In the wild, accidents happen – you’ve got to expect the unexpected. From blisters to hypothermia, if you pack your first aid kit with the right contents you’ll be able to get out of a lot of sticky situations. 

 

When you’re heading out on a hike, safety may not always be at the top of your checklist. Once the food, tent and sleeping bag are packed (and you’ve snuck in a cheeky bottle of red), a generic first aid kit from the local chemist is often the last thing to be squashed into your bag.

Pack Your Own First Aid Kit

But what do those first aid kits have in them? And do you know how to use the equipment inside? 

Prepacked first aid kits always seem to be missing that one thing you actually need and often don’t contain the best quality products either. 

The golden rule of first aid kits is; 

‘If you don’t know how to use it, don’t pack it.’ 

There’s no use carrying around a triage bandage if you don’t know how to use it when disaster strikes.

The most useful first aid kit is one that you create yourself. This way you can be sure you’re carrying good quality tools and not losing space on items you don’t know how to use.

Tips For Creating and Using Your Hiking First Aid Kit

  • Ideally everyone on a hike should carry their own first aid kit, tailored to their personal medical needs
  • For personal medication, carry instructions on how to use it, in case someone else needs to administer it for you 
  • Check the contents of your kit and expiry date of your medication before each adventure and update regularly  
  • Take a first aid or bush skills course! Carrying a first aid booklet is no substitute for real knowledge
  • Keep items that could become water damaged in a zip lock bag 
  • Keep medication in a hard case to prevent the foil from breaking 
  • Pack your first aid kit yourself so you know where each item is kept
  • Make it obvious it’s your first aid kit – mark it with a cross or name it so others can find it quickly

What to Pack in Your Hiking First Aid Kit

Information

  • Compact first aid manual (even better, knowledge in your head)

PPE

  • Disposable gloves 
  • Hand sanitiser

Wound and Injury Care

  • 10x Band aids of varying sizes (tough and waterproof – NOT PLASTIC) 
  • 2x Compression bandages
  • 1x Triangular bandage
  • 2x Adhesive dressings 
  • 2x Non-adhesive dressings
  • 5x Cotton pads
  • 1x Snake bite bandage
  • Strapping tape
  • 10x Antibacterial wipes
  • 5x Safety pins
  • Tweezers (with fine tips)
  • Instant cold pack 

Medication

  • 10x Ibuprofen 
  • 10x Codeine 
  • 10x Antihistamine (non-drowsy)
  • 10x Imodium
  • 10x Maxolon
  • 5x Gastrolyte sachets
  • Personal/prescription medication (and instructions)

Ointments

  • Stingose spray 
  • Betadine
  • Saline
  • Insect repellent

Safety Equipment

  • Emergency thermal blanket
  • Whistle
  • Torch
  • Signal mirror
  • Matches
  • Emergency contact card

Other Equipment

  • Small scissors
  • Pencil and paper

 

Feature photo by Michael Harris