Hiking First Aid: What to Bring, Do, and Know to Stay Safe on the Trail

There are totally different levels of climbing. There’s the sort of “hiking” you do by way of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Central Park in NYC, or Runyon Canyon in Hollywood. You’re open air and amidst the timber and foliage and bodily lively, but it surely’s not fairly roughin’ in. You nonetheless have cell protection, and you may procure an iced espresso inside twenty minutes if in case you have to. For these hikers, you do not want first help. You do not want any particular expertise aside from the skill to ambulate throughout the panorama.

But there’s actual climbing. Hiking greater than 5 miles. Multi-day climbing. Overnight climbing. Backpacking. Hiking in a spot the place the path may not be so well-maintained, the place you would possibly run into an aggressive animal, the place you have got to hold your wits about you. For one of these climbing, which is what most individuals think about once they consider “hiking,” it is a good suggestion to come ready with first help: with bodily medical provides and expertise and information that may aid you take pleasure in the nice open air with out staying helpless . Because the true attract of climbing is getting out into the wilderness the place the niceties and comforts of the trendy world not apply. We all desire a little bit of journey, however we additionally need to make it again in a single piece.

So let’s dig into climbing first help. I will not inform you to “bring water” or “snacks” as a result of, effectively, you are an clever grownup who does not want to be informed the absolute fundamentals.

Hiking First Aid


Tweezers are a godsend, however you want each needle tip and broad tip. Needle tip tweezers are glorious for eradicating ticksjust get as shut to the pores and skin as attainable and pull straight outwhile broad suggestions are good for eradicating splinters and thorns.

These fit the description.

Adhesive bandages of all sizes

Adhesive bandages (or bandaids) of various sizes are important for overlaying up cuts and wounds. Butterfly bandages are additionally good for binding wounds that may in any other case want stitches.


Betadine is an iodine-based antiseptic that cleans wounds and kills germs. Just a little bottle is nice to have on hand so you may spray your cuts and wounds.

Antiseptic wipes

Clean wounds, sterilize pores and skin and palms and instruments. These are simply useful to have round.

medical scissors

In case you want to minimize a bandage or some cloth/clothes, these are indispensable.

This is a good pair.

surgical tape

You by no means know what you may want to tape to your pores and skin.

This is a good one.


Used to cease bleeding, shield wounds, enhance therapeutic, and all that great things that helps you overcome dangerous luck on the path.


Gives you nearly the whole lot you would possibly want to deal with the occurrences that you could’t fairly anticipate.

Here’s one.

good knife

An excellent sturdy knife is at all times a smart alternative on the path, even when you solely use it to whittle a stick to go the time. You’ll by no means remorse having a knife. This one has a hearth starter connected.

Voodoo floss bands

Voodoo floss bands can be utilized to compress injured limbs, like ankles, wrists, or knees. They present stability and hold down swelling. Normally utilized in coaching, they are often fairly useful on the path as effectively.

Link to buy them.

Magnesium oil

In my expertise, topical magnesium chloride oil is nice for decreasing joint ache and inhibiting irritation. Very useful in a pinch. Great for cramps.

Make your personal by filling a sprig bottle with magnesium chloride flakes and including water, or buy it.


Staying hydrated requires extra than simply water. You additionally want electrolytes, particularly when you’re climbing. LMNTis a superb powdered electrolyte complement to hold on hand. Just add to water, shake, and drink to keep hydrated.Snake Juiceis an alternative choice.

Mustard packages

Cramps are debilitating on hikes. They may even be lethal. One of the finest cures for cramps is pickle juice, which works, however not due to electrolyte repletion. It truly has no actual impression on hydration or electrolyte standing, and consuming it resolves muscle cramps sooner than the intestine can soak up it. TRP ion channels in the oropharyngeal area (tongue/mouth/throat) react to one thing in the pickle juiceprobably the vinegarand short-circuit the excitation of the muscle, blocking the cramp instantly.

Other TRP ion channel activators are present in cayenne pepper, ginger, and cinnamon, and researchers have created a mix of extracts from all three vegetation thatshows efficacy in opposition to muscle cramps. Its known as hotshot.

Basic yellow mustard additionally works. To actually kick it up a notch you may add cayenne pepper and ginger to the mustard. The combo of mustard and spicy/gingery could be an instantaneous repair for muscle cramps.

Skills and Best Practices

Have a map.

Most locations I discover aren’t giving out paper maps anymore of the climbing space. If they don’t seem to be, you should purchase maps of the space or take an image of the map at the trailhead together with your cellphone earlier than beginning so that you at all times have one thing to refer to.

Take a compass (or have a compass on your cellphone) and understand how to learn a map.

A compass and a map go very effectively collectively. If you want it, this is a complete rationalization of how to use the two collectively to orient your self.

Charge your cellphone.

Go into the hike with a fully-charged cellphone. Keep it charged by preserving the cellphone on airplane mode.

Walking downhill appropriately.

Don’t stroll downhill together with your pelvis tucked and all the weight on the balls of your ft, knees and quads. Instead, hold the weight on your total foot/heel. Break at the hips barelyto settle for the bulk of the load on your glutes, hamstrings, and hips.

Walking uphill appropriately.

Take shorter strides and, once more, settle for the load onto your glutes and hamstrings. The posterior chain is much stronger than the quads and lasts longer with out cramping.

Most hikers do not want to carry a giant first help equipment with all of them the time. Going for a number of miles? You do not want a lot of something. Going for a number of hours? Take some bandaids and betadine. Doing a half day hike? Throw in some tweezers and mustard packets. Going in a single day? Add some extra from the checklist. This is not a definitive checklist of stuff you should have on your particular person always as soon as you allow metropolis limits. It represents as full a listing as I might muster for severe climbing.

And bear in mind: that is all “just in case” stuff. For most of your hikes, even the lengthy, intense ones, you will not dip into the equipment in any respect. It’s simply good to be ready.


About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founding father of Marks Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal meals and life-style motion, and the New York Times bestselling writer of The Keto Reset Diet. His newest ebook is Keto for Life, the place he discusses how he combines the keto weight-reduction plan with a Primal life-style for optimum well being and longevity. Mark is the writer of quite a few different books as effectively, together with The Primal Blueprintwhich was credited with turbocharging the progress of the primal/paleo motion again in 2009. After spending three many years researching and educating people on why meals is the key element to reaching and sustaining optimum wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchena real-food firm that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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