Expedition first aid

gmwelder86

Adventurer
I like to think I've got a decent first aid kit together that regularly stays in my jeep. But it's well stocked with basics wondering what other people are running. See if I need to expand my current undertakings.
 

cdthiker

Meandering Idaho
Here are a few rules of thumb.

There is no such thing as the perfect kit. Your kit should change based on your trip. How long you are out where you are going who is with you etc.

Never carry anything you Do not know how to use. aka if you see it in an ambulance or ER and your not a doc or a medic you most likely should not be carrying things like IV's suture kits and big gun drugs.

Carry multi use items. For an ex carry a leather man vs a knife, saw etc.

Carry things that you simply can not improvise like medication, tape, irrigation syrgines etc.

Ask your self this question if you could only have four items in your kit what would they be? This really helps you narrow things down and get your thoughts in order.

For me it would be
Tape
Ace wraps x2
Meds
Irrigation needle
Every one has a bit of a different answer I guy I work with teaching wilderness medcine says trip wire, a knife and oxy. But then again he is a former airforce PJ and wicked hardcore.
you can improvise ALMOST everything else with what is in your pack and truck or in their pack and truck.


Finally the best thing you can carry in your kit is training. If you have not already, you should think long and hard about becoming a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) It is the gold standard of back country care. The entire class is based on assessment, and treatment, and almost more importantly making decisions and judgement calls and improvising.

If you are on a budget with time and money you should at least have a WFA ( Wilderness First Aid) it is a two day course and costs a few hundred bucks.
it is a great entry level training but keep in mind it is more of an awareness siminiar for the weekend warrior.


Where am I coming from?
almost ten years as an EMT and at one time an ALS provider.
Years of experience as a wilderness EMT.

Instructor for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute

years of extensive backcountry experience.


One of our staff recently started a company and sponsors these courses based around and for overlanding and adventure travel
check it out.
http://advmedicaltraining.com Adam Timm is a solid guy with a strong skill set.
also check out NOLS.edu/wmi for a current offering of all sorts of course types and more info.
Education is the best part of the first aid kit
cheers
 

libarata

Expedition Leader
I look at what I like when hiking.

For your scrapes, burns, and injuries to flexible areas of your body I carry a few sized of Tegaderm. Especially in wet, and damp climates, or one with lots of bugs, it will help keep water/bugs out, and off of the wound.

The Tegaderm is my contact layer. On top of that, I will place your usual compresses of various sizes. Should I not have Tegaderm on hand(expensive), I make sure that the first layer has Telfa, to ensure I do not break the coagulation.(you can soak the first layer in clean water to help)

Use whatever to attach the compresses; tapes, wraps, hold it, whatever.

I keep Aspirin, Motrin, two bottle water, splint, two space blankets, two food bars, packets of salt, small bottle isopropyl alcohol.

A suggestion my grandmother gave, was that should you do not have a specialized tool for irrigation, flood the wound with hydrogen peroxide. The bubbling action will help force foreign material out.

Outside of what I have mentioned, the tools of the life saving trade, and the training for it are up to you. Something I would recommend, are those eye debriding loops for when one has something stuck in their eye.
 

El Solis

Adventurer
As a trauma surgeon and avid overlander my kit is very extensive BUT I tell people to carry what you know how to use and what will treat the things that kill. In the wild of the USA we really are not too far from help so infection isn't really an issue. I don't carry antibiotics. Wounds can be safely washed with drinking water. You don't need anything more fancy than that.

Bleeding, this will kill you so you have to know how to stop this. Even today with all of the fancy toys I have at my disposal PRESSURE is still the best first line treatment for bleeding. I carry Israeli bandages, gauze 4x4's, gauze rolls and tape. Now if you are trained in how and when to use a tourniquet then carry that. If some one is bleeding heavily have them drink water to help keep their blood volume up.

Air, have to be able to breath but unless you have very specialized training on how to protect and provide an airway the best option is a basic CPR mask.

That's it for the big stuff. Some band aids and motrin will complete a good kit that will get 90% of people who are hurt out. If you want to add a SAM™ splint it makes the kit even more complete.

Hope this helps.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
It's good advice to think in terms of injuries you're capable of treating, and expanding your training is always a good idea. However, the other approach is to think of injuries that are likely. Everybody wants to pack their kits for serious stuff, but given my family's typical activities on a trip, our most likely injuries are:

  • Small Burns
  • Cuts/Scrapes/Punctures
  • Blisters
  • Strains/Sprains
  • Debris in the eyes

We have encountered every one of those at least once. The kit I'd built up by ~2012 could handle all but the last. When my little girl ended up with some sand/grit/ash in her eye on a recent trip, I had to improvise an eyewash, which worked out, but needless to say I'm even better prepared now.
 

shogun

Adventurer
I dont think its a bad idea to carry items you dont particularly know how to use; somebody else may know.

