Packing a Lightweight First Aid Kit for Camping
The basic idea of a first aid kit is to ensure that you, the hiker, have what you need when it is most needed.
The problem with this when going camping and hiking is that the more things you add to prepare for the what-if situations, the more weight you add to your trail supplies. The items on the following list weigh very little, but the list contains a number of versatile items that will serve more than one purpose or which are invaluable in some way.
The bandana is an ultralight and lightweight hiker’s best friend. It serves as a flannel and head covering under normal situations but makes up an important part of any first aid kit. Assuming the hiker has brought bandanas of sufficient size, they may be tied together as a sling or used to wrap a sprained ankle. If a leg or limb is broken, bandanas can be used as ties for a splint.
Flat Pack of Duct Tape
This stuff really will fix just about anything. Outside of the first aid kit, it can be used to repair all sorts of hiking gear, from shoes to ponchos. It really shines as part of the first aid kit, however. In this, it is capable of being used in place of mole-skin and other products for relieving blisters by reducing friction if placed on the hot spot before the blister actually forms. It can also be formed into a sort of butterfly bandage if a large wound gets opened.
If a flat pack is not available, wrapping regular duct tape around an item will make it available without carrying around a heavy roll of duct tape. Duct tape is the heaviest thing in the first aid kit, so try to balance the need for having enough with the lightweight aspects.
Several of these will come in handy for quick fixes on some of a hiker’s clothing and gear, but if you sterilise them with a lighter, they can also be used for lancing and other such activities. They may also be used to pin the bandana in place for ankle wraps and such.
Sterile Gauze Pads
These only really have one use, but it is well worth the effort to put them in your kit. Having something completely sterile is helpful to prevent infections when you wrap a larger cut or injury.
Every first aid kit, big or small, should have a small bottle of this in it. Liquid bandages such as Nu Skin are able to replace disinfecting supplies and normal bandages. The liquid is painted onto the wound and allowed to dry. It disinfects and protects at the same time.
Packages of 8 to 10 pills are available in the travel section of most stores. These containers are small, light and perfect for a lightweight hiker’s first aid kit. If you fill yours partly with anti-diarrhoea pills and the remainder with painkillers, you have everything you need for most situations.
The mirrors in many cheap compacts are not glass but rather a plastic-based material. These are very light and obviously rather small. If a hiker removes the mirror from these compacts, they make a great addition to the lightweight first aid kit. A mirror is very useful for locating ticks but also may serve as an emergency signal if there is a need.
Light and small, this should have scissors and tweezers despite being as small as the average hiker’s little finger. The scissors can be used for cutting away dead skin, trimming duct tape to make the proper folds for butterfly bandages or for cutting cloth, in addition to other tasks around your camping site. The tweezers are perfect for removing splinters and ticks.
These are just the basic components. If a hiker doesn’t mind the weight, more items can be added. Everything on this list can fit into a small pouch that can be readily kept handy and tossed into backpacking gear at a moment’s notice. Adjust it to suit your needs.