We share first aid kit ideas on all our first aid courses although this covers general principles rather than offering set guidance. A ‘one type fits all’ kit doesn’t exist.
Who? How Many? Where? What Conditions?
We feel your kit should be tailored to the environment and activities it will be used for. You should also consider who the first aid kit may be used for? Are you just treating yourself or are you caring for others? This will significantly impact the contents and whether it is advisable to carry medications.
This is best decided by a needs assessment. If, for example, a burn is a high likelihood then having equipment to deal with that makes sense. In a different situation burns may be very unlikely to occur.
The More You Know The Less You Need
Our courses also focus on developing improvisational skills as much as relying on specific equipment. An arm fracture can be immobilised by using a jacket or climbing rope just as well as a triangular bandage.
So, we can offer ideas on what items we have found to be useful in a general purpose outdoor kit. The following First Aid Kit Ideas list are suggestions only. We are specifically not dictating what must be included.
A hard plastic box can work well although we currently use these purpose made dry bags from Lowe Alpine
As well as having a group shelter it is useful to have an additional form of protection that could protect a casualty. There are many options available and we love these Adventure Medical Kits (AMK) Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy
For protection from contamination
Offers some protection for those performing rescue breaths
Compression dressings like the Israeli dressing are versatile and effective although large size HSE dressings also offer good performance
Good for offering comfortable support to soft tissue injuries but can also be good for securing splints. Latex free options are available to minimise risk of allergic reactions
Non adherent dressings
Something like Melolin makes a good general purpose wound patch
Useful for cleaning wounds
Useful for rinsing wounds or irrigating eyes
Foot care products
Blister dressings like Compeed or Moleskin
Can be used for female team members who have forgotten to bring sanitary products but also makes a useful a wound dressing
Useful for cleaning small cuts and grazes
Selection of plasters
Be aware of potential allergic reactions
Tough cut shears
Great for cutting dressings, clothing or even climbing harness straps
As useful as a wound dressing as for making slings or splints
Kilt pins are an adaptable alternative which can be used for lots of jobs
Available from pet shops or these Tick Twisters work really well
‘Uncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper Tweezers’ which work really well.
Casualty report form/monitoring card
Printed onto waterproof paper and it’s worth carrying two copies for versatility – one to keep at casualty site and one to send away (depending on how help is being sought).
Pencil or suitable pen
For writing on report form/monitoring card
Clinical waste bag
Useful for disposing of bloody dressings or can be used as a bag for irrigation
For securing dressings. Electrical tape works well in wet conditions
Carrying medications in a first aid kit requires careful consideration. If you do decide it is a reasonable option then painkillers such as Paracetamol may be useful. Alongside that Aspirin for use with heart attack casualties, Ibuprofen and antihistamines are worthy of consideration. Carry the information that accompanies the drugs too
A great option for treatment of low blood sugar in diabetics. Also useful as a simple energy boost for other group members
Perfect for securing everything from dressings to splints (consider backed duct tape). This is versatile for so many uses and is also useful for repairs
A great item that can be used for everything from securing splints to fixing rucksacks.
Water purification tablets
Carrying enough water is key, but better to able to purify some water from a stream rather than become dehydrated. Our advice on Hyperthermia might be useful.
Your first aid kit might be a good place to keep some spare sun protection
Having a torch is certainly handy in many first aid situations. Your first aid kit is also a handy place to keep one for for general use
If someone is helping and you are the casualty it would be useful to know who you are
We hope you find this list of First Aid Kit Ideas useful and it essential to plan for the unexpected. As mentioned, however, having the knowledge to know how to handle a first aid emergency is also key. There is no point in having the best first aid kit in the world if you don’t know how to use it. Please consider one of our ITC outdoor first aid courses to expand your knowledge and hone your skills.