go for luggage and backpacks.

I use garbage bags for sleeping bags, clothing and…garbage.

Got it! I use the gal freezer bag because it’s thicker, more durable than the reg storage bag. Also use Celox ganuales and gauze instead of Quickclot.
Also an Isreli Trauma Bandage that could also double as a torniquet.

For my bug out bag, I picked up a plastic dry box from Walmart to place those items that need to stay sealed from moisture, stay sterile but tightly packed in a backpack.

Not me, I just toss everything in the back seat of the King Cab truck with Blue and go for it…. hehehehe

Ok Ok, I have the “First Aid” kit build into the GHB in two detachable 6.6 Med Pouch’s, one for meds and the second for patching holes. The GHB is never more than 100 feet from my location, even at work, so I feel comfortable with that. The EDC belt pouch carries more of the basics, even a few Aspirin for the Hangover and the Heart Attack. Also have Nitro on the keychain, not sure why, but the late wife said to carry it, so I do.

One thing, no matter what you have, it does absolutely NO GOOD if it’s sitting on the counter at home and you’re away. If you have two vehicles than build two and have them with you no matter where you go, even build one for the ATV. These things are cheap and may become necessary for any number of reasons, even that nasty Bourbon Mint Julep Hangover, Beach’n…. :-)


PS; take 1/2 roll of TP, remove the center cardboard, vacuum seal it down to 1/5 its normal size and toss it into the truck also, ya just never know when the urge will hit.

I keep about the same in my ziplock bag. Add a couple pair of gloves in case the blood isn’t yours! I also keep a neoprene ankle and knee brace in mine for sprains and strains.

Guess what presents I am going to make for DH and DS for Christmas? The question I have is: what effect will freezing temperatures have on Polysporin and Tylenol?


Tablet Tylenol or ibuprofen can take freezing temps. I’ve tried it (with ibuprofen it worked). Polysporin if you have it in a bag or two (snug within some other stuff) and it is not getting direct exposure, may become thicker, but does not affect quality of product. That’s been my experience.

Hope your family appreciates your choice of gifts :)

To make a self-contained emergency kit, take a hot pad, fold it in half and put a button opposite the loop. Inside you can put a number of snack-size ziplock bags, each with a different item. Not big enough for the ace bandage, but most everything else should fit I think.

I have everything in my GHB in various plastic bags. That way if I have to hoof it home in the rain, I will still have a nice dry change of clothes should the need arise. Actually started this with my EDC when things got wet after getting caught in a brief but heavy shower several years ago. The important items get double plastic.

Another hint I like, use vacuum sealer for everything that will collapse, it will give you a LOT more room, and yes the zip-lock bags are great and always have a few extra stuck inside the Med Kit…..


An Israeli bandage wouldn’t be a bad idea to add to the ziplock.

I bought an Israeli bandage on Amazon for 8.54. Worth every penny. There’s a video there that shows you exactly how to apply it. Now I am buying them as gifts for my Kids who have kids. Could save a life easily.

I too use ziploc’s for many items, including med supplies. Don’t use celox, prefer cayenne pepper [in a 3 1/2 x 5 7/8 snack size ziploc inside the larger ziploc]. Keep my CAT tourniquet on my belt or in an easily accessible pocket.

I like having a triangular bandage in a first aid kit. Lots of things you can use it for. The big kit I take into the bush has half a dozen.

Knew I had forgotten something :) Have them in my IFAK and larger kits…rectifying oversight now

Great article Ken.
For some reason my first aid kit is in my hiking backpack. I have it in a zippered pouch, but it will be getting the Ziploc treatment when I get home. I also have an IFAK on my pack, so I guess one of the two will now be in my GHB. I can’t believe I overlooked the first aid bag in my GHB.
Grateful for this site!

Great idea! Looks like everyone will be getting these in stockings this year!! Oh what about stockings to keep in it, if you live in earthquake areas or just where wildfires could occur, put stockings over air filter of vehicle so no ash can get into the engine!

