If you’re buying or putting together a first aid kit for home or work, buying first aid supplies or putting together a survival kit, do try to buy British.
If you are ordering a first aid kit for your workplace, ask your supplier about the provenance of both the container and the contents and insist on getting British made for both.
It may take a bit of research to find British made. Here is what I have found so far. If you find more manufacturers and supplies please let me know.
Robinson Healthcare make First Aid Kits. Most Robinson Healthcare products are made in Britain, so hopefully their first aid kits are too, but you might want to check.
Lifesystems first aid kits are made up at their warehouse in the UK but the components used in the kits are not all from the UK.
Likewise Nomad Travel first aid medical kits are packed in the UK. The components used in the kits are not all from the UK, but according to Nomad Travel most of them are from the UK.
BCB International Lifesaver #1 #2 and #3 First Aid Packs are UK made (some or all of the contents may be sourced from abroad).
This SP Services first aid kit bag is made in the UK.
DS Medical own brand paramedic bags are made in the UK. I’m not sure if the other products they sell are British made, so you will want to check this directly with the company.
Wallace Cameron first aid dispensers are manufactured in the UK. I’m not sure if the contents of the kits are British made or if the other products they sell are British made, so you will want to check this directly with the company.
This travel first aid kit on e-bay is made in England (and the bag itself and contents?).
I have yet to find an Emergency Bandage (commonly called an Israeli Dressing or Israeli Bandage) that is made in the UK. Not surprisingly perhaps, the ones I have are made in Israel.
The Lifesystems Survival Whistle is made in the UK (made for them by Acme Whistles).
For suntan lotion that is made in the UK, try the Boots Soltan range, most of which is made in the UK. With careful looking at the packaging, it is also still possible to find a few other UK made items in Boots too, such as their moisturising creams below. Boots UK Limited (formerly Boots the Chemist), trading as Boots, is now owned by American company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, as from 31 December 2014.
For Light Sticks? I have yet to find any made in the UK.
For torches – http://clulite.cluson.co.uk
For bags / rucksacks there are plenty of UK manufactures – see bags.
For toilet roll and wet toilet tissues, try Waitrose.
For sewing kits? Not sure.
For compasses see my article on compasses, but I have not had much luck in finding anything much of use for a survival kit except the Francis Barker NATO Survival Compass.
For paperback books, please choose a book one that is printed and bound in the UK.
For clothing, please chose British made – see relevant categories for some ideas. For example, some Snugpak sleeping bags and clothing items are UK made.
For UK made sleeping bags and sleeping mats please click here.
For British made first aid and medical supplies try
Robinson Healthcare – http://www.robinsonhealthcare.com. According to their website almost all Robinson Healthcare products are produced at a large UK manufacturing facility in Worksop, Nottinghamshire so there is a good chance that the product you want will be made in the UK, but do check before buying.
Robinson Healthcare make things like first aid kits, sticking plasters, bandages, tape, micropore tape, dressings, anti-septic wipes, excellent cotton wool products and disposable gloves.
They also make heat pads, ear plugs, moist wipes, maternity pads and breast pads, a forehead thermometer, nappy sacks, dry wipes, adult bibs, continence care products and magnetic therapy plasters. Unfortunately some Robinson Healthcare products, such as their ear plugs, do not state country of origin on their packaging. Robinson’s Hush Plugz foam earplugs are manufactured in China and packed in the UK. Robinson’s Hush Plugz silicone earplugs are manufactured and packed in the UK.
