The Portable Car Medical Kit


So you’ve put together your full-sized home medical kit and you feel pretty good about it. What’s next?

Well, where else do you spend a large amount of time? Work, of course (try to get them to put together a kit similar to the Home Medical Kit). Otherwise, you probably spend a fair amount of time in your car driving and at activities (sporting events for yourself and kids). What if you have an accident while traveling? What if your daughter has a huge abrasion during a soccer game?

The Portable/Car Medical Kit to the Rescue!

The key purpose of the Car Medical Kit is to be prepared for the types of minor emergencies you might encounter while traveling or at frequent destinations away from home. So, if you commute 2 hours (one way!) to work as my friend Ethan does, if something happens along the way you’ll have a kit ready. What if you’re a soccer mom (or dad)? Or a Boy Scout troop leader? Think about the types of situations you’re likely to benefit from having a kit of some sort.

Obviously, if you have a major car wreck with serious injuries, the likelihood of a portable medical kit benefitting you is small. For that scenario, the most important kit you can have is a cell phone – CALL 911!

On the other hand, if you have kid activities like sports, it’s almost guaranteed that there will be cuts, abrasions, sprains, ¬†or stings. You might have an allergic reaction or two along the way as well. So when you are putting together your kit (or if you intend to purchase one), make sure it has the ingredients you need for your likely scenarios. A consideration for this kit is portability and convenience. If you make it too big, you’re likely to ditch it.

Keep this kit in your trunk or glovebox.

Keep the kit up-to-date.

Keep it in a small zippable or closable tote of some sort.

Keep it small in general.

DayTripper Medical Kit

Key Ingredients for a Portable Medical Kit:


  • Ibuprofen or Aleve (for pain, fever, sprains, pulls, etc.)
  • Tylenol (for pain or fever)
  • Aspirin (especially for chest pain, but also for pain and fever, but not in pre-adolescent children)
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment (for scrapes, wounds or cuts after cleansing)
  • Benadryl (or Claritin) tablets (for allergic reactions)
  • Loperamide or pepto-bismol tabs (for diarrhea)

Wipes & Creams:

  • Skin barrier cream (helps sunburns, other burns, irritated skin)
  • Antiseptic wipes (benzalkonium or chlorhexidine – used for cleaning prior to bandaging)
  • Alcohol prep wipes (same as above, essentially, but easier to get and don’t leave lasting protection)
  • Anti-Itch wipes like After-Bite (self-explanatory)
  • Tincture of Benzoin (this is antiseptic and will help butterfly closures stick)


  • Gauze of various sizes (2×2’s & 4×4’s) preferably individually packaged (or single use packages)
  • Non-stick Dressing (Telfa or another brand) also in multiple sizes if possible.
  • Butterfly closure strips (for cuts that aren’t deep enough or long enough to require stitches)
  • Regular bandages of various sizes (I prefer types with “sport” in the name because they usually stick better) get a variety of sizes and shapes.
  • Trauma pads – these are high-absorbency pads if there is a lot of bleeding. To be used on your way to the ER or waiting for an ambulance.


  • 1″ wide medical tape (we call it silk tape) or the plastic perforated type. Silk tape is better unless you’re allergic.
  • Self-adhesive roll (we call it kerlix). This stuff can provide compression and holds bandages well. 2″ width should work fine.


  • Nitrile gloves
  • Q-tips for applying creams (place these in a baggie)
  • Quality needle-tipped tweezers (for removing splinters & ticks)
  • Tongue depressor (or a new popsicle stick) – can be used in splints
  • 10 mL syringe (or larger) (use this for irrigating abrasions and cuts with sterile water, saline, or tap water if you have city-treated water)

Also Suggested:

  • Bottled water or saline (unlike at home, you’re less likely to have this handy on the road or at an activity)
  • A cold compress pack.
  • A compact LED flashlight (check out my Guys’ Gift Guide post for suggestions) – if anything happens after dusk you’ll wish you had it.
  • Magnifying glass (helps to see splinters)
  • Epi-pen (epinephrine injection pen) – if you or a child is highly allergic to bee/wasp stings.

You’ll notice this list is very similar to the home medical kit. The primary difference is going to be the distribution and quantity. In this kit, it’s not important to have dozens of everything on the list. For most items, you’ll want one or two individually sealed or single-use items. Single use pills of each type. Single use packets of the creams. A single roll of tape (you may even neglect the kerlix). I would have multiples of the prep/antiseptic wipes. Several packages of gauze (gauze is used for gently cleaning the wound of debris, applying pressure to a bleeding wound, and soaking blood). Maybe 2 pairs of gloves. You get the idea. Basically, this kit is going to be pared down in volume and a little more oriented towards traumatic injuries.

Question: What’s your personal experience with a portable medical kit?

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