I carry a 6-ounce personal first aid kit when I go day hiking and backpacking. It contains more bandages and medications than I might need on a trip so I only have to replenish it periodically. It’s also closely “aligned” to the locale where I do most of my trips, in the Eastern United States and occasionally Scotland, where emergency healthcare is usually accessible in a worst-case 24 hour time window, even in rural areas. Different locales have different first-aid requirements.
I also carry several multi-use items that can augment my first aid kit, which I explain below. My trail clothing system (see my hiking bug suit) also lets me avoid many issues and ailments associated with ticks, insects, and sun exposure.
Easy-to-Identify Stuff Sack
My first-aid kit is packed in a white stuff sack which makes it easy to find in a backpack and to check whether I’ve packed it.
First Aid Kit Ingredients
Here are the contents of my first-aid kit. I buy everything in quantity and refill things periodically when they run low. All of these items are easy to find over the counter. The most frequently used items are the Ibuprofen and Bendryl, but I don’t really use them all that often. I rarely get blisters. I give most of these items away to people I hike with or come across in distress than use them myself.
- Blister prevention: 12 pre-cut Leukotape strips, stuck to release paper
- Blister treatment: 6 Band-aid hydro-skin band-aids of various sizes
- Wound cleaning: 6 alcohol prep wipes
- Small cut care: 6 very sticky Elastoplast bandaids
- Small meds bottle: Medical rescriptions, as needed
- Pain and inflammation relief: 20+ Ibuprofen tablets
- Allergic reaction/sleep-aid: 20 Benedryl tablets
- Diarrhea relief: 10 Imodium tablets
- Noise relief: 4 pairs of silicone earplugs
- TMJ prevention: night guard to prevent grinding teeth while asleep
- Body fluid isolation: Nitrile gloves in case I have to administer first aid on someone else
Multi-Use Ingredients, which can be used for first aid if needed
- Wound cleaning, irrigation: Aquamira chlorine dioxide water purification drops or tablets
- Scissors: Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Classic
- Chaffing relief: a small container of Zinc Oxide packed in my toilet paper bag
- Chaffing relief: a small container of Vaseline packed in my fire starting kit
- SOS: Garmin inReach Explorer Satellite Messenger
Explanation of Ingredients
Leukotape is a very sticky tape that hikers and runners put on their feet to prevent hot spots from forming. The only time I get blisters is when I’m breaking in a new pair of shoes or insoles or I have to do a long road walk. Leukotape comes in a roll which is inconvenient to pack. So I pre-cut it into 3-4″ strips that I stick to mailing label paper (“called release paper”) and carry those instead. This works great, but you have to change the strips once or twice per year because they lose their stickiness over time. Leukotape will typically stay stuck to your feet for two to three days.
Band-aid Hydro Seal Bandages (comparable to Compeed in the UK but much less expensive) are gel-like bandages that help heal blisters and provide cushioning for pain relief. They’re also very sticky and waterproof, so you can shower, keep hiking, etc., while wearing them. They’ll typically stay on for two to four days. They’re the best bandages for blisters I’ve found.
Alcohol Prep Wipes are good to sterilize scrapes, shallow wounds, and blades or scissors before use. The “outdoors” is a pretty dirty place and these wipes are one tool to help prevent infections. They’re often sold in large quantities, like 100 wipe packages. But they don’t go bad when stored and last forever.
Elastoplast Plasters are very sticky bandaids that are much stickier than the conventional Band-aids you typically get in the United States. I first discovered them in Scotland, but you can also buy them on Amazon US. They’ll typically stay on for two to three days. They are quite inexpensive, actually.
A 2 oz polyethylene bottle (sold by REI) with a screw-on cap is a good way to package prescription drugs because it prevents the pills from being crushed and is much more space-efficient than carrying a daily pill dispenser. If you lose the cap you can replace it with a plastic soda bottle cap. If you’re paranoid about losing your prescriptions, carry a second bottle with them in some other part of your pack or personal effects. Getting replacement prescriptions in a foreign country can be an incredible hassle, for instance.
