First Aid

Anything can happen in the outdoors. Make sure you know before you go. There might not be help at hand when you need it.

The terrain, weather conditions or a person's personal health can all come into play and require immediate medical attention. Learning basic outdoors first aid is key to any outdoor adventure so you and your friends make it home. 

What You Need to Know

Before you start your trip, prepare a safety plan listing things that could go wrong (e.g., loss of track, river levels up) and detail steps that could be taken to minimise or deal with each situation. Make sure the safety plan addresses accidents and medical emergencies, and includes details such as escape routes, communication and how to get help. 

Emergency situations

You need to know when and how to get help if something is seriously wrong. Make sure you read the emergencies section of our website before you go.

Prevent Injuries

With the majority of injuries occurring on people’s legs there are some simple steps you can do each day to help you prevent this happening to you: 

  • Warm up – just like playing sport, whatever your chosen activity out here in the hills, you’d be wise to warm up before you set off. Some simple stretches for your legs, hips, back and shoulders will help to prepare your body for the physical challenges ahead.
  • Pack it right – help your body out by re-packing your gear into your pack each day, ensuring the contents are best placed to maximise comfort and distribute the weight down through your legs.
  • Pace yourself – before you set off plan your day so you have a good idea of where you need to be and when, this will allow you to set a suitable pace.

Treating Injuries

Explore the types of injuries below.

Always Take a Survival Kit 

Each person should carry the recommended items in a waterproof container. If you are going on a long trip, or to a very isolated place, you may decide to carry a more comprehensive first aid kit (although you do need to keep your pack weight down). Discuss your requirements with a chemist and members of your group. A basic First Aid Kit should have the following items and a First Aid Course is a great way to get the skills required in an emergency in the outdoors.

  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Band Aids
  • Saline Solution
  • Sterile Gauze
  • Wound Dressing
  • Bandages
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Safety Pins
  • Medical Tape
  • Anti-inflammatory Painkillers & Antihistamines
  • A Whistle

What to Do Next

Continue your preparation with our online resources, there is still plenty to learn to ensure for a safe and enjoyable trip!

Explore Our Resources

  • Plan My Walk app | Use our free planning tool to choose tracks, get alerts, build a gear list and share your plan with others before you go.
  • Get more skills | Navigation, River Safety and more essentials in our Skills Section
  • Watch our how-to videos | There are plenty more and useful tips in our video section
  • Read our manuals | Access the NZ Bushcraft Manual and other digitised resources here
  • Consider a course | There are a list of external course providers here