When you’re heading for the hills, don’t leave home without a first aid kit for hiking. Good first aid kits can be the difference between a fast recovery or a debilitating injury, and even life and death!
Note: the information in this post is geared towards day hikes. I’ll take a look at the best first aid kits for overnight hikes another day.
What to put in your hiking first aid kit
Where are you hiking?
What you should put in your first aid kid depends on where you’re hiking, the season and the weather, and what sort of ‘challenges’ you’re likely to come across. Most of my hiking is done around Melbourne and some further afield in Victoria. So the ‘challenges’ I’m likely to face are things like venomous snakes, redback spiders in the bush toilets, bushfires in summer and freezing conditions (especially on summits over 1000m). Mind you, I’ll take ten snakes over a bear any day. If you’re hiking in New Zealand, lucky you. You don’t have to worry about any kind of natural predator.
Who are you hiking with?
The more people hiking, the more first aid gear you’ll require. However, everyone should be responsible for their own hiking first aid kit. But I know from experience that’s not always the case so I take a few extra things… just in case.
What to include – my first aid kit checklist
Things to include for a day hike first aid kit:
- compression bandage (for snake bites)
- crepe bandage (for sprains)
- medical tape
- strapping tape
- antiseptic cream
- antiseptic wipes
- antibacterial handwash/gel
- wet wipes
- plasters of varying sizes
- blister pads
- anti-chafing gel/cream
- two different kinds of painkillers – paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) and ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) – a blister pack of each
- painkillers for babies or kids (if you’re hiking with little people)
- antihistamines (in case of an allergy – my husband suffers from hayfever)
- bug repellant (I like the non-toxic wrist or ankle straps you can get)
- eye drops
- lip balm (with sunscreen)
- a small pair of scissors
- craft knife
- space blanket (doubles as a reflective surface, good for attracting attention from above if you’re lost)
- a whistle (your backpack might already have a whistle on it – a whistle is a universal distress call out on the trails)
- salt – wrapped in foil or sachets from a fast food restaurant (bye bye leeches)
- a cigarette lighter (in case the salt doesn’t work).
You don’t want to carry a heavy load but you don’t want to need something you don’t have. Like many things in life, it’s all about balance. I’m a firm believer in Murphy’s Law. If I carry it, I won’t need it.
When you’re putting your hiking kit together, consider if you really need it and the consequence of not having it when you’re far from civilisation.
I’d love to hear what’s in your first aid kit for hiking and if you think there’s anything I’ve missed?
Buy a ready-made first aid kit
If you can’t be bothered putting your own kit together, check out one of these offerings from Wild Earth. They also make great presents for any of your outdoorsy family members or friends.
Last modified: June 26, 2018