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Backpacking Gear for Beginners: First Aid Kit

This post is part of the Backpacking Gear for Beginners course.

Why do you need a First Aid Kit? 

When you’re out hiking, you might be hours away from help. You are your own first aid when you’re in the backcountry.

Small cuts and sprains are going to be the most common thing you encounter on the trail but you’ll want to be prepared for common ailments like headaches, upset stomachs, allergies and sore muscles.

Get a pre-made kit to start

Pre-made first aid kits for outdoors and hiking have a lot of the common things ready to go. There are also good lists online of ingredients you could use to make your own or add to a small store-bought kit. Adventure Medical Kits has a bunch of different sized kits.

Make sure you buy or include drugs YOU might need

I always make sure I have bandages, Benedryl, Gravol, TUMS, and Advil as those are the things I’ve used most on past trips. I also carry an Epi-pen for wasp stings. Other things like anti-diarrhea drugs are helpful if something gets into your water. 

Keep everything dry

Make sure your kit is in a waterproof bag. Some of the items may get ruined if they get wet.

Know what’s in your kit and how to use it

Go through the kit you make or buy to know what’s there. Find out how to use each piece. Even watching videos online can show you the basics and may help one day. Check nothing is expired at the beginning of every season. We highly recommend taking an adventure first aid course one day for some good practice.

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