Having a handy first aid kit to carry everywhere with you is a must have and if you spend time out in the woods, there are certain emergency gear you should always carry as well.
One of my goals this year was to get out and explore more. Find more hiking trails, go camping, go fishing and kayaking. I found that each activity required different gear. A 32L backpack for longer hikes, a 12L hydropack for shorter hikes, a nature bag for quick walks around town and a dry bag for fishing, kayaking and camping. I needed a first aid kid that would be easy to toss into whatever bag was needed for a variety of activities.
I looked at pre-made kits, but my issue with them was they had products I don't normally use and they did not have all the emergency gear I wanted to bring along. We are a natural family and prefer natural means of helping our bodies. After much research and watching video's, I came up with a list of all the items I wanted in my first aid kit and started to put it together.
Below is a list of what I have in my kit, why it's included and links to purchase them if available.
1. A good quality pouch- I have this one from CVS. Its a great size and I love that it has a zipper pocket, a big pouch and smaller pouches for organizing. I'm sure other drug stores carry similar pouches as well.
The following items will be broken down between first aid and survival.
2. Gloves - Protect you and who ever your treating!
3. Bug Bite Thing - I was given one in a monthly subscription box and loved it so much I went and bought a 2nd one at Amazon! It sucks the venom out of bites from stinging insects. I've personally used it on fire ant bites and mosquito bites and it works wonders. It does need to be used right away which is why it's a must in my first aid kit. Forgetting my original one at home does me no good.
4. Benadryl - While this is not a natural drug, I wanted to be prepared if someone I was with should have an allergic reaction to a stinging insect as nothing natural can take it's place in an emergency situation.
5. Pain killers - If you take pills out of a larger bottle, don't forget to write down the product name and expiration date. Again, not natural, but these are more for others who may need help and not someone in my immediate family.
6. Antibiotic ointment - The last of my 3 non-natural components, and again geared towards others I may be helping and not immediate family.
7. Calendula salve - Here is my own families skin ointment. We use this in place of antibiotic ointment. Great for minor cuts and scrapes. While I made my own with calendula flowers I harvested from my personal garden, there are plenty of sellers on Etsy who make and sell calendula and other skin salves. If you are interested in making your own, I followed this recipe from Chestnut Herbs.
8. Hand sanitizer - I make my own; however, you can include any natural hand sanitizer of your choice. If you're interested in making your own, here is the recipe I use. 1/2 bottle aloe gel, 1/4 bottle witch hazel, 1/4 bottle water or vodka (I use water), 8 drops essential oil of your choice. I personally use Plant Therapy Germ Destroyer. Safe for kids and smells great!
9. Alcohol prep pads - An option for wound cleaning.
10. Bandages, gauze pads and tape - Depending on the tape you bring, be sure to bring along a pair of scissors to cut it! I rolled some of our tape around a cardboard tube so I did not have to bring a whole big roll.
11. Murphy's bug repellant - Purchased our small tin from Amazon. It's the perfect travel size.
12. Babyganics sunscreen - Perfect small travel stick and I find that this specific brand works best on my fair skinned, burn prone daughter. Other brands also sell these travel sized sticks, so there are many options. I purchased our on Amazon.
13. 100% cotton bandana - This is a great multi purpose tool. It could be included as both first aid and survival, but I chose to list it under survival. Use it as a fire starter, use it to cover your mouth in case of smoke, use it as a sling for an injured arm or cover your head from the sun. We were given this one in a kids animal tracking and print casting kit, but you can also find them on Amazon, however, any 100% cotton bandana will do.
14. $20 bill - Cause you never know when you may need a little extra cash.
15. Whistle - Invaluable tool if you are ever lost in the woods. Blaze orange color for high visibility as well. This one has a button compass, and while button compasses are not always accurate, I'd rather have that than nothing.
16. Multitool - Not only does this multitool carry a cutting tool to cut the first aid tape, but also includes a variety of blades, files and a mini saw. You never know when one of those tools might come in handy in a survival situation. One of my favorite survivalist on the show Alone on the History Channel, said one of her top 10 picks to bring with her was her Leatherman Multitool. While this one is not as nice or as fancy, it will do the job. Mine was given to me as a gift, but there are a variety available in different price ranges on Amazon.
17. Lighter - If you ever need to start a fire, here is your ticket. Gather tinder with your multitool or cut up parts of your cotton bandana and start yourself a fire. It could mean life or death in a situation where one could become hypothermic.
* I have since added a couple additional items to this first aid kit (not pictured). They are as follows:
1. Zyrtec - I have read that this allergy medication is also a good one to have on hand if someone were to have an allergic reaction to something. Not natural, but allergic reactions can turn deadly.
2. Ferro Rod - I did not want to just rely on a lighter to start a fire, so I added a 1//4' ferro rod. The back of the nail file in my multi-tool can be used as a striker
3. Water purification tablets - You never know when you will need extra drinking water
4. A tourniquet - Again, I had been doing some reading and found this item is a must have in a hiking first aid kit. The tourniquet came with use instructions as well.
5. Head lamp and flashlight - I added a USB chargeable headlamp and battery powered flashlight with extra batteries. In my large hiking pack I have a solar charger. This doesn't come with me on all hikes which is why the flashlight was included as well.
6. Powdered yarrow and plantain - for bug bites, stings and to stop bleeding
There are other things you could add if you wanted. I plan on adding a cell phone charging cord and some arnica gel for pain relief, and possibly some sort of natural burn relief.
I bring this kit with me everywhere, even out of town! I've tossed it in my checked luggage (because of the multitool) and packed it in our car for a weekend getaway.