Creating Your First Aid Kit

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Idaho outdoor adventurers can’t seem to agree on the size and scope of a first aid kit. I’ve met hikers whose kits would put paramedics to shame, and I’ve encounters people on longer treks armed with nothing but duct tape and some rubbing alcohol. For most of us, the answer lies somewhere in between, but finding a balance can be difficult.

Before every adventure, sit down and evaluate the length and nature of your trip. Then, go through all the items in your kit and ask yourself three questions:


  1. Do I really need this?
  2. What could happen if I don’t have it?
  3. Is there something missing?


Adventurers are often surprised by the number of redundant items they carry. Additionally, it is essential to remember that prevention is always better than cure. Take care not to get into dangerous situations but know that a great first aid kit can help.

So, what should you take? Here is our recommended list of first aid kit items for an adventure lasting five days. Minimize bulk and weight by carrying appropriately sized quantities of your chosen items.


  • Micropore Medical Tape; for blisters and cuts
  • Medical Gloves; to prevent cross-contamination if you need to examine someone else
  • Antiseptic or Alcohol Wipes; for cleaning wounds
  • Butterfly Closure Strips; for sealing wounds
  • Dressing/Gauze; for larger wounds
  • Antibiotic Ointment; travel or sample size
  • Hand Sanitizer; repackaged in a mini dropper bottle
  • Ibuprofen Tablets; for anti-inflammatory purposes and pain relief
  • Antihistamine Tablets; for bites and allergic reactions
  • Duct Tape; for any repair
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Safety Pins; to make slings out of clothing
  • Whistle
  • Emergency Fire Starter
  • Emergency Contact Card