Adventure First Aid Kit: A Checklist

A NW Ontario Adventure Essential: The First Aid Kit.

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To quote our last blog post, it’s better to be safe than sorry! We’ve gone on many an adventure and returned home with nary a scratch, but everyone has their close calls, or at least a pesky splinter. The reality of exploring Canada’s wilderness is that a misstep on the trail could mean anything from a faint scratch or, worst case scenario, a broken bone or serious wound. Nature and hiking are unpredictable at best, so we’re encouraging all Northwestern Ontario and Kenora visitors to carry a basic first aid kit with them!

Buying a Kit

If you’re short on time and resources, buying a lightweight, waterproof kit may be the best option! Canadian outdoor supplier, MEC, offers a wide variety of first aid kits, and you can check some out here. You can also search Amazon for available kits. This Lifeline Kit provides a good starting base at a reasonable price.

Things to Keep In Mind When Purchasing a Kit

  • How many people the kit can sustain

  • The amount of tools/aids included for the price - does it have the essentials (detailed below)? You may want to add additional items.

  • Weight

  • Is it waterproof?

First Aid Kit Essentials

What are the bare necessities? It depends on your comfort level, the type of terrain/wildlife you may encounter, the length of your trek, whether you’re out solo or in a group, and ultimately your experience navigating the outdoors. We’ve come up with a suggested essentials list and some additional items you may want to consider. Pick and choose from either list to craft the perfect first aid kit tailored to your specific needs and comfort level!


  • Waterproof containers/pouches

    • Wet bandages may not be sterile and may not stick - keep your kit dry so it’s ready to go when needed

  • Medical Tape

    • For blisters, small wounds, securing bandages

  • Anti-histamines & bite treatments (hydrocortisone)

    • Pollen, trees, bugs, and more can take a trek from fun to sneezy and itchy in an instant

  • Tweezers and/or forceps

    • For splinters and ticks

  • Moleskin for blister relief

  • Gauze bandage (tensor)

  • Safety pins

    • Useful for easing out splinters or securing bandages

  • Sterile dressings & bandages

  • Adhesive bandages (bandaids)

    • Pack a variety of sizes, and consider fun colours if trekking with children

  • Closure strips for wounds (up to 4” in length)

  • Anti-septic and antibacterial wipes

    • For cleansing small wounds

  • Duct tape

    • The potential uses are almost endless - our fave is to apply to a spot that feels like it may blister, reducing friction

  • Multi-tool with knife, scissors

  • Cotton swabs

    • Useful for removing particles from eyes or applying ointment

  • Pain Relievers

  • Gloves

    • Latex -free is best

  • Hand sanitizer

    • Cleaner hands/extremities in a pinch - not recommended for cleansing wounds

  • Whistle

    • A universal signal for help

  • Emergency Fire Starter

  • Emergency blanket

    • Shelter and warmth in case you need it

  • First Aid Booklet

    • Instructions on how to deal with most first aid situations

  • Contact & Info card

    • A small card detailing important medical notes and your emergency contacts should anyone need to get ahold of them

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Additional Items to Consider

  • Current prescriptions

  • Needle & thread

  • Thermometer

  • Irrigation syringe

  • Suction syringe

  • Resealable plastic / silicone bags

  • Cleansing pads with a topical anesthetic

  • Antibiotic ointment or vaseline

  • Iodine (10%)

  • Aloe Vera gel

  • Immodium, Pepto Bismol, Antiacids

  • CPR Microshield Mask

  • Oral Rehydration Salts

  • Eye Drops (allergy or otherwise)

  • Paper + Pencil

Another recommendation is to take a Wilderness First Aid Course - it’s not packable, but knowledge is key!

The best backcountry first aid advice we’ve heard is that prevention is better than cure.

Plan ahead, do your research, be prepared, and be aware of your surroundings when out in the wilds!

We hope you found our suggestions useful. Take the time to consider all factors when packing your kit - experience, difficulty of the trek, familiarity, terrain, weather, length, and so much more! Hope for the best, but be prepared for any and all situations!

Do you have additional suggestions? What’s in your kit? Tell us in the comments below!

Happy Adventuring!

Redden’s Camp

*This post is in no way affiliated or sponsored by linked products or companies.