Ibuprofen tablets are quite helpful for pain relief and to reduce inflammation when it is needed. I repackage mine in EZ Dose Ziploc pill bags to keep them dry
Benedryl tablets are good for treating all manner of allergic reactions ranging from bee stings to hayfever. Benedryl is also a good sleep aid that will make you drowsy if you’re having trouble falling asleep. I also repackage mine in pill-sized Ziploc bags to keep them dry.
Imodium tablets, also called Loperamide, helps reduce the symptoms of diarrhea if you consume bad food or water by slowing down your bowel contractions and the movement of food or fluids through your digestive tract. In other words, it plugs you up so nothing comes out. I also repackage mine in pill-sized Ziploc bags to keep them dry.
Silicone Earplugs: While noise is not strictly a first-aid issue, getting a good night’s sleep is an important factor in staying healthy. I store my earplugs in my first aid kit as a matter of convenience. They’re good for blocking out snorers and loud birdsong in the morning. Mack’s silicone earplugs retain their grip and elasticity for a long time if you smash them flat and pack them away in a small sandwich bag every morning.
Night Guard: I wear a soft night guard every night because I grind my teeth without it. If I skip a few nights, I get TMJ, which is a painful inflammation of the jaw which radiates up the side of my head and ear.
Nitrile Gloves: One of the most important lessons you learn in Wilderness First Aid is body fluid isolation. You want to avoid coming in contact with an injured person’s blood, sweat, piss, or shit. I help people who I come across from time to time who are in some sort of distress, and wearing Nitrile gloves is a simple way to keep myself safe, if I have to touch them. They also make a good insulation layer for your hands, under a glove, by trapping body heat and preventing sweat from wetting out the insulation layer.
Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification: I carry chlorine dioxide as a backup (to my filter) and as a batch water purification technique on all of my hikes and backpacking trips. Water purified with chlorine dioxide is sterile and can be used to irrigate deep wounds. While it’s painful, cleaning debris out of wounds helps prevent infection. While you can carry an irrigation syringe for this, a plastic bag, bladder, or hydration hose can also be used to create an irrigation stream.
Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Classic: This tiny knife has a small pair of very sharp scissors which are handy for shaping Leukotape or bandages.
Zinc Oxide: Zinc oxide is a soothing cream for treating minor skin irritation including chafing. I carry a small hinged cosmetic jar of it in a plastic bag with my toilet paper. It works wonderfully well to relieve discomfort and prevent further irritation. I go through enough zinc oxide that it pays to buy a big jar and refill my small tub as needed. The refill process is best performed using a nitrile glove to keep the zinc oxide off your hands.
Vaseline: I carry a small tub of vaseline which I smear onto cotton balls as a fire starter. It can be used the same way as zinc oxide although it’s a little greasier. I occasionally use it on my toes under my socks if I feel friction, to prevent blisters.
Garmin inReach Explorer+ Satellite Messenger: I use an inReach Explorer+ to send daily “health-checks” to my wife to let her know I’m still alive. But it gives us both some peace of mind knowing that I could summon emergency help if I’m out of cell phone range. It’s not fool-proof and it requires consciousness to use, but in the right circumstances, it can be an ace in the hole if I need help or I come across someone else who does.
The Problem with Commercial First Aid Kits
I’ve never been a fan of small commercial first aid kits because they don’t contain the products that I prefer or in enough quantity, necessitating frequent and costly resupply if buy their replenishment kits. I’d rather carry 20 Ibuprofen or Benedryl tablets than the 1 or 2 tablets included in commercial first aid kits because I use them far more often than a commercial kit assumes. If I’m guiding clients, I’ll usually carry a heavy commercial first aid kit, but it contains far more items than you’re likely to ever need on a hike or backpacking trip. Guides carry them to avoid lawsuits as much as to help their clients.
Take a look inside a consumer Adventure Medical Kit sometime. Paying $29.00 for this Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit is a total rip-off. You can stock a roll-your-own first aid kit that costs less and is just as effective and complete from items in your home medicine cabinet.
Health Maintenance System vs First Aid Kit
The problem with most commercial first aid kits is that they try to package “first aid” as a separate entity so they can sell it and not as an element in a larger gear system. Sure, boo-boos happen, and it’s nice to have enough ingredients to stabilize a patient until you can receive proper medical attention.
