A Mini Hiking First Aid Kit for Scouts

All Cub Scout ranks have some sort of hiking requirement. Tiger Scouts, Wolf Scouts, and Bear Scouts should have a first-aid kit as part of their Cub Scout Six Essentials, and Webelos Scouts are required to assemble their own first-aid kit suitable for hiking or another outdoor activity.

When my Scouts were Wolves, we built our first hiking kits in leftover mint tins. They were very simple and contained four band-aids, two packets of antibiotic ointment, two antiseptic wipes, a 2″ gauze pad and a bit of self-adhesive bandage wound around a short piece of popsicle stick. My son became a stickler for having his with him whenever he had his daypack… the following summer, he used his kit to clean up and bandage a scrape he got at the World Scout Jamboree, all by himself!

Now that my Scouts were a bit older, I thought we should move on to a larger, sturdier first-aid kit (for the larger, sturdier amounts of trouble they can get themselves into). I purchased plastic crayon storage boxes from my local craft store for $.99 each (and got 20% off, thanks to a coupon), which are the perfect size for a personal kit that can be tossed into a pack. These kits would include a roll of medical tape instead of the self-adhesive bandage, a 3″ gauze pad, moleskin patches, burn cream, anti-itch cream, and an individually-packaged splinter lancet.

Where to Buy Supplies

Bulk first aid kit refills are available on Amazon for relatively cheap, and they make great jumping-off points for your Scouts to build their own kits for hiking. These refill kits usually contain bulk amounts of single-serving packets of antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, and burn cream, as well as sterile-packaged gauze pads, band-aids, and nitrile gloves. Add some refill packages of medical tape, moleskin patches, and insect-bite ampules or anti-itch cream, and you’re ready to build a small first aid kit that’s perfect for day hikes. Bonus: any extras can go in your Den or Pack first-aid kit.

I got my crayon boxes at Michael’s craft store, but you can often find them at Wal-Mart or other big box stores, especially around back-to-school time.

Crayon boxes from Michael’s craft store, and first-aid kit refills from Amazon

Suggested Meeting Activity

I first did this when my Scouts were Wolves, and they remembered it well enough to chastise me for “being overdramatic”, “faking it”, and “embarrassing everyone but mostly yourself” again as Webelos… before we even started. That’s how you know it’s good!

I assembled enough first-aid materials to treat a minor cut, a deeper cut, a burn, a blister, insect bites, and a tick bite. I also acquired a bright red Sharpie marker, and a bright red wide-tip marker. Knowing that I could only get away with “cutting” myself with markers during the meeting maybe twice, I gave myself a pretty bad sunburn with a hot-pink Sharpie just above the cuff of my shirt sleeve, a (pretty convincing) rash of chigger bites on my left ankle with the red and hot-pink Sharpie, and a pink-Sharpie blister on the heel of my left foot. Black and brown markers on a pumpkin seed provided me with a tick, which was slipped into the cuff of my right sock (I recommend doing this right before you find your tick bite, so you don’t lose your “tick”).

Please pardon my messy office 🙏

The key to this activity is making it memorable by severely overreacting to your fake injuries. Your Scouts, dying of embarrassment on your behalf, will perform fake first-aid just to make you stop… but the entire thing will stick in their minds well enough that, hopefully, they’ll remember what to do to treat actual injuries.

We went through how to treat common minor injuries in the Webelos handbook as we were assembling the first-aid kits, and after that I started in on my fake injuries. I “cut” myself with the fine-point red Sharpie first, resulting in a little “scratch”. After that had been successfully cleaned, treated, and bandaged, my clumsy self just happened to gouge my arm with the wide-point marker, which resulted in “blood” everywhere. So much “blood”. I couldn’t bear to look.

It was at this point that my Scouts confiscated my markers, so that I “couldn’t fake it anymore”. This is exactly the reason I prepared most of my fake injuries ahead of time.

I only have four Scouts in my den, but if you have a larger group, splitting them into teams and having many injured adults would probably work better than trying to get all of them to work together.

When you’re done with your meeting, rubbing alcohol will remove permanent marker from skin. In a pinch, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will work, too.

Adventure Requirements

Assembling a first aid kit can help meet the requirements for these adventures:

Tigers In The Wild:

Requirement 1: With your parent, guardian, or other caring adult, name and collect the Cub Scout Six Essentials you need for a hike. Tell your den leader what you would need to add to your list to prepare for rain.

Paws On The Path (Wolf):

Requirement 1: Show you are prepared to hike safely in any outdoor setting by putting together the Cub Scout Six Essentials to take along on your hike.

Webelos Walkabout:

Requirement 2: Assemble a first-aid kit suitable for your hike or activity.

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Tori Brenneison is a software developer/art historian from Cleveland, OH, USA. She loves anything outdoors, but especially hiking, camping, and off-roading.

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