Creating a Basic First Aid Kit

Expert Advice
Oct 2013

Hiking in the beautiful outdoors is usually a relaxing and enjoyable experience; however, it’s important to always be prepared for the unexpected when hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, or participating in any outdoor activity. As with any sport, accidents and injuries are common. Therefore, a first aid kit should be part of your gear before going on a hike of any distance.


Pack your photo ID along with a laminated card of:

  • Phone numbers
  • Insurance numbers
  • Next of kin
  • List of illnesses, medications and allergies

Signaling for help

  • Flash light
  • Mirror
  • Whistle


  • Mylar blanket or large trash bags
  • Lighter for starting a fire


  • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
  • Electrolyte replacement tablets
  • Iodine tablets for sterilizing wounds and purifying water

Trauma and Injury Supplies

Minor Injuries

  • Latex gloves
  • Band-Aids of various sizes (fabric and water-tight)
  • Moleskin
  • Wound dressings like butterfly strips
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Tweezers
  • Sun block
  • Insect repellant

Major Injuries

  • Duct tape and/or fabric bandage tape
  • 3-inch gauze roll
  • 4×4 pads

First Aid Kit Tips from Our Guides

We asked a few of our guides what most people don’t have in their first aid kits but should and here’s what they said:

Izzy Zucker: An irrigation syringe to clean wounds (sound effects) 😀

Tim Dice: Adequate training and common sense

Tyler Gates: Tampons.  They’re crazy absorbent, so they can be helpful in more cases than their standard job.

Whitney Schuette: A lighter to sterilize needles for draining blisters before using an alcohol wipe, and a trash bag or an extra layer if someone doesn’t pack properly and gets wet and cold, etc.

Cimarron Anderson: Nail clippers. Nails need to be short when hiking steep downhill sections. You’ll thank me afterwards. 🙂

Matt Cairns: Dum dum suckers


Educate Yourself

The best wilderness first aid kit out there is the one you know how to use. Many outdoor supply stores, including Arizona Hiking Shack and REI, sell pre-made first aid kits for your convenience. Buy a small wilderness medical field guide or cheat sheet that will fit in your kit. Consider taking CPR classes and learn how to properly clean and dress wounds.


Hiking First Aid Kit

The staff here has experienced guides offering tours to many of the Southwest’s most beautiful locations, including the Grand Canyon, Havasupai Falls, and Phantom Ranch. Our guides will ensure your next outdoor trip will be an adventure to remember. To learn more about our guided hiking tours or any of the other outdoor activities available with us, call 866-455-1601 or contact us.