But if you’re a serious day hiker or backpacker, I’d encourage you to think about the medical supplies and gear you carry as a larger “health maintenance system” made up of interlocking and multi-use parts. For example, I open up my first aid kit every night and every morning to access and put away my night guard and take a maintenance medical prescription. It makes perfect sense for me to store these items in my first aid kit, even though they’re not technically first aid. If I didn’t bring them on my trips, it would precipitate a health issue, most definitely. Which is why I view them as part of a larger health maintenance system along with the other gear and supplies that I carry on trips.
Food for thought.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
A few additional items I’d include:
Body Glide – smallest container
1” roll of paper bandage tape may take the place of Leukotape for skin protection
Fingernail / toenail clippers
Calmoseptine paste – essentially thickened calamine lotion with 21% zinc oxide. Very soothing for skin rashes, chafing, and spot sunblock, especially the ears, nose, etc. I carry a half-full 2 oz. jar
Bismuth Subsalicilate (Pepto Bismol) tablets
Cut square of coarse sandpaper for filing down foot calluses
Povidone Iodine Swabs (similar to alcohol swans) for wound : blister cleaning
Doxycycline 500 mg tablets, if your physician concurs and instructs you
Acetaminophen 500 tablets (Tylenol). for pain relief, especially for those who cannot take Aspirin & Ibuprofen. Acetaminophen & Ibuprofen taken together have great analgesic properties
Great article, thanks! One tip I’d add is to make sure that the pill packs are clearly marked with their expiration date. You can use a Sharpie on the storage bag or put a slip of paper with the expiration written on it inside the bag.
Tick remover tool can come in real handy!
Well thought out. Thanks.
Reco to add: For larger cuts: 1-2 dressing pads 4”x4” ; one package steristrips. Your bandana can bandage but a dressing first is good.
If you’re ever faced with splinting a fracture I find Velcro strips 2”x36” amazingly awesome. Of course bandanas will do but the Velcro strips take 5minutes vs 20 minutes and are so adjustable.
Tip: select a large stuff sack so you can just dump everything on the ground to quickly find what you need when the blood is flowing. Pre package iyrmd into groups when possible.
Make sure you keep prescribed meds in their original container. I wrap the bottle with clear packing tape so the script doesn’t deteriorate.
Also: I found a tendency to leave the FAK out on some dayhikes because of weight, so I have a 120g stripped down version with much of the same stuff just reduced quantities that makes it difficult to leve behind.
Your kit looks a lot like mine! The one handy thing I’ve figured out in the last few years is to use contact lens cases for creams (bag balm/diaper cream) and liquids (my son’s liquid medicine) because they are leak proof, lightweight, and hold 5 ml per side which is enough for what I need for trips up to a week. They also happen to be cheap and easily available.
Good call on the contact lens cases…I was throwing them out until I thought “what a perfect container for vaseline and zinc oxide” or other creams where you don’t need a whole tube.
Any reason I would not be able to use hand sanitizer in place of alcohol pads?
Not the best for scrubbing the surface of a wound.
Leukotape: instead of peeling it off, cutting it to length, and sticking it on paper, I just cut the roll in half and flatten it out, and take a chunk of the flattened roll in my kit.
Dido on most. Always enjoy when I find those who have thought things out and arrived at similar conclusions. I don’t use/carry leuko tape. I’ve tried using it once on blisters and found no help with it so, I peeled it off and went to my old standby, duct tape. Granted a horrific thought, but in all fairness duct tape proved to be much thinner and slicker which made a difference in the overall effect. Also instead of alcohol packs small antibiotic packs. Dido on zinc oxide and Advil.
The last time I took Wilderness First Aid, they were advising against the use of antibiotic ointments because they prevent airflow to wounds and can promote non-aerobic bacteria growth. I’m due for a recertification one of these days, but that’s one reason I don’t carry the stuff.
Leukotape is a pre-blister tape. It’s probably the last thing you’d want to put on a blister, but so is duct tape. Pull the skin right off. If I drain a blister, I keep the skin covering it intact to keep it from getting infected and just poke a sterile hole in the side to drain it.
