The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

How We Tested First Aid Kits

By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday March 13, 2019
Viren Perumal weighing the different kits and evaluating their contents at the Sierra Mountain Guides World Headquarters.
Viren Perumal weighing the different kits and evaluating their contents at the Sierra Mountain Guides World Headquarters.

To evaluate the different models in our review, we weighed the kits and took their measurements to compare them with manufacturer's claims, and then itemized the contents to make sure they matched the list of supplies included with the kits. We then tested them on trips in California, Washington and British Columbia on trips including rock climbing, backpacking, ski touring, and alpine mountaineering. We also took the kits on more typical day hikes and on road trips in the car.

We opened up all of the contents to see what kind of quality we were dealing with, and then put them to the test to determine how they performed in simulated first aid scenarios as practiced in Wilderness First Responder courses and recertifications. These scenarios were able to illustrate whether both veterans of wilderness first aid situations, as well as novices with little training, were able to effectively use the equipment and to test out how user-friendly it is.

We never encountered real-life major trauma or illness during our test period, other than common cuts and scrapes, which is exactly how we hoped our trips would end up. If you are doing everything right, and making sure to be cautious and conservative in your backcountry decision making then you might never need to use your kit for anything besides covering blisters and treating headaches, but you also never know what can happen out there, so it is best to be prepared.

Students on a Wilderness First Responder recertification course find valuable information in the reference book included in this kit.
Students on a Wilderness First Responder recertification course find valuable information in the reference book included in this kit.