Outdoor Action Logo

Outdoor Action First Aid Kit
Revised 8/13/97

The information provided here is designed for educational use only and is not a substitute for specific training or experience. Princeton University and the author assume no liability for any individual's use of or reliance upon any material contained or referenced herein. When going into outdoors it is your responsibility to have the proper knowledge, experience, and equipment to travel safely. The material contained in this article may not be the most current. Copyright 1997 Rick Curtis, Outdoor Action Program, Princeton University.


This is the list of first aid equipment taken on a typical Outdoor Action three-season backpacking trip. Trip size is 10-12 with trip length of 4 to 6 days. Keep in mind that the contents of a proper first aid kit depend on your activity, location, season, first aid training, potential environmental hazards, activity hazards, and personal medical histories of your participants. Use this list only as a starting point.



_____ 1 Sunscreen _____ 10 2 x 2 gauze sponges
_____ 1 box mixed bandaids _____ 10 4 x 4 gauze sponges
_____ 1 8 oz. tincture of benzoin _____ 10 Exam gloves
_____ 1 50 sq. in. Moleskin _____ 20 Alcohol swabs
_____ 1 20 sq. in. Molefoam _____ 1 Trauma scissors
_____ 1 pkg. Spenco adhesive knit _____ 1 tweezers
_____ 1 2" adhesive tape _____ 1 cold pack
_____ 1 1" adhesive tape _____ 5 maxi-pads


_____ 20 Acetaminophen _____ 20 Betadine ointment pkt.
_____ 20 Ibuprofen _____ 1 tube petroleum jelly
_____ 20 Peptobismal _____ 10 Sting-eze
____ 12 Bactitracin ointment packets


_____ 3 Accident Reports _____ 2 Patient Assessment Forms
_____ 3 Field Information Reports _____ 2 Emergency Information Reports
_____ 6 quarters



_____ 2 2" roller gauze _____ 1 3" Ace bandage
_____ 5 2 x 3 telfa pads _____ 2 cold pack
_____ 2 triangular bandages _____ 1 trauma dressing


_____ 1 SAM splint _____ 2 ammonia inhalants
_____ 1 thermometer _____ 1 box waterproof matches
_____ 6 large blanket pins _____ 1 space blanket
_____ 1 Microshield rescue mask _____ 1 30 cc Syringe and tubing
_____ 1 Extractor _____ 1 Chlorine Bleach


_____ 2 Anakit* _____ 10 Milk of Magnesia
_____ 20 Diphenhydramine _____ 1 tube Hydrocortisone cream
_____ 20 Psuedophedrine _____ 1 bottle Polar Pure

* This is a prescription drug itme. Contact your physician if you have bee sting or other serious allergy.


 The information presented here is not a complete medication reference. You should consult your physician before taking any medications. The author, the Outdoor Action Program, and Princeton University and the author assume no liability for any individual's use of or reliance upon any material contained or referenced herein.


Common Name: Tylenol

Use: Mild pain reliever, reduces fever. Good for headaches, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. A good alternative to aspirin if person has an aspirin allergy. Acetaminophen will not upset the stomach. It does not, reduce inflammation.

Adult Dose: 325 to 500 mg every 3–4 hours, as needed. For short-term use the total daily dose should not exceed 4,000 mg.

Precautions: Do not drink alcoholic beverages if you are taking more than an occasional 1–2 doses. Individuals with liver disease should consult their physician before using this drug. Overdose can cause permanent liver damage and death. Treatment must be initiated within hours after overdose to be effective.


Common Name: Aspirin, Bufferin, Bayer, Anacin

Use: Mild pain relief. Fever reduction. Anti-inflammatory.

Adult Dose: 650 mg as needed with lots of water and food if possible

Precautions: May irritate stomach, cause vomiting, abdominal pain or bleeding. Do not use if you have a history of peptic ulcers or related disorders. Can cause allergic reaction: watch for skin rashes and asthma-like symptoms. Overdose will cause dizziness and confusion. If ringing in the ears is present, discontinue immediately. Aspirin is also an anticoagulant, so it can lead to bleeding.

Drug Interactions: Aspirin may interact with Diabinase or other diabetes drugs to cause a dangerous fall in blood sugar for diabetics.

Contraindications: People with aspirin allergies, bleeding stomach ulcers, anemia, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, gout, or hemophilia. Diabetics or people who have allergic sinusitis or asthma should contact physician prior to taking.

