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A First Aid Kit for Hiking Adventures- 22 Items for Your Ultimate Guide

How To Pack A First-Aid Kit For Hiking

Hey there, fellow adventurers! Ever been in the middle of an epic hike, miles away from civilization, when suddenly – bam! You trip, scrape your knee, or maybe a blister just decided to make its painful debut.

Not exactly the trail magic you were hoping for, right?

That’s where your trusty hiking first aid kit steps in. It’s like that reliable friend who always shows up with pizza when you’re feeling down, except this one’s got bandages and antiseptic wipes instead of pepperoni slices.

In this article, we’ll prepare you for the trails by teaching you how to pack a first aid kit for hiking. Whether you’re climbing towering peaks, wandering through dense forests, or hitting the beach with your four-legged buddy, this little box of wonders is your ticket to staying safe and sound.

A first aid kit for hiking might not be as exciting as picking out your new hiking boots or choosing the perfect trail snack (I mean, who can resist those energy-packed trail mixes?), but first aid is essential.

An article from the Journal of Wilderness Medicine studied 301 people hiking overnight in Yosemite. They found that, on average, groups only carried about 48% of the recommended first-aid gear. Let’s raise that number by bringing awareness to all the necessities you should put in a hiking first-aid kit! Let’s roll!

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The Nitty-Gritty of a First Aid Kit for Hiking

So, we’ve established that a first aid kit for hiking is as essential to your gear as a good pair of boots or your beloved trail snacks. After all, it may save your life one day! But let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?

Now, what is the importance of a first aid kit for hiking? First aid kits are for more than just those pesky paper cuts from flipping through your map too quickly. They’re your first line of defense when you’re out in the wild, ready to tackle anything from blisters to bug bites and even those more serious “oops” moments.

Now, when it comes to first aid kits, you’ve got two main options: the convenient store-bought kits or the personalized DIY kits. Think of this like choosing between a pre-planned tour or an independent adventure trip. Both have their perks but also a few drawbacks. Let’s break it down.

Store-Bought Kits: The Guided Tour

Store-bought kits are like the guided tour of first aid. Everything’s already planned out and packed up for you. These kits are typically well-stocked with all the basics: bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, pain relief medication, and more.

The pros? You save time on gathering and packing, and you can be reasonably confident everything essential is included. Plus, they often come in durable, compact cases designed for the great outdoors.

The cons? These kits may include items you don’t need or miss out on things you do. And let’s face it; they lack a bit of personal flair.

DIY Kits: The Independent Adventure

On the other hand, assembling your own first aid kit for hiking is like planning your independent adventure. You decide what goes in, how it’s organized, and you can tailor it to your specific needs.

The pros? Customization is king here. You know exactly what’s in your kit because you put it there. Allergic to a particular type of bandage adhesive? No problem, pick a different kind. Prone to blisters? Pack extra pads. You get the idea.

The cons? It can be time-consuming to gather all the materials and pack them efficiently. Plus, you need to ensure you’re not leaving out anything crucial.

So, whether you opt for the convenience of a store-bought kit or the personal touch of a DIY kit, remember: the best first aid kit for hiking is the one you have with you. So choose the one that suits your style and needs, pack it in your bag, and hit those trails with confidence!

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into store-bought or ‘ready-made’ first aid kits!

First Aid kit bought from a store in a nice small container, How To Pack A First-Aid Kit For Hiking.

Off-the-Shelf First Aid Kits

Let’s review some of the top first aid kits out there, what’s in them, and what type of activity they are best suited for:

Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight

The Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight is watertight and contains the following items:

Wound Care:

  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • 10 wound closure strips
  • 4 triple antibiotic ointments
  • 6 after cuts towelettes
  • 1 tincture of Benzoin
  • 2 cotton tip applicators

Bandages:

  • 10 sterile dressings
  • 2 non-adherent sterile dressings
  • 1 conforming bandage
  • 1 trauma pad
  • 5 adhesive bandages
  • 3 knuckle bandages

Extras:

  • 1 elastic bandage
  • 10 yards of adhesive tape
  • 22 pre-cut moleskin pieces
  • 3 alcohol swabs
  • Gloves
  • Splinter picker forceps
  • Irrigation syringe
  • 3 safety pins
  • 26″ x 2″ roll of duct tape

Medication:

  • 8 ibuprofen
  • 6 diamode
  • 3 antihistamine
  • 1 aspirin

This kit has everything you will probably ever need while hiking to address minor wounds! It weighs 10.4 ounces and measures 9.5″ x 7″ x 2.5″. This kit is best for day hikes where weight isn’t an issue.