Great article. I like to buy those small women’s make-up pouches that have the zipper that run across the top of them from Wally World. You can usually find them in the travel section. I just put the stuff that needs to stay dry in plastic zip locks being that they are not a water/air tight pouches. But this way it keeps everything contained and compact (mostly to keep me from adding and adding).

I also toss in a couple of pairs of latex gloves, eyepatch and ear plugs.


I also have some benedryl, immodium and a bandana. And a disposable cold pack which is only about 4×6 or so. For my kids (teens) kits, I also put an index card that has our contact phone numbers. In case they cannot remember when things are “stressful” at the time of a medical need. (Obviously they have also been taught to dial 911 in a severe emergency as well).

If you have the space, consider adding a tourniquet, space blanket and putting it all in a Tupperware style container. I carry a military CLS (aid) bag in my truck and a Tupperware type container in my backpack. The container keeps the meds from getting crushed or the items fraying. Plus you have an extra container along for whatever use you may need it for.

I love the freezer Ziplocs. They stand up to much more abuse than the regular ones. I have a Ziploc first aid kit in my GHB and another in my bike bag. I have a larger first aid kit that I take on multi-day river trips. That one is actually a Watershed dry bag, and all of the contents stay organized by, yup you guessed it, Ziploc bags! One for meds, one for gauze pads, tape, and rolled gauze, one for tools like tweezers, shears, and thermometer, one for Israeli bandages, quick clot, butterfly strips and super glue. The list goes on and on.

Having everything organized and accessible is so important during an emergency situation.

One more thought… You can use a Ziploc bag to create a seal over a sucking puncture wound, so a lung can be reinflated.

Re the Ziploc and the lung wound, only 3 of 4 sides should be taped to skin to allow for respiration.

No one mentioned super glue. I have used regular dollar store super glue literally dozens of times to seal up cuts on myself and more often co workers. It has worked very well on razor knife cuts,and accidents with cut off wheels etc.
The cuts healed in days instead of weeks and no one has ever gotten an infection.

Sorry ski bum, I see you mentioned super glue. We must have posting at the same time.

No worries. ? I know several people who swear by the super glue and duct tape method of bandaging (glue it shut, tape over it, by the time the tape falls off, the wound is healed). Although it gets the job done, I prefer more traditional bandaging methods.

I have used super glue several times, especially in conjunction with butterflies. It works really well, especially in a situation where stitches are not the best option. Although I can suture and have the supplies in my big kit, I don’t have any topical anesthesia. I certainly don’t want to induce shock, and 99% of people will go into shock when receiving stitches without some kind of anesthesia. Hence the super glue and butterfly strips.

Mine also has cortisone cream, anti-diarrhea, benadryl.

Some of you have mentioned latex gloves, and there is a reason to have them in your kits.
When I worked at a grade school, it was mandatory to have & use those gloves on students. All it took was on little slice on your skin to become infected with the blood of a person who is carrying AIDS-Hep C or other nefarious blood disorders.

Make sure you carry & use them on anyone who needs medical assistance. Better to error on the side of caution than to find our you are ill from a preventable disease all it took was time to put on a pair of latex/non-latex gloves.

Latex, vinyl, nitrile gloves do break down with age, especially when subjected to varying temperatures. Be sure to replace the gloves every 3-4 months if they are in a kit that stays in the car. I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled on gloves and had them rip as I am putting them on.

Again, two is one. One is none.

Wow! Lots of really good comments on this. Army medic and ER RN for way too many years and there is very little I can add to this. About the only thing I was going to say was that gloves do deteriorate and ski bum covered it. I do carry a small pill box with a 3 day supply of my regular medications. A tightly wrapped ace bandage can be used as a pressure bandage but be sure to loosen occasionally as if it is to tight it will cut off circulation. A good test for that is capillary refill. Press the fingernail or toenail and it will blanche (get pale). Release the pressure and color will come back within two seconds. If not, circulation is impeded and it should be loosened.

