When you have kids, it is your duty as a parent to be prepared. Being prepared for injury and illness is part of this responsibility. The easiest way to be prepared for this is to have a first aid kit. If you’re a parent and you don’t have a first aid kit, this post is for you. If you’re a parent and you only have one first aid kit, this article is also for you. A first aid kit doesn’t have to cost a lot, so we’re going to look at some of those budget options to make you the prepared parent you need to be.

I keep a first aid kit in each of my cars, our diaper bag, our family hiking bag, and my Cub Scout leader bag. This might sound like overkill, but believe me – it’s not. It’s important to be prepared depending on where you are, and it’s too hard to remember to switch your one first aid kit to different bags and cars. Just get multiple first aid kits and it takes the thought out of it and you can always be prepared. In this post, I won’t list out all of the contents for each first aid kit – but those are available if you look at the listings I linked to.

Best budget first aid kit for your car: First Aid Only 298 Piece First Aid Kit

First Aid Only 298 Piece First Aid Kit
This makes a great car first aid kit

The First Aid Only 298 Piece First Aid Kit is a great first aid kit for cars. It has lots of things in it, and because it’s kept in your car you don’t have to worry about its weight or size. It also has a soft case that can squeeze into tight spots, so depending on where in your car you want to keep it, it can squeeze into a tight spot if necessary – glove box, console, spare tire space in trunk – wherever. I’ve never felt under-prepared with this first aid kit in my car. So if you’re looking for a pretty comprehensive first aid kit to throw in your car, this is the one.

Best budget first aid kit for camping and hiking: Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit

Though not ultralight, I love this little durable case it comes with – mine is going strong after numerous hikes, camping, and backpacking trips

Let me preface this by saying – this is not an ultralight first aid kit for backpacking. No, the Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit is a durable first aid kit with the essentials for when you’re out camping or hiking with your family. It has enough for a group (family), and the case is durable enough that the contents won’t get squished or damaged when crammed into your pack. The only things I can think of that this first aid kit is missing are some type of burn treatment and alcohol wipes for prepping a wound. Also, it would be better if the container had some waterproofing – but nothing that a dry bag can’t solve. It’s not the cheapest first aid kid, but part of the worth is in the case itself. This case will last and will keep your first aid supplies protected on any type of adventure.

Best budget first aid kit for diaper bags, purses, or EDC bags: First Aid Only 13 Piece First Aid Kit

First Aid Only 13 Piece First Aid Kit
A view of what’s inside this kit

When you’re on the daily grind, and you’re not near your car or home but have your diaper bag or other daily carry bag (e.g. purse) with you, all you really need on the fly is band aids and maybe some antiseptic. You really just need some sort of dedicated container that can fit these, and stands out as a first aid kit so it’s easy to find and grab when you dig into your bag. There’s no need to spend a lot – you’ll be refilling this often with new band aids and antiseptic packets as you use them. You can’t beat the affordability and size of the First Aid Only 13 Piece First Aid Kit. To be fully transparent, I don’t own this first aid kit because I got a free small first aid pouch that I fill with band aids so I never purchased a small one. But if you’re starting from scratch then you can’t go wrong here.

Best all around budget first aid kit: Be Smart Get Prepared 85 Piece First Aid Kit

Mine is an older model, so here is an image of the current model available

The Be Smart Get Prepared 85 Piece First Aid Kit doesn’t have as much as you should probably have for a comprehensive first aid kit, but if you’re really on a budget you can’t go wrong with this kit. Our Cub Scout pack gives these out to all the leaders to bring with them to meetings and outings so that we’re all somewhat prepared for minor scrapes and boo boos. I have a 1998 Ford F-150 that is not a daily driver and mostly serves for dump runs and picking up furniture we buy on Facebook Marketplace. Basically, it gets driven infrequently and mostly when I’m by myself so I don’t see a need to spend a lot on a first aid kit for the truck, but I still want to be somewhat prepared. For the price, this isn’t bad and the case has enough room in it that is can easily be added to as you see fit. It also includes a small first aid guide which can’t hurt. The only drawback to this kit is that the plastic case is fragile and will crack easily – the one I keep in my Cub Scout backpack has some cracks in it from being tossed around.

Add ons for first aid kits

Sometimes, you may find that your first aid kit doesn’t have everything you need. That’s alright though, because you can add to the kit you buy. Some examples of things I’ve added to our first aid kits are:

  • Individually wrapped ibuprofen tablets (if the kit doesn’t already have them) to be ready for headaches when they pop up. These have to get replaced when used.
  • Triple antibiotic ointment packets, to prevent infection before you apply the band aid. We use these up and often have to replace them
  • An emergency whistle
  • A tick remover tool, depending on where you live. We live in Lyme disease tick country and so it’s important to keep one of these nearby in the event one of us gets a tick after a hike or just while out in the yard.
  • Fire starting materials, such as a Bic lighter, matches, tinder, etc.
  • A small amount of cash. You don’t need to keep much, but there are times where cash might be needed in an emergency. Credit card systems down in a remote area and you need to get something to eat or drink? Car breaks down and you need to tip a tow truck driver? At the pool and realized you’re out of snack bar money? You name it, there are many emergency situations where it would help to have some cash – so throw it in your first aid kit!


If there’s one takeaway from this post you should have, it’s that as a parent you need first aid kits. You need more than one, and you should get different kits based on where you’re stashing them. Be the hero in your family or circle of friends when you whip out the first aid kit in an emergency. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but you’ll be glad you have one when you do!

What first aid kits do you have that work for you and your family? What add ons do you put in your kits that I didn’t cover? Share your thoughts in the comments below to help our readers out even more. For more info you can also check out the REI guides on How to Choose First Aid Kits and First Aid Kit Checklist. Thanks for reading!