First Aid Kit Done Right

If you are wondering if you should have a first aid kit? Then you should. Everyone needs have a first aid kit available at a moments notice. Its just one of those things that should always be accounted for, there is no excuse to not be prepared to treat mishaps, injuries or emergencies. A first aid kit is an inexpensive way to be prepared and have peace of mind. Further peace of mind can be achieved by being familiar with the items in your first aid kit. You need to know how to apply bandages as well as treat sprains and fractures.

A first aid kit should be kept in your vehicle, your home and your backpack.

The contents of your first aid kit will depend on where you plan to use it, how many people you want to treat and how light you want to pack. You could opt to get a pre-assembled kit online or from an outdoor retailer but what I recommend is putting together your own first aid kit based on your needs. It will be more suited for your personal experience and you will be more familiar with its contents. When you create your first aid kit, think of how you will use each item. Try to use items that could serve several purposes. Be creative but don’t get too bulky, pick a carrying case for your situation and don’t over fill it.

So What Should Your First Aid Kit Have?

The ACAFS is the American National Red Cross Advisory Council on First Aid and Safety. Here is a list of contents they consider to be minimum requirements for a family kit.

Family First Aid Kit Content

Absorbent Compress 5×9 dressing                               – Cover and protect open wounds
Adhesive Bandages (Assorted Sizes)                            - Cover and protect open wounds
Adhesive Tape (cloth) 1”                                                   –  To secure bandages or splints
Antibiotic Ointment packets (approx 1 g)                  -  Anti-infection
Antiseptic wipe Packets                                                     –  Wound cleaning/germ killer
Aspirin (Chewable) 81 mg                                                 –  For symptoms of a heart attack**
Blanket (Space Blanket)                                                      - Maintain body temperature for shock
CPR Breathing Barrier (w/one-way valve)                 – Protection during rescue breathing or CPR
Instant Cold Compress                                                       – To control swelling
Gloves (large), disposable, non-latex                          - Prevent body fluid contact
Hydrocortisone Ointment Packets (approx 1 g)      - External rash treatment
Scissors                                                                                     –  Cut tape, cloth,or bandages
Roller Bandage 3” (individually wrapped)                 – Secure wound dressing in place
Roller Bandage 4” (individually wrapped)                 – Secure wound dressing in place
Sterile Gauze Pad 3×3                                                          - To control external bleeding
Sterile Gauze Pad 4×4                                                          - To control external bleeding
Thermometer, Oral (Non-Mercury/Non-Glass)       – Take temperature orally
Triangular Bandage                                                               – Sling or binder/splinting
Tweezers                                                                                    - Remove splinters or ticks
First Aid Instruction booklet                                            - Self explanatory

Here is a good list put together by Outside magazine for a two person weekend trip (some repeats).

General Equipment

EMT Shears


Duct Tape

Saftey Pins

Needle and Thread


A copy of Medicine for the Outdoors



Antihistamine pills

CPR and Bleeding

Trauma Pad

Nitrile Gloves

Antimicrobial hand wipes

Wound Care

20cc irrigation syringe


Wound closure strips (butterfly bandages)

Tincture of Benzoin

Antiseptic ointment

Gauze pad

Adhesive strips

Burn and Blister Care

Glacier Gel blister pad


Fracture and Sprain Care

Elastic Bandage

Replace items as they get used and make sure things like bandages are not wet.  In order to weather proof your kit store things in a plastic ziplock bag or even choose a dry plastic box for your container.  Make sure items that can expire have not done so and replace the ones that have.

If you still are interested in purchasing a pre-assembled kit, CLICK HERE for a good example to start with.





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