With a little guidance and know-how, packing the right first aid kit is easy. Where to start? We consulted Dr. Paul Auerbach, the author of Medicine for the Outdoors, who helped us assemble five different adventure-specific kits, starting with the basics, a great kit to have pre-packed and ready to go for everyday adventures. If you’ve got kids or are going to the beach, camping or backpacking, keep scrolling: You’ll find more destination-specific first aid items, as well as tips from Dr. Auerbach.
Wilderness First Aid 101
Having the right first aid kit is just the start. Knowing how to treat common injuries is just as important.Learn More!→
Keep this kit handy to grab and go.
1. Nexcare™ No Hurt Wrap Sticks to itself, not skin or hair, to support and secure sprains and strains.
2. Nexcare™ Waterproof Bandages (Various sizes) Reliable protection against water, dirt and germs.
3. Hand sanitizer
4. Antiseptic ointment
5. Nexcare™ Waterproof Adhesive pad Waterproof protection for those larger scrapes and abrasions.
6. Multitool Carry a tool that has scissors, a knife, tweezers and even needle-nose pliers.
7. 1 yard of duct tape
8. Nexcare™ Gentle Paper Tape Easy tear—no scissors needed.
9. Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen Carry 48 hours’ worth of doses of each in a waterproof container.
10. Iodine tablets To purify water for drinking.
No need to bring a field hospital’s worth of supplies with you—even though you can.
1. Nexcare™ Active™ Waterproof Bandages Cushioned protection that stays on when you sweat.
2. Nexcare™ Durable Cloth Tape All-purpose tape that provides extra holding power.
3. Rolls of gauze For applying ointments and cleaning wounds.
4. Nexcare™ Waterproof Adhesive Pads For sensitive cuts and scrapes that need a little extra cushioning.
5. Antiseptic ointment Use under a gauze dressing to help prevent infections.
6. Nexcare™ Tegaderm™ +Pad Waterproof Dressing
AUERBACH’S FIELD TIP: Need to extricate a contact lens but don’t have any way to clean your fingers? Those mini-marshmallows you brought along for hot cocoa can double as a contact lens remover.
When you hit the trail, add the following to your pack.
1. Nexcare™ Blister Waterproof Bandages A gel pad in the bandage helps reduce pain while keeping dirt and water out of the blister.
2. ACE™ Brand elastic bandage
3. Nexcare™ Flexible Clear tape Stretches and flexes for comfort while you’re on the move.
4. Moleskin (Various sizes) The pad can be easily cut to surround a blister and prevent the skin from rubbing against the inside of your shoe.
5. Nexcare™ Tegaderm™ +Pad Waterproof Dressing
6. 2 SAM® Splints* 4 1/4-inch x 36-inch SAM splints, built from a thin core of aluminum sandwiched between closed-cell foam, can be shaped to secure a variety of injured body parts.
7. Emergency space blanket A lightweight extra layer that will help keep you warm in case you’re lost, injured or stuck in the backcountry.
AUERBACH’S FIELD TIP: If you need to splint a broken bone or sprain, try not to move the injured area. Secure the splint above and below the injury, taking care not to constrict circulation. Splints should be applied so that the body part is in a “position of function:” Wrist/hand injuries should be splinted as if the hand were holding a can, elbows and ankles should be bent at 90 degrees, and knees should be slightly bent or straight.
If you plan on getting wet, bring these items on your next adventure.
1. Nexcare™ Waterproof Bandages
2. Rolls of gauze For applying ointments and cleaning wounds.
3. Vinegar Use it to flush certain jellyfish stings such as box jellyfish.
4. Nexcare™ Waterproof Tape Great for preventing blisters during those long canoe trips.
5. Sunscreen and aloe vera gel
6. Waterproof bag To keep your first aid kit dry.
7. Nexcare™ Tegaderm™ Waterproof Transparent Dressing Ultra-thin, breathable and waterproof protection for larger scrapes and abrasions.
AUERBACH’S FIELD TIP: Never flush a jellyfish sting with cold, fresh water because it may worsen the sting. But flushing with non-scalding hot water can lessen the sting. For a scrape from coral, clean the cut with fresh water and soap.
Keeping the kids happy means being prepared.
1. Nexcare™ Sensitive Skin Bandages Take the fear out of bandage removal.
2. Children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen Don’t try to be clever by cutting doses of these adult-strength painkillers in half with your unsterilized camping knife. Get the kids’ stuff.
3. Nexcare™ Sensitive Skin Adhesive Pads Perfect for your little ones or for grandma.
4. Nexcare™ No Sting Liquid Bandage Spray For a long scrape of mild road rash or a tough spot to bandage, this spray-on waterproof solution dries fast and provides protection against dirt and germs.
5. Rubbing alcohol To clean off small areas of poison oak or ivy, followed by a thorough cleansing with soap and water. To help control itching, use an antihistamine.
6. Nexcare™ Sensitive Skin Tape Water-resistant adhesive stays on, rain or shine, until you’re ready to take it off.
AUERBACH’S FIELD TIP: To treat a sprained ankle, follow the rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) protocol. Get off your feet, apply cloth-wrapped ice to the injury for 20 minutes, wrap it with an elastic compression wrap (ACE™ bandage) and elevate the injury to reduce swelling.
Nexcare™ Brand specializes in products designed to help you feel better. With a focus on comfort, quality, and innovative technology, Nexcare™ is motivated to help you live an active life.
*SAM is a trademark of The Seaberg Company, Inc. and is not affiliated with Nexcare or 3M.
** 3M, ACE™, Nexcare™ and Tegaderm™ are trademarks of 3M. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.