Let’s hope you will never need it, but if you do not have it… Well, let’s not reflect on Murphy’s Law. Just bring it!
Building your own kit from scratch can be done. However, it is much easier and cost-effective to buy an extended basic first aid kit from an outdoor store and make the necessary additions. This provides you with fancy reflective case (usually red or blue), pre organized straps and pouches, some medicine that should be good for a couple more years, and simple tools like tweezers, syringes, and plastic gloves. (E.g., REI: first aid kits)
Your kit will differ drastically depending on terrain, trail length, and numerous other factors. Bellow is our most basic list, along with a few additions you could possibly need. Please take into consideration the style of trip and destination location – as these factors can weigh heavily on what emergency equipment or medicine you could need, along with situations that you may face.
Always remember to check where the nearest hospitals are and keep in mind that backpacking subjects yourself to not being close to care. Make sure that you learn basic life support skills such as CPR and knot tying. Outdoor/Wilderness first aid classes are commonly taught by the Red Cross and are open to the general public.
All information bellow is meant to be helpful advise and not a doctor’s order. Please double-check any medications you take. If you have a history of allergies or medical conditions it is important that you tell the people you will be traveling with.
Basic First Aid Kit
- 2 pieces of paper (or a small notepad) and pencil
If you are giving pre-hospital care, write down any medicines you give the patient, etc.
Important pieces of information: Time, S&S (signs and symptoms), Pulse, Medications, Summary of Events, Patient History (Has this event occurred before? Any current medications, allergies, on-going health problems the patient has).
- Adhesive bandages: 3 x 0.75 in. (3), 3 x 1 in. (4), knuckle (5+), fingertips (5+), butterfly closures (3)
- Gauze: roll of gauze (1)
Additionally, having pre-pads is easier when on the go. Recommended sizes are 2 x 2 in. (4), 3 x 3 in. (4)
- Non adhesive pads: 4 x 3 in. (2)
- Sterile top sponges: 4 x 4 in. (8)
- Pieces of moleskin: 4 x 3 in. (2)
- Triangle bandage (1)
- Role of tape: 10 yd x 1 in. (1)
- Irrigation syringe
- Antibacterial wipes (8+)
- Tiple-antibiotic ointment packets (6)
- Sting relief wipes (3+)
- Povidone-iodine wipes (6)
- Antimicrobial hand wipe (1)
- Hydrocortisone cream packets (2)
- Aloe vera gel packet (1+) or a small tube
- Medication: Antacid tablets (3+) – anti-acid
May treat heartburn, indigestion, and diarrhea.
- Medication: Ibuprofen 200mg tablets (6)
May treat inflammation, pain, fever, and gout.
- Medication: Acetaminophen 325mg tablets (6)
May treat: pain, fever, and sinus infection.
- Medication: Diphenhydramine 25mg caplets (3)
May treat allergic reactions (e.g., hives) and motion sickness/nausea.
- Medication: Loperamide 2mg caplets (3)
May treat diarrhea and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Safety pins (4+)
- Pair of latex-free medical gloves (1)
- resealable waste bag (ziplock, etc.)
Additional Optional Items
- Metal splint … but if you are trying to save weight, find any hard object (e.g. tree branch) and it should do the trick!
- Nail clippers – small
- Additional pill vil or ziplock bag(s)
- Ear drops
- Eye drops
- Chlorine or iodine tablets for water purification (or a water filter)
- Hand sanitizer: This does not need to be packed away in your first aid kit, but should be in an easy to grab spot, accessible throughout the day.
Heading to the Mountains (and we mean the high mountains, over 5,000 m/1600 ft)
- Altitude medication: Do not ignore signs and symptoms of altitude sickness or progress higher is symptoms arise, but having medication with you is a responsible choice. If you will be hiking at high elevations, remember to drink plenty of water and not ascend at too rapid of a rate. Also read about the signs and symptoms of HAPE and HACE, as they are both life threatening!!! If symptoms progress or stay constant at rest, your best choice is to descend (lower your altitude).
- Generic prescription antibiotic for a range of infections.
- Females, when you are backpacking for many days and your hygiene becomes lacking, the most common female related condition is a yeast infection. It is possible to ask your doctor to prescribe you with suppositories to bring with you for a “just in case” scenario.
Keep in mind that one of the easiest ways to stay healthy is plenty of rest and water, along with being up to date on all your vaccinations – especially when heading abroad. Always stop by your doctor to discuss any extensive travel plans.
GrabTheBackpacks is not responsible for the health or conditions or any person that follows the advise given above.
Please check with your doctor before taking part in any strenuous activities.