First Aid Kit

  • Essentials
  • Optional Items

    A good first aid kit is a must-have item for any outdoors excursion. Many good pre-assembled kits are available for purchase, but most will not have every useful item. Make sure you have most of the items on this checklist, so that you are prepared for any situation that may arise.


    These items should be in every first aid kit.

  • Waterproof case to protect water-sensitive first-aid items.
  • First-aid manual to aid in using the first aid items.
  • Triangular bandage to make a sling, tie splints or hold large dressings in place; can also be used as a pressure bandage or tourniquet.
  • Wound closure strips to hold cuts closed for more comfortable healing.
  • Elastic (ACE-type) bandages for wrapping sprains and holding large bandages, splints and ice packs in place.
  • Gauze pads for covering large wounds.
  • Adhesive medical tape to secure dressings and prevent hot spots from becoming blisters.
  • Scissors to cut bandages.
  • Alcohol wipes and antiseptic wipes for disinfecting minor wounds and general purpose cleaning.
  • Iodine wipes to disinfect and clean larger wounds.
  • Antibiotic ointment to kill bacteria, keep wounds moist and help prevent scarring.
  • Cortisone or hydrocortisone cream for bug bites.
  • Burn ointment for treating and soothing burns and scalds.
  • Moleskin for blisters.
  • Antihistamine for mild allergic reactions.
  • Ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Acetaminophen to reduce pain and fever.
  • Soap scrub sponges to clean wounds containing ground-in grime that an irrigation syringe can't clean out.
  • Non-adherent dressings to help prevent sticking to oozing wounds.
  • Emergency blanket to treat and prevent hypothermia and trauma shock, and protect against the elements.
  • Large compress bandage to treat heavily bleeding wounds.
  • Tweezers with a narrow point and a solid grip, for removing splinters.
  • Rehydration tablets for treating dehydration and diarrhea.
  • Chemical cold packs or gel for reducing pain and swelling of sprains.

    Optional Items

    These are additional useful items that may be added to a first aid kit.

  • Thermometer to monitor a fever and determine its severity.
  • Waterproof matches to start fires.
  • Waterproof adhesive bandages for small wounds.
  • Malleable splint to immobilize and protect broken bones.
  • Chemical heat packs to warm hands and help treat hypothermia.
  • Safety pins for slings or wraps.
  • Needles for reaching a deeply embedded splinter.
  • Poison ivy/oak soap to break down and wash away the sticky resin from the plant.
  • Epinephrine injection for severe allergic reactions leading to anaphylactic shock.
  • Latex gloves to keep bacteria out of the wound being treated and off the person doing the treating.
  • Irrigation syringes to clean wounds using a high-pressure spray of saline solution.
  • Tincture of benzoin to ensure that tape stays in place.
  • Sawyer (venom) extractor to suck out toxin or venom resulting from a bite or sting. This hand-held device is considered the only safe, effective field treatment for snakebites; still, the victim should be taken to a hospital to receive antivenin.
  • CPR shield to protect against transmission of infection during the administration of artificial breathing.
  • Knuckle bandages to treat knuckle scrapes while allowing almost a full range of motion.
  • Micro-thin bandages to let wounds "breathe" while allowing one to monitor the wound through the see-through material.
  • Hydrogel dressing to cover small burns after cleaning, and for the treatment and prevention of blisters.
  • Resealable plastic bags to hold ice, snow or cold water for application to sprains.
  • Insect and tick repellants to prevent bites.
  • Sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

    Pack other over-the-counter medications at your discretion. Make sure everyone in the group has their prescription medications and any over-the-counter medications they may need.