The Importance of a Hiking First Aid Kit

BandagesMany people consider a hiking first aid kit dead weight. It’s something that you hardly ever need to use, they can take up a lot of space, and they add unwanted weight to your pack. If an item meets these three criteria, you’re usually better off leaving it at home. Pack space is precious and it’s good practice to eliminate weight from your hiking pack; however a hiking first aid kit is something that no hiker should be without.

Check out some myths about first aid kits:

A first aid kit is a waste of space, and they weigh too much.

You never want to be in a situation where you need a first aid kit. That being said, emergency medical kits or emergency first aid kits are by no means a waste of space or weight. A first aid kit could save your life. If you do ever find yourself needing one, you will be extremely grateful that you have it.

Think of it this way. You can pack a first aid kit that is small and light enough to easily stow in the head compartment of your hiking pack. You may go on 20 hiking trips and never need to use it. But what happens that one time when a rock turns and you split your knee? You could wrap a grime covered and sweat soaked bandana around it and hope that it doesn’t get infected while you hobble the 15 miles back to the car. Or you can grab your gauze, bandages, and antibiotic ointment to properly take care of your injury, and take a pain reliever to make the hike back more bearable.

I’m extremely cautious, so I don’t need a first aid kit.

Even the most careful hiker can succumb to misfortune. Accidents happen on the trail. You might sprain your ankle, break your arm, or get a nasty cut. Having a first aid kit increases your ability to properly handle emergencies and prevent further injury or infections. It’s worth carrying a first aid kit every time you head out in nature for the off chance that you will need to use it.

You also have to remember that first aid kits aren’t limited to medical emergencies or life threatening situations. You will end up using a first aid kit more often than you would expect if you pack the right things. Q-tips, lip balm, sun screen, tweezers, pain reliever, and hand sanitizer can all be useful on the trail.

Here are a few things to consider adding to your first aid kit.

  • Bandages
  • Butterfly closures
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Instant cold pack
  • Tylenol, aspirin, Excedrin, etc.
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Alcohol pads
  • Tweezers
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Knife
  • Athletic tape
  • Splint
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs
  • Rubber gloves
  • Resealable plastic bag
  • Moleskin
  • Aloe vera
  • Emergency blanket
  • Eye drops
  • Sun screen
  • Lip balm

You may truly believe that you will never use a first aid kit on the trail. Pack one anyway. A hiking first aid kit can save your life. Stop by and see us to get what you need to build your own first aid kit, or upgrade your current kit!

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