Awhile back I made a video on my IFAK (Individual First Aid Kits) that I have in my GHB (Get Home Bag) and the other one that resides in my BOB (bug out bag). Since I got interested in hiking I thought I might have slightly different needs for a hiking related IFAK so I set out ot make one that I take with me on all of my hiking/camping trips. In general, the difference between this IFAK and the one that I have in my GHB/BOB is that this one is much more geared toward blisters and such wear and tear that comes with long hikes and that has already served me well as I had some hot spots develop on my toes hiking down the Grand Canyon and had a tree branch snap back and cause a deep abrasion to my lower leg while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. There is likely to be less need for heavy trauma related items like a CAT tourniquet, chest seal, needle for chest decompression and a NPA (nasopharyngeal airway) while hiking, although that’s not to say that you couldn’t suffer injuries requiring some of those. If you want to be a little extra prepared, items such as those tend to be fairly small and lightweight if you want to throw them in. Just be sure you know how and when to use them otherwise you’re likely just wasting your money, carrying weight and additional bulk.
When deciding what to include, you need to figure out if you want to be prepared to treat just yourself or to have additional items available to treat your family or some number of other people. If you come across another injured person who also has an IFAK, use THEIR equipment to fix them instead of items from your own so that you can still take care of yourself should the need arise.
I’m posting this article in conjunction with the above video for those that are interested in a list of the items in my IFAK in a written list and will include Amazon links to make purchasing easy.
The pouch I chose is the Maxpedition Individual First Aid Pouch. I like it because its fairly lightweight and well organized. I do wish they offered it in a red color for when you don’t need to be so ‘tactical’, to make it easier to find in your pack for both you and when someone else if rooting through your pack to find it to use on you. “Its the red pouch”, I’d like to be able to tell them.
- Safety Pins – fishing, affixing bandages, making shelter, removing splinters, clothing repair, makeshift sutures
- Nitrile Gloves – several pairs
- Bacitracin/Neosporin. Studies show that vaseline actually works just as well.
- Alcohol wipes
- Bandaids, Steri-Strips
- Mole skin for application to blisters or areas that are getting abraded and have potential to form blisters
- Tegaderm for placing over wounds to keep them clean and dry.
- Vaseline gauze to place over wounds or abrasions to prevent dressings from sticking to them.
- Glacier Gel – a step up from moleskin
- Gauze – 4×4’s
- Sharpie Marker
- REI Signal Whistle
- Signaling Mirror
- Trauma shears
- Fresh Wipes – cleaning parts of your body of after using the bathroom
- Finger splint
- Saline flush – for irrigating eyes. Water also works just fine
- Small tweezers
- Z-Fold Combat Gauze for packing and stopping heavily bleeding wounds
- ACE Wrap
- Body Glide anti-chafe balm
- Tape – Coban, Transpore, Duct Tape
- Triangle Bandage for making slings, wound dressings, splint application, makeshift tourniquet
- Z-fold vacuum packed gauze
Other Items not in the pouch
- Drugs –
- Motrin, Tylenol
- Diamox (for altitude)
- decongestant/antihistamine like Claritin
- Knife/Multi Tool such as Leatherman Juice
- Hand sanitizer
- Crazy Glue/Dermabond for simple lacerations