 Benzoin, Tincture of

Ingredients: Benzoin, alcohol 80%

Use: Use only as a topical solution on skin to provide a sticky surface for tape or moleskin to adhere to. Benzoin is not effected by wet or sweat. Not for internal use.

Directions for Use: Clean and dry the area. Apply a thin coating and let air dry until tacky, then apply tape or moleskin.

Precautions: Do not apply to open wounds. Do not take internally.


Common Name: Benadryl

Use: Antihistamine, anti-allergy medication. Inactivates histamine produced by allergic reactions. Provides temporary relief of sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and running nose due to allergies and hay fever. Also helps relieve upper respiratory allergies.

Adult Dose: 25 - 50 mg every 4-5 hours.

Precautions: May cause drowsiness. Avoid driving or hiking in dangerous terrain. Do not drink alcohol. Large doses may cause central nervous system depression or convulsions.

Contraindications: Antihistamines add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system depressants such as sedatives, tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Consult your physician before taking an antihistamine with these other drugs. Consult your physician before taking if you have asthma, glaucoma, liver disease, or difficulty in urinating due to enlargement of the prostate gland.


Ingredient: Epinephrine 1:1000 solution (a synthetic form of adrenalin)

Use: This drug is used for emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions that cause respiratory distress. It is a fast-acting bronchodilator that also reduces swelling in the throat to allow breathing. It also serves to constrict the capillary bed to restore the circulating blood volume. After injection, bronchodilation may occur within 5-10 minutes, with maximum effects within 20 minutes.

Adult Dose: 0.5 ml. of epinephrine solution from the syringe in the kit, injected into the muscle of the shoulder (deltoid) or thigh. Dose may be repeated in 10–15 minutes as needed. See the kit itself for attached administration instructions.

Adverse Effects: Increased heart rate, heart flutters, increased blood pressure, trembling, dizziness, anxiety, weakness, paleness, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Excessive doses cause very high blood pressure, and cardiac irregularities.

Precautions: Use according to directions attached to the kit. Epinephrine is light sensitive and should be stored in the box provided. Store at room temperature. Periodically check contents of the syringe. The solution should be clear and colorless. If it appears brown or cloudy or contains a precipitate, do not use. The effects of epinephrine may be potentiated by tricyclic antidepressants or by some antihistamines.

Contraindications: Must not be given intravenously! It must be given into the muscle only. It should not be used on individuals in shock from blood loss. Epinephrine is a powerful cardiac stimulant. Use may be contraindicated in persons with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart disease.

 Hydrocortisone Cream

Common Names: Cortaid, Lanacort

Use: Relieve redness, swelling, itching of skin. Use on skin rashes and irritations caused by eczema, insects, poison ivy/oak/sumac, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, genital and anal itching.

Dose: Apply cream to affected area not more than 3-4 times daily.

Precautions: External use only. Do not bandage or wrap the skin being treated unless directed to by a physician. Occlusive dressings increase the amount of medicine absorbed through the skin. Avoid contact in eyes. Do not use it for skin problems that are not listed on the package label without checking with a physician. Discontinue use after 7 days if itching is still present, and contact a physician. Do not use for external feminine itching if there is a vaginal discharge.


Common Names: Advil, Motrin

Use: Mild pain reliever, muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory,. Good for menstrual cramps..

Adult Dose: 200 to 400 mg every 4–6 hours, as needed. Total daily non-prescription dose should not exceed 1,200 mg.

Precautions: Ibuprofen can irritate the stomach; take with food or milk. It should not be taken if there is a history of ulcers or severe indigestion. Ibuprofen can also produce gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding. Ibuprofen also has a tendency to cause fluid retention, so care should be used in situations where fluid retention is a problem (ex. acute mountain sickness or high altitude pulmonary edema). Pregnant women should not take Ibuprofen without consultation with a physician.

Contraindications: Do not take if you are allergic to aspirin or salicylates.


Common Names: Ducolax

Use: Stimulant laxative for prolonged constipation, to encourage bowel movements

Dose: varies with specific preparation

Precautions: Do not take if there is abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. Discontinue if rash appears, or if there is rectal bleeding. Do not use if there is a history of kidney disease. Continued use can cause a dependence upon laxatives.

Contraindications: Do not use products with Bisacodyl if you are allergic to aspirin.