You’ll also notice that this first aid kit is highly geared towards wound care and bandages but somewhat lacking in wilderness tools such as a fire starter or flashlight, so keep that in mind when thinking about medical emergencies that might have you stranded overnight on a hike.

Adventure Medical Travel Series Medical Kit

A much smaller first aid kit for hiking, the Adventure Medical Travel Series Medical Kit weighs just 3.2 ounces and measures 5″ x 4.5″ x 0.75″.

Here’s what’s included in the travel series kit:

Wound Care:

  • 1 triple antibiotic ointment packet
  • 3 antiseptic wipes
  • 3 alcohol swabs

Bandages:

  • 2 butterfly closures
  • 1 adhesive knuckle bandage
  • 4 adhesive fabric bandages

Blister/Burn Care:

  • 1 GlacierGel
  • 14 pre-cut moleskin

Medication:

  • 2 diamode
  • 4 antihistamine
  • 2 ibuprofen
  • 2 acetaminophen
  • 2 antacid
  • 2 diotame

Extras:

  • 2 wash-up towelette
  • 2 safety pins

The travel series may be a better choice for those concerned with weight, such as ultralight backpacking trips. It doesn’t contain as many items as more extensive first aid kits, but for a backpacking first aid kit, you can treat most minor injuries with this kit, making it ideal when weight and size are key factors.

Adventure First Aid Medical Kit

The Adventure First Aid Medical Kit comes in 4 sizes ranging from 3.5 ounces to over a pound. The middle-of-the-road adventure kit (1.0) weighs in at 8 ounces and measures 5″ x 6.5″ x 1″.

Here’s what’s included in the 1.0 Adventure Medical Kit:

Bandages:

  • 12 adhesive fabric bandages (1 x 3)
  • 1 adhesive fabric bandage (2 x 4.5)
  • 2 adhesive fabric knuckle bandages
  • 3 butterfly closures
  • 2 sterile gauze dressings (2 x 2)
  • 2 sterile gauze dressings (3 x 3)

Bleeding:

  • 1 Instructions for bleeding care
  • 1 trauma pad (5 x 9)
  • 1 pair of nitrile gloves

Blisters/burns:

  • 1 moleskin (3 x 4)

Sprains:

  • 1 elastic bandage with clips

Extras:

  • 1 splinter picker/tick remover
  • 1 first aid survival instructions

Medication:

  • 2 acetaminophen
  • 2 sting & bite relief wipes
  • 2 antihistamine
  • 2 aspirin
  • 2 ibuprofen

Survival Gear:

  • 1 compass
  • 1 whistle

Wound Care:

  • 1 first aid wound care instructions
  • 10 antiseptic wipes
  • 1 tape (1/2in x 10yards)
  • 2 triple antibiotic ointment packets

As you can see, this kit has a lot more features, such as survival gear and bug relief. This nice middle-of-the-road kit weighs relatively light and is compact enough to fit any hiking backpack. It’s great for day hikers or multi-day backpack trips.

A high ankle sprain while hiking

What To Look For In A Store-Bought First-Aid Kit

If you’re considering going the store-bought route (no shame in that game!), there are a few key things to consider when picking your perfect kit.

Size

First up, size matters! Look for a compact kit to easily fit in your backpack without taking up too much space. After all, you still need room for your trail mix and that extra layer of clothing.

But don’t be fooled by size alone – it’s not just about how small it is, but how smartly packed. A little kit can pack a big punch if it’s well-organized.

Waterproof Features

Secondly, consider the conditions you’ll be hiking in. If there’s even a slight chance you might encounter some wet weather (or if you’re as clumsy as I am near water sources), make sure your kit is waterproof. You don’t want to reach for a bandage only to find it soaked!

