My First Aid Kit

Ultralight First-Aid Kit

I thought it would be fun to go through my first aid kit and maybe get some comments on what other people carry in theirs. This is what I've distilled down to over the years and it suits my needs well but I'm open to suggestions.

My First Aid Kit My First Aid Kit Reviewed by Jason Klass on December 03, 2008 Rating: 5


Andy said...

Hey Jason, I really appreciate your posts. They're all super helpful. Thanks for contributing to the community.

jw said...

Mine isn't too much different. I have some prescription items (epi-pen, albuterol inhaler) for my individual needs, and some over-the-counter stuff like benedryl and claritin, again, to deal with allergies.

For the generic, allergy-free individual, I'd also add Tylenol PM. It can help make an uncomfortable night much, much, much more comfortable, which makes for the next day being much, much, much more comfortable.

My one concession to comfort is a small tube of antibiotic ointment (generic neosporin); gives me some assurance that my small cuts are less likely to be infected than otherwise.

Matt said...

Almost the same, only, I do have 2 foil packets of antibiotic ointment like jw. I have been known to carry an ACE bandage also.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jason,
I carry pretty much the same as you, but I also carry a small tube of superglue for deep lacerations. I have used this succesfully on my left thumb which I cut to the bone. I pumped it full of superglue and pushed it together. Its not a pretty fix, but it works and it is safe. The active ingredient is used in vet offices on animals. I also carry a small pouch of quik clot rapid blood coagulant, in case i'm loosing blood fast. Do you carry a survival kit? Do you mind doing a video blog on that if you do? Thanks, Mark

Jason Klass said...

Hey Mark,
I don't carry a survival kit per se--it's kind of scattered around my pack. But, that's a good idea. Maybe I'll do an expose on what I carry for emergency gear. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I carry one about that size for day hikes, but a pretty big one for longer trips.

I did notice you don't have an antibiotic wipes or alcohol pads. Is this because you use and alcohol stove and would use the fuel if needed for cleaning?

For a mini survival kit might I suggest it's a really nice kit for the money.

Jason Klass said...

Hi patrick,
Actually, I carry some antiseptic towelettes that I use to keep my hands clean but I keep that in another part of my pack.

Anonymous said...

The most important first aid kit ingredient is a trained mind and body. You get that with good hands-on training, refreshed frequently. Highly recommend the 3 day WFA or 10 day WFR courses from WMI You will learn to think and improvise.

Think about common scenarios that might kill you directly, or by keep you in the back country too long, that can be fixed with stuff you can't improvise - as in "d*mn, I wish I had X".

Jason's kit is a good start.

I would add Benadryl. A severe allergic reaction to stings, bites, plants, or foods, can kill quickly and unexpectedly.

I would also add Imodium tablets. Diarrhea can disable you quickly, kill you in a few days, and is common in the back country.

And I would add a few mini-packets of antibiotic ointment. A staph-infected tick bite almost put me in the hospital, and the hike out was slow and very painful.

Antiseptic towelettes etc are overrated for first aid kits. Flush wounds with copious amounts of drinkable water. Use soap if you carry that for dish and body washing. Clean your hands with soap and water, or those towelettes, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, before working on wounds.

-- Rex

Anonymous said...

haha, I liked your mountainhouse dried meals comment! Hey Jason what size is your Aloksak bag? Thanks, Mark

Jason Klass said...

Hey Mark,
Sorry, I should have mentioned that in the video. The size is 4.5" X 7". The volume is 25.26 cubic in. Hope that helps.

Dan said...

Thanks for the video, I just discovered your site and you have some very interesting stuff.

I don't think calling this a First aid kit is correct, perhaps "minor medical inconvenience kit" would be more accurate.

I'll admit I'm the type that likes to be completely prepared, and I'm also biased because of my EMT and WFR training- currently my field First aid kit weighs about 2 pounds, and believe it or not it took effort to get it that light.

I've never needed to use the kit on myself in the field(though I have used it to help others), but the whole point is to be prepared for an unexpected, and perhaps severe injury. Furthermore, unless I have a life threatening injury, I want to have enough supplies so that I can continue hiking without needing to cut a trip short. That means having enough bandaging material so that I can change a dressing for a large wound once or twice a day for a few days. 2 4x4s are not enough for even a single dressing, you need a teflon dressing otherwise the gauze will stick to the wound and you will cause more damage when you pull it off. Also some kind of roll gauze or ace bandage to create a pressure bandage can be life saving, and really cannot be improvised easily, especially without destroying your gear.

I realize few people are willing to carry a large first aid kit, but at least adding some non-stick dressings, more 4x4s, a roll or 2 of stretch gauze, and some pills of diphenhydramine(benadryl) and loperamide(immodium), as a previous poster mentioned, would drastically improve your kit with minimal increase in weight and size. Also a small tweezer like "Uncle Bills sliver gripper"[] is very useful for splinters and thorns and will never come off if attached to your pack.

Anonymous said...

My first aid kit is a bit bigger, mostly containing items from a Combat Life Saver bag that the Army gave me. I removed the IV needles and saline bags, but I'm sure my kit still has has more than I'd normally need.
My big concern is that I know people shoot around where I hike, even where it's illegal to do so. I find brass and shell casings all the time. It makes me nervous.
I've been shot before (at 11 years old,) without any proper medical supplies handy. All I could do was put my hand over the entrance wound (I hadn't noticed the exit yet.) Luckily, I was a short drive away from the hospital that time. I won't be likely to have that luxury out in the mountains.
As a result, I just can't part with my tourniquet,Israeli bandage and Quick Clot sponge.
I also keep a splint wrap for small joints, and it's already come in handy.
Not sure if I just missed it, but I didn't notice antiseptic wipes in your list. I can't imagine being without that. I've had more use for that than anything else.
I should probably add mole-skin to my pack, I think. Good call there. said...

Hey Jason
New-Skin® Liquid Bandage has saved my hide many times.
It is Liquid Bandage that dries rapidly to form a tough protective cover that is antiseptic and flexible.
ALthough it does smart abit when you first apply ( of course it's no worse than the bite from the blister)

Anonymous said...

Nice and simple kit. Thank you Jason. I'll add another vote for Imodium anti-diareaha tablets... also for those Mountain House meals ( ;

I would also say "know what you are prone to". I'm not prone to cuts and bruises, but I am prone to spraining ankles, so I add an ankle brace to my pack. Last time out someone in my group needed it, after twisting an ankle.

On the flip side, I've gone out with scouts on backpacking trips, and my goodness... the "be prepared" mantra is taken to an extreme, not by boys, but by some adults. Nobody wants to carry a 5 lb. kit that takes up 20% of your pack with stuff you'll never use! You are not going to war, you are taking a hike. If you are so clumsy that you anticipate being bloodied, bruised and broken, maybe you should stay at home.

I like your blog. Good info.

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