An excellent First Aid Kit article on how to build the best kit you can carry. Like Your Life Depends On It is a great title. You should be able to rely on it and be able to share with others who are not as well planned. Yet there are more items, some for first aid, others for sheer comfort that I carry…..
I would to it these things I carry that not everyone does – such as ample blister care – Advanced Healing Blister™ patches and Friction Block by Band-aid® to a crown repair kit (it can patch up a missing filling as well as putting your crown back on).Since I have braces I carry dental wax, a UL mirror I salvaged off a pack of Christmas tree brushes (which I carry one for cleaning my braces) and as well toothpaste and brush. While it might seem odd to carry my dental kit with the first aid, I always have it with me.
I also carry a small package of my blood pressure meds just in case I either lose my main bottle or I have an unplanned overnighter. Also added is a few Tegaderm™ coverings. I was introduced to these by a friend who worked in a hospital – they work wonders if you rip your skin on your feet, protecting raw skin nicely. I also carry a QuikClot Sport as a back up to the hope that I never need it. After having a friend bloat up bad after a sting from a wasp (not life threatening) and being in pain I added a kit for that as well. Also, a couple MicroPur water tablets tucked in as back up if needed. Two OB Tampons tucked in – good for unplanned visits as well as for bloody noses. I kid not.
A small sewing kit with needle and thread to do repairs if needed. Sterilized the needle can be used to pop blisters if it comes to it. Two extra ponytail ties. Nothing more annoying than not being able to pull your hair back in summer!
Oh and cough drops! Dumb as it sounds, it is a sanity saver when a friend has a dry hack from high altitude air, not helped by being dehydrated.
If you need refills for pain killers, antihistamines, ointments and more, head over to Minimus. They carry nearly everything one could need for restocking the med side of your kit. Or check in the minis section of most grocery and big box stores and as well check out REI – you can often find mini packs of refills. (They are usually way more exensive than Minimus though.)
As for whether or not to buy a premade kit? I’d say no. Build from ground up what you want/need. You can use a plastic bag to haul everything or get fancy like I do – with an OR Backcountry Organizer. The organizer really works in keeping everything tidy. Invest in a few small plastic bags as well to keep stuff neat, tidy and dry. As well, cycle through any meds every year or so – freshness does count!