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First Aid Checklist for Hiking and Camping

A good first aid checklist can help you prepare for minor medical emergencies while you’re out hiking or camping.

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Hiker providing first aid to fellow hiker

Ankle sprains, cuts, and blisters are common hiking and camping ailments that require first aid. A first aid kit is a hiking essential, and you can purchase a pre-made first aid kit relatively inexpensively. There is no such thing as a perfect wilderness first aid kit. You should consider your own situation when choosing or putting together a first aid kit.

In addition to being a medical provider, I’ve hiked and camped for multiple decades and carried many different first aid kits from just bandaids to a more comprehensive first aid kit. I’ve researched the items in the most popular first aid kits in addition to the recommendations by the Red Cross. From this, I’ve created a first aid checklist that should work well if you’re a beginner hiker or an experienced hiker looking to update your hiking essentials

6 Pre-Checks for Your First Aid Kit 

Buck Tilton, in his excellent book Wilderness First Responder, suggests several considerations before creating a first aid kit [1]. 

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before going through this first-aid checklist: 

  1. What will your environment be like, including terrain, weather, and altitude? 
  2. How far away from emergency services will you be? Hiking and camping in a remote location require additional first aid supplies you probably don’t need for a short day hike. 
  3. How many people will be in your group? This helps determine how many supplies you need to bring in your kit. 
  4. What are your physical conditioning and medical needs and those of your group? Many people have medical conditions, such as diabetes or other conditions, that might require additional emergency items in their first aid kit. 
  5. Do you have any medical expertise and skills, and can you use all the items in your first aid kit? Never carry items or medications you don’t know how to properly use. 
  6. Can everyone carry their own first aid kit? Each person should carry their own personalized first aid kit if possible.
Graphic: Daniel Borkert/Canva Pro

First Aid Bandages and Wraps

First Aid Medicines

First Aid Tools and Supplies

First Aid Emergency Info

First Aid Emergency Skills

FAQs

Sources

Book: Wilderness First Responder by Buck Tilton

Book: The Wilderness First Aid Handbook by Grant Lipman

Article: Anatomy of a First Aid Kit by the American Red Cross

Article: Must-Haves for Your First-Aid Kit by the CDC

Article: What to Have in Your Camping First Aid Kit by Aspen Valley Hospital

Article: First-aid kits by the Mayo Clinic

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AUTHOR
Daniel Borkert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Outdoor Footprints, a website that tells you everything you need to know about camping and hiking. He is an avid outdoorsman with almost four decades of experience in hiking, camping, caving, and fishing. Daniel loves to involve his wife and kids in his outdoor pursuits and inspire other families to do the same. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his family and an energetic Boston Terrier named Zion.