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First Aid and Hygiene

Types of First Aid and Hygiene

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First Aid Kits

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First Aid Supplies

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Hygiene Supplies and Devices

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Waste and Sanitation Supplies and Devices

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Bug Protection

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Sun Protection

Top Picks

How we choose: The best first aid and hygiene highlighted here were selected based on 364 reviews of 116 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a first aid/hygiene product that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Top Camp Shovel/Trowel

TheTentLab Deuce of Spades #2

user rating: 5 of 5 (7 reviews)

This is a very light, durable, and functional camp shovel with the added benefit of being very useful for a number of other applications around camp that might not be so obvious.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very lightweight
  • Great for digging holes
  • Has a number of other useful applications
  • Takes up zero space in your pack

I want to first knowledge that I received my Deuce of Spades as a gift for being a past Reviewer of the Month here on Trailspace and I also want to confess (and I hate to admit...) that I was really excited to be receiving this "potty" shovel as a gift. I have always been interested in gear and equipment and when I first saw the Deuce of Spades I thought it looked like a really cool shovel, but more importantly also thought that it could be very useful for a number of other applications which would make it a great addition to my pack.

Read more: TheTentLab Deuce of Spades #2 reviews (7)

Top Insect Repellent

Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent Treatment for Clothing, Gear, and Tents

user rating: 5 of 5 (5 reviews)

I have used DEET and other products since the early 1980s, but Permethrin treated clothes are much more effective in tick prevention based on my experience in tick-infested areas. Sawyer Permethrin can keep ticks from landing and biting, and can actually kill them on your clothes. It is the repellent I depend on for work and recreation—effective and easy to apply.

Reasons to Buy

  • Doesn’t damage gear like DEET
  • Extremely effective against ticks
  • Safe if used as pre-treatment for clothes
  • Lasts for multiple washings
  • No exposure to stronger concentrations

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as effective against mosquitos
  • Doesn’t absorb well into water resistant fabrics
  • Can be dangerous if not handled properly
  • More expensive than mixing your own solution

A recent forum thread reminded me I hadn’t reviewed bug protection products that I planned to write up last year.  With today being excellent gear-treating weather for the spring Permethrin application, I decided to finish this review while my clothes dry. My Reviewer of the Month prize last year included Sawyer Permethrin and Picaridin, both of which I have been using for a while before that. I have posted a separate review of Sawyer Picaridin, but wanted to mention it here as it is an integral part of my overall bug defense system in combination with Permethrin.  Usage: I have consistently used Sawyer Permethrin for the last 5 years as my primary defense against ticks.

Read more: Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent Treatment for Clothing, Gear, and Tents reviews (5)

Top First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight & Watertight .7

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4 reviews)

Adventure Medical Kit’s Ultralight & Watertight .7 is a nice group first aid kit when hiking in the backcountry, paddling down the river, or car camping near home. Plenty is offered in this 6oz (178g) kit. Its waterproofing allows you to store it in the top of your pack without concern for rain or rapids.

Reasons to Buy

  • Waterproof
  • Light (for a group kit)
  • Compact (for a group kit)
  • Well-stocked

Reasons to Avoid

  • No burn cream
  • No scissors
  • No Sam Splint

I have been carrying the Ultralight & Watertight .7 on various day hikes with my family during the summer. I am fortunate to say that I have not needed to actually use any of the materials inside, and my hope is that it stays that way. The kit is waterproof, primarily through an inner zip-locking dry bag. I have noted the inner bag can unzip without careful attention to closing it firmly. It would be nice to see a slider tab on this inner bag to ensure closure. A secondary layer of protection is the outer bag, which is seam sealed, siliconized, and possessing a “water resistant” zipper.

Read more: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight & Watertight .7 reviews (4)

Insect Repellent

Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

I have used DEET and other products since the early 1980s as mosquito and tick prevention for work and play, but now am a full convert to Sawyer Picaridin and Permethrin combination to keep the bugs away. Picaridin has similar effectiveness to DEET without the worries about plastic degrading and other effects on gear.

Reasons to Buy

  • Doesn’t damage gear like DEET
  • Effective against mosquitos and flies
  • No greasy feel or smell
  • Safe for family use (no known health issues)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Leaves a non-oily temporary sheen
  • Not as effective vs ticks

A recent forum thread reminded me I hadn’t reviewed bug protection products that I planned to write up last year.  With spring coming on and today being excellent gear-treating weather, I decided to finish this review.  My Reviewer of the Month prize last year included Sawyer Permethrin and Picaridin, both of which I have been using for a while. I will deal with Permethrin in a separate review, but wanted to mention it here as it is an integral part of my overall bug defense system in combination with Picaridin.

Read more: Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent reviews (2)

First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The Adventure Medical Kits Hiker is a 2-person/2-day first aid kit that is designed to be lightweight, water resistant, and streamlined for quick excursions. This kit is recommended for the outdoor enthusiast that plans on day hiking or an overnight either solo, or with another individual.

Reasons to Buy

  • Inexpensive ($25 USD)
  • Little/no modification needed
  • Exterior list of included materials
  • Well organized
  • Comprehensive 160-page guide to wilderness medicine

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pouch is not waterproof
  • One might consider additional antibiotic ointment

New Hampshire-based Adventure Medical Kits is a company that has been providing first aid materials to the consumer since 1973. Their products have been on the shelf in most camping and outdoor shops for over 40 years, helping people take care of wounds as well as providing peace of mind for outdoor enthusiasts around the world. Although well suited for day hikes, this kit IS NOT recommended for backcountry use; Adventure Medical Kits offers a ‘backcountry’ line of first aid kits that include additional necessary items.

