Backpacking First Aid Kit – What To Look For in a Good Kit

first aid kit backpacking

A good, serviceable backpacking first aid kit and the basic knowledge of how to use it are essential gear and preparation for any outdoor activity. Minor cuts and scrapes, blisters, sore muscles, chafing from poorly fitting clothing, these are all common occurrences on any camping tips or even a day hike. What’s more, serious emergencies can occur. Broken bones, severe cuts and painful burns don’t just happen to careless campers. Emergencies that occur in the outdoors miles from help are always a concern. You want to have something to treat them with and the knowledge of how to do it. The first aid kits listed below are assembled by top companies with years of experience in dealing with outdoor emergencies. Below those kits this is a list of components for creating your own first aid kit that includes emergency first aid treatment for more serious injuries such as a broken bone. When evaluating these popular and universally respected first aid kits the contents of the kit takes precedence over everything else but also consider the quality and usefulness of the carrying case, the kit size and weight.

The American Red Cross offers first aid training online and in person.

Creating Your Own Personalized First Aid Kit for Backpacking

Here are the basics for a do-it-yourself first aid kit.

  • Tweezers for removing ticks or splinters
  • Your preference for over the counter pain medication, such Advil, Tylenol or Aleve
  • A 2-4-inch elastic bandage with velcro fasteners for wrapping sprains
  • Blister bandages such as Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin
  • Body powder to reduce chafing
  • Your choice of treatment for diarrhea
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Adhesive bandages
  • A SAM splint
  • Gauze pads
  • A roll of adhesive tape
  • A burn dressing such as Second Skin
  • An irrigation syringe for cleaning dirt from wounds
  • A pair of latex gloves for for treating others
  • Your preferred treatment for insect bites.

Do you have your own preferences for assembling a personalized first aid kit? Tell Savage camper. We may use your recommendations to update this list and will give you credit if we do.

Maybe instead of piecing together your own backpacking first aid kit, it would be easier to just buy one.  Here’s some first aid kits tailored for backpacking:

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Fundamentals

The Mountain Series Fundamentals Medical Kit includes a CPR face shield for protected mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. An irrigation syringe and wound closure strips enables you to clean and close serious wounds. There is an across-the-board choice of treatments for pain, inflammation, and allergies. The kit contains shears and quality forceps among other tools. A flexible support splint and a selection of wraps and bandages secure fractures and give support. Trauma pads and elastic wraps enable you to control serious bleeding. The Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine by Eric A. Weiss, M.D. provides the latest information and advice about outdoor first aid treatment. The kit container has a water-resistant zipper and urethane window with a 20-degree cold-crack rating.

REI Backpacker Extended First Aid Kit

The REI Backpacker Extended First Aid Kit is designed to meet the requirements of up to 6 people for 8 days in a remote outdoor environment. A removable kit contains basic first aid components that might be needed on a short day hike.

The kit contains a variety of adhesive bandages. It includes a selection of gauze pads. Blister protection and treatment is part of the kit. Other kit components include…Tape, a wire splint, an irrigation syringe, antibacterial wipes, hydrocortisone cream packets, an aloe vera gel packet, antibacterial wipes, over the counter pain medication, latex gloves, scissors, and forceps. The kit comes with The Wilderness First Aid Manual by Dr. William Forgey designed for quick reference in an outdoor emergency situation. The container is a zippered nylon case with clear vinyl compartments that allow you to see the contents of the kit.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight / Watertight 0.5

The Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight 0.5 First Aid Kit is designed for one person on one or two-day hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and kayaking trips when nothing but routine first aid treatment is all that’s needed. It contains antiseptic wipes and butterfly bandages, a selection of treatments for pain, inflammation, and allergies, wraps and bandages to secure and support fractures, and moleskin to prevent or treat blisters. It comes in a tough, lightweight silnylon bag with a waterproof liner. There’s room in the container to personalize the kit with your own choices of supplies and treatments. Weighs 4.5 ounces.

Lifeline Trail Light Dayhiker Camping First Aid Kit

The Lifeline Trail Light Dayhiker, weighing in at just 3.7 ounces, is designed for up to 3 people on a day hike. It is suitable for biking, hiking, kayaking or any other outdoor activity.  Contents include: Tweezers, a pair of vinyl gloves, safety pins, cotton tipped applicators, moleskin, 2 alcohol prep pads, 2 iodine prep pads, 2 sting relief pads, 2 antiseptic wipes, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptic ointment, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antihistamine tablets, bandages, gauze pads, non-adherent wound dressing and a roll of adhesive tape, 57 pieces in all.