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  1. #1
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    Default a good first aid kit (Health and Safety)

    A Good First Aid Kit
    by ME & U
    Last Updated 30 March 2005

    I'm a first time user long time reader of this awesome site and wanted to pitch in my ideas of a good first aid kit.
    I'm a licensed nurse and have been for over 10 years, with a background in military nursing. I've often "dabbled" in the world of wilderness medicine, and have some definate ideas of what a good kit should be comprised of.

    First, as a 2003 A.T. thru hiker, I can tell you that I also am lost in the world of weightlessness. My base gear today weighs 9.4 lbs and one of the ditty bags I hit first was my saftey kit. In that kit is my knife. The only thing I ever cut on the A.T. was the cheese A knife is an essential piece of gear that most of us carry and for the weight savy folks out there, this may appeal to you.

    Aron Rolston cut off his arm with a dull multi-tool and his example of survival is and should be a beacon for the realm of possibility for all of us who venture out into the wilds!

    With that said... I changed my 1 ounce knife to two stiff backed razor blades. I keep them in an aluminum motrin tablet package with med tape and labeled them "razors"

    The second thing I'd like to add is that there is no substitute for common sense!! Any weight saver will tell you that in order to lose pack weight you have to make sacrifices. If you lack skills in the arena of medicine and are concerned about both weight and saftey then I would recommend an Adventure Medical Kit. The solo kit weighs 6 oz and has all the basic essentials you should need in just about any situation.

    My idea of a good first aid kit "is keep it simple stupid" Stick with the basic ABC's: Airway Breathing and Circulation and leave the rest for the experts.
    These experts will all tell you that your best case senario is to seek medical attention, as soon as possible and in most wilderness medical cases... this is what saves lives.

    Knowledge is key. Learn basic first aid and go from there. You'll find that the more you know the less you have to carry.

    Now, I know that a bunch of you guys & gals may respond with feedback in this area (if this gets posted) and I'm not trying to open a big can of worms here, I just wanted to share some of my ideas and see where it leads. I'm always looking for cool tips...

    My kit:
    4 band-aids (2 for "me" & 2 for "U")
    4 butter fly sutures (save being Dr. Frankenstein for your dreams)
    1 knuckle bandage
    1 2x2 bandage
    2 razor blades (1 for ropes & 1 for that occasional surgery)
    a coulpe motrin tabs (pain)
    a couple pepsid tabs (mountain food)
    a couple anti-histamine tabs (sniffles, bad bug bites, ect...)
    1 pack of tums (freguent indigestion and a calcium boost ta boot)
    1 freebie pack of triple anti-biotic cream (spread between 4 band-aids)
    1 saftey pin
    1 bandana (elsewhere)
    duct tape on my trekking poles (replaces everything else)
    1 pocket pack of listerine strips and a tooth brush (it's the brushing that counts)
    and lastly... a business card of my favorite outfitter with the phone # 904-264-6512 written on the back. This is the # for Maynard Cox who is our countries head honcho when it comes to snake bites. I picked up this public information on the bullitin board of the Eckville Hikers Center in PA off Hawk Mountain road, 0.2 off the trail after a day of spotting 5 rattlesnakes, 1 huge copperhead and a ton of rat snakes. I was freaked out to the max that day and it was comforting to have the chance to gain some more knowledge on the subject of snakes. This also provided "US" with a more comfortable feeling in regards to the resident rat snake the shelter taker keeps for rodent erradication, that is humungus by the way.
    This experts advice, for those who haven't read his article, is leave the snakebite kit on the store shelf, practice good, alert hiking and stay away from likely snake infested areas like rock shelfs, logged areas, and rocky outcroppings. Stay on trails and be mindfull of snakes sunning in this area.
    If bitten, seek medical attention fast and provide them with his phone # as he suggests that many in the med field are lacking proper skills when it comes to snakes. Good enough for me!
    The rest is up to you... gain knowledge!

    By the way, the day we saw the snakes, I was left with an impression that my newest, biggest fear is, and always will be, copperheads!

    I came within inches of stepping into the only spot of ground anywhere near the pulpit rock area in PA and contained in the leaf covered spot was the largest copperhead I've ever seen anywhere, including pictures. My downward step almost landed directly on top of it and if it wasn't for a split second of timing and one small piece of this snake I spotted (which I thought was a dead snake by comparing the color to the rattlers we'd already seen), a rock to step on beside the pile, and quick thinking, I most likely wouldn't be writing this to you all. We were far from help at that point, or at least thought so, and I can tell you this... I have a new pair of mental snake goggles equiped with radar, night vision, movement sensors, a bodyheat temp gage, and unilateral laser beam launchers to fry the snot out of any thing that moves while I'm in snake country. I am an animal lover and one who feels at one with nature but this was an eye opener for me and the thought of being tagged by a copperhead is one I'd love to supress!

