DIY First Aid Kit vs Pre-Made Kit – What’s for you?

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Made Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Being prepared comes in many different forms and fashions. Perhaps it could be the portable jump-starter in the back of your car, a recovery kit, fire extinguisher, spare tire, or maybe some extra cookies just in case you run out of the first batch!

One important item that would be good for everyone to have in their car is a first aid kit. While you hope to never need to use a first aid kit, chances are you will. This might be a small injury such as a cut, scrape or minor burn…but unfortunately, serious injuries such as broken bones, substantial lacerations, and severe wounds do occur. Are you prepared to take care of these situations if the need arises? If you aren’t and want to purchase a first aid kit you have two main options.

First Aid Kit Options:

  1. DIY kit
  2. Pre-Made kit: Check Price

Which is better?

For this article, I don’t want to get into the weeds of every little item you might need in a first aid kit, but more so the pros and cons of a DIY first aid kit versus a pre-made kit…so let’s get started!

What Do You Actually Need in a First Aid Kit?

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Before we discuss DIY kits versus pre-built kits, I want to take a look at what you need to administer proper and sufficient first aid…just briefly though.

What is first aid?

First aid is essentially the help/aid that is given to a sick or injured person until full medical treatment is available – hence the name “first” aid. First aid is intended to provide an initial aid that will neutralize a situation until you can transport a patient to a medical facility or medical professionals arrive on the scene to transport a victim.

In my opinion, I don’t consider a scrape at the playground or diagnosing a fever as first aid… more so the need to stop significant bleeding, stabilizing a broken bone, performing CPR, and anything that could result in serious consequences or death if not addressed as soon as possible.

What do you need in a first aid kit?

In my opinion, items such as small bandaids, Neosporin, and sting reliever gel are not needed. However, if you have the room to incorporate these items into a first aid kit you should because the sooner you can address small issues such as scrapes or insect stings, the least likely infection will happen and the faster relief will occur So essentially, the small items may be just as important as the large items depending on how you look at it.

What would “YOU” need a first aid kit for?

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Something else to consider is personal needs for first aid. Do you have severe reactions to insect bites/stings?

Do you have any medication that is critical for you to take daily, or should a particular situation happen?

Are you or someone around you more likely to have a serious injury from work or the hobbies you enjoy?

These are all things that you need to ask yourself when considering what should be in your first aid kit. It is easy to overlook having specific items that you would need should an emergency arise.

For example, you might need an Epipen for certain reactions, a particular medication, or splints and bandages designed to handle broken bones and severe lacerations because you do adventurous activities. Some of these items will not be in any first aid kit as they are medications, and the needed items to treat serious injuries will only be in higher-end first aid kits…so you are going to have to make sure you have what you need.

What about the size?

Yes, it would be nice to have a large variety of first aid items so that you were prepared for nearly any situation…but you can’t fit an ambulance inside of your 4Runner. As with anything in life, you have to find the right balance of having everything you might need, but not so much that you have a ridiculously large first aid kit.

I ask these questions because there isn’t a cookie-cutter first aid kit that will work for everyone. People have different needs, different hobbies, first aid kit size restraints and many other factors that affect the type of first aid kit that is best for them.

Is a DIY First Aid Kit Right for You?

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

The nice thing about anything DIY or custom is that it is built for you and your specific needs. You can control everything that goes into your first aid kit and make it just for you…the container, all the items, size of first aid kit, color, and pretty much anything you want.

Here is a good example of a DIY kit on the site by Eric. A well designed and thought out first aid kit.

In reality, isn’t this one of the reasons why we customize our 4Runners? I think so, because I know I have customized my 4Runner to suit my needs/wants, but these aren’t the same needs / wants of someone else. There is probably a lot of similarities, but to get exactly what you want, you have to customize it yourself.

While this level of customization is great for some people, it can be intimidating and hard for others to make decisions on what they need/want. It also takes a lot of time and work.

I think DIY first aid kits can provide a much better solution as long as you are willing to put in the work/ research to build one…but this is a big if. Pre-built kits often will have unneeded items in them that you will never use and are taking up valuable space. With a DIY kit, you can choose every item, how many of each item, and the size of each item. You can incorporate personal first aid items such as an Epipen, medications or activity-specific items.

In consideration of this, DIY first aid kits are great for people who are willing to research and become knowledgeable about first aid, and take the time and effort needed to build one…but are not for someone wanting a quick and easy solution.

Is a Pre-Made First Aid Kit Right for You?