Also, Epi Pen. You or somebody else may have a severe reaction to bug/critter bites or food. Met a guy who was camping and got bit by a bee. He was mid-20s age and never before allergic. Blew up like a balloon and was air-evac'd to a hospital. It can happen without warning or prior history. They have a zero co-pay coupon through the end of the year.
 

swduncan

Observer
I carry some basics: band aids and neosporin, for the kids. Ibuprofen and tick tweezers and a few other meds.

But I'm not very knowledgeable of first aid and hate the site of blood. So I also carry stuff for last aid: a shovel, hammer and cold chisel, and a small granite slab engraved with the words "In loving memory of ______". I give my companions short nicknames to save on last minute engraving.
 

Honu

lost on the mainland
one thing IMHO all kits should have is tincture of benzoin was a standard in my kit ever since I was a medic in the FD in a life long ago :)
stuff is awesome at keeping band aids on I taught diving for 15 years and even diving you can keep band aids on no problem

I am kinda redoing mine these days I am out of training I was good in a life long ago these days I am behind need to get some new instructions :) and I even used to teach medic first aid stuff :) haahhah so the person who said training SPOT ON !!!!!!

I used to carry neck collar and stuff and kinda weeding down my kit more these days
carry a pocket mask if you have ever done CPR on real people you will know why :)
sam splint very useful to have when needed

I like the nexcare waterproof band aids the most you clean up the wound a bit and keeps the crud out while camping

OH another must have is really really good tweezers like the $20 kind !! they work so well compared to basic junk its amazing

if you travel abroad a sharps kit is something you should look into when I was traveling in Guatemala I needed blood work done ! lucky they had new needles otherwise I could have picked my choice out of the pile of used one !!! scary stuff

I used to carry sutures cause I knew how to do it ? its been to long so now I carry strips and tincture and figure it will get done properly by a doc anyway and without something for poking a needle in its not very comfy and again I used to be able to do that not anymore so again gear for what matches my level

less stuff and more knowledge is the better kit
 

PhillySMB

Member
+1 for the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) courses. WFR is a pretty big time investment, but WFA can be done in a weekend and is offered by various groups around the country. Here on the east coast the Appalachian Mtn Club holds them at various locations from PA to Maine (usually in NJ and NH). REI sometimes has the courses, and the Red Cross also does in some areas. A very worthwhile and real-world investment. My class featured hands-on mock trauma situations that put learning into practice immediately. It was actually kind of fun.

Here's a link to the classes sponsored by the AMC: http://activities.outdoors.org/search/index.cfm?act=9&type=5. A Google search will turn up ones in your area.
 

precision powder

Backwoods Explorer
Where am I coming from?
almost ten years as an EMT and at one time an ALS provider.
Years of experience as a wilderness EMT.

Instructor for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute

years of extensive backcountry experience.
Timmy I KNEW you would comment here. I would recommend taking this guy very seriously. I would put my life in his hands, if I got hurt in the back country I would hope I had him to fix me up. In fact he has done so before.

I agree though, while you can have a comprehensive kit it wont be perfect. Half the things I would need here for a Maine winter would be useless in say the swamps of the south. Just as a kit built for summer in AZ would unlikely be super helpful for fall here.

Something not normally listed though in a FAK that I always carry with me regardless of where I am is one of those cheap plastic bottles of water. Not to drink but it makes an EXCELLENT eye flushing station. The mount of times I have gotten things in my eyes when working on something is just stupid. No matter how much I wear glasses it still happens. The opening is just the right size for your eye. Open your lids look to the bottom and squeeze. It may not be perfect but it has worked for me numerous amount of times.

It wouldnt be a bad idea to buy something pre made and expand on that. It will get you a lot of the basics and some things you may forget about without the reminder. You can always take out things you may not need, but you can definitely always add to it.
 
Last edited:

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
My wife and I have started thinking quite seriously about doing a Wilderness EMT course together - both to be able to help each other, and to help others. We've come across a couple of bad situations in our days on the trails and there have been times when I wish I could do more than the basic 'stop the bleeding and try to keep them comfortable' stuff.

So what say the experts on this?
 

grogie

Like to Camp
My wife and I have started thinking quite seriously about doing a Wilderness EMT course together - both to be able to help each other, and to help others. We've come across a couple of bad situations in our days on the trails and there have been times when I wish I could do more than the basic 'stop the bleeding and try to keep them comfortable' stuff.

So what say the experts on this?
I would be curious if these courses discuss any liability concerns with doing more as you say. I'm not implying to not help if one can, just that people (and their families) can be vicious these days if things get worse and you were involved.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
I would be curious if these courses discuss any liability concerns with doing more as you say. I'm not implying to not help if one can, just that people (and their families) can be vicious these days if things get worse and you were involved.
No idea, but every course I've taken that involves people potentially dying talks quite about the law and legal risks.
 

jaxyaks

Adventurer
Medical tape, CPR mask gauze and a tourniquet and you can pretty much fashion something out of those to keep someone alive. The rest of the kit is comfort stuff.
 
Top