A good guide has excellent self- and situational awareness, a complete understanding of the terrain and environmental hazards they may encounter and strategies for mitigating their associated risk, together with a reasonable assessment of their clients skills. Despite their training and skill, risk cannot be completely eliminated, and injuries and illnesses can occur. The prudent guide will carry supplies to address both common and unlikely, but possible, scenarios. As the terrain increases in difficulty, the potential for both stable and unstable musculoskeletal injuries increases; and, it makes good sense to add a padded aluminum splint, self-adhering bandages, and perhaps kinesiology tape to the contents of the basic first aid kit. In conjunction with a cloth roll cut from a T-shirt, a padded aluminum splint can be used to stabilize most common extremity fractures—forearm, wrist, knee, and ankle. Self adhering bandages may be used in lieu of a cloth roll to secure the splint or by itself, to support a strain or sprain or hold a dressing in place. Kinesiology tape is a specialized tape with an adhesive backing, and when combined with with Tincture of Benzoin, can also be used to protect against or support a strain or sprain. Maxi-pads can be added as emergency trauma dressings and OTC medications to treat common medical problems like diarrhea, constipation, sinus congestion, acid stomach, etc.
Beyond the Basic Wilderness First Aid Kit
Below are some wilderness first aid kit suggestions for trip leaders working with 2-5 clients or friends for up to one week, possibly two with excellent personal and camp hygiene. All the listed materials fit into our Guide Pack.
Wound Treatment Supplies
Extremity Strains, Sprains, & Fractures
Optional Extras (if space permits)
In addition to selling first aid packs and supplies, we build custom first aid kits based on our packs and experience. Check them out here.
Want more information on this and other wilderness medicine topics? Take one of our wilderness medicine courses. Guides and expedition leaders should consider taking our Wilderness First Responder course.
Looking for a reliable field reference? Consider consider purchasing one of our print or digital handbooks; our digital handbook apps are available in English, Spanish, and Japanese. Updates are free for life. A digital SOAP note app is also available.
Our public YouTube channel has educational and reference videos for many of the skills taught during our courses. Check it out!