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

First aid kits prepared by a company offer a huge advantage…they are already designed and put together. Now, as I previously mentioned, there isn’t a cookie-cutter first aid kit that fits all needs. However, there are some really good pre-made kits on the market today that you can throw in the back of your 4Runner and be ready to hit the trails with peace of mind.

One aspect that I really like about pre-built kits (if done correctly) is that a professional has put together their ideas of what is needed in a good first aid kit. Once again, this doesn’t mean it will be perfect for you, but someone has put time and thought into designing the kit.

If you are wanting a first aid kit that you don’t have to put a lot of thought into, or buy each item individually, and even choose the case or bag that it goes in you will definitely want to take a look at a pre-built kit.

One caveat I will mention about pre-built kits is that even though you buy them as a complete unit this doesn’t mean you can’t add a few of your own items, take out some of the pre-selected items and replace them, or completely rearrange a pre-built kit.

This is good to remember because you can save a lot of time by investing in a pre-built kit and then adding in the rest of the items that you need which the kit didn’t originally have.

First Aid Kits I Use

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner


The inevitable question must be answered at this point – what do I use? Well, I actually use a combination of a pre-built kit and a DIY kit.

Essentially, I had a very cheap pre-built first aid kit I bought that just happened to fit perfectly in the back right compartment of my 4Runner.

This kit was pretty basic and didn’t have any “true” first aid items in it that could save someone’s life, but more so items such as bandaids, small bandages, antiseptic, etc. So, what I did was utilize the container for this pre-built kit, took the majority of items out, and then added in the items I wanted…such as an Israeli Battle Bandage, tourniquet, various bandages, steri-strips, and other items that could stop major bleeding, trauma, and administer true first aid.

This kit has served me well, and I have actually used it several times. I’ve mostly used it for rather minor cuts and injuries, it still served its purpose.

Sur­­­viveware Large First Aid Kit

I have another kit that I bring with me as well…the Sur­­­viveware Large First Aid Kit. This kit is pre-built and done very professionally.

The kit is developed around a tough, durable 600D polyester storage bag. Within the kit are several different pockets with various items for first aid.

This kit is great for vehicles, as it will strap right behind a headrest. If you aren’t wanting to do this, you can easily store this kit in other areas, as it is pretty compact.

Surviveware FAK Review

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

You will find a variety of first aid items included in the kit, but as I mentioned earlier, there are things I would like to add and a few things I’d like to remove…but this is just the nature of buying something pre-built.

Something that I really like about the Surviveware kit is that each pocket is labeled to help you quickly get the items you would need in a first aid situation.

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

I will say that this kit from Surviveware is one of the best options for a small, compact pre-built first kit on the market. It really makes it easy to just purchase the kit and go. This kit even includes some small bags for personal medication, which I think is a great idea.

I know I spent hours researching what items I wanted in my DIY kit. The Surviveware Large First Aid Kit takes this research out of the picture and can quickly get you a solid kit capable of handling a large array of situations.

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

With all this said, I have both the Surviveware Large First Aid Kit and my DIY kit in my 4Runner.

The Surviveware kit is my “go-to” option and serves as the main kit in my 4Runner, but I still keep my DIY kit just to have some additional gear and a few specialty items.

The majority of the time I will be going to the Surviveware kit, but I still have my DIY kit for additional preparedness.

Final Thoughts

DIY First Aid Kits vs Pre-Built Kits (Like the Surviveware FAK) For the 5th Gen 4Runner

It is important to have first aid equipment in your vehicle, but whether or not you purchase a pre-built kit or make a DIY kit is up to you.

Each has benefits and at the end of the day, either option can work. The key is taking the time to become knowledgeable about how to use first aid items, knowing what you have, what you need to get, and simply being prepared.

This is a situation where I would say anything is better than nothing.

The Surviveware Large First Aid Kit is a great option for those of you wanting a pre-built kit and it will most definitely serve you well.

Whether you are a mom wanting to be prepared, an adventurer, someone who never takes the beaten path, or a weekend warrior – the Surviveware Large First Aid Kit has you covered.

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4 years ago

Looks like a decent kit. Ultimately getting training is the best solution to help guide you in building a med kit.

I have multiple TQ’s ready to deploy(out of plastic and extended with sharpies to record time) and a trauma kit with what I’m competent in utilizing.

Having been the first to react a number of times I’ve found just simply dialing 911 while others either drive or walk by has been a MAJOR player in most cases. Don’t be “that guy.” Making sure it is called in makes a difference. Even that alone has helped while rendering aid.

The kit looks good for most everyday possibilities. Just be aware some kits contain items only medical professionals may use or you may end up in a lawsuit.

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