Which hiking first-aid kit is best?
A first-aid kit is important to have in your pack whether you’re going for a day hike or a weeklong backpacking trip. While you can’t prepare for everything, making sure you have the basics is important. If you want a first-aid kit that covers the basics and is simple to use, choose the Adventure Medical Kit.
What to know before you buy a hiking first-aid kit
Carry just enough to keep you safe. While you want to be prepared for anything, you don’t want to have to root through an overpacked medical kit.
You want something that covers the most likely injuries, such as cuts, scrapes and sprains. Beyond that, remove or add pieces appropriate for the setting in which you’re hiking. Pack calamine lotion if you’re hiking through areas that may have poison ivy or are prone to mosquitoes or flies that bite.
More is not necessarily better
A common mistake inexperienced hikers make when choosing a first-aid kit is picking one that’s stocked beyond their needs. If you plan to day hike by yourself, a 96-piece medical kit is just going to be in the way. Having more pieces will not keep you safer.
Make sure you know how to use your kit
Even if you have all the right tools, take the time to learn how to use the items in the medical kit. Pick a first-aid kit that is appropriate for your needs and simple enough that you can master using it. Get comfortable and confident using your kit before an injury happens.
Make sure it’s the right size. If it’s too large to fit in an accessible pocket of your hiking backpack, it’s too large to bring.
What to look for in a quality hiking first-aid kit
Covers the basics
You can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare for the most likely scenarios. Make sure your kit is prepared for these blisters, sprains, cuts, hypothermia, sunburn, bug bites and dehydration.
That may seem like a lot, but any good kit has items to treat most of those. You may want to add rehydration salts for dehydration or a packable space blanket for hypothermia, but most kits include basic remedies for the rest of the list.
While hiking medical kits tend to come well organized, make sure your kit is organized in a way that makes sense to you and your needs. A kit that can unzip fully so you can see everything at once is crucial. Always put the kit in the same place in your backpack to take out any guesswork.
Make sure your first-aid kit is in a durable bag that protects its contents from the elements. If you’re worried about the waterproofing, throwing it in a plastic zip bag will protect your kit.
How much you can expect to spend on a hiking first-aid kit
There are a wide range of prices for medical kits depending on size and complexity. You may spend as little as $15 or as much as $200, but $25-50 tends to get you a good one.
Hiking first-aid kit FAQ
How do you learn to use a first-aid kit?
A. In an ideal world, you would take a Wilderness First Responder class before heading onto the trail. While a WFR class is an awesome tool, it’s not practical for most people. Look for free videos that show you the basics of backcountry safety and how to use a medical kit if you don’t have the time or resources for a full class. Many hospitals also offer first-aid classes.
What is the best brand of hiking first-aid kit?
A. There are several good options for backcountry first-aid, but Adventure Medical Kits tend to be the most popular, and for good reason.
What are the best hiking first-aid kits to buy?
Top hiking first-aid kit
What you need to know: If you want to make sure you have all the essentials for a reasonable price, this is the best Adventure Medical offers.
What you’ll love: Ideal for up to two people and up to a four-day trip, this covers all your basic needs. You can use the handle to attach this to the outside of your pack for even quicker access.
What you should consider: If you hike solo or only take day trips, this is probably more than you need.
Top hiking first-aid kit for the money
What you need to know: For shorter trips, this alternative to the Day Tripper Lite from Adventure Medical is what you want.
What you’ll love: Like all Adventure Medical first-aid kits, this covers all the basics and doesn’t overwhelm you with unnecessary pieces. If you’re never gone for more than one night, this is the perfect balance of covering your needs without being over the top.
What you should consider: As long as you aren’t out for more than one night, there are no downsides to this kit.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you’re a serious adventurer looking for high-quality equipment, the price tag is worth it.
What you’ll love: The MyFAK Basic has one of the better designs out there. With a tri-fold to show you everything at once and a snag-free, large zipper, you won’t have to worry about fumbling to open your kit or find the right tool.
What you should consider: If you aren’t a serious hiker, this kit may be intimidating and overpriced to you.
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Joe Coleman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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