First Aid KIts

9:09 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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so, what do you all pack for first aid, both a full kit and an ultra-lite kit. I'm looking to trim mine down, so i'm mainly concerned about the ultra-lite version, but i also wanna know what you cut out.

on the other hand, is the first aid kit not the place to cut weight?


10:36 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Re: First Aid Kits

I was a mountain and mountain biking guide in Jackson Wyoming back in the 80's, and have been an outdoors man all my life. I've rarely even taken my first aid kit out of the pack. I've used ibuprofen, band aids, some antibiotic cream, and a bit of tape. In addition to the "regular" items, I carry a couple of suture packs, which I actually used on myself once (climbing accident).

The one incident I had that was serious, though, was also a climbing accident. Someone was bouldering and fell, dragging a large rock down on his leg, compound fracturing it. It required a tourniquet, which I used a piece of webbing for.

All that to say, I go light with my first aid kit. As mentioned, I keep the normal stuff inside: band aids of various sizes, ibuprofen and aspirin, antibiotic creams, small scissors, some tape, triangle bandage, some gauze, mole skin for blisters, and the sutures. It's packed in a small case with a whistle attached to the outside and weighs 4.3 ounces.

If a tourniquet is ever needed again, a belt, a piece of webbing, or strapping will suffice.

11:39 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't even carry one myself all I have is a small tube of gel super glue and a couple pf wraps of duck-tape on a water bottle but other than that I will just improvise.

Now if your trimming weight try taking out any thing you don't know what it is. and keep duplicate items down to a minimum you don't need 50 band aids ect. other than that its up to you what you remove.

12:15 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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The most important first aid kit you can carry is the one in your head. Take a wilderness first aid course from one of the organizations certified to give them, such as Wilderness Medicine Institute (part of National Outdoor Leadership School). One of the most important skills is improvising. You do not have to carry a full ER "crash cart" containing splints (your foam sleeping pad works just fine for a broken leg, for example), sterile compresses (use a shirt to stop the bleeding by direct pressure - 99% of the time works better than any tourniquet, which has proven to exacerbate injuries, by the way), etc (Eric Weiss has a good pocket sized book that has lots of 1st aid improvisations, by the way - he is one of the gurus of wilderness medicine).

Once you get this knowledge, you will have a good idea of what should go into a good wilderness first aid kit. There are only 2 companies producing realistic backcountry first aid kits for general sale - Adventure Medical Kits and Atwater Cary. But both produce a wide range of kits tailored to particular activities. You need to figure out which one is suitable for your situation, and both still need supplements and replenishing.

Actually, for backpacking, the primary first aid material you need is blister prevention and treatment items. For most backpackers, this is the one thing you will use a lot.

2:59 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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i'm taking a NOLS WFR course in a couple weeks, and have also been through first responder training as a lifeguard. i want to start an outdoor leadership club at the school where i teach, so i want the WFR cert. for insurance purposes. so i feel comfortable with my ability to handle first aid situations (mainly being aware of my surroundings and not letting fatigue or lack of focus cause mistakes).

i'm really trying to get a feel for what people carry. my pack is too heavy, and i've been trimming a lot of weight, but wanted to see what other people use. mine right now is just too big. there's lots of band-aids, and gauze, and tape and superglue, but also interesting things like tampons (which are GREAT if you wanna stop a bleeding wound), tweezers, and fingernail clippers (both of which i love having out there, splinters and hang nails suck).

what i've been thinking about trimming down too is- gauze, tape, superglue antiseptic ointment, a multi-tool, tweezers, and... deciding.

what about snake bite kits? i've read about them, but how much extra time do they give you before you need antivenin?

do ya'll think that solo backpackers should carry a more extensive kit?


3:00 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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oh yeah, and i always carry moleskin, too.

11:31 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Snake bite kits are worthless. Don't waste your money.

April 21, 2018
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