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  1. #1

    Default Reasonable first aid kit?

    Hi everyone,
    So, on my first long hike, I brought a ready-made Adventure Medical Kits .5 kit. I thought it seemed pretty great, but didn't even really know most of what was in it,
    and used almost none of it (luckily). Almost only a bunch of extras I'd brought myself, such as hydrocortisone cream (my no. 1 go-to, an absolute blessing for my feet) and triple antibiotic ointment. The .5 kit had some very thin, tiny sheet of moleskin, but I used my own superior roll a lot instead.
    I know a fair bit about first aid, but I'd say I'm mostly afraid of setting out with just what I chose. It's really a mental block and anxiety. So I'd be very interested
    to get your opinions, not on what I shouldn't take (I'm already sure I want everything on my list), but on what I might really be missing. Many, many thanks
    in advance for your valued input!!

    -Set of about 20 bandaids (I like specific water resistant Elastoplasts, the only ones that work on me) including kunckles, large, small, curved, etc., and a small sample of truly waterproof ones)
    -2x quick suture bandages
    -4x alcohol swabs
    -4x benzalkonium chloride wipes (which do not harm tissue... the alcohol swabs are only extra)
    -Triple antibiotic ointment (Polysporin)
    -1% hydrocortisone cream (I got 1% on prescription, but 0.5% is available over the counter in Canada - I had trouble finding more than 0.2% in PA and NJ though!!)
    -3x electrolyte oral rehydration packets
    -12x loperamide 2mg anti-diarrheal tablets
    -5cmx4m gauze bandage
    -1 safety pin
    -Few feet of medical tape (the one that kills you after a blood test) around a piece of credit card
    -Few feet of leukotape around a piece of credit card
    And, kept elsewhere but also important: emergency blanket, all my pills, vitamin I (with proton pump inhibitors to save my stomach), tylenol, aspirin, benadryl, etc. etc.
    I DID leave out the heavy and sizable tick tweezers. Are they really necessary? (We don't have ticks YET here, but I'd be hiking in tick territory) Can I get by with Swiss knife tweezers? is that a really stupid question?

    Thanks again for the input!

  2. #2


    I carry asprin, Benadryl, a few bandaids and a bottle of New Skin. My sew kit has needles. That's it. In 20 years of LD hiking, never had a need for anything more. If I did, I wouldn't be here.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Golden CO


    It sounds like you're on the same progression most of us have been on. My FAK has steadily declined in size over the years. Now it's a snack-sized baggie with a few bandaids, small roll of tape, razor blade, sewing kit. I don't need meds so I don't carry any. I don't worry about disinfection either. Clean water washing and clean covering has always worked for me.

    One thing that bothered me about ready-to-use FAKs was the expiration of included items. Every year I'd clean out containers of pills turned to dust and torn packages of gauze, etc. So I just stopped carrying the stuff that never got used.

    My FAK is really distributed throughout my pack. Warm dry clothing, tent poles, bandanna, sufficient food and water, good shelter. Most important is training and a cool head, of course. Anything you carry is useless in a panic.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  4. #4

  5. #5


    One thing I carry that some might not is a pair of latex gloves because if I had a wound or someone else did,my hands might otherwise not be exactly sanitary.

  6. #6
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
    Join Date
    DFW, TX / Northern NH


    Quote Originally Posted by Sporky View Post
    ... I'd be very interested
    to get your opinions, not on what I shouldn't take (I'm already sure I want everything on my list), but on what I might really be missing.
    Well, first off, we're discussing at most a couple of extra ounces, not pounds. I think many of us custom tailor our first aid kits to our own needs. Those who might need historically need Immodium more than others should probably carry a few extras Go with what gives you peace of mind as well.

    Stuff you seem to be wondering about:
    I always carry a good set of tweezers for ticks AND splinters AND bee stingers AND ??? . Lots of stuff out there that can stick in you and make you miserable. I prefer pointed tip tweezers. They must be well machined or they are useless. Cheap tweezers are generally garbage. I don't find the swiss army knife ones particularly good.

    Back when I did more long hikes, I would also carry good nail clippers. Just not a place to compromise IMO. Toe nails grow during a hike and going downhill will jam them back into your toes if not kept trimmed. Not only painful, but can lead to serious foot problems.