One of the most common medical situations, especially on the East coast, are bee stings. This is especially true of yellowjackets which tend to nest in the ground (often near trails) and can swarm an unsuspecting hiker without warning. Since many people (myself included) have severe allergic reactions to the venom, it can turn into a serious medical situation in a matter of minutes depending on the number of stings and the severity of the allergic reaction. I always carry a small vial of ammonia to counteract the effects of the venom, i.e., since the venom is an acid and ammonia is a base, there is a ‘neutralizing’ effect which can negate the pain, swelling and in most cases an allergic reaction. I simply apply the ammonia directly over the sting with a gauze and hold for approximately five minutes or until the pain subsides. The traditional treatment of using Benedryl tablets to negate the allergic reaction can also be effective but I have found the direct application of ammonia to the sting area to provide immediate relief from the pain and swelling.
I wonder if chlorine bleach would work for bee stings? It’s also a base. Could be used also for emergency water treatment.
Bleach doesn’t kill Cryptosporidium which is why the CDC recommends the use of Chlorine dioxide instead for water purification/sterilization. That’s the main reason I use it.
Yellow jackets are not bees… it is a wasp. bees rarely sting people. I have an eight hive apiary of bees and enjoy lots of honey!
I always look for a credible source for anything medical given the proliferation of so much opinion based stuff on the internet. Taking a WFA course is probably the best thing people can do overall. Blister treatment is an area where many people post poor solutions for example.
The last time I took a WFA class (I’ve taken it like 5 times), I attended the curse with a surgeon. He told me that he’d never felt so helpless in his life (on that course), because he didn’t have his staff of nurses and colleagues around him to deal with the patient.
Medical “facts” aside, I relate this story because hospital medicine is very different than wilderness medicine. I’m not saying that they’re different, but I’d trust a Wilderness EMT to provide proper care a hell of a lot more than I’d trust a surgeon if I had an accident more than a mile from a trailhead.
Paste of baking soda works for fire ant venom (practical experience in Houston has proved this) and might work for vespid stings too.
Each of us undoubtedly has our own health issues. The ailment I’m most subject to in the wild is the dreaded infected hangnail. I therefore take quite a few bandaids and antibiotic ointment.
I take a tiny mirror (1/4 of a backpacking mirror) in case of facial wounds or foreign object in the eye when I’m traveling alone. It of course has a dual use to check for smudges or “hat head hair” when entering a more populated area.
A needle is great for extracting splinters, and the one I take has a large enough hole that I can use my dental floss as thread in case of repairs. It’s one of the many items I take that is multi-purpose.
As an older person I take a few 80 gr. aspirin tablets just in case of heart problems. These are also useful as a pain analgesic for your canine companion (consult your vet for dosage).
Yes, be sure to write the expiration date on each container, and go through the kit at least annually to replace expired medications and other dead-looking items (bandages in yellowed paper, elastic items with dying elastic, those nitrile gloves which get brittle with age, etc.)
IMHO, the space between your ears is your most important first aid item, and I strongly recommend a good class in wilderness first aid. A good WFA class will teach you, among other things, how to improvise things like splints and braces from your gear or natural materials. The standard first aid course unfortunately dwells on “call 911,” while a wilderness FA class focuses on keeping a patient stable for the 24 hours or more before help can arrive. It’s well worth the money!
Good thing alcohol pads come in large boxes. I find I use the ones in the FAK to take sap off tent/gear regularly so now I carry more of them.
#1 tip is contributed by Grannyhiker !
Use the space between your ears! Take that wilderness FA course. Also take that navigation course and be supplied with compass and paper map backup to your electronic gear. Remember, getting patient timely professional medical care may be essential, so know your nearest access points to civilization. Beacon or Garmin/Spot are great tools, the Garmin probably better than the beacon in most situations. (Beacon has more penetrating power, which is why I use it for wooded areas – Garmin needs a clear line of sight to the sats).
Irrigation trick: fill a clean nitrile glove with clean water – like a water balloon. Make a nick at the end of one finger – squeeze. Tip courtesy of a local hiking ER doc.
SAM foam-covered aluminum splint doesn’t weigh much or take up much room. Of course one has bandaging material to go with it.
“Tick key” (note, I haven’t used this, and one could do about the same thing with tweezers – but it doesn’t weigh much, and it does minimize fuss for those who are squeamish about being near the tick)
Thanks for the ammonia tip re yellowjackets, Dan. Does it minimize pain too? (G-D I hate yellowjackets). I wonder if sodium bicarbonate hydrated into paste might also work. Now that’s a dual use item – bicarb is a decent tooth scrub.
