First Aid Kits - A Layered Approach

First aid kits are, in many ways, as unique as survival kits. Just as with bug out bags, for example, you need to tailor the first aid kit to meet your needs. You probably don't need a full surgical suite for a day hike but you wouldn't want to rest your family's safety during an extended emergency on just a handful of adhesive bandages and some ibuprofen. I think of it in terms of how long the first aid kit will have to meet my medical needs until I can get to a doctor or in some way get treatment. Taking a layered approach to this seems to work for many people, myself included.

Minimalist First Aid KitThe first layer is a rather small and minimalist first aid kit that you'd toss in your pocket when departing on an afternoon jaunt through the local park. Technically, you're not really leaving the civilized world. The most common sorts of injuries and problems encountered on a short hike would be things like slivers, blisters, insect bites/stings, and small scrapes. Therefore, this small kit should contain things like anti-itch medicated towelettes, adhesive bandages, moleskin, and antibiotic ointment. Help for bigger problems is just a cell phone call away.

First Aid Kits - A Layered Approach

The next step up is a personal first aid kit that you'd put in your pack for a one or two day trip. Again, for a simple overnight camping trip, you're probably not too far from civilization, say at a national park campground. The personal first aid kit should have the same contents as the minimalistic kit, but bulked up a bit. More bandages, more medications, add alcohol swabs, medical tape, and more gauze pads. This personal first aid kit would also be supplemented by the minimalistic kit previously described. In other words, you'd have your small kit in your pocket as well as this personal kit in your pack.

Going to the next level is a first aid kit designed for a small group heading out in the field for a few days, say on a kayak trip. You'll need more bandages and such as well as wound irrigation gear. You'll also want more medications, such as for stomach upset and pain relief. Given that you're dealing with multiple people, you're also going to want sterile gloves to use when treating injuries. When it comes to any medical issues, the number one rule is to protect yourself first. That's where safety equipment like gloves and masks come into play. Even on a longer camping trip of a few days, you're still probably able to get medical treatment within a day or less in most parts of the country so there's probably little need for surgical equipment. And again, this kit is supplemented by the smaller kits as well.

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First Aid Kits for Groups