10 Essentials for Your First-Aid Kit When Hiking in North America

10 Things to Include in Your First-Aid Kit When Travelling in North America

It's essential to pack your first-aid kid with your destination in mind.

Having the proper first-aid supplies with you is crucial to avoid potentially life-threatening situations, and a good first-aid kit is the first part of your safety plan. Some first-aid kits come with all the essential items you might need, but it is vital to check and ensure that they cover all your needs. And if not, you can still add some items that apply more directly to the intended destination. If this is your first time being in a cold-weather destination, we also have a list of essentials for your general information that might be handy.

Keep in mind that the more items you pack into your first-aid kit, the heavier it will be to carry. Picking items with multiple applications could be a strong ally to packing everything you need but being space conscious. A good example would be getting multi-antibiotic pills like ciprofloxacin or triple antibiotic ointments at Walgreens, RiteAid, or in the CVS weekly ad. With these in mind, here are a few items (excluding medications) that you need for your hike in North America:

first-aid kit hiking North America

Image credit: Mat Napo

What to pack in your first-aid kit for hiking around North America

1. Gloves

Non-latex gloves are best as some people are allergic to latex which could cause more problems. Quality gloves, antiseptic spray, sterile wipes, or alcohol swabs are a must.

2. Irrigating syringe

An irrigating syringe is the best way to clean an open wound as and is often the first step in making sure wounds don’t become septic.

3. Tweezers

Image credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich

Tweezers are great for removing splinters, shards, stingers, and ticks (should you encounter these), as there are no other tools that you can jerry-rig for this purpose.

4. Hydrogel pads

Hydrogel pads would also be a vital piece of a well-kitted first-aid set, as these could help with infected wounds, burns and crystalizing wounds.

5. Bandages and gauze

Image credit: HeungSoon

These are best packed as rolls to save space with as many different types as possible — such as hemostatic dressing, butterfly, elastic, and plastic bandaids. These are important as the odds of getting a small cut exponentially increase in the outdoors.

But if those aren’t available, you can also pack standard bandages along with a small roll of medical tape. These can also be used to make a tourniquet in emergencies.

6. Blister treatment

Hydrocortisone cream is helpful to heal blisters, but petroleum jelly, Vicks, and Tiger balm have been identified as a must to prevent blisters with added uses for the latter as it can also relieve pain from shingles and joint pain and serve as a heat rub.

7. Antibiotic ointment

An antibacterial ointment like Bacitracin in a tube could prove vital to healing wounds and keeping them away from infection. In the Rockies, the risk for injury is always high.

8. Swiss army knife

first-aid kit hiking North America

Image credit: Denise Jans

A knife is always recommended when camping, but it’s usually not encouraged for safety issues. Even though it’s not necessarily stipulated as a medical or emergency tool, this small multipurpose set will be a good substitute for other tools like scissors, a knife and a razor blade.

9. Athletic tape

Many hikers have noted self-adhesive wraps and tape to be the best method for the prevention and treatment of blisters. A small roll of duct tape can substitute for medical and non-medical situations, though. However, for larger areas, Elastic Wrap might be best.

10. Safety pins

first-aid kit hiking North America

Image credit: ReadyElements

Despite being small, these have various applications and take up very little space. They are important for many medical and non-medical situations that might happen on the trail. Hence, a variety of strong and clean safety pins is a must for any first-aid kit when hiking in North America.

Also read: 5 Things to Do Before Going on a Hike

Now that you know all the essentials to add to your first-aid kit when hiking in North America, when shall your next trip be?

Featured image credit: mirsad mujanovic | Pexels

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