Looking back on some of my first backpacking trips, I remember carrying what must have been a full on medic’s first aid kit. It had to have weighed a pound and a half and likely included a life times supply of band-aids and gauze inside the giant red canvas bag marked with a red cross. Even then I remember thinking how ridiculously overkill it was. Luckily, however, I have learned from those early days and I’ve progressed from what was once 24 ounces to just under 1 ounce. As I’ve gained more and more experience backpacking, and more specifically thru-hiking, I’ve learned just exactly what supplies I personally feel comfortable with and need in the backcountry. In addition, through various wilderness medical trainings/scenarios, I’ve learned how to use knowledge and improvisation to reduce the amount of first aid gear I need to take with me.


What follows, is a video of what I will be taking with me on my upcoming CDT (Continental Divide Trail) thru hike. It may look sparse, and believe me it is, but keep in mind that this is what I am comfortable with. It will absolutely not work for everybody, but it may give you an idea of some places where you can cut some unnecessary items from your med kit. Give this video a look to get the low down:

When forming this ultralight med kit, I used an old Tenacious Tape plastic screw container. All of my medicines were purchased from the local dollar store for a dollar each. I’d say this kit could be built for about $4.00. Not bad considering its usefulness and size.

Check out the links below to find the same products on Amazon:



Triple Antibiotic Ointment:

Alcohol Sterile Wipes:

Tenacious Tape (If you absolutely must have this container, the tape is great for gear repairs too!):