PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care
One of the questions I get from both experienced and newer backpackers alike is: what first aid and foot care items should I carry in my backpack in case I get blisters or have foot pain? This is a really serious topic for hiking, whether you’re on the Appalachian Trail or the Camino de Santiago. To help answer the question, I’m sharing what I carry in my foot-care First-Aid Kit.
MY FOOT CARE FIRST AID KIT:
- Nail clippers
- Victorinox Swiss Card Micro Scissors
- BodyGlide Foot Anti Blister Balm – Glide works to reduce friction, lowering the risk of blisters
- Alcohol wipes & individual Neosporin antibiotic ointment packets
- Sterile gloves and one 2″x2″ sterile gauze pad
- Compeed Blister bandages
- Metatarsal pads & bandages
- Adhesive Moleskin
- Large safety pin or needle/thread to lance blisters
- 36″ of KT tape – remove from a larger roll and rewrap around drinking staw; snip straw to 1″ wider than tape
For hikers in the USA who may be unfamiliar with Compeed, it is often available from Amazon or local retailers as hydrocolloid bandages. Compeed bandages provide a cushioned layer to protect skin and blistered areas from infection. Another unusual item in my kit are my Metatarsal pads. As I frequently have sore footpads after sustained hiking on concrete or stone pathways, I find that these are the best preventative in my kit against stone bruises.
These core items generally work for all basic trail conditions. For extended section hikes, be sure to review item quantities in your resupply planning. Also, be sure to review and question items I’ve mentioned to determine what may work well for you specifically; first-aid kits should not be a “one-size fits all” item. this list does not represent a comprehensive first-aid kit for trauma. For a more complete hiking first-aid kit, please see my previous post on First-Aid Kits for Backpacking.
The best blister treatment is blister prevention, including a good shoe/sock system that reduces friction on your skin. For me, that means applying BodyGlide Foot Anti Blister Balm to the soles of my feet and then wearing Fox River Coolmax Wicking Socks under Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Socks. The results is that my two worn socks slide against one another when the terrain changes, rather than creating friction – and blisters – on my toes, heel or feet.
PACKING YOUR FIRST-AID KIT IN YOUR BACKPACK
I keep all of my first-aid and blister supplies together in a single, quart-size zipping freezer bag. I place my zipping bag into a small, red ultralight stuff sack, which I always store in the top pocket of my backpack. While the bag-in-a-bag model is overkill, carrying the red stuff sack makes it easy to find or to explain to someone where my first-aid kit is located in my backpack if I need assistance. (EX: “The red bag in the top pocket.”)
MORE ABOUT MY GEAR
To learn more about my recommended gear and gear hacks that I use when hiking, including my recommended packing lists for the Camino de Santiago or other trails, please visit the GEAR section of this blog.
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
My recent treks include the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain as well as section hiking along the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail. In 2020 and 2021, I’m walking the California Missions Trail in the United States, as well as England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. Afterward, I’ll begin the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome.