The Ultimate DIY First Aid Kit For Backpackers

My mother is a nurse, so she knows a thing or two about first aid. I started to put together a first aid kit with the things I thought I would need the most – she helped me to cut that into less than half and keep only the essentials! This first aid kit for backpackers can be used for hiking and outdoors activities or simply as a backup for while your travelling on the road.

I have two sides to my kit, one side for injuries and the other side for medication.

For Injuries

1. Saline Solution

Handy for cleaning open wounds or flushing foreign objects from the eye. You can usually buy these from the pharmacy in small 10ml bottles.

2. Alcohol Wipes

Good for cleaning the surface skin before applying a bandage or ointment.

3. Compede or some sort of “second skin”

When you do lots of walking and hiking, it is possible that you may get blisters or rubbing on your ankle, heel or toes. When this happens, you can apply compede for relief.

4. Gauze

For significant wounds, where bleeding cannot be immediately stopped. It can also be used for applying ointment to such wounds.

5. Tegaderm Film

This is the best for minor wounds! It’s a transparent film-like bandage, that is also waterproof. It is semi-permeable allowing the wound to breathe but also keeping the wound moist and promoting healing.

6. Steri-strips

For cuts that need to be held closed. Ouch! Hopefully you will never need this.

7. Leukoplast Bandage

This is useful for holding bandages in place. It is made of fabric, so it is very strong, even when wet.

8. Needle and thread

This one is a bit of a travel hack! For lancing blisters – leave one end of the thread in the blister and the other end hanging out. This will prevent the blister from reforming as the fluid will be drawn out via the thread.


1. Ibuprofen

For headaches and pain relief. I carry strong tablets of 400mg.

2. Paracetamol

Take when you get the hint of a cold or flu! It will help to lower your temperature, also acts as pain relief. I carry 500mg tablets.

3. Gastrostop

For those moments after you’ve eaten or drank something that doesn’t agree with your stomach. Provides some relief, but doesn’t cure you if you have something more than an upset stomach.

4. Motion sickness tablets

There are natural alternatives that use Ginger as the main ingredient, but I find that they do not provide enough relief from nausea. Taking buses on windy roads is all part of the adventure, but when it causes you to feel nauseous the journey can become unpleasant.

5. Anti-malarial tablets

These are recommended by travel doctors, particularly in malaria zones. Check before you leave if you will be in a malaria zone. These are a prescription only medication, so you’ll need a script from your doctor – you will also need to specify the duration of the stay in malaria zones, as this will determine how many tablets you need.

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