Hiking first-aid and gear-repair kit
One of us carries this; for a group, parts or all of it should be
duplicated. The idea is that it will help get us back to the truck,
which has a better equipped first-aid and repair kit.
Another purpose of this kit is to aid in surviving a night or storm
if we get caught out (which we shouldn't if we were properly prepared
and informed, but...).
We should go through this kit every year or so and make sure any
life-limited items are replaced, refill anything that is running
This stuff-sack also carries simple gear-repair stuff as well.
Concerning first aid, Nothing beats training; go attend a local Red
Cross class. As Denis McKeon put it, ``Knowledge is lightweight and
doesn't take up much room.''
The gear repair portion of the kit contains:
- Water purification tablets
- In New Mexico, water is one of the biggest limiting factors
everywhere. If you run out of drinking water, carrying some form or
water purification may save your life. I used to carry iodine tablets,
but now I carry chlorine dioxide tablets. The only problem I have found
is that the packaging breaks down after a few years.
- Space blanket
- They don't weigh much and they can be used in case of shock, or to
keep you from freezing a night on the mountain. I've been told that
some of these break on the folds if they are old. Unfortunately, I do
not know what brands or how old.
- Small flashlight
- I carry a 1-AAA LED one. It is a good quality one, not a cheap one,
so I can rely on it working in siz months when I find myself needing it.
I use a battery with an expiration date on it; both Duracells and
Enegrizers often have this.
- A small lighter
- Not only useful for if you have to spend an
unexpected night, but also useful for things like sealing the ends of
nylon webbing, rope, etc. It is nice if you can see how much fuel
remains to know if you accidentally packed it in a way that held down
the fuel button.
- Tick Nipper
- I know that there are many ways of getting ticks out, but this seems
easier. If you're happy with other methods, you can save the
- Sting-Eze or After-Bite or similar
- Bugs are a fact of life, and they sometimes bite. This helps.
- 2" ace bandage
- For wrapping sprains, etc. The type that sticks to itself is nice,
but less reusable. Otherwise, you need the little metal clips also.
- A small Swiss Army knife with a blade & scissors
- This is as small as I could find which had both a scissors (for
cutting things like Moleskin) and a blade for general cutting. It also
has a toothpick and tweezers, but I prefer a different tweezers.
- I like Uncle Bill's.
- Antibacterial towelettes
- For wiping wounds. These are individually-wrapped, small and
light. Beware that the packaging seems to sometimes die and they dry
- 2 bandanas
- For larger bandages, slings, and for wetting and putting on your
head when it's hot.
- Bandages: 2 knuckle, 8 3/4 in strips, 4 2"x3" bandages, 2pr
- What to add? cuts and scrapes are a fact of the backcountry
life. Note that when they get old, the adhesive often becomes gummy
but usually will still stick. Cheap bandages are often in packages that
open when they are old, rendering them non-sterile.
- Wire splint
- Not only for breaks and sprains, but useful for fashioning
research gear for biologists.
- I've not found anything (unless it's Molefoam) that is as useful
in staving off blisters. Old moleskin doesn't stick well if at all.
I used to date it. Now, when I check the first aid kit, I cut off a
small piece and check how well it sticks.
- 12 tylenol
- 12 asprin
- 12 ibuprofen
- Betadyne or tinture of iodine
- An antibiotic for cuts and scrapes that isn't affected by heat the
way most antibiotic creams/ointments are. On the other hand, my bottle
is slowly leaking, turning the rest of my stuff a yellow-brown
- Allergy tablets
- Claritin or Benadryl for allergic reactions.
- Bendadryl or Caladryl cream
- For bug bites, allergic reactions to plants.
- Tums and/or anti-gas tablets
- Burn kit
- Consists of Second Skin, non-adherent sterile pads, Lidocane, aloe
vera gel. Out day hiking, the second skin and sterile pads are not
likely to be needed. For backpacking, they may be useful. The
lidocane is great for sunburns (you did remember to use the sunscreen,
- Toilet paper
- Normally, we carry a supply; this is for emergencies.
- Nail clippers
- A more convenient way of dealing with broken/torn fingernails. The
scissors could also be used for this if you want to save weight.
- Duct tape
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Utility cord
- Hot-melt glue stick
- With this and the lighter, you can repair many things.
- Spare pack hardware
1" side release (Fastex) buckle (both sides)
1" double bar buckle
1" single bar buckle
2" fastex buckle (both sides)
2" single bar buckle
Buckles break, especially when closed in a car door.
I built a belt out of nylon webbing and the 1" buckle one time when I
left my normal one at home.
If backpacking the following may also be useful:
- Ripstop & taffeta repair fabrics: 2 strips, 4 round patches
- Sewing kit: thread, needles, pins, safety pins, buttons, scissors
- Rubber cement & repair patch
- For things like Therm-a-Rests.
- pack clevis pin
- If your pack uses them.
- Tent pole splint
- Mosquito netting patch
- Keep the bugs out.
- Heavy duty thread & needle
Ever since getting cliffed-out on a bushwacking hike, I've also carried
some very simple vertical gear. Note that this is no good at all unless
you have the knowledge to use it safely. Go out and get the proper
training before purchasing anything like this.
We also carry but not in this kit:
- 40' kevlar rope
- 2 locking carabiners
- 20' 1" tubular webbing
- The New Mexico sun is intense.
- Bug repellent
- It seems that the biting gnats are the worst. Luckily their season
is somewhat short.
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