Whats in your first aid kit?

I have a first aid kit. Don’t we all? I was going through mine, and wondered, what do other paddlers/ campers carry in they’re kits? I did look in the archives but did not really find a thread that addressed the contents of a kit. What kind of stuff do you guys pack along, beyond the basic band-aids and aspirins?

besides the usual…

– Last Updated: Mar-26-06 1:33 PM EST –

I have a disposable CPR mask, disposable latex gloves, sterile lancets which are great for splinters, sharp pointed tweezers, small magnifying lens, instant hand sanitizer, individual, single-use eye drops, Ace bandage for sprains, a female sanitary pad to absorb bleeding from a wound, duct tape, space blanket, fire starter & lighter, assorted individual packages of antibiotic creams, ointments, antihistimines, alcohol wipes, and lots and lots more. And a small first-aid book for quick review or for something I don't know. I carry it all in a clear lexan box that's waterproof.

Oh...I almost forgot the pain pills (a small package of M&M's).

Hal Clifford essentials
Hal Clifford wrote an article for Backpacker Mag in 2000 about this. Here is his list of First Aid Essentials:


Cloth tape (Better for wrapping injuries)

Ibuprofen (good for pain, swelling, and fever)

Irrigation device (mine is a 10cc irrigaation syringe)

ACE bandage

Full-size SAM Splint

2nd Skin or equivalent

Precision tweezers

Pencil (and paper)

I include:

Small flashlight (P-Tec Pulsar II)

Emergency Blanket

Bic lighter

Small knife/tool (mine is a flat steel tool in leather pouch about the size of a credit card. Includes: Knife, wrenches, can opener, bottle opener, screwdrivers)

In individaul servings:

Sting relief pads

Triple Bacterial Ointment

Pepto tabs

Imodium AD

Allergy pills


Alchohol prep pads

Iodine pads

Various band aids

Superglue (for closing wounds)

Iodine tablets

Hope this helps,


Don’t forget…
…Immodium, benadryl, and sutures - yes sutures!



Wiskey for bites in case I see…
…a snake, and a snake in case I don’t.

Fat Elmo’s first aid kit

– Last Updated: Mar-26-06 2:40 PM EST –

Wha Ho, Pilgrims;

Ah' be a believer in Civil War surgery me'self, so ah's gots me prunin' saw, bucket o' hot tar an' a stick (birch tastes de bestest) ta bite down on . No matter wat kind o' injury it be, de leg still has ta come off.

Fat Elmo

Triangular Bandages…
…are endlessly useful - dressings, bandages, slings, tying splints, etc., etc., etc. Usually keep two or three in the bailout dry bag we carry in each boat.

Hi Duggae…

– Last Updated: Mar-26-06 4:57 PM EST –

Go to NRS catalog & check out the Pro Paddler First Aid Kit by Adventure Medical Kits. That's what I have; plus quite a few additions that I've added to it thru the years. Mine is probably closer to their Comprehensive Kit with all my additions.

Next time I see you feel free to take a look at my kit. It's always with me on the river; in the same water proof bag as my saw, Z drag kit & CPR


aid kit
the most important thing I carry, is my brain.

You could have a ambulance full of gear and still screw up if you did not know how to use it.

The best thing I ever bought for my first aid kit was a Wilderness First Responder course. Get trained, and make sure your friends are for your own safety.


Thanks for the ideas.
Few of us have training in first aid. I was interested more in the stuff you guys carry that wouldn’t normally be found in a first aid kit. I got some good ideas I had not thought of. BTW, I did work with an ambulance full of stuff in 25 years as a firefighter/ emt and have responded to many hundreds of medical emergencies. Every group should probably include a few trained individuals

I carry…
gauze pads and wraps


alcohol prep swabs

bandaids, assorted

waterproof tape

Ace bandage

cravat bandage

finger splint

20’ light cord

50’ or so string


waterproof matches

emergency blanket

scapel, sutures, needles

pocket knife, razor knife


2 sizes tweezers

Anti-itch salve


3 Vicodin


Immodium AD tablets

2 glow sticks

first aid booklet

pencil, memo pad

waterproof sharpie marker

magnifying glass

Ammonia ‘smelling salts’ ampoules

2 kitchen size garbage bags

latex gloves


snake bite kit

sterile eye wash

kotex for heavy bleeding

LED flashlight

Never used it, and discovered last summer

that my waterproof box was not.

But better to have, then to want!


I hate
those first couple of days with the heavy bleeding

duct tape …
dat’s all you need :wink:

Medical training
A week end or more medical wilderness training course is a very important idea as part of the kit. I was astounded at how much I THOUGT I knew and how LITTLE I actually knew. I also had allot of harmful ideas too!

For example, like one poster, I had the idea that suturing up wounds was important. The Wilderness folks advise against this because you make it more likely to drive harmful stuff inside the wound this way, better to leave it open and wrapped or under some compression ans as clean as possible and seek definitive treatment asap. Only on long expeditions with no evacuation should suturing occur.

This is but one of a host of protocols and procedures they help us understand so our brains are a key ingredient in the kit.


can’t believe it wasn’t
mentioned yet. Since you can never tell what kind of a predicament or situation you may find yourself in and prevention is predominant these days, perhaps a package of prophylactics would help ensure an enjoyable cruise.

nuff said

Aspirin & Superglue

– Last Updated: Mar-27-06 12:36 PM EST –

In addition to the usual, I add aspirin, since the first aid kits usually have ibuprofin. I bring the aspirin in case I come across an old codger having a heart attack. I bring the superglue for closing bad wounds.

I also make sure they have mole foam, if not, I add it.

What bugs me about commercial first aid kits is they always have a million little bandaids. Most of the time if I have a cut that small I don't bother with a bandaid.

Size of kit
Since I carry a drybag about 8"dia x 12" tall for my kit I also keep TP and a WAG bag in there as well.

I like the idea of liquid pain medicine! I will insert a small lexan bottle of Blanton’s for “theraputic” use.


Survival stuff
Besides some of the basics already said I keep some survival items like space blanket, compass, granola bars, stainless steel mug, tea bags, etc. I keep the whole works in a belt pack that goes in the dry bag on the water or around my waist on hikes. If you wear it instead of putting it in a backpack you will still have it if you get separated from the backpack.


Anbesol or Ora-Jell for pain relief
While these products are intended for oral pain relief, I carry a small tube for wound pain relief if necessary.

While not a paddling related injury, I once cut my hand pretty badly and sewed it up my self using Anbesol to dull the pain. (I was a student with no health insurance)

I do carry a suture kit.

Duck tape, tampon, maxi pad…
super glue…Jose Gervo Gold Tequilla