Dental floss is amazingly strong and versatile.
I went on a car-camping trip a few years ago. Packed too much Imodium by mistake. We had a potluck. About 20 minutes later, everyone was glad that I packed too much Imodium.
You mentioned buying zinc oxide in bulk tubs. Besides economy, a bulk 1 lb tub of USP Zinc oxide does not have any fragrance so it does not have to be in a bear can
It is nice to be able to keep it in a convenient place. If you are OCD like me, purchase a sleeve of two hundred 2 x 2 gauze for cheap on amazon also and make some pre-impregnated wipes that just go in a baggie.
Also OCD: Leave no trace says we need to pack out out our paper, put on one of those nitrile glove on your wiping hand when going #2. You might not need as much Imodium. :)
You are probably well acquainted with your own gut bacteria. It’s the other guy’s you have to watch out for.
True, so hand the glove to your hiking partner instead :). But still, no sink around so the yuck factor still applies
Along with the stuff listed above I also bring a small pack of Steri-Strips (for wound closure), a few small tubes of super glue, and some BZK First Aid Wipes.
Some good suggestions there, thanks!
I’ve always carried a small container of Bactine™ for antiseptic/anesthetic use. Doesn’t sting on cuts or abrasions.
Never had occasion to use it, but some people are never without a bit of cyanoacrylate (Super-Glue type stuff, but the medical-grade version, not actual Super Glue) to close and seal clean, cut-type wounds.
Some sort of tick removal device (key, tweezers, etc.) would seem essential, these days.
As part of a general effort to limit overall volume and weight, i try to simplify my vitamin/supplement regimen on hikes, but usually carry an anti-inlammatory blend like Zyflamend. Augmented with aspirin, if needed. On longer outings, i’ll carry some immune-system aids as well.
Language note: It’s curious how easy it is to become so accustomed to a proprietary brand name for a certain item to the point where it’s used even when discussing another, similar proprietary product (“Elastoplast band-aids”).
First, let me say, thanks for the article; I’ve been reading several lately about rolling your own kit and this one was most helpful. I am just getting back into backpacking after a couple decades – more time on my hands, I suppose, in old age. A quick question: none of the articles I’ve read have mentioned whether or not one should put the first aid kit in the bear bag at night – because of potential odors from some of the items. I assume the answer will be “yes” – What do you think?
I don’t, but I don’t have anything I consider smelly in it. You could always segregate the smelly stuff into a food bag…
I’d skip the plasters and just carry dressing pads. You already have the worlds best band aid tape with your leukotape. I have a mini tube of superglue (for field repairs and cuts) and/or a small pack of steristrips. Some silver based burn cream is another one worth having. Cuts, blisters, burns, aches and pains are probably 95% of what you’re treating on trail anyway. I also have pins/needles, dental floss, and other multipurpose items in my field repair kit. I also keep a foot or two of Leukotape wrapped around my hiking pole.
The problem with Leukotape as a bandaid is that it tears off the scab if you try to remove it. It’s preventive taping, not curative.
Is there any concern using super glue to close a wound and potentially have bacteria still in the wound?
I think you should ask that question in the Wilderness First Aid class you’re about to sign up for. :-)
I’ve never had a tremendous desire to use the stuff myself.
From what I understand there is a medical form of super glue that is preferable to the stuff you buy at a hardware store.
It also good for certain types of wounds and not others. See.
Great post and comments from readers. I’d like to underline that the main advantage of making your own first aid kit is that it forces you to think about your specific needs. Someone with a history of heart trouble, for example, might carry chewable baby aspirin, while someone prone to heartburn might carry antacids and someone with allergies might carry an Epipen. I keep my first aid kit in a small, see-through plastic Loksak to find items quickly. The Loksak is like a ziplock bag, but heavier-gauge and stronger, with two ziplocks keep it closed. I learned the hard way that the tweezers on a Swiss Army knife don’t work well enough for ticks and that a tick “key” doesn’t work well on the tiny ones. So, I carry tweezers made specifically for backcountry first aid kits. Also handy for splinters and thorns. I agree with Phil that antibiotic ointment is not very useful in the backcountry, where it holds in moisture and dirt. I’m more of a fan of antiseptics, rather than topical antibiotics.
