I’ve brought the same very basic first aid kit for years. In ten years I’ve only ever used the tape and the wet wipes, mostly for blisters and once for a cut in a finger after my knife slipped. Nevertheless you should really always bring a basic first aid kit just in case.
Now – I know, that mine is really very basic, but considering where I usually hike/bike this basic kit is enough. If I was going to the edges of Europe or on a longer trip further away from help I would probably bring a bit more.
I used to get mad blisters on my feet before I changed to trail runners, we’re talking quite horrible blisters, very painful. So I’ve tried a variety of plasters and tapes both in order to prevent and treat blisters. I can recommend kinesio tape(2) for prevention, it’s the sort you see athletes use to tape an injury. Before starting your hike, tape the areas where you usually get blisters, in order to prevent hotspots and blisters forming. And if you should develop a blister the tape peels of very easily, without ripping the skin and exacerbating the problem. You can then drain the blister and use a more firm and sticky tape like the Leukoplast tape(4) to tape the blister and prevent the loose skin from rubbing on the raw skin underneath, which prevents the blister from healing. The Leukoplast tape is so firm and sticky I can even use it for my hands when I’m rowing with new blisters. It’ll stick for days even when wet.
As a rule I don’t really get blisters anymore, but if I’m going hiking in the wet or in winter where I’m expecting to get wet feet, and I’m more at risk of getting blisters, I might bring some just in case. The Leukoplast tape is incidentally also quite good at taping closed a cut in a finger.
- Plaster/band aid. I cut a length of plaster to bring along, the amount depends on length of hike
- Kinesio tape. Might bring a piece of this if expecting to hike in wet conditions.
- Water treatment pills. Use these in case I need to drink water from a questionable source.
- Leukoplast. Multi-use tape, wounds, blisters, cuts.
- Gauze, small roll of bandages. Hope I never have to use this.
- Antihistamines, painkillers head and body.
- Scissors. Small, foldable.
- Spare lighter. In case my main lighter fails.
- European social security card. So they know my country will pay the bills if I’m hosptalized.
- Tick remover.
- Wound specific wet wipes. For desinfecting wounds, cuts and open blisters before taping or dressing.
- Patch kit for my sleeping mat. Not technically first aid for me, but it’s a good place to keep it, so I never leave it at home.