The Ultimate List of Essentials for your First Aid Kit

The Ultimate List of Essentials for your First Aid Kit

First aid is something you might not like to think about but, if you're away from doctors and hospitals and an emergency strikes, having the first aid essentials ready can literally be the difference between life and death.

There's no shortage of first aid kits available but, like anything else to do with outdoor activities, you can spend a little or a lot. Regardless of the price-tag, you should make sure your first aid kit includes the following essentials. Consider this to be your first aid essentials list for keeping kids, family and friends safe until medical help arrives.


The big four

An outdoors survival first aid kit has four main categories:

  • Cleaning, sterilising and disinfecting;
  • Covering, wrapping and protecting;
  • First aid accessories and tools.
  • Additional items to consider.

The items required to cover these four categories may look pretty exhaustive on paper but even the smallest hiking first aid kits can contain these items, so it pays to know what you're looking for.


Cleaning, sterilising and disinfecting

Infected wounds can lead to some serious medical problems, so even minor cuts, scratches and abrasions need to be cleaned of dirt to avoid infection. Make sure your survival first aid kit contains:

  • A disinfectant for preparing wounds for treatment;
  • An antibacterial ointment or antiseptic wipes for removing bacteria from the site of a cut or scratch;
  • Saline solution for washing eyes or superficial cuts and scrapes (if the cuts are deeper, then use a medical disinfectant);
  • Disposable gloves to prevent bacterial contamination of the injury site.


Covering, wrapping and protecting

After cleaning and preparing a wound, properly wrapping it is important for avoiding infection. It's essential your first aid kit contains bandages and gauze in a range of sizes to cover big and small cuts and scrapes. Make sure your survival first aid kit contains:

  • Waterproof sticking plasters (band aids) in different materials and sizes (wide, round, long and short) for covering small cuts;
  • Gauze pads and bandages in different sizes for small to medium-sized cuts, and also pressure bandages for sealing cuts and scrapes;
  • Gauze and sports tape for wrapping larger wounds and providing stability for injured joints;
  • Adhesive tapes and clips for keeping bandages in place.


First aid accessories and tools

Having the following tools and accessories in your survival first aid kit are necessary for the reasons you cannot think of, as much as the reasons you can. Make sure your survival first aid kit contains:

  • Cutting tools like a scalpel, scissors or knife;
  • Tweezers for removing dirt and other nasties from wound sites;
  • Medical gloves to prevent coming in contact with open cuts and wounds;
  • A thermal blanket to keep warm while waiting for emergency services;
  • Disposable poncho to keep wounds/patients dry in wet weather.


Additional items to consider

It's always a good idea to include additional supplies to tailor your first aid kit to your own specific needs. With this in mind, we have provided some optional inclusions below:

  • SPF 50+ sunscreen;
  • Aloe vera lotion/after-sun care lotions, which are also helpful for relieving rashes, itches and all-manner of burns;
  • Pain relief tablets in the form of paracetamol and anti-inflammatories (talk to a GP or pharmacist about your options if you're allergic to certain pain and inflammation relief meds);
  • Hot and cold packs;
  • Insect sting sprays;
  • Anti-hayfever medications;
  • Travel calm or sea sickness medications
  • Sewing needle and thread for patching up clothing;
  • Waterproof matches or a lighter, subject to the fire conditions where you are;
  • A rechargeable light source so you can see what you are doing in poor light or at night;
  • Notepad and pencil to make handover notes for when emergency help arrives or you get to a doctor;
  • First aid training manuals for a refresher or to provide clarity in the heat of the moment if your mind goes foggy or if someone treating you hasn't got the first aid skills;
  • Long-life energy bars for a little energy boost to make it to safety.


And that's not all folks!

To make sure you know how to use your well-stocked first aid kit, it's recommended you and other members of your family enrol in a first aid course with an accredited training organisation like The Red Cross, St John's Ambulance or your community health centre. Treating cuts, abrasions and fractures properly, as well as learning skills like CPR, can often be the difference between serious, ongoing and life-threatening illness or complete recovery.

It's also a good idea before leaving home to double-check that you and other people in your travelling party have prescription medicines like blood pressure tablets or asthma inhalers packed. It might also be worthwhile to pack repeat prescriptions in case something happens that means you need to extend your trip.


In conclusion

Consider the items in your survival first aid kit to be as vital a safety measure as checking the seals on gas bottles, servicing your vehicle and inspecting your tent for rips and tears. While the list here may appear long, an easy way to ensure you get all the right gear is to pick up one of our complete first aid kits available online or instore.




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