What to Put in Your Hiking First Aid Kit
When heading out into the wilderness for a day hike, the chances of getting seriously injured are extremely small. Scrapes, blisters, cuts, sprains, sunburn and bug bites are issues hikers will more likely encounter and while none of these will necessarily end a hike, they sure can make finishing one quite uncomfortable. Having even an basic first-aid kit can help alleviate these problems and facilitate a great experience on the trail. Our guide will help you put together the best first-aid kit for you.
When it comes to first-aid kits, your have two options; buy one that has already been put together or build a custom one for yourself. There are some pretty awesome, completed, first-aid kits out on the market but there are some real advantages to building your own. For one, you can decide exactly what goes into your kit and in what quantities. You can also pick what brands you want to use or that work best for you.
1st Aid Handbook - Sometimes it's just nice to have a quick go-to resource to verify what you already know. When it comes to safety, this is a great starting point for a wide variety of things you might face while enjoying the outdoors.
Medical and Contact Information - In the event that you are unable to communicate, it's a good idea to give the person(s) who find you the most information possible to make sure you get the care you need as soon as possible and that those who need to be contacted, can be.
Band-Aids - A good variety of quality band-aids is a great things to have on hand. Two of the most common injuries that hikers face are blisters and cuts and being prepared for them can save an otherwise great day from going sour. Make sure your stash of band-aids includes different sizes and those designed for specific and flexible parts of the body; knuckles, knees, elbows, etc.
Triple Antibiotic Ointment - A small tube of ointment goes a long way on the trail and takes up very little room in your kit. Pump bottles are pretty convenient too.
Irrigation Syringe - Lightweight and great for flushing out scrapes and cuts. This will also allow you to clean specific areas instead of dumping your water supply on your wound.
Sanitizing Solution - Before applying an antibiotic ointment and wrapping up the wound, it's important that it's thoroughly cleaned. For most cuts and scrapes, even a little should do the trick and for bigger cuts, whatever you've got will help.
Hand Sanitizer - Washing your hands may be a little difficult on the trail. Sanitizer doesn't replace hand washing but it will help.
Disposable Medical Gloves - These will help keep things clean, protecting both the injured person and the person trying to help.
Scissors - Your utility knife should have scissors but if it doesn't, don't forget a to pack a small, durable pair.
Ibuprofin - Keep some on hand for sore and/or achy muscles and to alleviate pain after a long hike.
Gauze - Gauze is great for stopping bleeding as a result of cuts and scrapes. Use a little tape to keep it in place and you're all set.
Bandage Wraps - Use them for sprains, blisters, sore knees, padding and more. These things are like the duct tape for your body while out hiking
Pain Relieving Cream - Great for sore and strained muscles. Can sometimes solve the same issues that would require aspirin.
Diarriah Meds - Probably don't need to say much here.
Bug Bite Cream - It's wild how one bug bite can draw your attention from everything fun you're experiencing on your adventure. Make sure you can get that handled quickly.
Eye Wash - Something you're not likely to use but will be grateful to have if you need it.
Tweezers - You won't notice the weight in your bag but you will notice tics, splinters and other irritants.
Finger Splint - If you fall, it's natural to stick out your hands to brace yourself. If that doesn't go well, a finger splint will make it more bearable.
Cold Pack - Snap-to-cold ice packs are light weight, easy-to-use and ease the pain and throbbing of a fresh injury.
Cotton Swabs - Serves a number of purposes but primarily responsible for getting the wound dressed cleanly.
Sun Block - Serves a number of purposes but primarily responsible for getting the wound dressed cleanly.
Medical Tape - Whether to keep a broken finger in place, secure gauze or for a host of other reasons, a roll of durable tape is worth its weight in gold.
Moleskin - Pretty incredible stuff for keeping blisters from making an appearance.
Safety Pins - From securing bandage wraps to 'fixing' torn clothing, these little things can be really handy.
Food/Candy/Energy Gel - Your hiking bag should always have more than enough food for the adventure you have planned but a few basics can really help if you need them. Don't forget to rotate them before they expire.
Whistle - Even with all the preparation in the world, there may come a time when you need to call some attention to yourself or ward off an animal.
Water Proof Container(s) - Great place to store pills and other items that need to be protected from water.
Antihistamine - Antihistamines will help alleviate congestion, sneezing and other allergy-related affects of being out in nature.
Waste Storage Bag - Obviously you don't want to leave medical waste or other trash out in nature and a waste bag will help you safely pack it all out.
Matches / Lighter - In the event that you need to build a fire, this is your easiest method. Make sure you have a way to stay warm and protect yourself.
Cotton Balls w/ Vaseline - Lightweight and makes starting a fire easy.
Mylar Emergency Blanket - A mylar emergency blanket is another one of the items that you'll most likely never need to use but will be glad you have if you do need it.
Water Purifier - This is the kind of item you probably won't notice in your bag but will definitely notice if it's not.
Rain Poncho - A little rain won't wreck your hike but being prepared for it won't hurt either. Hypothermia is no joke.
Hand/Feet Warmers - Have a couple of these in your bag can really help out during a pinch.
Antacids - Heartburn on the trail? No, thanks.
Written by NorCal CK for norcalpulse.com