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Wilderness First Aid Kit Packing Lists

by Danny Peled · 29 January 2023

By Danny Peled – Wilderness Medical Associates Instructor, Boreal River Director, Wilderness-EMT

wilderness first aid kit contents

My first aid kit changes all the time.

If I’m on a hike with friends it fits into a small waterproof bag. If I’m teaching a river rescue course and moving around by kayak my kit is usually in a 10L drybag (not including another ‘hypo-wrap’ drybag with a tarp and insulation layers). Whereas on a remote, week-long rafting expedition with a group of 15 people, we carry a whole 30L mini barrel in one raft plus additional ‘first responder’ kits spread amongst the boats.

Customize the first aid kit checklists for your situation

This set of first aid checklists is an excellent reference. It isn’t necessarily comprehensive or appropriate for your purposes. So use your judgment and add and remove items based on:

  • where you’re going
  • how long you’re going for
  • the environmental conditions
  • how many patients you might be treating
  • how you’ll be carrying the kit

You should also look through each topic in your Wilderness First Aid / First Responder course textbooks. For each medical problem, consider which items or medications you wouldn’t want to do without versus what can be improvised. Over time, you’ll get more comfortable making adjustments.

Taking that into consideration, this wilderness first aid kits document has checklists for 5 different expedition types:

  • Small personal kit
  • Group kit for front country day trips
  • Expedition group kit
  • Expedition group kit – when weight and space aren’t limited
  • Search and rescue team kit or vehicle / large boat / base support kit

And it’s divided into sections for items to carry on your body, basic life support, tools, medications, wound care, and other miscellaneous items.

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