Ultimate Hiking First Aid Kit – Don’t Leave Home Without It!

hiking first aid kit

A first aid kit should always be with your hiking gear.

This hiking first aid kit is one of the essential items that you need to bring when you go hiking with your kids.  Here are the items that you don’t want to leave home without.

Whenever I go hiking by myself I always make sure to bring along my first aid kit or supplies.  I can’t even count how many times I have had to use something from my kit.  Luckily, most of the time it is for very minor things and the first aid supplies came in handy.  However, you never know when something really bad or serious could happen and you need to be prepared.

hiking first aid kit

Here we are on a hike on Mt. Taranaki in New Zealand in 2016

How Did We Create The Ultimate Hiking First Aid Kit?

I have been hiking for the past 20 plus years all over the world (USA, Madagascar, Peru, Europe, Africa, New Zealand, and Nepal).  My wife is an Emergency Medicine physician who also has a lot of hiking experience in many of those same places.

Together we have learned from first hand experience what is essential and what is not in a first aid kit.  Her medical expertise combines with our hiking experience to create this ultimate hiking first aid kit that we never leave home without.

hiking first aid kitThe Ultimate Hiking First Aid Kit List

The Basic Kit – For Short Hikes

Moleskin or Similar

Bandages/Bandaids – Be sure to include at least 25 bandages in various sizes and shapes.  These often get used up, so this is something you need to restock periodically.

Gauze Pads

Ace Bandage – Athletic Roll – to wrap up wounds or sprains.

Antiseptic swab or spray

Alcohol Swabs – these can be used to relieve nausea in a pinch

Hand Sanitizer

Artificial tears – eyedrops

Silk (or other medical type) tape

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or other antihistamine

Pain Killers – This could be anything like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or something similar to those.  You never know when you may need one of these in case someone gets hurt or just has a muscle cramp.

Steroid cream (i.e. hydrocortisone)

Scissors and Tweezers

Epi-pen – In case of a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction.  These expire after a year, but can be life-saving to someone in your or someone else’s family.

Non-latex gloves – In case you’re helping someone else and don’t want to get your hands bloody or get dirt from your hands into their wound.

hiking first aid kit

Backpacking in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming.

The Serious Kit – For Backpacking Trips Or To Be Extra Safe

Antibiotic or vaseline ointment – The jury is still out regarding which of these is better, but keeping wounds moist will help with healing.

Antibiotics – These are of course not to be thrown around lightly.  However, if one of you occasionally gets an infection, it might be worthwhile to bring along some antibiotics to treat that.

Anti-itch cream (i.e. Benadryl cream) – This has come in handy for us many times when we’ve camped in very buggy areas and had loads of itchy bug bites.

Anti-nausea medication

Anti-diarrheal medication –  My physician wife warns only to use this if your diarrhea really is excessive and if there is no blood.

Superglue or skin glue – We have used this a lot to treat heel or toe cracks.  It can also come in handy for a ton of other medical or non-medical uses.

Oxymetazoline (Afrin) nasal spray – works well for a nosebleed or if you’re really congested.  Again, my physician wife warns to only use this up to twice daily for up to three days!


Remember, this list does not mean that you will always be safe when you go hiking.  Hiking in the outdoors just comes with certain risks and we provide this list of supplies for a first aid kit as a courtesy only.  As such we waive all liability.

2 thoughts on “Ultimate Hiking First Aid Kit – Don’t Leave Home Without It!

  1. Thanks for giving us such a detailed list… I’m definitely missing a few of those items in by kit! Eye drops is one I hadn’t heard of before. And, I agree, an epi-pen is important too, but not a lot of people carry them (here) unless a family member has a known risk. It’s too bad more people don’t have them on hand – especially on the trail!

  2. Pingback: Backcountry Camping with Kids: How to Prep for Success - Take Them Outside

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