10 Must-Haves for Your Hiking First-Aid Kit || REI


Have you ever felt overwhelmed at the prospect of building your own first-aid kit? We partnered with the experts at NOLS Wilderness Medicine to figure out the most important items to bring on every adventure. Watch the video, then click here to find a wilderness first-aid class near you:

And to learn more about choosing a first-aid kit, click here:



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26 comments

  • I carry all of these plus Povidine Iodine in a small bottle, water purification tablets and "New Skin" spray. And a stethoscope, because I was a nurse for 35 years. Sometimes I carry way more than that because there are homeless camps all over the woodlands in Alaska.I mean there are thousands living outdoors in Anchorage alone! If I pass through I ask anyone if they have injuries and need first aid. I do carry a CPR mask because I have had to do it in the woods three times in the last 4 years thanks to people who like opiates and are out there in the woods. A tourniquet can be made from clothing and a stick or a belt. You don't worry about sterile if someone is hemorrhaging. Splints are also easy to improvise from clothing and tree branches and coban and twine.

  • Leukotape P will replace half these items. Pre-cut strips of it and place it on a label backing for ease of use in the wilderness.

  • Forgot hydrogen peroxide.

  • Due to my experience in the military I'd highly recommend some serious pain killers. Not ibuprofen but hydrocodone or oxycontin. If you hurt your leg or have a serious accident being able to turn the pain off, not just down, could make all the difference. I also bring a mini medical stapler for deep lacerations, and a Rat tourniquet. Doesn't take up any weight and significantly increases your ability to resolve the common things but also the few rare more serious ones

  • That's a great list, nice work! I would add to that and make it more practical for everyday use, not just first aid. I just made a video of my custom items, check it out: ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGxXso2WOK0

  • Rei sucks, a little research will lead you to luko tape. Amateurs, so unlight and informed.

  • Where can we find hydrogel sheets to buy?

  • Support the 2nd amendment

  • Adding a pre-wrap to this kit would be smart too. Especially, for guys who have hair on their legs. Or the athletic tape might cut the skin on the leg without it.

  • great stuff! I took your advice and also found this more complete diy first aid kit from this video: https://youtu.be/vcMolP7ePUo Really informative!

  • OTC antihistamines won't do shit to help a serious allergic reaction.

  • Plenty of paper there were is the stop bleeding pack an cat turnaqet.

  • SAM splints are pretty rad and a TQ is always worth the weight.

  • Learn to improvise. Duh.

  • Tbh, if I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail and not going into a war zone then I probably wouldn’t carry anything that won’t pack into an altoids tin. I’m probably not meant to admit to that but it’s the truth of most leisure hikers. I would rather take some sticky plasters, a couple of blister dressing and a little superglue. I have a GPS with an SOS function should the worst happen, and a needle and some dental floss. Unless I’m going out with a group specifically as an expedition medic then I wouldn’t take much. If I’m in the wilderness and need to stabilise a broken bone or use a tourniquet then I’m going to be calling out that SOS anyway so I might as well sit tight and use the straps of my pack to TQ or my clothes as bandages, etc.

  • FYI: Moisture will actually slow down wound healing.

  • Well, I always carry a pretty good first aid kit, but you came up with a couple of good ideas I will in cooperate in my kit from now on. Great video as usual Miranda.

  • I'm simple. I see an REI video and I give it a thumbs down.

  • This list will kind of get you there, but it could be vastly improved AND simplified. Leave the bandaids, hydrogel, KT tape, athletic tape and elastic wrap at home, unless you are car camping. They do not hold up to more than a couple miles on the trail and you'll be reapplying almost immediately. Steristrips and Leukotape are far superior and will do the job of all the rest. If you only need a bandaid, you don't need a bandaid – just keep it clean and rub some Neosporin into it. If it's worse, irrigate with clean water (a syringe is nice but not necessary), use alcohol wipes to disinfect, close with steristrips if needed, apply Neosporin, cover with a bit of sterile gauze, and finish with leukotape to keep the dirt out and keep it all in place while you hike. Also, I'd strongly recommend adding a small container of Silvadene or other similar burn ointment containing silver sulfadiazine; substitute that for the Neosporin when it's a burn. Needle and thread is also an absolute must; some cuts can't be closed with steristrips – a curved needle is best and sanitize it and the thread with alcohol wipes before you break the skin with them. As for the meds, although that is the basic must have list, I'd also strongly recommend Imodium or similar – it can go a long way to easing gastrointestinal discomfort which most hikers will go through at some point if they aren't immaculate about washing hands (most aren't).

  • For those of you who are wondering why this video doesn’t mention other items you would consider having in your first-aid kit, this is just a baseline of what every kit should AT LEAST have. Whatever else you add depends on your needs. Painkillers, tourniquet, medical sheers, even EpiPens are some examples of IF NEEDED items you could add to your kit. For the average hiker, all the items listed in this video WILL SUFFICE at most typical situations. In the end, it’s you the one carrying your first-aid kit and only you know what you need.

  • Great video. Could you add scissors to to this. Cutting tape is a lot easier with good surgical scissors.

  • Now show how to use them all

  • First 😉 anywho thanks for the video!

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