Pack a First Aid Kit for a Hike

Pack a First Aid Kit for a Hike
When you take to the wilderness for an afternoon, day or month-long hike, it's important to be prepared. You may never use your first aid kit, but the first time someone requires medical care, you'll be more than happy you spent the time organizing the supplies. Tailor your kit to meet the number and age of the hikers, the terrain, the weather and any special needs members of your group may have.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Identify each member of your family or hiking group on index cards. For each person, write their name, phone number, address, insurance information, emergency contact information, a list of diseases the person has and any medicine that person takes. Write any known allergies in red. Laminate the identification card. If possible, add the person's picture to their card. Each person needs to keep their card with them while hiking.
Step 2
Use a large plastic zip bag or clear plastic container to store the first aid kit. The wilderness kit needs to fit into your backpack and must be easy to open, close and organize. Use sandwich- or quart-sized plastic zip bags to organize contents in your first aid kit.
Step 3
Assemble an emergency kit. These items help create shelter, help others find you if you are lost and help you start a fire. Include a compass, signal mirror, whistle, LED light, emergency survival blanket or large black trash bags and a lighter.
Step 4
Gather supplies that may come in handy in the wilderness. Bring a bandanna, extra water, electrolyte replacement powder, high-energy snacks, large safety pins, a small notepad and pen, iodine tablets to clean wounds or water, a pocket knife or multi-tool, scissors, tweezers, a protective mouth shield and an oral thermometer.
Step 5
Organize a small pack or plastic bag with general medications. Place doses of aspirin or ibuprofen, diarrhea medication, antacid and antihistamine. Also include any prescription medications the hikers need. If you put the medications in individual dose packs, be sure to take the prescriptions along as well.
Step 6
Bring topical medications to treat abrasions, blisters, sunburns, insect bites and stings. Include non-latex rubber gloves, an assortment of adhesive bandages, moleskin, antibiotic cream, diaper cream, sunscreen, insect repellent, a tick removal kit, alcohol wipes, butterfly bandages, baby wipes, hydrocortisone cream and cotton swabs. Another item to consider adding to your first aid gear is a snake bite kit.
Step 7
Pack supplies for more serious wilderness injuries like burns, lacerations, breaks and sprains. Add 3-inch gauze, 4-inch gauze, an elastic-roll bandage, 3-by-3 sterile gauze pads, 4-by-4 sterile gauze pads, a sanitary napkin, adhesive cloth tape, instant heat packs, instant cold compresses, an occlusive dressing, triangular bandages, absorbent compress dressings, an irrigating syringe and a first aid instruction booklet.

Tips & Warnings

Take a first aid and CPR class. In an emergency, nothing compares to hands- on experience with first aid. Check with your local Red Cross, American Heart Association or hospital for classes in your area. Learn about the wilderness area before you hike it. Know what poisonous snakes, insects and plants inhabit the area. Know what they look like. Talk with the park rangers about the area and make sure you have all the gear you need for the hike you want to take. Know where the roads are and where there are telephones in case you need to go for help. Always tell someone where you are hiking and when you expect to be back. Check the contents of the first aid kit before each hike. Swap out expired medications. Re-supply any contents that are missing. Make sure your lighter and flashlight work.

Article Written By Lisa McKeown

Lisa McKeown grew up riding and exploring the snow and sun of the Rocky Mountains. She has taken her love of the outdoors from the Alps to the Olympic Mountains and continues to share what she learns from her adventures in her writing.

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