There are many first aid kits on the market – small, large, pricey, affordable. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options, so it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit checklist to make sure you have everything you need. After all, if an emergency happens and you are well prepared, you could save a life!
However, just as with camping- and hiking, the same over packing problem exists with the first aid kit checklist. What are the chances you will need breathing barriers or sutures for everyone in your hiking or camping group if bad things happen when you explore the outdoors?
“Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”Unknown author.
If you want to learn more about backcountry safety, check out National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS has well-thought-out and extensive courses in wilderness medicine and trail leadership, as well as some first aid kits. In case you want to make your own emergency backcountry kit, check out the “DIY Emergency Backcountry Kit” article.
Without further ado, here is a list of first aid kit essentials:
First Aid Kit Checklist
Cuts, bruises, and other minor injuries are a common occurrence on any adventure, be it a multi-day backcountry trek, a short trail hike, or an overnight camping trip.
That’s why, as you may have noticed, first aid kit appears in every checklist; but not all first aid kits are made equal. Before you head out exploring, make sure you have the following items in your kit:
Basic First Aid Items:
Emergency first aid guide
Paper with personal information and emergency contact
Medical alert jewelry
Coins for emergency phone calls
Absorbent compress dressings
Adhesive cloth tape
Antiseptic wipes and cream (alcohol-based are okay)
Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
Hydro-colloid blister plasters
Pair of disposable, non-latex gloves
Sterile gauze dressings
Sterile eye dressings
Sterile gauze pads
Crêpe rolled bandages
Triangular-bandages to secure or support limbs
First Aid Tools:
Knife or a multi-tool with knife
Tweezers for splinters
Bee sting kit
Snake bite kit
Small bottle of water
Optional: Breathing barrier
First Aid Medications:
Keep your medications in original packaging and make sure they are within their use-by dates.
Epinephrine injection pens
Saline solution to clean wounds
Insect sting and anti-itch treatment
Aloe-Vera based gel for burns
Syrup of ipecac
Skin rash cream
Anti-swelling, itching, and redness cream
Poison Ivy cream
Optional: Water purification
Be sure to check out our other outdoor checklist as well!
Basic First Aid Kit Cover Image: Milan Degraeve