All Scouts and Scout leaders—as representatives of an organization whose motto is “Be Prepared”—should be sure they are always ready with an appropriate first-aid kit when it’s needed. Your kit may be simple, or more complex if you are trained to use it properly. But the kit must always be on hand and stocked with every essential item.
First-aid kits should be present wherever you might need them. That likely includes having a kit in your car, your home, your meeting location, and with your outdoor equipment for the next hike or camping trip. Since a first-aid kit is one of the essential items for Scout hiking, keeping one with your daypack is an easy way to assure you are prepared on the trail.
The contents of the kit can be as varied as the potential needs and the number of participants present, but it must always be stocked and ready for use. You should also regularly check for and replace expired items and those that need to be restocked after a trip. Have a kit that is suited to the number of participants and the length of time you’ll need it. A kit for a day hike will probably be different from the kit you would carry on a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch or a multiday boat trip at the Florida Sea Base or Northern Tier. If you’re a medical professional or trained in Wilderness First Aid, the kit may be expanded because of your knowledge and ability to safely use the items.
Not sure about what to buy and where to get it? A number of professionally prepared first-aid kits are available from ScoutStuff.org and your local Scout shop, major outdoor retailers, and the American Red Cross. Specifications are often provided as to locations where the kit might be appropriate and other considerations.
You may want to add items based on known or anticipated needs. For example, a shakedown hike with many pairs of new boots being broken in would warrant additional moleskin. Even if you want to assemble your own kit, you can use the resource list below to identify contents that are recommended.