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You should never leave home for a hike without a first aid kit. It's that simple. You never know what can happen in a split second when you're out on the trail. A basic first aid kit can help stabilize an injury until you can get help for the patient. It can help ease the aches and pains that come with hiking, as well.
You can create your own basic first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic ointments, gauze, pain relievers, hot-cold packs, and insect repellent, or you can pick up a kit at just about any hiking outfitter. Just make sure the kit you choose is lightweight, but still has the basics you'll need in any emergency.
A first aid kit is an essential part of your hiking equipment, but taking a class in first aid as a good idea as well. It can help prepare you for an emergency situation on the trail, and teach you first aid skills such as CPR or treating sprains and broken bones. You may not ever take need your first aid kit when you hike, but isn't it good to know it's always right there in your hiking supplies when you need it?