What’s in your FAK?

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Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 42 total)
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    Steve H


    I’m updating my first aid kit & would love to know what everyone is packing, what’s overkill, what’s stupid light.  I primarily take leukotape, foot salve, body glide, alieve, a few bandaids & a clothes pin for popping blisters.  I never use anything but the alieve (& maybe salve).  I realize there are factors (location, season, terrain…) that can alter what’s ideal, but would appreciate input on what your “base” FAK looks like.  Thanks!


    Michael B
    BPL Member


    Sounds about right. I bring a few alcohol swabs and some allergy meds/benadryl

    Matthew / BPL


    I take far more than that. I was just looking at my FAK today and it’s at 7 ounces right now. To be fair it’s got some repair items as well so the first aid part is probably 5.5 ounces.

    In addition to what you have mentioned, I’ve got more pills, a gauze sponge, tegaderm, an irrigation syringe, some KT Tape, tincture of benzoin, nitrile gloves and a NOLS cheat sheet.

    That’s my going out for a few days kit. I’d lose a couple items on an overnight.

    avi sito
    BPL Member


    • Advil\ibuprofen (unfortunately came in handy multiple times with muscle\tendon injuries)
    • Iodine or antiseptic (sh** happens \ happened)
    • Ace bandage (though typically used by others – not myself)
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Bandaids (ordinary & wide)
    Micropore tape (25 mm)
    Butesan Picrate (burns)
    Panadol (I can’t take aspirin)
    Bismuth Formic Iodide (antiseptic, sort of)
    Scalpel in sterile cover

    Also found in our gear: clean handkerchiefs (for bandages), safety pins, toilet paper (absorbs a lot of blood)

    Curiously enough, it’s Bandaids that get used most, then micropore tape.


    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member


    Locale: Santa Barbara

    Ibuprofen, claritin, athletic tape and gauze, aquaphor, and a sewing needle or safety pin to pop blisters.

    John S.
    BPL Member


    I will have to add claritin or the like since I seem to have developed a new outdoor allergy..Diane’s post reminded me to get some.

    Daniel Oxnard


    Locale: Appalachia

    The only item I actually use is Tylenol pm.

    Total weight is 3 oz.


    Combined weight

    Bleed stop (Instant coagulant)  I could get rid of everything below, and only take the bleed stop and button thread (tie off a cut exposed artery or vein), and be comfortable.

    0.7 oz.

    Luekotape, moleskin, steri-strips, Neosporin & sunblock  in 1.5 ml micro centrifuge tubes

    0.9 oz.

    Etoh-pad/Needle/thread/ 2-pair-nitrile-gloves/tourniquet/2-safety-pins

    1 oz.

    Na-Naproxen/Cyclobenzaprine/Tylenol-pm/Tylenol a few of each

    0.4 oz.

    Tylenol PM doubles as an antihistamine.

    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Duct tape can take care of a number of ailments (one doctor .. ER/GP type I spoke with) said he just uses that perhaps in conjunction with hiking poles for a bad sprain/fracture until evacuation), … but figure he’s got way more knowledge than I.

    My added specific items are in my packs stretch pocket for quick access:

    • Bandaids of various sizes with (antibacterial) Neosporin in the pad already
    • Benadryl (travel size pack)
    • Pepto-Bismal (travel size pack)
    • Aleve (“ “)
    • zip-lock to put it in.  I use a panel of the original bandaid package to quickly identify it as my FAK.
    BPL Member


    some Vicatin.. advil, tweezers, waterproof medical tape, moleskin. bandaid, antiseptic wipe, compression towel/wipe.. Off hand I think thats it. Never needed anything yet except for a few advil.

    Dave @ Oware
    BPL Member


    Locale: East Washington

    I have found Neosporin needed on several trips.

    • ointment for chapped lips
    • chaffed legs or arms
    • barber’s itch from swimming in a stock pond
    • along with warm tea bags used it for an eye infection from too much pack horse poop dust on the trail
    Jim Morrison


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    The FAK is mainly for convenience.   The most important thing is to know how to treat medical emergencies.  A few pain killers may help you get out.  The main first aid treatments I have attended to in the wilderness are scrapes and cuts, that is, bleeding. I is important to clean the wound and put a dressing on it to keep it clean.  In serious bleeding keep pressure on the wound.  Nice to have some 4×4 gauze squares, but a bandana or a T-shirt will work to.

    So the FAK becomes a personal thing. Your meds, your preferences.

    One more thing.  Make sure your partners have their own so they will not deplete your bandaids and Tylenol.