I agree with the comments on antibiotics. Have friends who got MRSA after meticulously cleaning and applying triple antibiotic. It is greasy, seals out oxygen. I use merthiolate.
Regarding Leukotape, I carry a full roll. It is an excellent repair tape. I also tape my ankles when I wear trail runners, as I have rolled my ankles many times and this limits the damage; but it does require at least two strips 12″ up each side of the leg. Taped up blisters for many hikers. If I clean my feet with alcohol, the leukotape will adhere well for 14 days +, even with swimming and walking barefoot occasionally, backpacking 20+ mile days. It does turn black.
My first aid/maint/repair kit weighs 38 oz.
Responding to Cheri, above: See also http://www.soloschools.com. Like Phil says, lots of organizations teach wilderness first aid — but SOLO is one of the premier ones.
In fact, most organizations just hire Solo to teach the course for them for the people in their organization who want to be certified.
OK Mark R, and Phil, I’m feeling pressured! I looked up the link you provided. Did you know I can take this class in China? Or I can just go to the NOC. I mean, the NOC is kind of an exotic place, right?
I took a Wilderness Advanced First Aid course in January and am very glad I did so, although I’d probably be my own first patient! One park ranger told me, “The more First Aid training you get, the larger your kit becomes.”
Although I’ve only administered CPR once in my life (my friend did not survive), I added one of those small disposable CPR masks. I’d planned to use my Sawyer backflush syringe for wound irrigation but the class instructor said the dental irrigation syringes are designed to provide the correct flow and pressure to clean a wound without damaging tissue. I then added an inexpensive irrigation syringe to my kit. The CPR mask and syringe together don’t weigh an ounce.
I’m on several maintenance prescriptions for my severe arthritis and back problems. I peeled off prescription labels from empty pill bottles, folded over the label onto the adhesive side and created small double sided labels to slip into Ezy Dose bags along with my meds.
This post and the comments are really helping me get a better handle on my First Aid kit. I’m trying to be prepared for what’s likely rather than for all the scenarios we trained for. Much of the WAFA training was based on improvising in those other situations if they do pop up.
I took NOLS’ Wilderness First Aid class last year. And now I can bear the take the rolls of sterile gauze out of my first aid kit. Fortunately, they’re light – just bulky as all get-out.
Thanks, Grandpa. I had just emailed Philip asking if the Sawyer syringe could double as an irrigation syringe – you answered it for me.
I found irrigation syringes quite inexpensive on FleaBay. I’m sure they’re also pretty cheap on Jeff Bezos’ empire.
Your first aid kit is a result of thinking about what you need on the trail to make it safe and enjoyable. It’s that thinking process that really ought to be taught, as the specifics of what’s in the kit can and will vary quite a bit between folks.
My kit is a combined first aid and repair kit, stuff to fix me or fix my equipment, all in one baggie. As a result of some small miseries here and there, I’ve come to carry things that are less focused on saving a life and more focused on managing small boo-boos so they don’t make the trip a slogging miserable experience. Small injuries like blisters won’t kill you but can make an otherwise enjoyable trip a disaster.
You’re right on the money (pun intentional) about buying in bulk and refilling from time to time.
Being 65, I find that a little prevention goes a long way. In addition to my first aid kit, I also carry foot cream (that I put on each night), calf compression sleeves and a muscle roller stick.
Fits well with my “health maintenance idea”.
A “ Triangular Bandage “ is useful.
A leg/knee injury can be splint using dense foam mattress and cordage.
Good Post. I also add these items:
A small Army knife has that has scissors and tweezers (sometimes carry a better set of tweezers) The tweezers help with dealing with ticks, stingers and thorns.
Alcohol used for an alcohol stove can serve a dual purpose as a first aid supply.
Baking powder can be used as a toothpaste and works like calamine lotion.
Keeping a prescription in it’s original container is a waste because water can it get into it. :(((
I find decongestants extremely helpful. This might be the most used items in my kit.
Didn’t know that about prescription bottles. Hmmm.
He could wear glasses to read and it would be great to enjoy your advice on which ones are the best (lightweight, sturdy, durable, etc.).
Thank you for this good article.
