If you’re headed outdoors, you should always carry either a prepackaged first-aid kit or a DIY kit that you can create using our list as a guide. Knowing how to use the items in a first-aid kit is as important as having them, so consider taking a training course. This list is intentionally extensive so you don’t forget anything. It also includes emergency essentials that you might carry separately from a kit.
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Homemade Ultralight First Aid Kit While it’s tempting to buy a commercial first aid kit for hiking and backpacking, they’re often overpriced ($30 for Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight and Watertight .7 Medical Kit) incomplete, heavy, and expensive to refill with the tiny packets of medicine that they try to sell you. I’ve found it to be much less expensive and convenient to pack my own first aid kit with pills, lotions, bandages and miscellaneous supplies that I buy in larger quantities for home use and can resupply from my bathroom cabinet.
Weighing 3.4 ounces and packed in a sandwich bag, my homemade first aid kit contains all of the pills, lotions, tape, and bandages that I use on my trips, some more often than not, as well as a few supplies that I’ve used to help other hikers in need that I come across on the trail. I bring more first aid supplies when I guide trips, but this is all I’ve ever needed for my personal day hiking and overnight trips.
I like buying big band aids, like the one shown above, and then cutting them down to the size I need. I can usually cut a couple of smaller bandages out of the big ones instead of bringing lots of different sized bandages that I may never need. Quantity Purpose Primarily for Personal Use Ibuprofen 25 Pain reliever Immodium 8 Stool thickener Benedryl 10 Allergic reaction relief, sleep aid Antiseptic wipes 2 Wound sterilzation Antibiotic cream 2 Small packets, mainly for popped blister treatment Assorted bandages 6 Large ones that can be cut to size Pre-cut Leukotape Strips 6 Very sticky blister prevention tape Container of zinc oxide 1 0.
5 ounces for chafing relief Primarily for Treating Others Nitrile gloves 2 Body fluid barrier for treating other people Aspirin 8 Blood thinner (for heart attack victims) Locking safety pins 2 Good for improvised splints A couple of notes: My first aid kit is broken down into personal supplies for my own use and first-aid supplies that I use to treat other people I might encounter on the trail who need help.
My Wilderness First Aid and CPR certifications are always up to date because I need them to guide hiking trips for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the other organizations I work with. I’ve been using EZ Pill Pouches to repackage my medicines for a few years and find that they’re perfect for holding pills or packing refills in resupply boxes. I pre-cut strips of Leuktotape (blister prevention) and stick them on the waxy paper backing that comes with address labels or adhesive name tags.
This keeps the tape sticky for use. I repackage my zinc oxide into little plastic cosmetic containers with flip lids that are good for holding lotions. These stay reliably closed in my pack and can also be used to store pills. What’s in your first-aid kit? Most Popular Searches first aid first aid kit hiking first aid kit adventure no scissors