Putting First Aid First

Since our thru-hike in 2017, we’ve refined many pieces of our standard gear setup, but we’d been neglecting our First Aid kit, which we were keeping in a cheap stuff sack and not regularly replenishing. An upcoming multi-day backpacking trip was a convincing reason to change our approach to safety and First Aid.

The caption below describes what we’ve assembled.

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I put together a new First Aid kit! We’d been carrying supplies in a small stuff sack, which was convenient enough, but clumsy in practice, and too easy to miss which supplies needed replenishment. After forgetting much-needed ibuprofen on a recent overnight, I realized I needed to revamp our approach to First Aid. The pouch is just a makeup travel case. I wanted something see-through, to quickly find what I need and to see at a glance what I’m missing. It’s also (reasonably) waterproof. In the kit: -alcohol swabs -four large waterproof bandaids, four blister-sized -three waterproof blister covers (the cushy alternative to Leukotape- much beloved by hikers but I’m not a fan) -tube of hydrocortisone cream -tube of triple antibiotic ointment -Pepto Bismol tablets -ibuprofen -antihistamine pills -aspirin -antacid tablets -tweezers Medication goes in labeled pill pouches, which means you can buy in bulk and replenish as needed. You could save weight on smaller foil packets of antibiotic ointment, but it creates more waste, and it’s something that gets frequent use, so I think it’s worth carrying more. This whole kit weighs only 5.8oz, by the way! With this kit, I can treat blisters, cuts, and abrasions. Bandanas and trek or tent poles can be used as slings and splints. I carry a reflective emergency blanket when I don’t have overnight gear. Beyond that, we always carry a GPS beacon device to call for a rescue in a real emergency. What do you guys carry with you for emergencies? What would you add or remove from this kit?

A post shared by Betty And Tim Cameron (@bettytimhikes) on

I actually made two of these kits! Tim and I usually hike together, and so we’d been sharing a First Aid kit, but this also encouraged our negligence in keeping it properly stocked- neither of us took responsibility over it the way we would our individual gear. It also meant one of us would be without First Aid resources if we ever split up in the backcountry for any reason: getting water, hiking at different paces– it was not a huge risk, but certainly not a necessary one.

Now we each have a small, durable kit we can take with us anywhere, ready for the next adventure!



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