What I Pack In My Hospital Bag

Being admitted to the hospital is always the last thing you want. But if you live with many chronic illnesses, as I do, it’s better to be prepared.

I learned this many years ago after I was admitted a couple of times and had to try and tell my family what I needed and where it could easily be found. So after that, I always have a hospital bag packed and ready to be safe.

Also, if I am having surgery with the possibility of being admitted, I also have a bag just in case. It’s best to be prepared for everything.

Must-have items to bring to the hospital

These lists just work for me, so you may need to modify them for your needs.

Let’s take a quick look at what I keep in my hospital-ready bag and what I try to keep in my car:

Items I keep in my car

I learned the hard way quite a while ago that it’s best to keep certain things in my car just in case I go to urgent care or the ER and don’t have my bag with me. 

  • A phone charger
    6-10 ft cord because plugins are usually not in the most convenient places, as well as the box plugs into the wall. Nothing is more annoying than being stuck somewhere and having a dead phone, so you can’t call anyone.
  • Extra feminine products
    No explanation is necessary.
  • Extra change of clothes
    I try to keep an extra set of leggings, a shirt, socks, and undergarments in my car. Because you never know.

Hospital bag

Packing a hospital bag is going to look different for everyone. As everyone has different preferences, the items below are just what has worked for me over the last eight years.

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Pants and tops
I bring a minimum of two pairs of pants, such as leggings, joggers, or lounge pants. Or shorts if that’s your preference. I also pack several short and long-sleeved tops.

I rarely wear matching pajamas when I am home, so I pack the same way. I try to keep a long night short or a couple of pairs of pajama pants and wear the t-shirts that I mentioned above.

Every hospital and unit have different policies as to if you have to wear a gown or if you can wear your clothes.


When it comes to packing these items, I pack like I would for a vacation. I always have at least one pair of underwear for my most extended stay in the past.

But I would suggest at least 4-5 because you never know what might happen and how many you’ll need.


I don’t pack more than maybe two sports bras, and you can wear them multiple days, and it’s just not my biggest worry.


I don’t like wearing socks at home, so I don’t pack more than a couple of pairs of socks. If you don’t have shoes or slippers, generally the hospital will give you a pair of those wonderful grippy socks to keep you from falling.


I always have a few in my bag because most floors will allow you to wear a tank, even with a gown.

Slippers or flip-flops

These are a MUST! As an RN who worked bedside for many years, trust me when I say you don’t want to walk around on those floors barefooted.

Slippers vs flip flops

This is honestly just preference. I always have a pair of flip-flops in my bag because they can double as shower shoes. But just pack whatever makes you more comfortable.

Personal Care

When packing a hospital bag, I advise getting all of the sample-size items at Walmart and Target to pack. Get a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag and put all your personal care and toiletries in the bag, so it's not a mess if they leak. 

They will give you the essentials but trust me when I say you’ll want your own.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Chapstick
  • Shampoo and hair brush
  • Lotion

Miscellaneous items

  • Ear plugs
  • Puzzle book or book if you feel like reading.
  • Sunglasses. Especially if you are being admitted for or deal with frequent migraines


Again this will be preference and what you need. I always take:


AirPods, headphones, whatever you have. I recommend cheap, so if they get lost or stolen, you are not out much money. I bring these to watch television, listen to music, or a podcast, without bothering my neighbor.

Phone charger

Block and charging cable. 6-10 feet long is ideal.

iPad or Kindle

If you take these items, you have to be careful. Remember that things can get stolen.

Comfort items

Everyone is going to need/want different things while they are in the hospital. For me, I always take my fleece throw blanket and pillow.

That being said, those items never go back on my bed, and it is easier to have a set pillow and blanket that stay with my bag in case someone else has to bring me my bag.

What are your hospital bag must-haves?

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