What’s Inside

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, let’s talk content. A good pre-packed first aid kit should cover all the basics for minor wounds: different sizes of adhesive bandages for those unexpected cuts, antiseptic wipes to clean wounds, tweezers for splinter emergencies, and some form of pain relief for those “ouch!” moments.

If you’re prone to specific issues like blisters or insect bites, ensure your chosen kit includes remedies for these too.

Now, let’s move on to DIY first-aid kits!

DIY First Aid Kits

Making your own first aid kit allows you to pack for specific circumstances that may not apply to most people.

For instance, some first-aid kits aren’t equipped with blister repair or moleskin. If you’re prone to blisters, you’ll have the power to pack as many as possible in your DIY first-aid kit! Or, maybe you’re prone to allergies – no problem! Pack extra antihistamine medication.

So, how do you assemble your own first-aid kit?

What To Place Your First-Aid Items In

You may have assembled the best DIY first-aid kit, but you don’t want all your items rattling around freely in your backpack! So, what do you put your bandages and antiseptic in?

You have a few different options:

  • Dry bag: We use this on our hikes, and it works great! Sea To Summit’s Ultra-Sil Dry Bag comes in sizes ranging from 3 liters to 35 liters, making it customizable depending on the size of your first-aid kit. Also, as the name suggests, it’s waterproof!
  • Backpack Pocket: Another option is to store your first-aid kit items in a small pocket of your backpack. We’ve done this before, and it works just fine. However, this isn’t the best option for extended backpacking trips.
  • Waist Belt: These are designed with runners in mind but can work just as well for hikers if you pack a small first-aid kit. The Amphipod Airflow Endurance Waist Pack measures 30 cubic inches, so this option only works if you’re packing essentials!
  • Plastic or Reusable Bag: A handy option if you’re looking for a simple way to store your first-aid items. You can match the size of your first-aid kit to the proper-sized bag and store it in your backpack until needed. This option is budget-friendly but less secure than a dry bag or waist belt.

Next, let’s talk about what to actually put in your first-aid kit!

How To Pack A First Aid Kit For Hiking

If you read through the pre-packed first-aid kit list, you have a good idea of the basic necessities of a first-aid kit for hiking.

Here’s a rundown of what should be in a first aid kit for hiking. We’ve also included some hiking-specific add-ons like poison ivy/oak treatment, anti-chafing, and sunscreen for all your wilderness first aid needs!

First-Aid Items:

Hiker-Specific Items:

Depending on the conditions you will be hiking in, you can leave some of these things out of your DIY first aid kit for hiking. But I always say it’s better to be prepared! Reading some gear reviews to find the item that fits your needs is also a great idea.

And remember the golden rule of hiking, pack out all trash. Always pack out any used items, such as bandage wrappers or packaging.

If you’re wondering what else you should carry in your hiking bag besides a first-aid kit, check out our article on what to pack in your hiking bag for a gear checklist!

A injured hiker using a first aid kit to clean and bandage a knee cut

Wrapping Up Hiking First Aid Kits

And there you have it, my adventurous friends – your ultimate guide to hiking first aid kits!

Whether you’re a seasoned trailblazer or a newbie hiker (hey, we all start somewhere), having a well-stocked first aid kit for hiking can be your trusty sidekick on any adventure. It’s not just about dealing with those unexpected scrapes or blisters but also about that sweet peace of mind, knowing you’ve got your bases covered.

And let’s face it, isn’t peace of mind the best kind of trail magic?

So whether you’re vibing with the convenience of a store-bought kit or feeling the call of a DIY project, know that both routes lead to the same destination: being well-prepared. Tailor your kit to your needs, your adventures, and even your quirks.

Allergic to a specific type of bandage? No worries. Can’t stand the sight of tweezers? There are other ways to deal with those pesky splinters.

Remember, fellow wanderers; it’s not just about reaching the summit or crossing off another trail from your bucket list. It’s about the pure joy of the journey, the thrill of exploration, and the confidence of knowing you’re ready for whatever comes your way.

So here’s to hitting the trails with confidence, embracing the unexpected, and, most importantly, to the sheer joy of adventure. Happy hiking, adventurers!

Let us know your favorite first-aid kit gear in the comments below! And for more hiking tips and tricks, visit the Dirtbags with Furbags hiking blog!

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