When out on a day hike, accidents are likely to happen and even though you’re probably never too far from help, you would want to cut your hike short because of a small but pestering ail. Even though a full first aid kit is probably not needed (always a good idea to have one in your car anyways), we always like to bring a few essentials in our Pocket First Aid Kit.
A small container We use a small neoprene camera case to keep our pocket first aid kit together. You probably already have one laying around unused and if not, you can pick them up at pretty much any dollar shop for dirt cheap. Not only are they compact and exactly the right size to fit an average sized sheet of fabric band-aids. They’re also super soft which means no rattling noises in your pocket or day pack (unlike with the popular breath-mint tin option).
To add our little zipper pulls: find yourself a small stick (the one I used was about …mm in diameter) of a light timber tree. Drill a hole in two places with a reasonable gap between them. The hole needs to be big enough to fit a piece of paracord through twice. Ones that’s done, saw off the sections you’ve drilled your holes in with a few millimeters of clearance on each side. With a fine grid sandpaper, sand until both flat sides are perfectly smooth. Now cut a small cross out of sticker material (vinyl if you have it) and stick one on each flat side. Stain the unexposed wood. I used an oak wood stain I had lying around, but watered down paint or even varnish (which will darken the wood slightly) should work fine.
You could also go the other way and use a dark timber stick and paint a white cross inside.
Once that’s done, simply cut off a length of paracord and slightly melt each end to stop them from fraying. Pull the cord through the zipper and tuck both ends through the hole. Create a simple overhand knot and VOILA! All done.
Alcohol wipes These don’t need really need an explanation. Right?
Ointment Bring a small tin of your favorite healing ointment with you. Like everyone in Australia and New Zealand, we’re totally nuts for Pap Paw Ointment. It’s a multi-purpose balm that not only moisturizes and keeps dirt out, it also soothes and has antibacterial properties. Use it on cuts, scrapes, bug bites, rashes, minor burns and anywhere you feel chafing. You can’t pass a chemist or supermarket in Oceania without seeing all kinds brands selling their own version,but it can be a bit tricky to find elsewhere. Luckily, Amazon comes to the rescue!
Mini Pocket Knife This nifty little multi-tool from Victorinox has everything you need on day hikes. Scissors to crop bandages, tweezers for tick and splinter removal and a small knife to easily rip through longer lengths of fabric if needed. Plus, they’re easy to find at many hardware and outdoor stores.
Non-Stick Wound Pad and Conforming bandage Use them as a combo for larger cuts or the bandage alone to temporarily support sprains until you can reach a stronger and more long-term aid.
Leukoplast is my favorite tape to use when I feel a potential blister coming up on my feet. But I don’t need the whole role on a day hike. So I wrap a more seasonable amount around one of those key tags that you often with loyalty cards but never need because they can just look you up in the system. As long as you roll it on tight, I haven’t noticed a loss in stickiness or durability.
Fabric Strip Band Aid Because waterproof plastic stuff is horrible and doesn’t stay on. And pre-cut packaged ones rarely fit on my cuts.
Safety pins for popping blisters (yes, I’m guilty of that), wiggling out splinters if your tweezers don’t do the job anymore, creating makeshift buttons and holding together larger bandages. Safety pins can come in pretty handy and not just as a first aid tool.
And last but not least Advil. The super fast rapid kind, because a headache can seriously ruin your hike.
What First Aid Essentials do you take in your Pocket First Aid Kit? Let us know in the comments below!