I recently picked up a first aid kit: the Lifeline 30-Piece Small First Aid Kit. My initial need was for my younger children to have the kit as part of the hiking essentials required for a Scouting hike, but I was also looking for one for me to carry when out on one of my landscape or wildlife photography hikes. When looking for first aid kits, this one caught my eye for several reasons. First, the kit is fairly small and lightweight. Second, the carabiner makes it easier for my son and daughter to carry. Also, the soft-shell case provides some growth capability, and it also includes a whistle, which was another hiking essential for Scouting and a good idea in general. But there were some caveats.
The weight was not advertised, so I weighed the kit at a light 99 g (3.4 oz.). I found the advertised size of 7.6 cm x 4.6 cm x 15.8 cm (3.0″ x 1.8″ x 6.2″) to be correct within tolerance. The red anodized aluminum carabiner is a small, non-climbing one (marked as such), but with decent spring action. Made in China, it is suitable for hanging the kit on your belt loop but not much else. I like to run my carabiner through both zipper pulls to keep it from accidentally opening while carrying it, although that does delay opening the kit by a few seconds when needed.
First Aid Kit Contents
The description and thin cardboard wrapper lists the kit as having 30 pieces. While this is true, it counts the case and carabiner as two of the pieces, with a whistle, one (1) sting relief medicated pad, six (6) antiseptic towelettes (benzalkonium chloride based), and 20 Lifeline-branded adhesive bandages rounding out the remaining 28. The bandages are about 2 cm x 10 cm (3/4″ x 3 7/8″). The wrapper for the bandages appears water resistant (a glossy look and feel), but I wouldn’t trust it to be waterproof. The sting relief pad and towelettes were in standard square “tear off” packages that should also be water resistant. All of the medical supplies came in a small, plastic zip-seal baggie. Mine also came with a generic warning sheeting in English, French, and Spanish with some not necessarily appropriate warnings (battery removal, candle caution, magnet caution, etc.).
The whistle is about 2 cm x 5.5 cm (7/8″ x 2 3/16″) orange plastic with a yellow lanyard. The whistle is quite loud when used with a forceful blow, and the plastic build seems very durable. The lanyard is large enough to fit around my head (XL hat size, 7 3/4) easily without a hat, and only slightly difficult to put on with a ball cap. The lanyard is about 96 cm (38″) around and isn’t heavy duty, so I wouldn’t hang anything else from the lanyard. The color of the lanyard and whistle does make it easy to locate if dropped on the trail.
The case itself is a fabric-covered semi-rigid case, similar in size to a glasses case. It has an oval black rubber-like brand name tag sewn on as well as a cross-shaped raised area under the fabric cover. You might be able to remove the brand tag if needed and still keep the strength of the case. The case is semi-rigid and keeps it shape but is crushable. Be careful not to sit on it and what you place on top. The zipper is non-branded but moves nicely with large teeth.
(EDIT 15 Sept 2019: It appears they have changed the look of their case since this review.)
The first aid kit case provides a bit of extra room, such that one can add additional EDC items as required. While a small, 2 AAA cell Maglite fit in the case fairly easily, the space is fairly limited with all of the stock items installed.
The twenty (20) bandages seems to me to be a bit excess for most usage, as do the six (6) antiseptic towelettes. I removed four (4) of the antiseptic towelettes and fifteen (15) of the bandages to free up some room for a larger gauze, a few other small first aid items, and other EDC items. Of course, this changed the weight of the kit, but the case and carabiner can handle it fine.
With its light weight (without modification), it hangs on the belt loop without any real tugging. It’s a bit too big to fit into a standard pocket (maybe a larger thigh cargo-short/pants pocket would hold it), but the case and carabiner make it easily carryable and definitely packable. – 4 out of 5
You might be able to create a similar kit yourself cheaper with a glasses case and first-aid pieces you already have a home. But given the under $7 price tag (as of the time of this article) and the inclusion of the rescue whistle, the kit is reasonably priced and a time-saver. – 4 out of 5
Since buying this kit, my children and I have only needed to use one (1) bandage, but the case has been handy to hold other EDC items. While it is a bit too small for a car first aid kit, and definitely too small for a home or camping first aid kit, for hiking it does fit the bill nicely. I would highly recommended swapping out a few items to make it more versatile. The whistle is a great addition and should be kept in any hiking first aid kit. – 3 out of 5
With some modifications, this can become a solid personal first aid kit. As it is, it’s a great start for hiking and personal preparedness.
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