Our favorite things: travel size first aid kit

Scrapes and blisters are just a part of being an outdoorsy person in Maine. This state has a lot of granite, underbrush, uneven terrain and tricky roots. And let’s admit it, some of us (including me) just aren’t that graceful. That’s why I always make sure to have a tiny first aid kit in my backpack — just in case. I’ve gone through a few kits. Each company has their own idea of what makes up a first aid kit for the trail. I just look for a kit that contains the essentials and isn’t too expensive. Travel size first aid kits can cost $10, or it can cost $100. Usually the more expensive kits simply have more contents and can take care of multiple people for multiple days. I typically carry a $20 kit for day hikes.

Here are the first aid kit items I’ve used the most while on the trail:

• moleskin: fuzzy, sticky pads that you can put over your blisters so they don’t hurt so much when they rub against your boots.

• gauze and bandages to cover up big scrapes every time ding myself up on the state’s rough granite.

• medical tape, which is usually best in securing bandages, especially if you’re covering up scrapes on your hands. It’s also good for wrapping turned ankles!

• antiseptic towelettes and antibiotic ointment to clean those scrapes and blisters so they don’t get infected.

Other cool things you’ll find in a first aid kit (depending on how big and expensive it is):

• safety pins
• cordage
• needle
• butterfly closures and wound closure strips
• pills: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, diamode, antacid, aspirin, antihistamine
• vinyl gloves
• splinter forceps
• knuckle, knee and elbow bandages
• sting relief pads
• trauma pads
• irrigation syringe
Since every kit is different, check out the contents and think about the practicality of each item. It’s not fun to think of the worst case scenario, but that’s exactly what you should do when buying items for the backpack you’ll be carrying into the woods.
The first aid kit that’s currently in my bag is quite small, but it carries a lot… and I can’t carry everything but the kitchen sink. Carry what you’re comfortable with.
And one last thing — since these trail kits are so tiny, they make great stocking stuffers!

If you don’t know about “Our Favorite Things,” read the explanation below.

“Our Favorite Things”: Welcome to the holiday season, a time of frantic gift buying, tree trimming and sweater wearing. It sounds tiring, but the BDN Outdoors is prepared to help. Well, with the gift part. (We won’t decorate your tree or help you dress.) Throughout the merry month of December, BDN Outdoor Editor John Holyoke and I will wrack our brains to come up with appropriate gifts for any outdoorsy person. But instead of creating the typical gift guide (the lastest, high-techiest version of this or that) we will simply reach into our own backpacks and pull out some of the items we can’t seem to get along without when we’re in the Maine wilderness. Please feel free to contribute to this conversation by posting gift suggestions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.



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Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.