    Daniel Oxnard


    Locale: Appalachia
    Daryl and Daryl
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth

    I would include a tick removal tool.  Should check for and remove ticks daily to reduce chance of disease.  Ticks appear to be on the increase.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    I would include a tick removal tool.
    Little ones (nymphs) – we use a fingernail.
    Big ones – a loop of dental floss tied around the probiscis, or a carefully wielded knife blade and a finger.

    But yes: the MOST important part of the FAK is knowledge.
    Then Bandaids.


    Paul Leavitt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    I would add tincture of Benzoin. comes in individual applicator tubes. I take only 2 tube.  Makes the bandages and tape stick to your skin much better.   Include some butterfly closures for cuts, 2×2, 4×4, tape,leuko tape, moleskin, alcohol pads, needle , thread, otc pain, diahrrea, and allergy.   From a guy that has had a few good cuts on the trail from falls on sharp rock.

    My FAK is still < 4 oz

    Barry H
    BPL Member


    My one addition to this list is a very small tube of super-glue to close cuts

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Mostly, my first aid capacities are carried between my ears.

    But physical stuff?
    A dozen each of:
    – Tylenol (acetaminophen)

    – Advil (ibuprofen)

    About 6 each of:
    – Aspirin (anti-coagulant)

    – Benadryl (topically for insect bites, poison oak; orally for hay fever, cold symptoms, motion sickness, and insomnia.  Normally injected for severe allergic reactions, I’d have someone snort it to deliver it ASAP.)

    – a few packets of fiber for when things aren’t moving.

    – Imodium (loperamide) when they’re moving too fast.

    I change it a bit seasonally and climatically.

    California foothills: more posion-oak treatment (steroid creams, maybe some prednisone pills).
    Tropics or a really wet trip: anti-fungal cream for between one’s toes.
    Desert trip: great tweezers.
    Solo trip: small mirror to inspect oneself (or smart phone).

    A few sizes of  bandaids (reattached my fingertip with one on a NZ trip).

    Luekotape on a non-stick backing.

    2-3 single-servings (0.5-gram) triple-antibiotic ointment (mostly to keep cuts hydrated so the edges can knit back together rather than drying out).

    Victorinox Classic (which might be in another organizer bag) for the scissors, blade, and (yeah, minimal) tweezers.

    A few needles enbedded in a small bit of waxed cardboard (protects the sharp end and doubles as a fire starter).

    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member


    Locale: Santa Barbara

    Claritin works wonders on noseeum bites and poison oak. And it’s super tiny, ultralight.

    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    I was in workshop where the WFA trainer recommended to folks who do not carry chlorine dioxide to treat water, to carry a couple of pills to treat water for wound cleansing.

    This of course would be a back up if an accident happened that needed cleaning and you did have enough treated water on your person to cleanse the wound.

    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member


    Gradually whittling down my first aid kit, but decades of misadventures and Wilderness First Responder courses keep pushing back.

    About 7 ounces total, including some personal prescription meds omitted.

    Everyone’s kit should be customized to their health needs, training, trip profiles, and responsibilities for others.

    Good training is the most important, by far.

    — Rex

    10 Baby aspirin tablets
    10 Excedrin tablets
    10 Aleve tablets
    10 Tylenol tablets
    24 Benadryl tablets
    8 Imodium tablets
    6 Senokot tablets
    20 Baby Zyrtec tablets
    1 Tums, roll
    4 Neosporin ointment, packet
    2 Glucose drink packets
    1 NOLS Wilderness First Aid Pocket Guide with additions
    1 3×5 card with meds, dosage, indications
    3 Roller gauze
    1 Wound closure strips
    5 Large Nexcare bandaids
    5 Small Nexcare bandaids
    1 Wound cleaning syringe
    3 Leukotape, tiny rolls
    1 Wallet magnifier
    1 Tweezers
    2 Safety pins
    1 Tyvek layout sheet
    2 3×5 cards for notes

    Plus other stuff usually carried, including:
    Small Swiss Army knife with scissors, blade, pen, and almost useless tweezers (IME)
    Toilet paper
    Hand gel
    Water filter
    Chlorine dioxide tablets

    I like clearly labeled, separated meds. Doesn’t take long or weigh much.

    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member


    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Rex: I should add a Tums packet or two.   Easier than finding some limestone or a freshwater clam shell and grinding it up.

    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member


    @davidinkenai No problem with an ultralight mortar and pestle. I think Zpacks sells them?

    — Rex :-)

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    In California, I just seek out native grinding stones – the ones they used for acorns work fine for carbonates and then I carry no extra weight.

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