    It's my hope that readers of this article will use their common sense, stay away from wives tales, craphouse doctors, and notions of being "qualified" when your not, and lastly... be aware of the fact that sometimes being helpful is actually more dangerous when it comes to first aid. Seek help first! Then think about what you can do to help the injured person or persons your with. Their lives and the rest of your trip together may depend on this.
    Peace
    "U"
    p.s. before the onslaunt I'm about to receive for bringing up the subject that no one else seems to care to stick their neck out for I'd like to have a few last words...I come in peace and go easy on my hiking partner "me" for being wacked in the head enough to actually be with me. She trusts me with her life and I would never put her or anyone else in a bad situation without first consulting the spirit world.
    Last edited by attroll; 06-25-2006 at 12:29.

  2. #2
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    Cool tip #1:

    "I have a new pair of mental snake goggles equiped with radar, night vision, movement sensors, a bodyheat temp gage, and unilateral laser beam launchers to fry the snot out of any thing that moves while I'm in snake country."

    Sell the "bodyheat temp gauge" back to the vendor. Snakes, being cold-blooded are the same temp as their surroundings.


    Thanks for the list.

  3. #3
    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    I'm also working on a similar article.

    Personally, I'd have lots more safety pins (used as zipper pulls), aspirin rather than ibuprophen in case of an MI, roll of gauze to use with the duct tape rather than bandages, gas permeable barrier dressings for abrasions and other injuries, Pepto Bismol Tabs as well as calcium based antacids, and ID.

    Good start to your list.

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    Default ...just in case

    orangebug-".............and ID.'
    I have a card in mine that says who I am, who to contact in case of an emergency, insurance provider, medications, and allegies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDale
    Cool tip #1:

    "I have a new pair of mental snake goggles equiped with radar, night vision, movement sensors, a bodyheat temp gage, and unilateral laser beam launchers to fry the snot out of any thing that moves while I'm in snake country."

    Sell the "bodyheat temp gauge" back to the vendor. Snakes, being cold-blooded are the same temp as their surroundings.


    Thanks for the list.
    Right... the temp gage is for anything else that moves while I'm freaking out including my hiking partner

  6. #6

    Default Question, "U"...

    "If you lack skills in the arena of medicine and are concerned about both weight and saftey then I would recommend an Adventure Medical Kit. The solo kit weighs 6 oz and has all the basic essentials you should need in just about any situation."

    Where is this sold, and what's in it?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangebug
    I'm also working on a similar article.

    Personally, I'd have lots more safety pins (used as zipper pulls), aspirin rather than ibuprophen in case of an MI, roll of gauze to use with the duct tape rather than bandages, gas permeable barrier dressings for abrasions and other injuries, Pepto Bismol Tabs as well as calcium based antacids, and ID.

    Good start to your list.
    Great tip with the pepto tabs. I don't frequent the pharmacy much and wouldn't have thought it. Your MI... assuming you mean the miocardial type, don't forget I was keeping it simple for the less medically involved. I've hiked with lots of nurses and every one of them had a first aid kit you'd need a book to use. It's been my experience that most days on the trail see minor mishaps and not so much of all we read, hear, and see on tv.
    I appreciate your feedback big time and another great one is the zipper pulls!
    Kudo's to your GPB's. I also carry one but try to find one at your local Cumberland Farms and your out of luck.
    I carry my ID, credit card, and list of contacts in my invisable wallet so my first aid kit is lighter... you know, that freaky weight thing where every ounce counts and if the math doesn't work out put it somewhere else so you don't have to add it in.
    I look forward to your article and hope I somehow motivated you press on
    Thanks
    "U"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    "If you lack skills in the arena of medicine and are concerned about both weight and saftey then I would recommend an Adventure Medical Kit. The solo kit weighs 6 oz and has all the basic essentials you should need in just about any situation."

    Where is this sold, and what's in it?
    I got mine from Eastern Mountain Sports (ems.com) It has a bunch of crap I stripped out of it like tweasers, tape, extra bandages, and amonia inhalers. It comes in a bombproof watertight zipbag, and has a cool sil nylon cover with outdoor latch points. The cover offers a bit of extra room for things like the toothbrush and listerine tabs, which if you haven't tried brushing with do try. They rock!
    The kit also has pills, astringents, anti-septics, after bite and a few other items of interest.

  9. #9
    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    Part of First Aid kit planning is a consideration of what you will meet, and what you can handle. Minor trauma, abrasions, insect bites/stings, ticks - are the most common. Major trauma results in need to ready to person for transport, just as a Myocardial Infaction/Heart Attack/Respiratory Arrest/Acute Cardiac Syndrome/Sudden Death would. The aspirin helps to reduce damage in the MI while you work out evacuation.

