This week, we will outline what I refer to as the “medical bucket,” for use in any bug-in scenarios, along with a folding medical bag known as the M3 Medic’s Bag. If you have seen any movie or television show set during the Vietnam War, then you have most likely seen the M3 Medic’s bag. I use it as a quick grab-and-go-style medical kit, and keep it stored inside my medical bucket when not in use. The bucket carries on the tradition I have started by using plain white food-grade five-gallon buckets—available at the hardware store, home-improvement center, or animal-feed store—for storage.

You can also use as a one-stop shopping center and order the buckets and lids at the same time. You may want to go with a red-colored top to set your med bucket apart from your food. I tried to go that route, but Amazon wanted to charge me $39.99 shipping to Alaska, so I chose the cheaper alternative—I purchased a white Gamma Seal lid off the shelf at my locally owned hardware store and wrapped the bucket with high-quality red duct tape (shown below). Red means medical. Easy to remember. You can see clearly that I believe in simple and affordable things when prepping; sometimes the process get expensive, and that is unavoidable, but why waste money when you can prep on a budget?

Prepping 101 | The Medical Bucket and M3 Medic BagPrepping 101 | The Medical Bucket and M3 Medic Bag

Functional, simple, and eye-catching, that’s what works best in this situation. This bucket isn’t meant to be anything other than a storage place for extra medical supplies that aren’t already in a kit or bag. This is your SHTF medicine cabinet—nothing more, nothing less. If you find you want to have two of them, then by all means, make two. Just make sure you can quickly tell the differences between the contents of each of them. You may even want to have one contain only the “must-haves” and the other contain the “nice-to-haves.” Can you live without Zyrtec? Is it more important than hydrochloride cream? These types of questions should provoke some discussion and thought on the matter of medicine and SHTF.

I use the above setup to also store my M3 Medic Bag. I have a medical kit for the house, and this isn’t it. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Having a well-stocked medical kit for your house or apartment is important, but so is having one for SHTF-type scenarios. Keep them separate. Now, I’m the first to admit I am not a medic or an emergency medical technician, firefighter, or anything close to that. And that’s exactly why my kit is set up for things I know how to treat or will likely have to treat. Scrapes, cuts, bruises, a broken bone, or splinters will hopefully be my biggest medical emergencies in a SHTF scenario.

For the M3 bag itself, just like 90 percent of our gear, it can be found at, military surplus stores, or websites that carry a lot of military gear such as ranger joe’s, US Cavalry, Rothco, Cheaper Than Dirt, and These are just a few of the thousands of sites you can check out. I chose the Amazon method. They sent me a M3-style bag from Military Uniform Supply Company, and the first thing I did was dump everything out and start to weed through the combat-oriented items and things I honestly had no idea how to use. It comes jam-packed with 136 pieces of medical-related paraphernalia,

Here’s the list:

  • 1 EFA First-Aid Instructions
  • 10 Pill Bottle
  • 16 Bandage Strips 1×3”
  • 10 Pain Relievers
  • 2 Bandage Gauzes 4.5 yds.
  • 2 Triple Antibiotic Packages
  • 1 Elastic Bandage 6”
  • 2 First-Aid Cream Packages
  • 1 Triangular Bandage 40x40x56”
  • 1 Burn-Aid Package
  • 1 Field Dressing
  • 1 SAM/Universal Splint
  • 4 Abdominal Pads 5×9”
  • 1 Tourniquet
  • 1 Eye Pad
  • 1 EMT Shears, 7.25”
  • 16 Alcohol Wipes
  • 15 Iodine Wipes
  • 1 Stainless Steel Hemostat, 5″
  • 15 Antiseptic BZK Wipes
  • 1 Suture Set
  • 15 Clean Wipes
  • 1 Irrigation Syringe
  • 1 Lip Treatment
  • 2 Tongue Depressors
  • 1 Sterile Flushing Solution.

That’s a lot of stuff in a small bag. I grabbed my black permanent marker and went to work on the bag. I like to label things, because when things go bad, I want people to use their brains for something functional–if they can read what something is on the outside, they are less likely to tear it apart looking for something else. First, I labeled the outside “medical.”