How to Build A First Aid Kit For Backpacking and Hiking

Hiking can be quite the exciting adventure, whether its a short day hike or a month in the Appalachians. The thought of all that can go wrong isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when you’re immersed in nature and making your way along the scenic route, but when a medical emergency happens, especially in the great outdoors, it’s essential to be prepared.

first aid for hikers

While some hikers hit the trails with nothing but a protein bar and bottle of water, a properly stocked hiking first aid kit is one thing that should be on every outdoor adventurer’s packing list. A first aid kit with all of the right supplies for your next hike will prepare you for any potential accidents or bumps in the road.

Consider the details of your trip when building your hiking first aid kit:

  • Length of your trip
  • Location of your hike
    • Climate
    • Terrain conditions
    • Animals and/or insects
  • Who will be on your hike?
    • Any medical conditions that need specific medication
    • How many people will be joining you?

Keep safety top of mind during your hike

The first thing to think about is how long your backpacking or hiking trip will be. If you’re hiking for a month you’ll need larger quantities of first aid supplies than a trip that only lasts a week.

Consider the location of your hiking trip and the weather conditions you’ll have to endure. If you’re hiking in a damp or wet climate, it’s important to pack water-resistant first aid supplies.  What about the animals and/or insects that normally inhabit the area? Whether it’s insect repellent or bear spray, it’s better to be prepared than not. Lastly, think about the people joining you on your hike. How many will there be? Does anyone have medical conditions that require specific medical supplies or medication? Keeping everyone safe and comfortable on the trail and allows you to enjoy your grand adventure and have fun.

Your hiking first aid kit should be compact, durable, and lightweight

Build a hiking first aid kit that is as small and lightweight as possible to minimize the amount of weight you’ll be carrying throughout your trip. Also consider the durability of your first aid kit. Do you need it to be waterproof? Do you need a hard case or a soft case? To minimize the amount of weight you’re carrying, only bring what you need, and make sure the kit is durable enough to keep your supplies safe and protected.

The basic essentials for a hiking first aid kit

If you’re unsure of exactly what supplies to keep in your hiking first aid kit this basic list is a good starting point.

  • Assorted bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines
  • Insect repellent and/or bug bite treatment
  • Latex gloves
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid tablets

To understand how to react in various medical emergencies to keep yourself and those around you safe, you may also want to take a first-aid course before your hiking trip. To make the most of your hiking trip make sure you’re prepared for all that can go wrong. Stay safe and make sure your hiking first aid kit has all the right supplies.

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