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Backpacking

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Prepare for the Worst

Guide

Be Prepared

As the saying goes, "Hope for the best—expect the worst." Even small injuries such as a sprained ankle or a minor cut can become big problems when you're miles from your car or on a trail for days at a time. For that reason, you should always carry a first aid kit with you on any adventure.

You can build your own kit, but keep in mind that the pre-assembled ones tend to be a bit more economical, convenient, and usually come in compact, water-resistant pouches. What you need in your kit will vary depending on environment, group size, and trip length.

First Aid Kit Checklist

While you won't need everything here every time, this is a fairly comprehensive list that should give you an idea of what to look for or include in your first aid kit.
  • Instructions: Quick-reference first aid field guide, booklet, or smartphone app
  • Bandages: adhesive bandages, gauze, athletic tape, blister treatments
  • Medication: pain-killers, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, poison ivy treatment, antihistamines
  • Basic Tools: razor blade or knife, small mirror, duct tape, sewing needle, tweezers
  • Miscellaneous Items: magnifying glass, whistle, heat-reflecting blanket, splint, sunscreen