Monday, June 23, 2014

Hiking With The Ten Essentials, #5 - First Aid Supplies

Hiking With The Ten Essentials: #5 - First Aid Kit

If you’re lucky (and careful), a first aid kit is something you might carry on many trips without ever touching, except to move out it of the way of the sexier gear you use every trip. No doubt, however, you will be grateful you did bring it when the time comes that you do need it. And, if you’re hiking even a fair amount, chances are excellent that one day you will need it. Hopefully this will only be because of blisters or a scrape, but serious injuries can happen, too, and having some tape, gauze, and other items can literally be life-saving in the event of a genuine emergency. Learning more about first aid is also a wise thing to do (for anyone, really, but especially those who frequent the backcountry.) Knowledge is probably more important than anything you can buy in a kit, but having both is even better. Excellent pre-made kits are available and made specifically to be very lightweight and space-saving. Many choose to assemble their own kit, however. Below is a list of items every kit should probably have, and I’ve also included a link to a recommended pre-made kit.

  • Band-Aids of multiple sizes
  • Multiple Gauze Pads
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Moleskin/Blister Treatment
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Disinfecting Ointment
  • Simple Pain Meds (aspirin, ibuprofen, and/or naproxen)

  • Latex Gloves
  • Anti-Diarrheal Medication
  • Needle & Thread/Dental Floss
  • Pen & Paper
I personally use a prefab kit I purchased online. Adventure Medical Kits, who manufacture what seem to be the most popular kits out there, are a great bet if you just want to pick something up. They typically come in a watertight, zippered sack, have everything listed above, and even come with a “resupply” check sheet. I bought one a little bigger than I really need because I got such a screaming deal from Sierra Trading Post at the time (they are currently out of stock there, unfortunately.) The Ultralight/Watertight .7 Kit is what I purchased, but I’ve emptied about half the contents to save weight and space. I put made sure to put the removed items safe in a baggie to use for resupply. For one person, or even two, I think the kit is a bit bulky. I would recommend the Ultralight/Watertight Medical Kit .5. It is apprx. 3 oz. (versus 8 oz. for the .7 Kit as packaged) and has everything you’ll likely need. You can buy it at REI for $17 (I have zero affiliation with REI or Adventure Medical Kits, btw.)

If creating your own kit, you might consider using a pill bottle large enough to accommodate what you choose to bring. Whether you buy a pre-fab kit like me or choose to build your own, just get one. You’ll be glad you did when the time comes to use it.

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