    You could plan for every possibility, and put your pack weight into the stratosphere. It is a better plan to plan on improvisation. For instance, the safety pins will turn a fleece sweater into a sling. Lekis wrapped in a bedpad attached with duct tape make a suitable splint for legs and ankles. Pack Stays make for good splints for shorter limbs.

    You will not have everything, but you probably have more than you suspect.

    BTW, Gas Permeable Dressings are pretty easy to find in most clinics, medical supply stores, country Mom&Pop pharmacies and the like. Second Skin and the like are also widely available. I only carry bandaids if I'm walking with a bunch of kids.

  10. #10
    Registered User neo's Avatar
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    i made my own,i have never seen a good light wieght kit,i know what i need
    on the trail neo

  11. #11
    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    Post your kit, and some of your considerations in making it, please.

    I agree that there are no commercial kits that are suitable based on weight and utility considerations. If they exist, I've yet to meet them.

  12. #12
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    I still use the first aid kit I used on my thru hike. One 1 qt. Ziplock bag. Partial roll toilet paper, one tube triple antibiotic ointment, one tube hydroecortisone cream, needle and dental floss, (in case I had to sew a cut shut) a couple of bandaids, some ibuprofrn pills, (also known to thru hikers as vitamin I) one small hand sanitizer, (can be used to start a fire in an emergency)vitamin pillls and asthma medication. Also useful--moleskin, I left mine in hiker box when I had no trouble with my feet. I had an extra bandana or two and several yards of duct tape wrapped around my hiking stick. I also carried a swiss a army knife (hiker model). It's amazing how much medical care can be given on the trail with duct tape, a bandana, and a sharp knife up to and including brain surgery on a few people I met out there.


  13. #13
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    There are two extremes for First Aid supplies. All the AT Guides have a fairly extensive list of items. And then planning books like Chris Whalens" go the minimal route. The right answer really depends on the individual.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moxie00
    I still use the first aid kit I used on my thru hike. One 1 qt. Ziplock bag. Partial roll toilet paper, one tube triple antibiotic ointment, one tube hydroecortisone cream, needle and dental floss, (in case I had to sew a cut shut) a couple of bandaids, some ibuprofrn pills, (also known to thru hikers as vitamin I) one small hand sanitizer, (can be used to start a fire in an emergency)vitamin pillls and asthma medication. Also useful--moleskin, I left mine in hiker box when I had no trouble with my feet. I had an extra bandana or two and several yards of duct tape wrapped around my hiking stick. I also carried a swiss a army knife (hiker model). It's amazing how much medical care can be given on the trail with duct tape, a bandana, and a sharp knife up to and including brain surgery on a few people I met out there.

    Thanks for the reply. I love a good movie, can I hike with you and watch you sticth yourself up there Rambo? Just goofin around, the floss would work better on saving your pack's life WE use rubbing alcohol ( i know it's heavy). but it's great for killing stink, doulbles as a sanitizer, and down south you can get wintergreen flavor!
    I got slammed with a huge blister after buying a new pair of treads on the trail and found that my duct tape worked better than moleskin, I just had to overlap it a bit.
    I'm with you on the brain surgery thing. Ever meet Crazy Horse?
    Ever since I saw the Aron Ralston gig with his dull multi tool I swithched to a razor blade, hell doctors use em...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks
    There are two extremes for First Aid supplies. All the AT Guides have a fairly extensive list of items. And then planning books like Chris Whalens" go the minimal route. The right answer really depends on the individual.
    Absolutely! "The more you know the less you have to carry" Seek knowledge...

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    Dental floss repairs to packs. This brings up the idea that the first aid kit is multi-tasking for gear repair also. I carry heavy silk suture specifically with the dread of a wicked pack blowout that duct tape couldn't handle.

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    My first aid kit is also a repair kit. I also consider some of the stuff that I carry part of my first aid/repair items.

    Kit:
    - small zip lock
    - 2 needles
    - 4 saftey pins
    - floss
    - Alieve, 6
    - Neosporin
    - super glue
    - 4-AAA Lithium batteries
    - bandages, 6
    - ace bandage, small
    - Imodium, 6
    - Imotrex, 2
    - gauze, 6 pads

