A hiking first aid kit is one of the 10 essential items to bring on all adventures. While many don’t carry one for day trips (even when they should), there is no excuse for your hiking group to not carry a kit with the most essential items on backpacking trips. In this article, we will discuss the essential items, and items you should consider to make your kit even more robust, and then point out some of the best kits on the market. This will serve as a guide for those making DIY first aid kits, or that are looking to purchase a pre-packaged kit.
Do keep in mind that if you or anyone has any health conditions that requires medication, or emergency medication (inhaler, epipen, etc), then these items need to be included in or separately from your kit.
Hiking First Aid Kit Checklist
We have also created a Google Sheet for you to duplicate and use as a helpful checklist. Access The Sheet Here.
For each of the below items, we also linked to a product that may be a good choice for you, and can serve as an example.
Simply put, every first aid kit should have at least the following:
- Bandages of all sizes and shapes
- Painkillers – Ibuprofen or something similar
- Your allergy medicine and EpiPen
- Gauze pad, rolled gauze
- Medical tape
- Multi-tool – and make it a quality one.
- Sewing Needle w/ Thread
- Bug-bite medicine
- Antiseptic and anti-bacterial wipes
- Safety pins
These are the pure essentials. It might seem like a lot, but out in the wild, even a bee sting can be a problem. If you are going in a larger group, make sure everyone understands the importance of the first aid kit. After all, it is one of the 10 Essentials for the outdoors. Over time, and depending on your company, you will upgrade your essential first aid kit.
Wraps, Splints, And Bandages
A broken finger might be an issue, and a broken leg is worse, especially in the middle of nowhere. So, arm yourself with these:
With these inside your backpack, you can treat both minor and severe injuries until you get to safety or a rescue crew can arrive. Bringing these large items is necessary when traveling to a high risk area, especially when away from easy access from rescuers and medical professionals.
Medications & Treatments
Pills and powders won’t take much of your backpack space but might save your life. So:
- Hand sanitizer. COVID or no COVID, you need one.
- Water treatment pills
- Your prescription medicine, and grab a double dose
- Pain killers (again), eye drops, and aspirin
- Electrolytes, rehydration salts, and sugar solution
- For a sensitive stomach, take antidiarrheal medicine (and some extra toilet paper)
- Antifungal powder
Tools And Supplies
This list of items may not exactly be included in your first aid kit, but just consider bringing these as part of your “survival kit”:
- Multi-tool, or at least a proper surviving knife
- An alternative source of light
- GPS locator
- Waterproof socks – because wet feet will make you sick in no time
- Emergency blanket
- Duct tape
- Pocket mirror
- Mini notebook and a waterproof pen
- Mini medical kit: syringe, thermometer, scissors, and a pair of gloves
And no, your smartphone can’t replace most of these things. Smartphones get broken, wet, or misplaced. Or run out of battery.
- Sun protection: sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat
- Your personal medicine or product that you might feel uncomfortable if everyone sees them – hemorrhoid ointments, tampons, mumble rap mixtape, or something similar
- A good camera for capturing the memories
The Best Hiking First Aid Kits
When looking for an ideal first aid kit, you need to consider the duration of your hike, the terrain you’ll be going in, and how robust your kit needs to be. Here, we will point out some of the best simple first aid kits as well as some of the best more robust first aid kits.
Best Minimalist Hiking First Aid Kit
This kit really doesn’t include all of the items in it, but we are aware of the minimalists, trail runners, and others that simply won’t carry a first aid kit unless it is super small and lightweight. This is much better than nothing, and this option is inexpensive, compact, and lightweight.
Best Middle Level Hiking First Aid Kit
This first aid kit has 299 items of the most essential items a first aid kit needs. It is inexpensive, packs relatively small, and is 1 pound (16 ounces). View Here
Best Heavy Duty Hiking First Aid Kit
We loved this kit so much that we did a full review on it here. It has everything, is super durable, well designed, and still remains relatively compact.
Building A DIY First Aid Kit
Building one of these kits yourself is quite simple. All you need to do is take our checklist above and run to the store or do some online shopping to acquire the above items. You’ll want to find a system to keep your goods organized and waterproof, so make sure you utilize a waterproof system whether it is a box, a plastic bag, or putting in a waterproof sack.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about