Since about 1991 I have been responsible for people in the outdoors in one guise or another: that’s decades! In all those years I have dealt with many first aid incidents with several that have needed the assistance of the emergency services. And you know what? In all those years, and in all those situations, from fallen climbers to hypothermic walkers to the chap who suffered with a heart attack on Great Gable … I don’t think I have ever used a single bandage as a first aider. What I almost always have needed, was a calm head, a reassuring voice, something to keep my casualty warm, and a plan. So if you cover nothing else, make sure you know what to do, and have something to keep your casualty warm and off the cold floor.

Here I look at what you should reasonably consider carrying as a first-aider in the great British outdoors. I haven’t suggested something for every conceivable situation  since often you will have to use your initiative, or simply make do. And anyway, if you end up packing your fears, you’ll simply pack a first aid kit that is so large you’d just leave it at home!

Individual first aid kit for the UK

A key consideration here is that exposure to the environment can be the most dangerous factor affecting you and your casualty’s safety and situation. Also it is presumed here that you will be in a remote environment away from shelter.  And naturally the best thing that you can invest in is first aid training!

1 x half roll mat
1 x survival bag / group shelter (depending on what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with)
2m of Gaffa tape rolled around a water bottle
1 x mobile phone (kept inside a plastic wallet)
2 x pair of protective nitrile gloves
several low adherent pads (different sizes)
2 x Israeli wound dressings
2 x packs of steri-strips
1 x crepe bandage
10 x assorted plasters
3 x antiseptic wipes
1 x tube of Savlon antiseptic cream
1 x packet second skin / moleskin
1 x blister kit – eg Compede
3 x triangular bandages
1 x pencil or Write in the Rain pen
1 x tweezers
1 x tough cut scissors
1 x tick removal tool
1 x casualty monitoring card
1 x packet of ibuprofen*
1 x packet of paracetomol*
1 x packet of anti-histamine tablets*
4 x aspirin tablets

It is cheapest to buy these as individual items of first aid kit from the chemists / pharmacy and seal safely in a plastic lunch box. A few online suppliers worth looking at are listed below:

If you don’t think you would know how to deal with an emergency first aid incident whilst out on the hill then maybe this is the time to book one of our outdoor first aid courses.

*As a first-aider you should not be giving any medication to a casualty, other than an aspirin for a suspected heart attack. I carry these medications for personal and family use.