First Aid

Boo Boo’s. They happen and that is why it is responsible to bring at least a small first aid kit with you on your hike, if only to improve your comfort level (with regards to caring for/preventing blisters). You probably won’t be performing any serious backwoods medicine due to injury; anything a few small bandaids can’t solve is going to require you to leave the trail for treatment anyway. Take only the smallest essentials with you and you should be prepared for anything that is self-treatable.

My ultra light first aid kit includes a small antiseptic cream, several assorted waterblock bandages, some over the counter painkiller/anti-inflammatory pills, a multi-vitamin, an anti-diarrhea pill, an antihistamine, a few alcohol wipes, a small pocket knife, 4 toe blister bandages, and a couple of foot blister bandages. I also carry Leukotape tape wrapped around my hiking poles and a stick of anti chafe creme.

The following are the stats and my humble opinions on the first aid supplies I have used and liked on the trail:

Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets – $13.01 (pack of 42)

Weight: 0.16 g

I take one pill with me per day, for every day I am on the trail. I include these with my daily food bag. If I don’t use it that day, I throw it away, because I’ll have one in the next day’s bag. At less than one gram each and costing only pennies, I can afford to do this. I might not use any of them, but at least I’ll be prepared if my (butt) cup runneth over.


Benadryl Ultratabs Antihistamine Allergy – $11.89 (100 ct)

Weight: 0.25 g

I take one pill with me per day, for every day I am on the trail. I include these with my daily food bag. If I don’t use it that day, I throw it away, because I’ll have one in the next day’s bag. At less than one gram each and costing only pennies, I can afford to do this. I might not use any of them, but at least I’ll be prepared if I get bit by, walk through, or eat something that makes me itchy.


Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets – $8.05 (500 ct)

Weight: 0.33 g

I take 4 pills with me per day (daily recommended maximum dosage), for every day I am on the trail. I include these with my daily food bag. If I don’t use them that day, I toss them, because I’ll have four more in the next day’s bag. At less than one gram each and costing only pennies, I can afford to do this. I might not use any of them, but I usually eat all of them. I know I am prepared if I have any foot, knee, head, or body aches…which I will.

As far as extended daily use of over the counter pain killers, I have consulted with doctors who have given me the OK to use the highest recommended dosage ever day for 9 months straight, if needed. Physicians also recommended Ibuprofen as best over the counter pain killer for hikers.


Generic Multivitamin – $15.95 (130 ct)

Weight: 1.31 g

I take one pill with me per day, for every day I am on the trail. I include these with my daily food bag. I eat one everyday regardless of the other foods I am in-taking. I know I will be in a constant vitamin deficit while thru hiking, so it can’t hurt to bolster my system at all times. What your body doesn’t use, will pass through. At less than one gram each and costing only pennies, there’s really no reason not to implement a vitamin supplement.


Triple Antibiotic Ointment – $5.70 (25 ct)

Weight: 0.9 g

I take one packet with me, and pack one in each resupply box. This gives me about 0.5 grams of ointment per 5 days, on a thru hike.  If I need more over several days, I can get several wound’s worth of treatment out of  only one packet; I just store the opened packet in the tiny zip top baggie I shipped it in.


Sterile Alcohol Prep Pad – $20.23 (Pack of 2000)

Weight: 2.94 g

Not only do these disinfect wounds and areas to be treated, but they are also absolutely necessary for prepping your skin before applying blister bandages. All adhesives fail more quickly if they are not applied to clean skin, free of dirt, dust, and debris. Ninety nine percent of the time, I am using these to clean my feet for that purpose, rather than to clean a wound. I bring one of these for every couple of bandages that I pack.


Nexcare Waterproof Clear Bandages (assorted sizes) – $8.99 (100 ct)

Weight: 0.95 g

I bring a couple of large size and a couple of the small size. I prefer the waterproof type of bandage, because they stay on longer through rain, water fords, and sweat. These bandages help protect small wounds from getting infected. If you need a larger bandage than this, you probably need to seek real medical attention. Use clothing as a tourniquet until you can get help.


Band-Aid Blister Cushions for Fingers & Toes – $13.99 (2 pack of 8 bandages)

Weight: 1.57 g

Blister bandages are little pieces of heaven. These marvels of modern medicine have kept me from quitting some pretty challenging hikes and increased my enjoyment and comfort level on many others. Some folks see cushion bandages as a crutch; I see them as a savior.