Here in the desert southwest we learn to carry 2 specific items for removing the inevitable cactus pickers that grab us: a small metal “dog-grooming-comb” for the bigger jobs, and tiny needle-nosed pliers. Duct tape works great to “peel off” larger areas full of those pesky microscopic pickers.
That time I had to have my bum duct-taped after landing in a prickly pear…..
Useful tip for blister packs – put adhesive tape across the foil where you press the tablet through. Stops them popping out in a packed FAK. You’ll need a blade to cut the tape to get the tablet out, though.
Another very important addition is aspirin. If you come across somebody who is having a heart attack and still conscious. Taking aspirin can be a lifesaver.
I like to have vet wrap with me. It is good for sprained ankles and holding on bandages.
An item I always add to my kit are the dissolvable benedryl strips. Sometimes with an allergic reaction swallowing isn’t easy, so this way I can give one or more of these strips. Added benefit is that they enter the bloodstream faster. Theyre usually dosed for kids so you’ll need to know how many you need for an average adult and then double or triple the amount for an allergic reaction. Thankfully they are lightweight. Would duct tape work instead of leukotape? We used to wrap a foot long piece around the top of each of our hiking poles. That way everyone knew where it was and could use it for blisters or gear repair. What do you all think?
I used duct tape to prevent blisters for a long time and found that leukotape is much better because it doesn’t fall apart when there’s a lot of friction.
The other problem with wrapping it around your trekking poles is that it doesn’t come off very well unless it’s very fresh.
Put a bit of dish soap between your thumb and forefinger and lightly pinch the tick, maybe add some more soap, a thin layer, and continue to pinch the insect. After a few minutes, no matter if you can no longer see his head buried in you, the entire thing will pull out cleanly. ??
Just a few things personal to my kit……for tweezers I got a 3pack of mini tweezerman tweezers from walgreens. They are tiny, about 2 inches long and I only bring 2, needlenose and regular. They work MUCH better than the ones on a Swiss army knife and barely any bigger. I also throw a new cardboard wrapped razor blade in my my med kit, the kind you get from home depot and use to scrape paint from windows.. Helps fine cut not just medical supplies but helpful with gear repairs. Also take a couple hydrocodones just in case something nasty happens. I also pack in a bottle of sterile eye drops in case a bug or other irritant gets in my eye
I was out on a day hike a few years ago ,and another hiker fell and broke his glasses. The broken frames made a pretty deep, but small cut on the bridge of his nose that really bled. If I hadn’t had steri-strips, he would have had to walk 3 miles back to his car holding a bandage between his eyes. (Fortunately, he had spare glasses in his glove compartment, so he was able to drive home.)
I don’t go out without a couple anymore. There are a few body parts that are too small for any other kind oc bandage.
Three things: small LaCross eyebrow tweezers are superior to any others I have found in durability and maneuverability and I keep them in their case to protect their tips from dulling and poking other things; hemostats can weigh less than needle nose pliers, the curve tip ones allow you to see what you are clamping and they lock; fine gauge syringe needles, 25g or smaller, are light, hair thin, super sharp and come in their own sterile protective case. Lessons learned being a female hiking veterinarian whose dog pawed a porcupine ONCE, and listened to “leave it” way better after that incident.
Your dog is smarter than mine.
Any need for a sling/triangular bandage?
Really hard to tie on by yourself…if you’re packing them so you can treat others, it helps to bring a bunch.
Six ounces??? Wow. I hover at 2 lbs. And feel it.
In fairness, I took Wilderness First Aid from a kayaker, who maybe couldn’t care less about weight.
Sigh. Time for a shake-down.
A park ranger told me, “The more First Aid training you get, the bigger your kit becomes.’ After I took an Advanced Wilderness First Aid course, I also sported a 2 lb. First Aid kit. I’ve since managed to whittle it down to about 10 oz. by seriously reflecting on what I’ve encountered over the years, what I expect to come up against, and just how much I’ll need to handle those things in the few days I’ll be on the trail. I keep extra supplies with my resupply just in case I’ve depleted essential items.
I learned the hard way that, if you prefer to hike solo, it’s a good idea to carry a small non-glass mirror (Coghlan’s camping mirror, for example) because you can’t see your own face, which you need to do to clean and dress the cut on your forehead.