    And Nuskin or a small tube of super glue is a must for closing and sealing small cuts and small finger cracks - and can double for gear repair in a pinch.

    A few feet of duct tape (wrapped on a hiking pole or otherwise) can be used to make large bandages or help in improvising splints, etc if ever needed. My take on first aid for bigger problems - don't worry about sterility, or suturing, or other such stuff - stop the bleeding and get to medical help.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 11-11-2019 at 12:10.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Fort Wayne, Indiana


    Quote Originally Posted by blackmagic View Post
    I like how right below where the list has Imodium as a "suggested" item my eyes saw the word "Depends". I suppose if you don't take the Imodium you might need the Depends.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Taghkanic, New York, United States
    Journal Entries


    Duct tape*, gauze, powdered pydolite*, antibiotic ointment or alcohol pad, vasoline*, maybe a bandaid or 2, but the duct tape and gauze is a bandaid. Benadryl, ibuprofen and/or meloxicam. Also that sticky bandage wrap which i used for tendonitis of my leg or else I wouldn't bring that.

    '*' indicates multi use item

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Georgia and Hawaii


    Take a Wilderness FA course. The most appropriate FAK is conditional. The course will assist in making those distinctions.

    "So, on my first long hike, I brought a ready-made Adventure Medical Kits .5 kit. I thought it seemed pretty great, but didn't even really know most of what was in it,

    and used almost none of it (luckily)."

    This is somewhat akin to having a compass or GPS unit not knowing how to use it and getting lost. It happens with other gear as well. Trekking poles, UL gear, packs, etc. I suspect we've all been there.

  10. #10


    First of all, we would never even day hike without a respectable FAK. That's irresponsible.

    Having said that, things that we carry, and invariably use, that we don't hear much about from others are as follows:
    -small tube of superglue (AronAlpha brand) with a push pin stuck in the tip
    -small bottle of tincture of benzoin solution, and a few Q-tips for application. If you need to apply a bandaid, first slather on some of this stinky astringent solution and your bandaid will stick like glue. Also usable with athletic tape if you need to tape your heels to prevent blisters. Otherwise most bandaids and tapes fall off too soon...
    -Blistobans- These are sort of expensive bandaids made to use on blisters. They protect the blister and prevent further rubbing. After dozens of experiences with blisters for over 50 years, this is our go-to treatment in most cases. Superior to using moleskin, or god forbid, duct tape(!).
    -S-caps. These are electrolyte tabs developed for ultrarunning. We use them on hot dry days, or if we are feeling weak and slow. Sometimes we take them every hour. These can bring a body back to life! Highly recommended because often our problem has more to do with salt balance than with energy supply.

  11. #11
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Asheville, NC


    the most important thing in a first aid kit is the stuff that's inside your brain - what to do in an emergency - your's or someone else. Having all sort of 'stuff' is going to be of no use if you don't know what to do - take a WFA class

  12. #12



    I've had typical FA and WFA training, and Combat Lifesaver way back when.
    I don't have a "FAK", but what I think of as an "emergency kit".
    Always have a bottle of Germ-X floating around, usually in either a hipbelt pocket or my poop kit.
    There's a Vnox Classic with scissors and tweezers, plus an Atwood custom whistle and keychain light on a keyring.

    My emergency kit is a 1qt Ziploc freezer bag with:
    -1 roll of athletic tape
    -1 ACE bandage
    -2 WetOnes single packs
    -a dozen Micropur tabs
    -a tube of Lanacane anti-chafe
    -repair kit(seam grip and patches) for my sleeping pad
    -8ft of 3mm cord
    -1 spare tube of chapstick
    -1 lithium AA battery
    -4 hydrocodones

    Sometimes I throw in a few Nexcare bandaids(I like those, 'cause they're convenient and flexible), and a couple of Goody's powders, maybe a few Zeiss lens wipes for my sunglasses, phone and camera.
    With all those, it's 202g/7.1oz total.
    Blisters, and anything you'll typically cover with a bandaid, is usually better off with Johnson&Johnson athetic/coach's tape. That and the ACE bandage will also stabilize sprains or breaks, which I've had to do on both myself and another person at different times, and is my #1 first aid concern in the backcountry.
    Frankly, most of the dinky first aid stuff in those little ready made FAKs is only suitable for treating things I just ignore, but YMMV and all that...

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