First Aid Kits on the Appalachian Trail

A properly equipped first aid kit is essential for both day and thru-hikers. All contents should be inspected before each outing, and the supplies should be clean and in good condition. Medication should be updated and all expired medication should be replaced.

In addition to this, it is also critical that you know how to use each item before heading out. Invest the time before embarking. Read the directions included with your kit, or perform your own research on the contents in your bag.

First aid kits can be assembled at home or bought from the store. Buying ready equipped first aid kits often saves money because the retailers buy the gear wholesale and in bulk. In addition to this, ready equipped first aid kits include instructions explaining how to use each item.

First Aid Kit Fundamentals:

  • waterproof container
  • adhesive bandages of various sizes & adhesive tape
  • butterfly bandages, used to close wounds
  • triangular bandage, used as slings, tourniquets, etc...
  • elastic roll bandage
  • gauze pads
  • moleskin / Second Skin, used as blister treatment and prevention
  • alcohol swabs
  • antiseptic ointment
  • chemical heat and cold packs
  • cotton swabs
  • dry-wash pads or wipes
  • insect repellant
  • safety pins
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • bulb irrigating syringe
  • anti-diarrhea medicine (loperamide HCL: Imodium)
  • antibiotic for skin infections (Dicloxacillin)
  • antihistimine for allergic reactions (Benadryl, etc..)
  • anti-inflammatory (Ibuprofen, aspirin, etc...)
  • acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce fever (Tylenol)
  • hydrocortisone cream to soothe allergic skin
  • tincture of benzoin to protect skin, help with application of adhesive bandage and treat blisters
About the Author Steve Burge:
Steve Burge was the original founder of AppalachianTrail.com. He was a teacher for many years before starting a web development firm.