When I first started hiking, I single handedly represented all the newbies out there.
Sneakers, jeans, one heck of a heavy water bottle while aimlessly figuring out how I get to the top of a peak. Nothing else. I was truly clueless, but I had the best of intentions. I have no shame in admitting it, we have all been there in some fashion or another.
Of course, I quickly learned that if hiking was going to be my new outlet/hobby, I needed to be better prepared. Not just for myself but for others that were with me. Case in point: if I was going to be bringing my son along, responsibility became a mandate.
As our hiking prowess grew, so did the need for our gear. From the clothing and shoes we wore to the packs we carried. Quickly the days of sneakers and jeans passed.
But what was most important was a medical kit that could help us deal with any injury—big or small.
First Aid Kit, 101
What I’ve learned is that your backpack medical kits (first aid kits) vary from hike to hike depending on where you are hiking/backpacking. To start off, get yourself some basics (antiseptic wipes, bandages, antibiotic ointment, etc). You can purchase these kits just about anywhere and they are light weight.
Then as your adventures grow, you’ll create a more DIY (Do It Yourself) medical set up. Everyone has their own special needs. Evaluate your upcoming hike or backpacking trip. Know what’s required for you by asking yourself the following.
- Do you take any prescription medications?
- Are you allergic to anything?
- What kind of conditions are expected during my hike?
- How much water and food/snacks should I plan to take?
Plan accordingly. If in doubt, ask your Doctor.
My standard medical kit contains the items captured in the above photos along with some more specialty items featured below. I have health conditions; my son has health conditions. We need to always be prepared as our hiking excursions have evolved from a two mile trek up and down Piestewa Peak to seven-day backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon.