When speaking about backpacking and camping essentials, a hiking medical kit is a must-have, no matter how experienced you are. It will keep you safe and help you maintain your trip even if something goes wrong. This article will go through the most important things you’ll need to include in your first aid kit for hiking, to help you survive if anything goes south.
How Big Should It Be?
If you have at least some experience as a hiker, you’ve probably heard different stands and perspectives about how equipped a hiking first aid kit should be. During your hikes, you’ll meet those whose kits look like hospital storage and they bring it even on short trips. On the other hand, some think that a roll of duct tape and good faith is more than enough to keep them protected and safe along the way.
Should you bring your full bag or just duct tape? The answer is – neither. Inform yourself before you hit the road about potential wildlife and poisonous plants you could find there. If there is a big chance you’ll run into snakes, it is good to have something against it, like a broad pressure bandage or something that could slow down the allergic reaction. If you plan on hiking while the temperature is above normal, you probably won’t need stuff used to fight hypothermia.
What To Bring
When you start to pack and create your checklist, once the first aid kit comes in lone, ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I need this?
- What could happen if I leave it home?
- Am I missing something?
Sometimes when we pack our stuff, most of it comes out of pure habit, not because we really need them. So, this stuff will probably be enough to keep you safe for about a week:
- Medical tape, for blisters and cuts
- Medical, latex-free gloves, to prevent contamination if you get in a situation where you have to examine someone
- Antiseptic or alcohol wipes, for wound cleaning
- Butterfly closure strips, to close smaller wounds and prevent infection
- Dressing or gauze, for larger wounds, in case of butterfly closure strips couldn’t do
- Hand sanitizer in a small bottle, to sanitize your hands before you do anything on your or someone else’s body
- Triple antibiotic cream, to add a protective layer to the wound
- Pain killer tablets, in case the pain is bad and you need something to calm it down
- Anti-inflammatory tablets
- Antihistamine tablets, for snake or insect bites and allergic reactions
- Duct tape, to close the wound
- Swiss Army knife with a knife, scissors, and tweezers, in case you have to remove thick, cut the gauze or duct tape
- Sewing needle, if you have to close the wound
- Dental floss, to be used for teeth and as a sewing material, also
- Safety pins
- Whistle, to draw attention to yourself in case of emergency
- Fast fire starter, in case you need an emergency fire
- Information card with emergency contact and possible medical information
- Survival radio, in case you get lost, and survival kit,
Before Your Trip, Educate Yourself
It is important to know as much as possible about your next destination. If it is a so-called “developing country”, try to bring as many medical supplies as from home. But if you run out of it, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for in their pharmacies.
It is recommended to visit the World Health Organization website and to see their suggestions on what to bring and what to do if something bad happens. If there is some unique disease especially for that area, it is good to ask your doctor for a recommendation and to learn possible signs of illness. Also, ask your doctor about the best way to treat it, and if your doc suggests specific medicine, get it before you go.
If your destination is not a third world country, but simply somewhere in the wilderness, you could prepare yourself better by having a first aid course.
Remember, nature could be unpredictable, and you can’t always know what will happen next, so one minute there could be all sunny, and the next you could be running towards some shelter because of the heavy rain. This could not only ruin your day but also it could create a serious amount of damage to your first aid kit for hiking. To prevent this from happening, get waterproof bags you could reseal and with plastic bottles, but make sure you label medications.
Other Things You Could Add
When it comes to hiking first aid kit, it shouldn’t be only about medicals, but about the whole “protection” thing, so don’t be shy when it comes to adding something to it. You’ll need lip balm, sunscreen (no matter if it is summer or winter, the sun always shines and the snow serves as a great reflector, so it is better not to risk anything), insect repellent…
Although not included in most of the first aid kits for hiking, it is useful to have a thermometer with you. A Digital one is a better choice, but its battery could die, so think about getting a backup. Syringe could be useful if you have to remove some fluid, and cotton swabs are good for removing foreign objects from the eye or ear, or if you have to add antibiotic cream to the wound. Moleskin is great for preventing blisters from appearing. Cut it and add it to your foot the moment it starts to hurt. You could also use duct tape. Aloe Vera gel is great for small burns or insect bites. And last, but not least – Wilderness First Aid booklet, which will most likely be included in your first aid kit and will serve you as a guide in case of an emergency. If you don’t have one, find it and buy it, it is good to have it within the hand reach.
Globo Surf Overview
Hiking is fun as long as you do your best to keep the safety on max level. That old saying says – “Better be safe than a sorry”, and the first and most important step in staying safe is having the proper first aid hiking stuff in your gear. Once your tent is packed, relax, and hit the road – the adventure in the wilderness is waiting!