An Ounce Of Prevention: What To Pack in Your Own First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit being used to give medical attention

Whether you are heading into the back country, traveling abroad, or just taking a last minute road trip, a first aid kit should be on the top of your packing list. However, knowing how to use the items contained within your first aid kit is just as important as having the kit itself. Note: Consider taking a wilderness first aid course.

There are lots of options on the market for prepackaged kits and many are designed for a multitude of activities. Or, you can create you own DIY kit making sure to include the basics and catering it to suit your personal needs and requirements.

We caught up with Adam Reczek, Product Manager at Adventure Medical Kits, and picked his brain on what we as adventurers and weekend warriors should always have on hand in our own kit.

Adventure Medical Kits

What are the top 8 things to include in any first aid kit?

The essentials of a first aid kit really depend on what activity you plan to use your kit for, but a few things I include in all my kits are:

  • Adhesive bandages
  • A variety of medications (pain relief, antihistamine, etc.)
  • Gauze dressings
  • Medical tape
  • Moleskin
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Elastic bandage
  • Antibiotic ointment

When traveling abroad, are there specific things that should be added? 

Traveling abroad introduces the need for some must-have items in your first aid kit. Diarrhea and the resulting dehydration are two of the most common illnesses. Therefore, we recommend adding loperamide HCI (Immodium) for controlling diarrhea and oral rehydration salts to treat dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting. Carrying your own medications is key as reading labels in a foreign language can be difficult and sometimes they don’t carry items that are familiar to you. A medical book, like our Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine, will help you decide what to do and when to go see a physician.

dehydration survival
With so many many options within the AMK line, why would someone want to customize a kit?

This is ideal for people who have built their own kit in the past or have a kit from another brand that doesn’t meet the needs of their upcoming adventure. The DIY crowd is game for this.

How often should we replace items within the our first aid kit? 

Typically topical and oral medications have an expiration life of three years. 90% of our kits have dressings, bandages, tape, moleskin, and other items that don’t expire, but after a number of  years and if they have been exposed to the elements they may need to be replaced.

First Aid Kit

Do you have any final thoughts on creating your own DIY first aid kit?

Some folks have very specific uses in mind for their first aid kits and creating their own kit may be the best way for them to achieve what they want. Additionally, building your own first aid kit is the best way to be comfortable and familiar with the contents. In the heat of the moment, finding the first aid items you need is made much easier if you know where everything is ahead of time. Our build-your-own-kit program also doubles as a quick and easy way to add to an existing kit, and our organizational “kit map” helps you track items down before you even open the kit. This program also serves as a refill selection to replenish commonly-used items in your kit.


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