Itís important to have a first aid kit while hiking. One never knows what will happen in the wilderness or backcountry. What you carry depends a bit on you, any allergies you might have, and your general terrain. In addition to the small kit that I carry when I hike, I also have a more extensive first aid kit in the car. Here are the items that I carry. (I always get the smallest, lightest size of anything possible.)
- Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer: Not just for before or after lunch, hand sanitizer can quickly clean scratches or wounds.
- Antibiotic Cream: Once a wound has been cleaned with sanitizer or water, applying antibiotic cream will often ease the pain and help thwart infection.
- Aspirin: Has always cured a myriad of symptoms.
- Band-Aids: I have a small selection of different sizes. Keeping a wound clean will often help keep it from getting infected.
- Benadryl: Good not only for allergy attacks, but breaking the tablets open and patting the drug on to insect bites will ease pain and swelling.
- Emergency Numbers: Make a list of personal contacts (in case of an emergency contacts) and a second list of ďlocalĒ emergency numbers, such as police, park rangers, and fire. You never know if you will have cell service, but you might be able to call for help and your phoneís 911 is often pegged to your home, not your hiking or camping location.
- Emergency Thermal Blanket: Iíve never needed this, but itís smaller and lighter than a deck of cards. Better safe than sorry.
- Scissors: Small scissors come in handy for many tasks. And, itís good to know you have a pair when you might require them.
- Snake Bite Kit: Most parts of the world have poisonous snakes. Being prepared by carrying a kit is helpful in an emergency. Just be sure to read the instructions before placing the snake bite kit in your first aid kit.
- Sports Tape: Sports tape is flexible and will be useful with blisters, sprains, and other uses.
- Sun Screen: This is your backup sun screen. How many times have you left home and forgot to put on sun screen?
- Tweezers: Very useful for removing splinters, quills, prickers, leeches, etc.
All of these items, and any regular medications you require, should be placed in a lightweight bag. I use an Eagle Creek bag, but a clear plastic zipper bag works great, too.
Finally, take time to learn some first aid basic skills, like how to clean and dress a wound, how to create a tourniquet, and how to wrap a sprained ankle.