What Should Be in a Backpacking First Aid Kit?

By Anna Duncan

Backpacking is a great way to explore the outdoors and experience nature, but it’s important to be prepared for any potential medical emergency. A solid first aid kit should be an essential part of your backpacking equipment no matter where you go. Here’s a quick guide on what should be included in your backpacker’s first aid kit.

Bandages, Gauze Pads & Tape:

Whenever you are out in the wilderness, it’s important to be prepared for any minor cuts or scrapes that may occur. Make sure your first aid kit includes an assortment of bandages, gauze pads and medical tape that can be used to dress wounds. Keep a few sterile saline solution bottles on hand as well as some antiseptic wipes.

Painkillers & Antihistamines:

Painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve aches, pains and headache. It’s also useful to keep some antihistamines with you in case of allergic reactions. Don’t forget a pair of tweezers which can be used to remove splinters or thorns.

Medical Equipment:

You should also include some basic medical equipment such as scissors, thermometer, tongue depressors and syringes. If you are traveling with other people then having a stethoscope on hand could prove useful. You may also want to keep a sterile needle for suturing small wounds or stitching larger ones.


It is always wise to have some sort of medication with you when backpacking. This could include things like antibiotics, antifungals, anti-diarrheal medications and topical creams for insect bites or rashes.

Miscellaneous Items:

Finally, don’t forget the miscellaneous items such as sunscreen, lip balm and insect repellent. These items may seem trivial but they can come in handy when exploring remote areas.


A backpacking first aid kit should contain all the essential items needed to treat minor cuts, scrapes and bruises while out in the wilderness. This includes bandages, gauze pads and tape; painkillers; medications; medical equipment; tweezers; scissors; tongue depressors; syringes; thermometer; sterile needle; antiseptic wipes; sunscreen; lip balm and insect repellent.