Read more: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit review (1)

Top Hygiene Supply/Device

BodyGlide Anti-Chafe

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

How would you like to float down the trail, with little or no pain? BodyGlide product can help with the second part of that. It can be a real problem solver for the skin discomfort, the bane of many outdoor adventurers, blisters and chafing! Provided that the gear has the right physical design, non-aggressive surface texturing, and size for you, test this as your potential solution. Basically it makes your skin surface less wettable, thus less swellable. And it adds some tenacious slick, slipperiness that can be washed off later. Smoother skin texture, with better skin glide, literally allows the problem to slide away. (This review is on the same product in older packaging).

Reasons to Buy

  • Works everywear on skin, such as on toes, heals, under arms, upper leg/croutch interface
  • Easy to apply, just like underarm deodorants
  • Odorless, no fragrance, and hypoallergenic
  • One container can last a very long time

Reasons to Avoid

  • Might cause oil/wax like stains on some materials, especially if you over apply
  • Could melt and drain out in your car or pack if left in hot sun
  • Will disappoint you as a deodorant, if you grab the wrong container
  • Will disappoint you as BodyGlide, if you grab the wrong container
  • One container can treat your whole hiking club (not a pretty concept)

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!  I'm thankful for BodyGlide ... you might be too? Your body is important and it can really hurt if you don't treat it right.  I really enjoy the name of this product. Just saying it gives me visions of a hiker-like Aladdin. I apply magic stuff and somehow then glide effortlessly up the mountain. Actually the description is pretty accurate! It works like magic, it does cause almost effortless gliding, and I can dream (can't I ?) that I look like Aladdin. However, the glide zone is very localized on your and is technically better termed 'slide*' * I suspect that the BodySlide name is already taken by the Slip and Slide maker? BodyGlide, in generous quantity, comes in handy application container that many of us already...

Read more: BodyGlide Anti-Chafe review (1)

Insect Repellent

Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

I'm not a big fan of mosquitos, or of slathering Deet all over myself. This repellant device is small enough to take on short overnight backpacking trips and makes hanging around camp a much better experience.

Reasons to Buy

  • Seems to work as advertised
  • Weighs about 4 ounces
  • Uses a small amount of the fuel I already bring

Reasons to Avoid

  • Still may need another repellant while hiking
  • Four ounces is still heavier than a small pack of Deet

I hate mosquitos. A big part of why I rarely backpack close to my Ohio home in the summer is because I don’t want to deal with them. The choice of getting repeatedly bitten or covering myself in Deet on a hot summer evening is picking one of two bad options to me. So you know, I’ve tried other chemical sprays and lotions. For me, nothing works like Deet. I’d looked at some of the Thermacell products in the past, but they all appeared to be too heavy and/or bulky to bring backpacking.

Read more: Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller reviews (5)

Top Urination Device


user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

pStyle allows active women to be able to go to the bathroom without having to sit, squat, or pull your drawers down! I use this for ALL my outdoor activities and for road trips. You can discreetly go to the bathroom without having to expose all or search for a place to do it. It's even great for porta-potties!

Reasons to Buy

  • Portable
  • Easy to clean
  • Discreet

Reasons to Avoid

  • Takes a couple of tries to learn proper placement

This amazing product has been discovered mostly by word of mouth among active women seeking an easier, more discreet way to go to the bathroom while doing outdoor activities. Most of us had to hide somewhere, drop trou and squat, then have to deal with toilet paper after. With this product, we can go just like the boys do — standing up!! To use it, just unzip or pull down the front of your drawers, slide it into place and go! There's a technique for removing it that eliminates the need for toilet paper.

Read more: pStyle reviews (2)

Top Bug Net

Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Net

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Large enough to fit over a hat. Small and light enough to carry anywhere. Keeps mosquitoes at bay.

Reasons to Buy

  • Mosquito protection without chemicals
  • Fits over a hat
  • Small and light

I have been carrying the Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Net in my backpack for years. I got it as a gift and being so small and light I just stashed it in a ditty bag along with my headlamp and a few other items which I would use occasionally on backpack trips. Up until this summer's PCT section hike from Tahoe to Yosemite I had never needed to use it even in Alaska and the Yukon. While reducing my gear weight before the trip I almost didn't take the head net, then I thought that because of the huge winter that we had in the Sierra I should stay on the side of caution and bring it along.

Read more: Sea to Summit Mosquito Head Net review (1)

Camp Shovel/Trowel

Coghlan's Backpackers Trowel

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Been a durable dependable camp tool for over 10 years. It has taken its share of abuse with rock, roots, and hard ground and shows no real sign of any plastic fatigue.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Strong material
  • Orange color makes it easy to find

Reasons to Avoid

  • A luxury item many backpackers find unecessary

This is one of our camp staples, both for car camping and backpacking. I find it more convenient than trying to find a stick that's strong enough to dig in our rocky CO soil or using the heel of my boot. Plus, when you gotta go, sometimes you gotta go and it's nice to just have the tool right there. It has worked for us for more than 10 years and I can see it going another 10. Update (July '14): My trusty trowel snapped in half on my last backpacking trip. Trying to coax a hole in some very rocky terrain ended up being too much for it after many years of use. Oh well, maybe it's time to save the few ounces of weight and try the stick method for a while.

Read more: Coghlan's Backpackers Trowel reviews (3)

More First Aid and Hygiene

Trailspace reviewers have shared 364 reviews of 116 different first aid and hygiene. Narrow your search and view more specific first aid/hygiene product recommendations in these categories:

First Aid Kits

First Aid Supplies

Hygiene Supplies and Devices

Waste and Sanitation Supplies and Devices

Bug Protection

Sun Protection

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