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Buying A First Aid Kit

Spending time in the wilderness is serious business. Even if you are on a flat water fishing trip or a mild day hike things can go wrong, and if someone gets hurt, you are often hours from any medical facility. The best thing you can do to be prepared is get properly trained in wilderness first aid (WFR) and CPR. Medical kits are only useful if the people on the trip know how to use them, so once you have some basic first aid training, purchasing a first aid kit is the next step. 

When choosing your first aid kit, there are several options. You may opt to buy a pre-built first aid kit or you can build one yourself. Often times it doesn't cost much more to buy one that is put together by a reputable company such as Adventure Medical Kits, Outdoor Research, or Wilderness Medical Institute. If there are items missing you can always purchase them separately. As you spend more time in the outdoors you will find items that you like or don't like and can alter your kit accordingly. 

Here is a list of some essential medical supplies in any serious outdoors person's first aid kit. On shorter, less intense trips, such as a mellow day hike, you may decide to simplify the kit. Adventures in extreme conditions may require some alterations and additions as well. For example, on a trip in cold or stormy weather, it would be good to have a hypothermia kit. Epi-pens and higher dosages of pain medications require a doctor's prescription to obtain but are a good idea to carry on expedition trips.

Personal Protection:

  • Gloves
  • CPR Shield
  • Latex Gloves (several pairs)
  • Soap and Antibacterial Wipes

Major Trauma:

  • Shears
  • Irrigation syringe
  • Sam Splint
  • Steri Strips
  • Gauze Roll
  • 2x2 Gauze Pads
  • 3x3 Gauze Pads
  • 3x4 Gauze Pads
  • 5x9 Trauma Pad
  • Knuckle Bandages
  • Transparent Dressing
  • Medical tape
  • Triangle Bandages
  • Butterfly Bandage

Minor Trauma & Blisters:

  • Band-aids (variety of sizes)
  • 2nd Skin Liquid Band-aid
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Mole Skin
  • Mole Foam


  • Acetaminophen
  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Iodine Solution
  • Tec-nu (if you are traveling somewhere there is poison oak or poison ivy)
  • Benadryl
  • Sting Relief Pads
  • Hydro-cortizone cream
  • Benzoin


  • Tweezers
  • Safety Pins
  • Pen & Pencil
  • Wilderness First Aid Book
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Thermometer
  • Patient Assessment Form
  • Biohazard Label (for any trash with blood in it)
  • Whistle
  • Signal Mirror

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