A basic first aid kit is one of the Ten Essentials you should always keep in your backpack, and it’s especially important when hiking with kids. Pre-packaged kits are nice, but they are often heavy, bulky, expensive, and include many items that may be over-kill for a family day-hike. For less than $10 you can assemble a basic first-aid kit suitable for family day-hiking, weighing only a few ounces, taking up minimal space in your pack – why not keep it in your pack at all times?
The purpose of a basic first-aid kit is to resolve small common problem, such as blisters, minor cuts, slivers, headaches, etc., allowing you to continue hiking. Additionally the basic first aid kit may help you temporarily manage bigger problems and emergencies (stop or slow bleeding) while awaiting professional help. For bigger problems – abort hike, seek professional medical care!
Our basic first aid kit includes the following must-have items:
- Bandages: for small cuts, blisters, etc.
- Dressing Pad: to temporarily stop bleeding from larger wounds.
- Small roll of adhesive cloth tape: for preventing blisters, closing small wounds, and temporarily hold Dressing Pad in place.
- Small knife or razor blade
- Antiseptic/Alcohol cleansing swabs: for cleaning small wounds.
- Pain relievers (aspirin, Ibuprofen, etc.)
Keep items in small waterproof container or zip-lock bag.
Additional items to consider:
- Epinephrine pen: for those allergic to bee stings
- First aid instruction booklet
Your first aid kit may vary depending on the medical conditions of the hikers in the party, the length and duration of the trip, and the location you’ll be hiking in. List of items above is by no means comprehensive and it does not meet Red Cross First Aid Kit recommendations. However our reasoning is: a small basic first aid kit is better than no kit at all, and you are more likely to bring a small home-made 2 oz. kit than a 5 lb. Pre-packaged kit the size of a carry-on luggage.
References & Resources
- Red Cross First Aid Kits: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy