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The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: What to Pack

Construct a solid emergency kit with these medical must-haves.

Basic Kit
Suitable for two people on a weekend trip

  • 4 sterile, 3×3-inch or 2×2-inch gauze pads to clean and cover wounds
  • 5 1×3-inch adhesive strips to cover cleaned wounds
  • 2 blister dressings or moleskin
  • 1 roll tape (1/2 inch x 5 yards) to hold dressings on wounds
  • 6 200mg tablets ibuprofen for pain, inflammation, and fever
  • 2 packets antibiotic ointment to cover wounds before dressings
  • 1 swab tincture of benzoin to make adhesive bandages stickier or hold wound closure strips in place
  • 3 antimicrobial hand wipes to clean hands and around wounds
  • 2 safety pins

Group Kit
Suitable for four people on a weeklong hike

  • 4 sterile, 3×3-inch or 2×2-inch gauze pads
  • 1 sterile, 3-inch roll of gauze to cover cleaned wounds or hold larger dressings or splints in place
  • 1 3-inch roll of elastic wrap (such as an ACE bandage) to compress sprains or hold splints in place
  • 8 1×3-inch adhesive strips
  • 2 blister dressings or moleskin
  • 1 roll of tape (1/2 inch x 10 yards)
  • 8 200mg tablets ibuprofen
  • 4 tablets aspirin
  • 2 antihistamines for allergies, swelling, or stuffiness of a minor cold
  • 4 tablets antidiarrheal medication (such as Imodium AD)
  • 1 irrigation syringe to clean wounds
  • 3 packets antibiotic ointment
  • 3 swabs tincture of benzoin
  • 1 pair tweezers for removing splinters and ticks
  • 1 pair medical gloves to protect you and the patient from contamination
  • 6 antimicrobial hand wipes
  • 2 safety pins

LEARN MORE
The Ultimate First-Aid Manual
Wilderness Medicine Institute cofounder Buck Tilton boils down a lifetime’s worth of experience into 62 tips

Photo Tutorials: First Aid Center
From splinting a broken leg to duct taping a bloody wound, the BACKPACKER First Aid Center is an invaluable resource for backcountry first aid.

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