 Triple Antibiotic Ointment

Common Name: Neosporin ointment

Active Ingredients: Polymyxin B sulfate, Bacitracin Zinc, Neomycin, in a white petrolatum base

Use: to prevent skin infection in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns..

Dose: apply a small amount (an amount equal to the surface area of a finger tip) on the area 1 to 3 times daily. To clear up the infection completely, use the medication for the full time of treatment (even if symptoms have disappeared).

Precautions: For external use only. Do not use in the eyes or apply over large areas of the body. There is a separate product specifically designed for use in the eye. Stop use and consult a physician if the condition persists or gets worse, or if a rash or other allergic reaction develops. Do not use this product if you are allergic to any of the active ingredients. Do not use longer than 1 week unless directed by a physician. In case of ingestion, seek professional medical care on contact the nearest poison control center.


Use: Antacid, for upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea. Neutralizes excess stomach acid and protects stomach lining. If you are having diarrhea, taking a dose before eating may help.

Dose: 2 tablets chewed or dissolved in mouth every 1/2 to 1 hour, as needed, to a maximum of 8 doses in 24 hours. Best to take an hour after meals, and every 2-3 hours thereafter.

Note: A darkened coating of the tongue or darkening of the stool may occur with use. Both conditions are harmless and temporary.

Precautions: May prevent the absorption of other drugs, so avoid taking when on other medications. Do not take more than 16 tablets in 24 hours. Do not use maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks. Consult physician prior to giving Pepto-bismol to teenagers during or after recovery from flu or chickenpox. If diarrhea is accompanied by high fever or continues more than 2 days, evacuate and contact physician.

Contraindication: Do not use this product if you are allergic to aspirin. Contact a physician prior to use if you are on anticoagulants (blood thinners), have diabetes, kidney disease, stomach ulcers, or gout.

 Povidone-Iodine Solution and Ointment

Common Name: Betadine

Uses: Antiseptic (cleansing and sterilizing agent), topical antibiotic, water purification.

For cleaning and irrigation: Flush wound with povidone-iodine solution.

Mixing Solution: Mix about 1-1 inches (2-4 centimeters) of povidone-iodine ointment with 1 liter of water (anywhere from 1:100 to 1:1000 concentration is acceptable). Allow to dissolve completely; wait 10-15 minutes. This solution can be safely stored in plastic bottles for extended periods, but may be slightly light sensitive.

For skin disinfection: Apply ointment directly to skin, or to sterile dressing to be placed over a wound.

Precautions: Individuals who are allergic to iodine. A chronic skin rash is the usual manifestation. Do not use directly in deep puncture wounds, on severe burns, and avoid contact with eyes.


Common Name: Sudafed

Use: Decongestant, for the common cold. Promotes sinus/nasal drainage. Relieves nasal congestion due to colds, hay fever, and upper respiratory allergies.

Doses: 60 mg tablets every 4-6 hours. Do not exceed 240 mg in 24 hours.

Adverse Effects: Acts as a mild stimulant and makes some individuals restless or jumpy, inhibiting restful sleep. Reducing dose of drug usually relieves these side effects. Taking the last dose of the day several hours before bedtime will help prevent trouble sleeping

Precautions: Do not exceed recommended dosage because at higher doses nervousness, dizziness or sleeplessness may occur. Do not take this product if you are presently taking a prescription anti-hypertensive or anti-depressant without consulting a physician first.

Contraindications: If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or thyroid disease consult your physician before taking this drug.

 Sting Relief Swabs

Common Name: Sting-Eze

Use: Local immediate sting relief for non-allergic reactions

Directions: Remove swab from packet, squeeze mini-vial between fingers, and apply using sponge end directly to sting site, spreading with your finger.

Precautions: Do not use in eyes or nose. Not for prolonged use, or use over large areas of the body. If swelling or pain persists, discontinue use.

 Zinc Oxide Ointment

Use: Skin protectant (total sun block). Apply liberally to desired area (especially face).

Precautions: Do not take internally. Avoid eye contact. Do not apply to open wounds.

This article is written by Rick Curtis, Director, Outdoor Action Program. This material may be freely distributed for nonprofit educational use. However, if included in publications, written or electronic, attributions must be made to the author. Commercial use of this material is prohibited without express written permission from the author. Copyright 1997 Rick Curtis, Outdoor Action Program, Princeton University.

This page is maintained by Rick Curtis Director, Outdoor Action Program. Rcurtis@.princeton.edu