Bulldog Gear Strength Wraps wrist supports are manufactured in the UK. Bulldog Gear also manufacture some (but not all) of their other gym and bodybuilding equipment in the UK – http://www.bulldoggear.eu
Easigrip elasticated tubular bandage are made in the UK. They say on their website “the product is manufactured at our factory in Warwickshire using traditional knitting machinery to produce high quality bandage made from 100% pure cotton interlaced with covered rubber.” “The bandage, available in a range of different sizes, is ideal for sprains, strains, joint support and dressing retention.” It is good for sports support too, for thigh, ankle, knee, wrist, or elbow support. Available in pharmacies and online, for example on Amazon. Sweeney First Aid Supplies Ltd is the “sister company” of Easigrip Ltd and they have the same owners. They supply factories and businesses with their first aid requirements, but no information about country of origin of their first aid boxes or content is given on their website and I assume it is all or mostly foreign made. They also sell various wrist, elbow, thigh, ankle, and knee supports which they make themselves in the UK. These are available on Amazon and come in black and black pinstripe colours. They also sell tubular bandages which again they make themselves in the UK – http://www.easigrip.co.uk – http://www.sweeneyfirstaid.co.uk
Tubigrip are a similar product to Easigrip (see above). The Swedish owners of Tubigrip, Molnlycke Health Care, have a factory in Oldham, Manchester, as well as factories worldwide, so some products are made in the UK. According to their website the Oldham factory makes for the UK market (with some products exported too) tubular bandages such as Tubifast and Tubigrip and skin care products such as Epaderm Cream and Epaderm Ointment, and more recently wound irrigation sachets, including Unisept and Tisept, pharmaceutically-based products used to clean wounds and burns. The Oldham factory became a Molnlycke factory with their takeover of Medlock Medical who had been in the city since 1952. Unfortunately no country of origin information is given against individual products on their website – http://www.molnlycke.com
Actesso Medical Supports make some of their supports in the UK, for example some of their hard wrist supports and splints, some of their hard knee supports, some of their back supports, and various other supports for sports and injuries. Some of their supports are foreign made. British made supports are labeled as such on their website. They say on their website “Our core products are made in the UK and designed in conjunction with NHS clinicians. These UK-made products are registered with the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, UK) as a Class 1 Medical Device” – http://www.actesso.co.uk
VertiBaX Ltd are manufacturers of joint pain relief products – wrist supports, ankle supports, back supports, knee supports, elbow supports. It says on their website “VertiBaX branded products are all manufactured to the very highest specification in our UK factory” – http://www.vertibax.co.uk
“The Hopper Carry Bag is made in the UK from a robust waterproof fabric”. This innovative product is a bag or large pouch worn around the waist and designed for easy use by anyone using crutches, walking frame or a walking stick for support. You may find a few other made in the UK items on the Health and Care website, including surgical instruments, Liberty Flights e-liquid, calming floors mats for children, teething lanyards for babies, Putnams Baa Baa Back Sheep memory foam back supports, hazardous substance storage units, and Vapourlites Electronic Cigarette Cartomizer Refills – http://www.healthandcare.co.uk/crutch-accessories/the-hopper-carry-bag.html
Polymath Products sell made in Britain Ultra Compact Survival Kit (UCSK) and other innovative outdoor and EDC gear. They are one of my followers on twitter. Everything I saw on their site today (11/3/16) was made in the UK and they have the words “made in the UK” on their website. I’m not sure if the contents of items like their mini survival kit are UK made. Products include key rings with mirrors, photoluminescence panels and medical alert stickers; a mini survival tin; a fire-steel and fire starting kit and spares; and a compact survival kit – https://www.polymathproducts.co.uk
Strikefire (Tradewinds Outdoor Ltd) – there website was under construction when I checked it (25/6/15 and 11/3/16). “Strikefire is the new brand for camping and extreme outdoor individualists. British design and made”. Products include a Strikefire Firesteel/Ferro Rod which is made in the UK and stainless steel or titanium sporks which also seem to be made in the UK. Both of these products are available from Bison Bushcraft – http://strikefire.com
BCB International make some of their gear in the UK, including ready made survival kits, camouflage creams, insect repellants, ration packs, striker flints, fire fuel, hand cleaner and body soap. There’s more information about BCB here.
Another source for insect repellent is the Lifesystems Expedition range, whose DEET based sprays are manufactured in the UK. For other products in their insect repellents and insecticides range check the packaging or ask about the country of origin, because I am not sure where they are made.
Raven System (military equipment) state on their website that the majority of their products are made in the UK. You’ll have to ask which though, because country of origin is not given on their website – http://www.ravensystem.com
For soaps generally, including multi-purpose soaps and toothy-tabs, try Lush.
For a water bottle, http://www.ohyo.me.
James Lever still make some of their ropes, twines and string in England – Ask if what you want is made in the UK. Sold on Ropesource (possibly the same company or else they work closely together and are neighbours). Examples of the English made products Ropesource sell are: Coloured jute twines, craft twines, baker’s twine, jute garden twines, green poly garden twine, Everlasto natural cotton string, Everlasto coloured cotton string, garden twines, and coloured polypropylene twine.
