There are always going to be risks associated with cycling, especially if you’re out on uneven terrain or isolated areas that are hard for the emergency services to reach. That’s why a mini first aid kit (and a mobile phone) should always be with you when you ride.
There are plenty around that are light enough and small enough for you to forget they’re even there — until you need them that is. Whether you suffer a small scratch or end up meeting the gravel, you won’t regret having a kit with you. Here are six rated.
Hi Gear First Aid Kit 2 (17 items)
Hi Gear First Aid Kit 2 (17 items) David Caudery / Immediate Media
Price: £12 / $12 / AU$15.40
So good: It’s impressive just how many items Hi Gear has managed to cram into this kit, which is available exclusively from GO Outdoors. The price is potentially the cheapest on test too (if you have one of its discount cards). In addition to standard dressings you get a whistle, scissors, safety pins, finger dressings, insect repellent and a sachet of burn gel.
No good: The pouch isn’t waterproof (although most of the contents are in sealed packets) and doesn’t feel as durable as others on test. It’s bulky and not very light.
Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .5
Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .5 David Caudery / Immediate Media
Price: £23.99 / $26.20 / AU$34.23
So good: Despite its feathery weight, this kit is packed with a comprehensive selection of items that should see you through most incidents on the trail. As well as plasters and bandages, there are butterfly strips, safety pins, a compress, blister plasters and mini tweezers for splinter/tick removal. Inside the ripstop outer pouch is a waterproof ziplock bag.
No good: Despite being the most expensive kit on test, there are a couple of omissions. Adding some surgical gloves and a lightweight safety blanket would help justify the price tag and make this pretty much perfect.
Ortlieb First Aid Kit Regular
Ortlieb First Aid Kit Regular David Caudery / Immediate Media
So good: Ortlieb’s waterproof PU-coated nylon pouch is the best on test. The roll-top and bungee fastenings are secure but easy to access, even one-handed. Additional fixing straps mean you can attach it to various parts of your bike/pack/body and keep it within easy reach. It’s the only kit on test to include a survival blanket, and also contains some good-quality gloves
No good: The contents are otherwise pretty basic. While this kit sits at the higher end of the price scale, you’re paying for the container rather than extra first aid equipment.
Lifesystems Light & Dry Nano First Aid Kit
Lifesystems Light & Dry Nano First Aid Kit David Caudery / Immediate Media
So good: Lifesystems’ diminutive pack is well stocked for its size and weight. In addition to a huge selection of sticking plasters you get blister plasters, safety pins and SPF50 suncream. The standout item is a ‘cohesive bandage’, which sticks to itself without the need for knots or tape. A separate ziplock bag (not pictured) that sits within the ‘silnylon’ (silicone-treated nylon) outer pouch keeps the contents dry.
No good: The lightweight outer pouch feels fragile compared to others on test and was the most fiddly to repack due to its tiny size.
OEX Waterproof First Aid Kit
OEX Waterproof First Aid Kit David Caudery / Immediate Media
Price: £15 / $18 / AU$23.10
So good: This offering from OEX, the in-house brand of camping/hiking/biking mega-retailers GO Outdoors, comes in an extremely robust and well-sealed roll-top pouch. Blister dressings and insect wipes are good to have in addition to standard dressings. The standout item is a triangular bandage, which is ideal for making into a sling.
No good: Because the pouch is quite bulky, this is one of the heaviest kits on test. It’s a bit light on contents, although there is plenty of room for additional equipment if you need it.
Vaude First Aid Kit Bike Essential Waterproof
Vaude First Aid Kit Bike Essential Waterproof David Caudery / Immediate Media
Price: £10 / $12.50 / AU$17
So good: The lightest kit on test is housed in a waterproof pouch, which has a roll-top and Velcro closure to keep the elements out. Butterfly strips and an absorbent compress dressing are useful additions beyond the standard sticking plasters, alcohol wipes and bandages.
No good: Weight has been kept to a minimum at the expense of a more comprehensive selection of first aid equipment. We would have liked to see some surgical gloves and a wider choice of dressings to help deal with different riding injuries.