As promised, I made a list of the items I pack into the first aid kit that we take on outdoor adventures. This kit goes with us when we camp, hike, or go motorcycling. Everything is carefully packed into the first aid kit pouch that Target and many other retailers give you free when you purchase two or more Johnson & Johnson first aid items. I purchased a few boxes of gauze pads. When it was all packed, I spent less than $50 on supplies. It weighs about 2-3 pounds, but is very well stocked and ready to handle a variety of problems. I had several of the items already on hand as extras in our home first aid kit, or leftover from previous events (first aid classes, medical procedures, etc). Each type of item is packed into a plastic sandwich sized zip top bag to keep it all dry. We do live in the Pacific Northwest!
On the left side, in the single big pocket, I have:
- First Aid Kit booklet from the American Medical Association. This booklet is the one that comes standard in most first aid kits that you can buy at Walmart or Costco. I have had the book since I bought my first aid kit for my first car in 2000.
- Thermal blanket. You know, the foil ones you can buy in the camping section of most general merchandise stores. Very helpful for shelter, someone in shock or being easily spotted!
- CPR microshield. I got the Microkey years ago from a nurse friend.
- 2 pairs of non-latex gloves. These pairs came out of hair dye kits. (I buy two kits, but only use one pair of gloves to color my hair.) I usually prefer the nitrile gloves we buy at Costco for the garage, but these were already packed in nice little baggies. Our big house first aid kit has nitrile gloves in it.
- 1 abdominal pad, harvested from previous first aid kit, but available in drug stores. The paper wrapper is ugly because it is old, but the plastic lining of the wrapper is still intact. If it were no longer sterile, I would have replaced it.
- 2 sanitary pads. You never know when you might need these! They can be soaked in cold water for a cold pack, they can be used for additional bandaging for very bloody wounds. Or, they can be used as intended.
- 1 tampon. In addition to being useful as the manufacturer intended, or they can be used to plug puncture wounds. The tampon and pads are tucked into the back of the kit, so they aren’t obvious. Hubby didn’t want to get flak from the guys if he had to get the kit out. I said anyone who ends up with a foot peg through their leg will be glad his wife packed a tampon in his first aid kit!
- 1 instant cold pack. These seem to come in a two pack. I put one in this kit, and the other in my kit at home. I used the pack in this kit when I broke my leg, and bought another two pack. Now my home kit has two in it, and this kit has one. If it gets used, I don’t need to buy another ice pack.
- 1 green or yellow glow stick. You may need it to provide a bit of light, or to mark your location. Or to comfort a young kid if you spend the night outside.
On the right side, in the three smaller separated pockets, I have:
- 8-81 mg chewable aspirin. This was repacked into a very small two compartment pill case I purchased in the travel section of my grocery store.
- 8-2 mg Imodium AD. This was repacked into the other compartment of the pill case. No one wants to be 50 miles from nowhere and have a system clean out. I’m also a huge fan of BHI Heel Intestine. It’s homeopathic and MAGIC. Even my very logical and skeptical husband says it works well! I keep a bottle of it in my car at all times.
- 12-25 mg Benedryl. Benedryl is great for allergic reactions as well as insect bites. I left them in the foil pack, and taped the dosing instructions to the center of the foil.
- 16 Extra Strength Tums antacids. Crushed antacids mixed with saliva or water can also be applied to insect bites or plant “stings”. I purchased a three roll pack of “travel sized rolls”, which contain 8 tablets each.
- 10-200 mg Advil/Ibuprofen, purchased in the travel size section of the grocery store. I don’t usually pay the premium price for convenience sized packages of things, but I was willing to pay the price so that I could have the small labeled bottle with the expiration date printed on it. You can often find these at the registers also.
- 10-500 mg Tylenol/Acetaminophen, purchased in the travel size section of the grocery store.
- bandage scissors
- 1-5ml saline solution. I prefer saline to peroxide or alcohol for wound cleansing, and it can also be used to rinse eyes. * The link goes to the exact vials I have, but mine is leftover from my son being in the hospital.
Loose in the center, I have a baggie containing the gauze pads, and a small white first aid pouch with wound care items.
- 1 oz hand sanitizer*
- 1 oz antibiotic ointment* I prefer ointment over the travel spray. With ointment, you can pack it into an open wound to prevent infection from settling in on the way to medical care.
- 10 alcohol wipes*
- 1-36″ x 36″ x 51″ triangular bandage/sling. This also came in the big first aid kit I purchased in 2000. I also got one when I attended the American Red Cross First Aid course. I used one when my mom broke her arm and it needed support while we drove to the ER. They are simple muslin cloth triangles and can easily be made from a yard of inexpensive fabric.
- 1 roll 2″ elastic wrap. I used this for my leg when I broke it, and it was cut off at the ER because moving my leg to unwrap it was extremely painful. I found that the 2″ roll was inadequate to appropriately wrap and support a broken leg. I replaced it with a 4″ roll that has velcro at both ends to eliminate the need to keep track of the stupid little metal hooks. I won’t be terribly upset if it also gets cut off, as it is leftover from a procedure my husband had done and didn’t cost me anything!
- 1 roll 2″ gauze
- 2-2″ x 2″ gauze pads
- 5- 3″ x 3″ gauze pads
- 5- 4″ x 4″ gauze pads
- 2- 3″ x 4″ non-adherent pads. Have you ever tried to remove gauze from a wound and had it stick? That’s not any fun.
- 1 sheet moleskin
- 7 medium butterfly closures*
- 3 eye patch Band-Aids*
- 2 knuckle Band-Aids*
- 2 fingertip Band-Aids*
- 6 small Band-Aids*
- 2- 2″ x 3″ Band-Aids*
- 18 regular Band-Aids*
- partial roll sports tape
I’ve also added a few tablets of prescription pain medication I didn’t take when I broke my leg. Those will be thrown out next October, when they expire. They are carefully labeled and kept separated from the others.
My kids are able to swallow small pills, and all of the pills in the first aid kit are relatively small. I do need to figure out dosing instructions for them though and put that information in the kit, or I need to pack a smaller pouch that goes into the backpack if they are with us. That pouch would contain children’s chewable ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and Benedryl, along with dosing instructions. I think I will do that once I’m ambulatory again! I do keep children’s chewable acetaminophen in my car already.
The red first aid kit pouch lives in my husband’s Fox Racing Portage hydration pack. His pack carries 3 liters of water. I also carry 2 liters in my hydration pack, and the boys just got their own 2 liter hydration packs for Christmas. We pack snacks into Hubby’s pack too. Usually we toss a couple of frozen Go-gurt sticks, some homemade beef jerky, a couple of Balance or Clif bars, a few sliced apples and a roll of whole wheat crackers so we’ve got protein and carbohydrates well covered. Being outdoors with hungry kids, possibly several dozen miles from the car or food, doesn’t make for a good time. We make good and sure we don’t run out of food!