I will take exception to the 99% of people will go into shock without anesthesia for stitches. The local anesthesia that is the basis for topical anesthesia was invented in 1905. Before that everyone who had stitches got them without anesthesia. Also, it stings quite a bit when you inject it. As a medic I’ve put in thousands of stiches and frequently gave my patients the choice of with anesthesia or without. I’d tell them that it would make the skin go numb but it would be painful (it stings!)and doing it without would be faster and probably no more painful.

Shortly after I moved here I was rebuilding a pump shed and walked into a corner of the tin roof. Small but suturable laceration to the forehead. No insurance at the time and working out of town. I’m very familiar with ER costs and estimated $900.00 for the visit. I did have the necessary materials. Working with a mirror was difficult, everything was backwards but it was doable. It was also not very painful at all.

A further comment on topical anesthesia is it comes with and without. With means with epinephrine and it has a two fold effect. Epinephrine is vasconstrictive. It will help control bleeding from the wound and by constricting the vessels it will take longer to absorb the anesthesia from the area of the wound. This gives the caregiver more time to work with it.
IT SHOULD NEVER BE USED ON FINGERS OR TOES! You could cause the affected area tissue damage from lack of circulation.

Very deep wounds should be left open as if they can’t be closed completely they are at a greater risk for infection. Pulling the top shut will leave open pockets below the surface which are notorious for forming abscesses. Wounds that have been open for a prolonged period are also frequently left open as the longer the wound is open the greater the risk of infection.

We can’t work in the dark, so toss in a cyalume chemlight. Small (6″), lightweight, individually-wrapped, just slips in there with the other stuff in your quart-size ziploc freezer bag. Your flashlight will probably be your primary illumination, but…

I read somewhere that blue chemlights will disclose blood better than other colors, but I have no personal experience trying to illuminate blood or a wound with a chemlight of any color, so I can not confirm or refute that claim. (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Great article! I can only add that the active ingredient in Neosporin is an antibiotic used to treat meningitis. I purchase Polysporin because I’m worried about developing resistance to Neosporin. Beach’n

Zip-loc bags are THE original tacti-cool method of packing our EDC and GO bags. Easy to catalog within the bags, and easy to FIND just what you need immediately.
Besides, they are inexpensive and like nitrile or latex gloves, also should be replaced regularly to keep the contents protected and fairly or even “sorta sterile”.
I pack extra ammo in zip lock with small food grade desiccant pouches, haven’t had an issue yet with ignition reliability in many years doing it this way.

Taking this one step further place your med kit in a insulated softsided zippered lunch bag. it keeps heat from doing all sorts of damage to your kit. It works bottom line

Ha!! Been doing this for years. All of our athletic bags have similar, including light source, emergency blanket, small knife. Also carry snack Ziplocs in my “mom” bag. Peace of mind, + anyone sees won’t think twice

By snack Ziploc, I mean full sized, but with granola bars, mini candy bars, nuts, etc. Ziploc is so normal, I don’t think ppl would see and think “prepper” the way a labelled kit might look.

Re Ziploc Bag First Aid Kit

good idea. Another advantage to my mind,

Ziploc bags are —
tough – stand up to bumps and pokes
easy to spot which item you need
easy to see what needs refilling
can be slid into small spaces (as you say)
could be used for other purposes if needed (water etc)

I’m not sure if this is the right thread or not – I’ve been looking to boost my first aid kit, but I’m having a hard time finding gauze rolls and pads that are not made in China. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Check surplus stores, see if you can find old civil defense
first aid kit. Out here we had a person buy the contents of
and old bunker/shelter. There was a full surgical unit in it.
I was able to purchase all forms of bandages as well a bulk of
surgical instruments for damn near nothing.
Just a thought….

K-bay, thanks for the idea. I’ll be on the lookout.