Safety First: The Best Backpacking First Aid Kit

First aid kit
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Backpacking is one of the best ways to explore the world, meet new people and all the while on an affordable budget. There will be Highs, there will be lows. Backpacking will be an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. So, make sure to bring a backpacking first aid kit!

It is important to remain safe while backpacking. You are going to be adventuring in countless different ways, but let’s try and stay safe!  A backpacking first aid kit could save your life or at least keep you more comfortable. Let’s have a look at some of the items that you should definitely consider bringing to have the best backpacking first aid kit along your travels.

What Exactly Is In A First Aid Kit?

When we think of a first aid kit, we probably think of something that looks like this:

A first aid kit can come in many shapes and sizes and doesn’t all have to be in one Container. Having it all in one container isn’t always practical for the bag you’re bringing. You can spread out the items of a first aid kit throughout your bag. This allows easier packing of your other non- backpacking first aid kit related items. Every first aid kit will be different but should include as many as these items as you can bring.


Bandaged hand and pain killers
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You never know what might happen to you along your travels. Small to big cuts and scratches from all sorts of things are going to be painful. It’s not a good idea to leave these wounds open to other sorts of bacteria. Leaving a wound open might make a somewhat innocent injury, into something more serious, definitely bring these.


Sometimes you might find yourself with a more severe injury. Band-Aids aren’t always going to cut it and you will need to bring out gauze to fully cover the injury. You can get gauze in different sizes just make sure it’s bigger than your Band-Aids!

Sticky Tape

Gauze and Band-Aids aren’t always going to stay stuck on different parts of the body. Parts of your body relax and tighten the skin in such a way that gauze and Band-Aids won’t stay stuck for long.

Sticky tape helps solves this issue. Apply the gauze and or band-aids first. Then once you know it’s an area you will move a lot, say your shoulder, apply the sticky tape to hold it into place.

Small Scissors

You probably aren’t going to be able to bring this on your carry-on luggage at airports. Checked-in baggage should be okay. You are going to need something sharp to cut the gauze and sticky tape. Getting to the critical moment and not being able to cut gauze and the sticky tape would be extremely frustrating!


When traveling to new places you might be overcome with excitement that you may not realize that you are actually getting sick. A thermometer will help keep you in check to make sure you don’t push yourself while you’re sick.

Hydrocortisone Cream

Skin spray for bruises
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It’s very likely you may encounter something nasty that your skin HATES! Any cream containing Hydrocortisone will soothe the itchiness and pain from your skin rash and help stop you from scratching at it and making the problem a whole lot worse!


Even while you have everything bandaged up, you might find yourself in a moderate to a severe amount of pain and unable to enjoy your backpacking experience. Pain killers are the solution when you find yourself in a little too much pain to properly enjoy your trip. Ibuprofen and Paracetamol are the most common and easiest to get. They are also great on the days and moments where you have a splitting headache!

Cough Medicine

You can get a cough, or itchy throat without actually getting sick. You are just experiencing some new bacteria or are having different particles tickle your throat. Cough medicine will help sooth any strange irritations you may not have expected.

Lubricating Eye Drops

Something always has the chance of getting into your eyes and causing redness, soreness, and itchiness. Rubbing an infected eye will cause it to swell and you won’t be able to see properly. Apply some sterile, lubricating eye drops to your eyes to avoid any further inflammation and whatever you do… don’t rub them!


Who knows how it happened or how it got there? You have something inside your skin and it is WAY too small for you to be able to pluck it out with your hands, it’s not happening.

Also, tweezers to the rescue! Try not to leave any niggling pains in your body alone, investigate with a flashlight, perhaps on your phone or a separate one you brought with you. Trying to get it out with your hands is a bad idea, as you might push something deeper into your skin and then you won’t even be able to get it out with tweezers!

Disposable Sterile Gloves

Backpacking kit
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There’s little point cleaning yourself from any wounds if you have dirty hands. You might not always have the option to wash your hands or get your hands clean before helping yourself. Sterile gloves are easy to slip on and will ensure you don’t cause an infection of your wounds from your dirty bacteria ridden hands.

Antiseptic Wipes

People tend to forget this one after packing all their gauze and bandages. These are what you need when you get a cut or wound BEFORE you put on the bandages and gauze. Any sort of antiseptic or alcohol-based wipes will be best. These completely clean and get rid of the dirt and bacteria that may be in and around your fresh wound. These wipes can also be good to wash your hands in a pinch.

Loperamide Tablets

Also known under a number of different other brand names like Imodium. These are tablets used to get your body to stop… pooing. Diarrhea CAN happen and when traveling to any new exotic place your body may not be used to the new bacteria in the food you just ate.

However, these tablets are not made for casual use and should only be used in emergencies. When you have to be traveling on a bus, or you’re in the forest or just someplace were going #2 is NOT an option. If your diarrhea persists for more than 1 week, you should see a doctor.

Sun Screen

While a lot of backpacking first aid kit items are used to treat symptoms after receiving them, sunscreen helps stop the problem BEFORE it becomes a problem. You may not always need this if traveling somewhere in the winter or with little sunshine. Anywhere that you are going to be outside for extended periods of time in bright sunlight, sunscreen should be used.

Bug Spray

Similarly, Bug Spray is a preventative measure to bring with you to make you don’t get bitten. You won’t always need bug spray depending on where you travel on your journeys, but anywhere hot, or in nature, you are going to encounter bugs that would like to bite you! This will keep the vast majority of insects away from your skin allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors much easier.

Aloe Vera

aloe vera plant in a vase
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Even with sunscreen, you may end up getting burned depending on your skin and your geographical location and how long you spent in the sun. Sunscreen helps reduce damage from the sun but will not completely protect your skin. Aloe Vera is a great natural product that has been used for many years to treat sunburns.

Also, aloe Vera can actually be used to treat all sorts of other rashes, burns and other types of skin problems. It’s cold soothing properties will greatly reduce the discomfort you might encounter and speed up the healing process.

Hand Sanitizer

Either a bottle in liquid form or a packet with individual wet hand wipes are a life savior in a ton of different situations. Your hands are going to get dirty from… Actual dirt. As well as all the new bacteria and germs that your hands touch. You don’t want to touch your face or other parts of your skin with dirty hands, do you?

What if you would like to eat something with your hands? Something might spill on you and there’s no bathroom in sight. Your options will be limited to wiping your hands on your clothes and now you have stained clothes and your hands are still dirty.

All in all, it’s important to remember that you may not need or even have to use what you bring in your safety kit. Where you are planning to backpack and travel can make you prioritize certain items on this list.

You will receive peace of mind with the knowledge that no matter what happens, you have something prepared to help keep you safe. also, you won’t need to panic when something does happen, because you have come prepared. You will be calm and able to handle your situation with ease.

Taking this kit doesn’t have to be just for you. If you’re traveling with someone else, they might not be as prepared and say something like a first aid kit isn’t necessary. Travelling safe IS necessary! Let them eat their words and you get to be their gloating hero when you have the power to help them!

The more things that you have in your backpacking first aid kit, the better. Don’t stress if you can’t bring everything, your adventure awaits!


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