These blister bandages are shaped to wrap around your toes or fingers. I take either four or eight blister bandages for toes with me, depending on how long I have between resupplies. Quantities of four are ideal for me, because if you use these on your second and fourth toes on both feet, you have a cushion between every one of your digits, providing complete protection.

Ideally, you want to apply these to your feet before you start walking or as soon as you feel a hot spot. These can be applied to blisters after they have developed and been treated, but be careful how you apply them, as the adhesive can pull and tear the open skin around the blister.

Once applied, the sensation is lovely. I can feel the heat in the area of the blister, literally pulled away and cooled down as soon as I put them on. I have never gotten a blister on my feet after applying these.

Blister bandages stay on a long time, too. I can go three to six days before the edges of the bandage start to collect dirt, peel up, and start to fall off.


Band-Aid Heel Blister Bandages – $24.84 (4 pack of 6 bandages)

Weight: 2.05

These blister bandages are designed for your heels but can be used on any larger flat-ish surface on your foot. I have used them on the balls, heels, and edges of my feet. Same material and cooling sensation as the toe bandages above, just larger and oval shaped. I typically take between two and four of these with me, depending on how long I have between resupplies.


Compeed Underfoot Blister Bandages – $6.95 (5 ct)

Weight: 1.94 g

Different company but same basic formula. These blister bandages are specifically designed for the balls of your feet. They are larger than either the toe or heel versions above, and feel thicker too. I usually bring two of these with me and ship two to myself in every few resupply boxes.


BodyGlide Original Anti-Chafe Balm – $7.99

Weight: 41.5 g / 1.46 oz

Until I get in really good trail shape, and my thighs no longer rub against each other, I bring along some sort of anti chafe product. This small stick of lubricant from Body Glide is one of the lightest weight options I’ve found. I will ship myself one of these sticks in every other resupply box for the first few weeks of the hike.

Remember, as with any lubricant, you will not be able to use anti chafe powders or adhesive bandages on the area after applying it. It’s kind of one or the other, regarding whether to use blister bandages or lubricant, though you can carefully apply the lubricant after the bandages, being careful not to go over the edges of the bandages, which will encourage detachment.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglycerine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ozokerite Wax, Glyceryl Behenate, Stearyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)


Body Glide Foot Anti Blister Balm – $8.00

Weight: 41.5 g / 1.46 oz

Another stick of lubricant from Body Glide, only this one is specifically designed for your feet. The addition of apricot kernel oil and comfrey leaf extract helps heal skin and reduce inflammation.

Original Body Glide will certainly work on your feet too, but the Foot formula provides a more tailored and soothing experience. I assume the Foot formula can be used on your body, but may not let the skin sweat as efficiently.

Remember, as with any lubricant, you will not be able to use anti chafe powders or adhesive bandages on the area after applying it. It’s kind of one or the other, regarding whether to use blister bandages or lubricant, though you can carefully apply the lubricant after the bandages, being careful not to go over the edges of the bandages, which will encourage detachment.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ozokerite Wax, Glyceryl Behenate, Stearyl Alcohol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil,  Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)


Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick – $15.69 (Pack of 3, 1.75 oz sticks)

Weight: 86.86 g / 3.06 oz

The Gold Bond friction defense stick is awesome. It does it’s job very well and has worked 100% for me for both feet and body on two thru hikes. It is also cheaper than most other anti chafe products. Unfortunately, it only comes in the larger and heavier 1.75 oz size, which is the same as your standard stick of deodorant. Once I found smaller sized options, I started spending the extra dollar or two on them. Also, the ingredients in the Gold Bond Friction stick are more plentiful and harder to pronounce, which might not be a good thing.

Remember, as with any lubricant, you will not be able to use anti chafe powders or adhesive bandages on the area after applying it. It’s kind of one or the other, regarding whether to use blister bandages or lubricant, though you can carefully apply the lubricant after the bandages, being careful not to go over the edges of the bandages, which will encourage detachment.

Ingredients: caprylic/capric triglyceride, tribehenin, cetyl esters, stearyl alcohol, polyethylene, zinc oxide, silica, ethylhexylglycerin, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, isopropyl myristate, bisabolol, tocopheryl acetate, isopropyl palmitate, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract

 

 


 

 

Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 Single Packets – $11.09 (12 ct)

 

sunscreen packets

Weight: 14.79 g / 0.57 oz

I take one of these with me in my starting kit and send a few ahead in resupply boxes. Once it’s open it can be quite messy, so I usually only break into these once I actually start to burn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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