Whether you're day hiking or undertaking an extended backcountry adventure, always equip yourself with a first-aid kit. Minor scrapes, cuts, a bee sting or a headache can happen anywhere, anytime. It pays to be prepared.
Most outdoor enthusiasts select pre-assembled first-aid kits as a matter of convenience rather than building their own. It's an easy way to make sure you have not forgotten any of the basics. Per a study by the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS, it’s also a bit more economical than building a kit piecemeal.
Most kits are packed in compact, water-resistant pouches that can be refilled and reused.
Whether you're choosing a pre-assembled kit or building your own, make sure you carry the supplies that match your trip plans. Think about:
the number of people relying on your kit
your trip's duration
the strenuousness and potential dangers inherent in your route
the distance you must travel to reach medical assistance
anyone in your group who has special medical needs
Every first-aid kit should include:
A manual: a comprehensive, easy-to-follow first-aid instruction booklet that clearly explains how to handle basic problems
Basic bandages: assorted adhesive bandages, athletic tape and moleskin
Basic drugs/lotions: aspirin, antibiotic ointment, antacid tablets, sunscreen and any prescription medicines
Basic first-aid tools: tweezers, a small mirror, razor blade or knife
A fully stocked first-aid kit is useless unless you know how to use the supplies inside. Make sure you know basic wilderness first aid before you leave home. The Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS offers classes at selected REI stores, or check with your local community center or hospital and sign up for a first-aid class. REI offers books on the subject. Update your skills from time to time so you don't forget important procedures.
We wish you safe and enjoyable outdoor adventures.