What do you need in a first aid kit for your outdoor adventures?

First aid kit on backpack
It's a good idea ot take a small first aid kit with you when hiking, backpacking or camping, but what should it contain? (Image credit: Getty Images)

If you plan to spend time hiking or camping, it’s a good idea to take a first aid kit with you as part of your essential packing list. You never know when you, or someone you are with, will suffer an accident or feel unwell and having a simple first aid kit can help to ease a range of discomforts.

It is worth noting, here, that it’s unlikely you will be able to deal with major incident when, for example, a call  to emergency services or a trip to hospital are the only course of actions. But for many minor issues, such as cuts, stings, abrasions, sprains and feeling generally unwell, a small first aid kit will come in handy.

You can buy small first aid kits ready made, which will cover most of the bases, but you may decide to supplement it with some extras specifically for tackling the sort of minor injuries that happen outdoors. Alternatively, you might find it's more affordable to put your own personal kit together from scratch.

First aid kit with bandages and scissors

A few important items for first aid may save a hike or camping trip from disaster and misery (Image credit: Getty Images)

What to pack in a first aid kit for hiking

This is the sort of first aid kit that you can fit into a hiking backpack. It might include:

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Waterproof Band-Aids
  • Blister bandages
  • Medical tape for blisters and cuts, such as micropore tape or zinc oxide tape
  • Antiseptic cream or alcohol wipes for cleaning grazes and cuts 
  • Butterfly closure strips
  • Sterile dressing or gauze – for larger wounds
  • Eyepad wound dressing
  • Open woven bandage
  • Triangular bandage
  • Ibuprofen and paracetamol tablets 
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Thermometer strip
  • Midge and/or insect repellent
  • Bite relief cream or spray 
  • Small roll of duct tape
  • Tweezers
  • Tick remover
  • Small pair of scissors 
  • Safety pins
  • Emergency foil blanket and/or group shelter.

What to pack in a first aid kit for camping

Many of the items will be the same for a camping first aid kit as a hiking first aid kit. However, if you are planing on a camping trip that allows you to take more items with you, such as a campsite camping holiday, then you may want to think about adding these further items:

First aid kit on blue background

For multi-day expeditions, add some extras to your first aid kit (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Surgical gloves to keep hands clean
  • Cold and flu medications 
  • Small thermometer
  • A larger range of sizes of bandages
  • Burn gel sachets
  • Instant ice pack – can be used for sprains and bruising
  • Cloth bandages to help support a sprain, or similar
  • Splints for temporary support of a broken bone 
  • Camping knife
Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.