Adventure Medical Kits have long been the standard by which other first aid kits, especially those intended for use on trail-based trips away from definitive medical care. The Mountain Series Hiker model we reviewed is no exception. It is a small kit, designed for 2 people on a 1-2 day trip. This means that it is lightweight, compact, and easily packable, although it does have limited quantities of medical supplies. We liked to carry the Hiker while on day hikes, multi-pitch climbs and on mountain bike rides, but we also found that bringing it as a personal medical kit for a longer trip was reasonable. Its main limitation is the relatively low number of medical supplies and tools available. That said, the essentials for most backcountry weekend warriors are there.
Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Review
Cons: Limited medications, no CPR mask
Manufacturer: Adventure Medical Kits
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the AMK Hiker on several backcountry trips in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It scored well in most of our metrics, notably in weight, durability, and the overall quality of the supplies and tools included. We appreciated how organized it is and how easy it is to restock. With such a budget-friendly price on top of its quality, we have awarded it our Best Buy Award.
The Hiker is a high-quality first aid kit and we give it great marks in this metric. The case is constructed from a rugged nylon material that will resist wearing, and an internal organizer makes finding what you need easy in an emergency. This was one of our favorite cases of any model we reviewed. The source of a first aid kit's contents matters a lot when it comes to quality. We hate pulling out an elastic bandage to wrap an ankle and seeing it tear as we did on some lesser quality wraps. So it is a good sign that AMK sources their equipment from reputable suppliers with all medications manufactured domestically.
Seeing a pair of full-size, medical-grade trauma shears is impressive, especially when they are concealed in such a small kit. Similar to many kits we reviewed, we were not as impressed with the medical tape. Our testers preferred to replace the small roll with a more useful roll of cloth athletic tape for wrapping ankles, an all too common trailside necessity. And as with other products from Adventure Medical Kits, we opted to reseal the contents in individual ziplock pouches so that they would be further protected from water damage, as the sealed pouches that enclose medications are not resealable, and fragile supplies like the trauma pads may be spoiled when inundated with water.
There are a lot of useful features that we really appreciate about the Hiker. Topping the list is its superb organization. Having all the contents in separated zippered pockets makes the layout much cleaner and keeps things clean. As with many of AMK's kits, this kit includes a 160-page wilderness medicine book. Containing an adequate assortment of wound care items, the only thing we found lacking was a CPR mask, which was the only thing notably lacking for a kit of this size.
The Hiker includes enough materials to be useful to a small group, which is why it is so small and stowable. It does not have enough supplies to cover a group of 3-4 on a long trip. In this case, you might want to consider bringing a couple of them along to increase the number of available supplies. We also decided during testing to bring along one extra pair of nitrile gloves in case of multiple incidents while we were out, as the one pair that is included is not enough to protect the responder using the kit from more than one exposure to another person's bodily substances.
The case is made of good heavy-duty nylon and so should last quite a while, which is an expectation of a first aid kit. First aid kits only last as long as their contents, so AMK made things easy and included an easy ordering guide to resupply your kit from, something we recommend doing if you do not want to have a large closet full of resupply materials.
We found that it could be a bit tricky to get everything put back away into the zippered pouches, especially the wilderness medicine book, and there is not much extra room for anything besides an extra pair of nitrile gloves (which we liked to put in for extra precaution). The trauma shears are just a bit too big for this case, and so we found ourselves padding the end with a gauze pad to keep the sharp end from poking through the fabric.
Similar to most of the small kits we reviewed, the Hiker is designed for small groups on short trips. In this regard, it works well, but it does not have the resources that a larger kit does. The places where the Hiker is best used is on day trips, multi-pitch rock climbs, mountain bike rides, and other short adventures that do not take you very far from the trailhead, as the included materials do not allow you to perform high-end trauma care.
The AMK Hiker weighs 10 ounces, making it one of the lighter kits in our review. Certainly not as light as the Ultralight/Watertight .7, this kit is still small and stowable enough to take along in a small summit pack, which is what it is perfectly suited for.
First aid kits are not something that we typically review based on weight specifications, as the usefulness is often directly linked with its weight, but this model seems to balance those two metrics well, as long as you do not plan on using this kit on extended trips or for huge groups.
This kit offers great value. With top-quality supplies and construction, we heartily recommend it and have awarded it our Best Buy Award. It is our second-highest rated first aid kit, while remaining one of the least expensive, giving it a very impressive value to cost ratio.
The Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker is a perfect kit to bring with on your next adventure close to home. While best suited for 1-2 people on a weekend length trip, we found it to be also very useful on longer trips if each group member brought their own. AMK makes excellent first aid kits, includes informative resources, and makes it easy to keep your kit stocked up with their simple reordering system. This is our tester's favorite kit for light and fast missions, for day trips and for short overnight trips when the unexpected might happen, and it could also be carried as a satellite kit when you are leaving your basecamp for the day on a long trek.
— Ryan Huetter