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Wisdom Wednesday - First Aid: The Necessities.

My father-in-law was the CEO of the Crater Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America for almost three decades. So, you can imagine how much of that rubbed off onto his eldest son, to whom I am now happily married.

Let's just say that hubs takes "Be Prepared" very seriously.

We are notorious for overpacking whenever we travel somewhere. If we're going on a hike in the Columbia Gorge, chances are we have at least four different types of jackets in the car. Sometimes, it drives me absolutely bonkers... but when it comes to safety, I'm glad that we always have the right necessities just in case something happens.

Our first-aid kit is pretty full. Erik has gone through Wilderness First Responder training, so our kit is a lot more extensive than most due to his experience. The list of things to pack also varies from trip to trip. There are a lot of things that you would pack if you were to summit a 14,000 ft. mountain in winter conditions, that you wouldn't necessarily pack if you were enjoying a leisurely afternoon float down the Clackamas River.

You may not be experienced in adventure travel... and that's okay! Even if you're going to do a mildly rigorous day-hike, there are certain things that you should always carry with you in your day pack. Here's a a list that my husband recommends for good, everyday use. You can also find most items on this list at the American Red Cross:
  • Emergency Contact Numbers 
  • Insurance information 
  • If you're not with any close personal friends, make sure you have any Emergency medical information about yourself (diabetic, heart problems, asthma, etc.)
  • Basic backcountry wilderness medicine guide
  • 20 Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
  • 20 Ibuprofin 20 Aspirin  (they serve different purposes and both are needed)
  • 6 Antihistamine tablets 
  • 6 Pepto Bismol tablets
  • 3 Granola Bars or Power Bars & a few power gel packs
  • 5 Sanitary napkins (for wounds with heavy bleeding)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 instant cold pack (nice, but overrated)
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large) 
  • 2 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 6 butterfly bandages
  • 1 piece of moleskin (medium sized, to be cut for blisters)
  • 2 safety pins
  • 1 Sam splint
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • 3 triangular bandages
  • 1 tube Neosporin
  • 1 small plunger syringe (no needle)
This is a very basic list, but without proper training you can do as much harm as good. 
Your best bet is to make sure you are up-to-date on your CPR and First Aid training. You can take a number of courses through your local American Red Cross organization.

It seems like a large list, but this can all fit into most average-sized First Aid containers and bags. If you're going to be in, on, or around water, make sure to store your First Aid kit in a watertight dry bag.


  1. There is a large rubbermaid box in the back of both my parents' cars that include all of that and then some...rope, tarp, maybe even some canned food.

    It's always nice to be on the trail knowing you're prepared, regardless of the length of the trail.

  2. wow. i have some serious work to do on my first aid kit.