    And stuff I carry:
    - Iodine pills
    - Lighter
    - 50' cord for bear bag (since you can cut off pieces for repairs)
    - Toilet paper (with some duct tape it makes bandages)
    - camp towel
    - bandanna
    - hand cleaner
    - Leatherman Micra with a really sharp edge
    - Insurance card and contact number card
    - Duct tape
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  18. #18
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    Awesome are connections we are able to make with this site! I'm a new guy here, as I've mentioned, and wanted to post that its nice to be able to toss ideas off each other, blast out some humor along the way, and have a good ol time ta boot.
    That being said, my idea of a kit is an expansion or, better yet, an extension of me. I'm a weight freak! I can't stand the thought of not needing first aid and lugging around a first aid kit for emergency reasons. Even a micro kit burns a hole in my thought processes and would love it if someone would invent a way to "beam me up" a doctor.
    On a recent hike in NH something clicked in me. I realized that alot of the subject of first aid is hype. "What if..." Even, "Did your hear..."
    Leaving all us scared and concerned about the possible.
    The thought of having my best friend, "ME", injured and me, "U", being unprepared for the worst is unaceptable!
    A pickle for sure.
    Don't get me wrong here guys & gals, I'm not suggesting to minimalize your kit down to band-aids and razor blades but what I would like to suggest is that we as humans have an incredible way of surviving insane possibilities. We're like machines that naturally carry first aid kits within our structures and too little do we fail to realize this.
    Cut yourself and your body instinctively whips out the band-aid selection and peruses the options. Kind of cool when you think about it.
    I had a serious Mt bike accident a few years back and blew my right shoulder into three different pieces, clavicle, arm, and back... Some jerk off doctor x-rayed me and told me I had a class 5 tear of my ac joint. Not good I guess judging by his suggestion that I have it surged. Peel it all back, wrap some funky doctor tape around the whole gig, and stop mountain biking save I tear it again. Ya right! What ever dude! I let my machine fix itself by it's own terms, tossed the percocets in the toilet, and when I was repaired enough to carry a pack I, meaning "WE", thru hiked the AT!
    A testament to the awesome healing power of human nature.
    Of course i don't mean to toss my kit in the left behind bin, I just have always questioned our Western ideas of medicine and even went to nursing school to learn more about it.
    Perhaps I should be thumping my stump on the subject and don't mind giving myself a digger... but what about our ancestors man. We think they had band-aids? A list of supplies to combat the inevetable? Surely, they had incidents, mishaps, ect... and i wonder what an ancient first aid kit looked like. Was it complex? Did they communicate ideas on the subject, or was the idea of traveling by foot their first concern and the realm of possibility a thought they left for future generations of hikers to be concerned with?
    Bastards!
    I'm hoping not to blow my welcome here... just wanting to get into the heads of you and bring the subject to a different level.
    One that's less concerned with our quirks and quasimotos of being humans and more concerned with trying to connect with the natural parts of us.
    Call me bent, call me dilusional, but what ever you call me, call me a light weight hiker. My "first aid kit" weights exactly 2 ounces, not including water, and I look forward to a natural mishap that would require me to apply my wits.
    Go easy...

  19. #19
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    Excellent tips on first-aid kits. I also include extra safety pins (they can be used as sutures for lack of anything else) and a small tube of Super Glue for small cuts and lanced blisters, it really works good in addition for other repairs as well.

    P.S. I have been told that if one is bitten by a snake to kill it for identification purposes for there are different species of each and venom may or may not have been injected but take no chance and seek professional help ASAP.

  20. #20
    Registered User Moxie00's Avatar
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    Default Dental floss and wintergreen alcohol

    Quote Originally Posted by U
    Thanks for the reply. I love a good movie, can I hike with you and watch you sticth yourself up there Rambo? Just goofin around, the floss would work better on saving your pack's life WE use rubbing alcohol ( i know it's heavy). but it's great for killing stink, doulbles as a sanitizer, and down south you can get wintergreen flavor!
    I got slammed with a huge blister after buying a new pair of treads on the trail and found that my duct tape worked better than moleskin, I just had to overlap it a bit.
    I'm with you on the brain surgery thing. Ever meet Crazy Horse?
    Ever since I saw the Aron Ralston gig with his dull multi tool I swithched to a razor blade, hell doctors use em...
    I used dental floss when my Gregory Shasta came apart just south of Duncannon, Pa, Mountain Laurel sewed it up almost as well as Gregory did when I sent it back to them after my hike. As an EMT I have sewed people up unnder a Doctors supervision but I can only imagine what the scar would look like if I had to do it to myself or someone else in the field using dental floss, but it could save a life. As for the wintergreen alcohol. I carried an alcohol stove and just about ran out of de-natured alcohol in the Smokies. When I got to Mountain Mommas all she had was wintergreen flavored rubbing akcohol. In a pinch it worked but it took 5 minutes longer to boil anything and my noodles and rice tasted like pine needles. After many weeks on the trail eating the same thing day after day the change in taste was refreshing. When I goy to Hot Springs they were also out of denatured so I went to a filling station and bought gas line anti freeze so then my meals tasted like exxon. Another refreshing change in diet. In Erwin I bought a whole gallon end left it at Uncle Johnny's in the hiker box for others to use. Another hiker later told me that after I got 50 feet north of Erwin Uncle Johnny took it out of the hiker box and was selling it for 12 cents an ounce. I did carry saftey pins but I did not consider them part of my first aid kit. They were on the back of my pack and I hung wet undershorts and socks there to dry while I hiked.

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