No one will argue that a First Aid Kit is essential when heading out on a day hike, but what is really necessary. You need to be prepared to handle common injuries that could occur while hiking cuts, scrapes, bites, etc. The benefit to building your own first aid kit is you are more familiar with your kit’s contents.
Below is a minimum checklist of items you should include in your day hiking first aid kit. When building your kit you should ask some additional questions:
Is this kit just for you or also a partner/dog?
If your kit is meant to support multiple hikers, be sure to take that into consideration. You might want to carry a little extra. If you are hiking with your dog, as I do, you should be familiar with basic k9 first aid and carry the appropriate items in your kit.
Are there specific requirements for your area/season?
Different regions/seasons could require additions to your kit. If you are unsure if your area calls for any additional items, contact a local trail/hiking group or a ranger station at a park in your area.
Does anyone relying on your kit have specific medical needs?
Be sure to consider any known specific medical needs when creating your kit. Is there a prescription medication you should carry? Should you carry an epipen in case of allergic reaction? For myself, I struggle with plantar fasciitis. So, I carry KT tape in my kit and some extra ibuprofen. We also have some serious bugs here in the Midwest, so I carry bug spray wipes.
Lastly, become familiar with the basic uses of the items in your kit. Ideally, taking a wilderness first aid course is the best thing you could do to be prepared. At minimum, review your first-aid manual and look up anything you don’t understand.