February 23, 2017

Outdoor First Aid Kit List: Wilderness essentials for hiking, camping, backpacking, travel

First aid kit list: For hiking, camping, backpacking, and the outdoors

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Why should you pack a travel-sized first aid kit on your outdoor adventures?

In short, because you just never know what’s going to happen out there and what surprise plants (allergic reaction?), bugs (staying attached to your skin?), roots (trip and fall?), and MORE that you may encounter when you’re out there hiking the trails, camping the grounds, or traveling the world!

Unfortunately, accidents strike at inconvenient times, which makes the best course of action to be prepared at all times!

Of course, your standard travel-sized first aid kit won’t be adequate for any major injuries outdoors, but they can be helpful in minor injuries. They can also be helpful in holding you over until you’re able to get better medical care if that’s what you need.

You want to strive to be a safe hiker, safe backpacker, safe camper, and safe traveler… right? 😉 Emergency preparedness is one part of being safe outdoors which makes a first aid kit a necessity to put on your hiking essentials list!

And… what to wear when hiking!

what to pack in an international travel first aid kit for developing countries

Side note!
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So, what contents should your first aid kit for hiking and camping include?

The best hiking first aid kit for your backpacking trip isn’t necessarily the best hiking first aid kit for another person’s backpacking trip, as different types of mishaps may be more common on some trails than others. The nature of your trip may require you to carry a few extra things or prepare for a few extra injuries that may be more common during your specific travels. So prepare accordingly.

That said, let’s have a look at the contents of this ultralight first aid kit to help get some ideas on what items are the bare minimums of what to include for a day hike or weekend of camping, according to the wilderness experts at Adventure Medical Kits!

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First aid kit list

Here are first aid kit contents of a light travel first aid kit. Put it on your packing list as part of essential gear for your outdoor activities! You can also use the list for DIY first aid kit ideas.

Sterile non-woven swabs, various sizes (wound care)
Antiseptic towelette (wound care)
Skin cleansing alcohol prep swab (wound care)
Adhesive barrier wipes (wound care)
Aspirin pain reliever (medication)
Acetaminophen pain reliever (medication)
Ibuprofen pain reliever (medication)
Antihistamine (medication)

Here are first aid kit contents of a light travel first aid kit. Put it on your packing list as part of essential gear for your outdoor activities! You can also use the list for DIY first aid kit ideas.

Adhesive bandages, various sizes (wound care)
Gauze dressing (wound care)
Cloth tape (wound care)
Triple antibiotic ointment (wound care)
Moleskin (blisters and burns)
Insect bite antiseptic and pain reliever wipe (medication)
Tweezers or forceps (multi-purpose instrument)
Safety pins (multi-purpose instruments)

Pictured above in the 2 photos is everything that is included in the ultralight 0.5 first aid kit.

Something like this can be ideal for a day hike for 1 or 2 people or camping for a couple of nights.

If you’re not keen to add too much weight to your backpack but still want to prepare for minor accidents during your travels, this first aid kid could be a good addition to your gear. It would be better than the alternative of not packing any first aid supplies at all!

To find any of the individual first aid supplies from the list above for your DIY first aid kit, type any of the items into the this search bar and GO!

More DIY first aid kit ideas

To find ideas to be even more prepared if you’re making your own travel-sized first aid kit, have a look at the contents of the mountain series of first aid kits.

So, you’ve got your first aid kit…

Periodically check the expiration date of your first aid kit contents

If you’re buying a pre-made first aid kit, you’ll want to investigate the expiration dates of the contents of your first aid kit. Make sure there are no medications expired and that the medications have a reasonable expiration date. For example, check that it’s not going to expire next month!

Similarly, if you’re going for a DIY first aid kit that you’re making yourself with items you have around the house, make sure that those items aren’t expired.

It’s a good idea to check the expiration date of your first aid kit’s contents on a regular basis. If you’re really organized, you can make a list of all the items in your first aid kit on a sheet of paper and write the expiration date next to the medications. That way you won’t have to go pull out everything in your first aid kit each time you want to do a check. Simply take a look at the list! Write small, and you can keep this sheet of paper in your first aid kit without it taking up much space at all.

This first aid kit list can also be a good reference to remember what you have in your kit, and you can also use it as an inventory checklist by adding all your first aid supplies to the list!

Know how to use the first aid kit contents!

Even with the best first aid kit in the world, it’s going to do you no good when you have an accident if you don’t know how to use it and if you don’t know how to react when an emergency does strike.

If you’ve bought a pre-made first aid kit, set aside some time to go over everything in your kit, and learn what everything is used for. If there’s a medication in your kit that you barely know how to pronounce, let alone know what it’s for, do some old-fashioned googling to figure out its uses!

If you’ve created a homemade first aid kit, well, chances are you know the individual items you bought, but it’s still not a bad idea to go over everything in your kit!

Basic first aid course

Another thing to consider is taking a basic first aid class so you can learn the basic elements of what to do if you end up hurt while you’re out hiking, camping, or adventuring around the world. While there are many options, the American Red Cross is probably one of the more popular places to get your first aid certification. The first aid classes are typically a single day course that are several hours long and cost around $100.

Not only will you learn first aid basics, but you will also learn how to perform CPR. These types of classes aren’t just good to know for accidents when you’re hiking, but they’re good general life skills to have too!

Wilderness first aid course

If you want to take it a step further, there are also wilderness first aid classes available for you to take. As the name suggests, these types of classes focus on emergencies that are more specific to outdoor-related treatments.

NOLS, which stands for the National Outdoor Leadership School, is probably one of the more popular organizations to learn about wilderness medicine through. They have a wide range of courses depending on how much you want to expand your outdoor knowledge.

The most basic wilderness first aid course offered by NOLS is in the $200-250 range and is typically a weekend course, meeting all day on Saturday and Sunday.

For a taste of the practical applications and skills you’ll learn from taking a wilderness first aid course, see this book or this book about wilderness medicine.


what to pack for a hike | what to wear hiking


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see more:
- What to wear hiking
- What to wear snorkeling