Outhwaites Ltd (Ropemakers) make their rope products in the UK in Hawes, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. I am not sure if all their products are made in the UK so please check before buying, but they have a manufacturing facility in Hawes (where they also have a visitor centre). They make ropes for the equestrian, farming and gardening markets, bannister ropes, barrier ropes, braids, rope pet toys, rope pet collars and rope pet leads. I note that the the Outhwaite Pet Divsion has recently been sold to The Animate Company based in Ripponden. There is scant information about Animate on the web but they appear to make dog beds in the UK as their website (such as it is) mentions a factory showroom.
Master Ropemakers Chatham still make a full range natural and synthetic ropes on site in their historic premises in Chatham, UK according to their website – http://www.master-ropemakers.co.uk. Also rope related gifts, handrail ropes, garden rope, boating ropes, gymnasium and tug-of-war ropes, animal halters, parrot perches, rope dog toys and dog leads.
Marlow Ropes Ltd. manufactures quality ropes for the Leisure Marine, Industrial and Defence markets. As far as I know all Marlow ropes are made in Britain, although I am not sure about their other products (check before buying). Marine and offshore ropes, extraction, climbing and abseiling ropes, climbing accessories, ropes and accessories for arboriculture, safety and access ropes, ropes for film and theatre, and ropes for industry. Available online, for example I found Marlow climbing ropes at a company called Rope Locker.
The Traditional Rope Company has some made in England ropes. You’ll have to ask which as they don’t specify on their website. Ordering is by phone in any case.
Twool make household and garden wool twine and rope using Dartmoor Whiteface sheep wool. All made in Britain.
Regray Textiles Ltd are a UK manufacturer of elastics, braids, cords, tapes, webbings, etc.
Also, see my Outdoor Gear category for useful survival gear.
More generally in terms of medical supplies I have found the following companies on the net:
Barber of Sheffield – trade only – makes or sells a range of surgical instruments, scalpel blades, needles, tattoo equipment and medical equipment but I am not sure how many, if indeed any, of their products are made in the UK.
Likewise with Medezine Medical Saws – trade only – of Sheffield it is not clear from their website which, if any, of their products are made in the UK.
B Braun (Aesculap) – trade only – is apparently the UK’s largest manufacturer of surgical instruments and is based in Sheffield but I am not sure if their products are UK made.
Skidmore OEM trade only – is a surgical Instrument manufacturer based in Sheffield and they say they are the largest UK’s premier OEM surgical instrument and Orthopaedic Implant manufacturer. They have a factory in Sheffield but I am unsure if all there products are made in the UK.
Granton Medical manufacture all their healthcare products in the UK, for example tuning forks, scalpels, disposable gloves, dental knives, palette knives and special needs cutlery. All their manufacturing takes place at their premises in Sheffield, England.
Medasil are a British manufacturer and distributor of high quality single use silicone based surgical products, produced under the Medasil brand and private brands. Medasil Surgical Manufacture from its premises on the outskirts of Leeds City centre. The company was founded in 1974. I am not sure if they manufacture everything they sell themselves so you will need to ask country of origin (which is not given against individual products) – http://www.medasil.com
Robinson Healthcare make a comprehensive range of single use instruments for surgical, gynaecological, podiatry and dental procedures, as well as medical cotton wool and absorbents, patient and surface wipes, patient identification products, disposable gloves (Nitrile Gloves, Latex Gloves, Vinyl Gloves) and professional woundcare products. According to their website almost all Robinson Healthcare products are produced at a large UK manufacturing facility in Worksop, Nottinghamshire so there is a good chance that the product you want will be made in the UK, but do check before buying.
Thornton & Ross Ltd (wholesale) are based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England and produce a number of medicinal and household products, including Covonia cough medicines, the Care range which is sold in independent pharmacies, Hedrin, J Collis Browne’s treatment for diarrhoea and upset stomachs, , Settlers, and Zoflora floral disinfectant, and branded ranges for supermarkets and chemists. They have a manufacturing site in Huddersfield. They are the largest independent pharmaceutical manufacturer in the UK and the majority of their products are made in the UK on their Huddersfield site, but some of their products are outsourced to manufacturers elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Contact them to ask if the product you want is manufactured in the UK. Like a lot of medicine companies they do not state country of origin on all of their products.
See medicines and multivitamins made in the UK too.