Did I feel like getting more than one hundred mosquito bites, and having one get so infected that my foot swelled up to twice its normal size? Not particularly. Did I mean to take such a hard drunken tumble that my knee wouldn’t stop bleeding for an hour? It definitely wasn’t what I was hoping for.

But these things happen. So while it’s much more fun to be searching for the most awesome travel gear, or planning your epic upcoming itinerary, you’re going to need to create a top notch first aid kit as well.

Luckily, I’ve done the hard work for you. So pick up these first aid essentials so that you don’t get a crazy infection in the middle of the jungle, and then go back to planning the fun stuff.

First Aid Manual

Do you know what to do in every possible first aid scenario? Neither do I. Fortunately, these guys do, so pick up this first aid manual so that you can actually use your first aid kit in emergency situations.

Disposable Gloves

There you are at the ready when your friend has cut his leg open due to his idiocy in not noticing the huge branch directly in front of him. You’re a hero. Now don’t give yourself an infection while helping him out, and remember to put on your disposable gloves.


Do you know how infected that insignificant seeming splinter can get if not removed? It’s not pretty. Also convenient for surprise tweezing your buddy’s unibrow that has been driving you insane.

Alcohol Wipes

Those tweezers probably need cleaning from the last time you saved yourself from a splinter, and whatever random infection you’ve managed to give yourself could also use some cleaning. Don’t forget alcohol wipes. You could also bring a liquid form, but nobody likes to play the what-exploded-in-my-backpack game.

Hydrocortisone Cream

Whether the mosquitoes are eating you alive, you have a mysterious rash, or the wasps have a vendetta against you, you want to have this stuff on hand.


These are incredibly useful for closing up those small cuts before they have the chance to get bigger.


This one is a no-brainer. You’re going to need some Band-Aids in all different shapes and sizes for the assortment of injuries you manage to give yourself. But you can still have some fun. Toss in some Kermit Band-Aids to liven things up.


How many times have you had a Band-Aid fall off of your gruesome injury, exposing it to to the dirt and sand you’re inevitably playing in? Cover it up with some gauze to keep your cuts clean. Also useful for minor sprains when you’re a three day trek from civilization.

Medical Scissors

To cut the gauze. They’re just scissors, guys. I can’t give you an exciting description for everything.

Safety Pins

Not only convenient for pinning that gauze together, but also for repairing your backpack, clothes, and all the rest of your banged up gear.

Blister Pads

Let’s face it: no matter how good your hiking boots are, if you’re on a several day trek, you’re going to get blisters. Worry not! Every step no longer needs to be agony. Just pick up some blister pads.

Survival Blanket

You’re trekking up a mountain, when a sudden blizzard comes your way. Oh. Shit. Fortunately, you won’t die tonight, because you remembered your handy dandy survival blanket, which will allow you to retain most of your body heat. Hooray!

Oral Rehydration Salts

For severe dehydration, heat exhaustion, and let’s face it, hangovers.


Like it or not, we all get sick at one point or another while on the road. Be prepared so that you can get back to adventuring sooner.

Photo credit: Chemists at Risca Museum