What to Include in a Backcountry First Aid Kit

It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand. In your house, in your car, and of course in your backpack. It can help you with anything from a minor cut to a broken bone.

When you’re in the backcountry, having a good first aid kit is a must. It’s also important to make sure that you have the right tools for your situation. Even though it’s better to have a standard cookie-cutter first aid kit than nothing at all, adding specific items to fine-tune your kit for the backcountry can be extra helpful.

A pair of medical shears, Q-tips, medical tape, and tweezers on a table

Fine tune it for your own needs, too. Someone who is allergic to bees may need to carry epinephrine, for example. Prescription medications also need to be included.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should be familiar with how to use each item in your kit. Sure, using a bandaid for a cut is pretty common knowledge. But, your knowledge of how to properly clean and dress a major wound or splint a bone might be gathering cobwebs.

While every trip is different, and you should cater your kit to fit your situation, here are some items that should definitely go in your backcountry first aid kit.

A pack of Advil and a pack of Aleve on a table

The Kit

  • Ibuprofen or similar
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Gauze pads (several sizes)
  • Medical tape
  • Rolled elastic bandage
  • Blister treatment
  • Insect sting treatment
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Fine-point tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Triangular bandage
  • SAM splint
  • Liquid bandage
  • Lozenges
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Antacid tablets
  • Aspirin
  • Paramedic shears
  • Q-tips
  • Oral thermometer
  • Irrigation syringe
  • Medical gloves (avoid latex)
  • Super glue
  • Needle and thread


Every person and activity is different, so remember that this is just a general set of guidelines. These items will fix most common medical issues related to the outdoors, but knowing proper wilderness first aid skills is also a must.


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