One of the most overlooked wilderness skills is first aid. I was amazed to hear Steve Rinella, in a recent podcast, talk about how he’d only really done anything about first aid training when he was in his forties. Not to mention how recently it was that he’d started carrying a tourniquet.
Go onto any forum or Facebook group and you’ll see plenty of questions about what is the best boots, tent or sleeping pad to buy; but, never have I seen anyone asking what should I carry in my First Aid Kit.
Well, here’s my starter for ten…
My first aid equipment is based around what the most likely threats to me are in the wilderness. Those threats are split into injury and illness.
Let’s look at injuries first.
- Climatic injuries – Hot and cold injuries. Getting poorly from being either too hot or too cold. Sunburn or frostnip too.
- Environmental injuries – Trips and falls mostly.
- Activity Injuries – I do bushcraft… I play with sharp knives.
Pretty simple to go into those areas and isolate out what’s most likely to happen to you.
I actually carry two first aid kits. One small one, for ouchies and booboos; and a more substantial one for dealing with larger issues.
My small kit sits in the hip pouch on my pack so it’s handy for all the little stuff.
In the very handy little dry bag, thanks Kit Monster, I have just a handful of items:
- Plasters (Star Wars of course).
- Compeed, for when the hot spots start.
- Tick removers.
- Oral hydration powder (to throw into a waterbottle).
- Anti-histamine (for bites and stings as well as allergies).
- Anti-diarrhea pills.
My second kit is aimed at dealing with those things that I’m probably going to need outside intervention to fully deal with. Bear in mind that if you become ill or injured in a wilderness area, even if you have someone with you. It’s going to take a while for help to get to you. Therefore, my big kit is partly based around stabilising an injury while I’m waiting for the experts to appear. The rest of it is based around other issues that can’t be solved with a Star Wars plaster…
Tucked away into another handy dry bag:
- Triangular bandage – Still has a million and one uses from slings, to stabilising a pelvis, to immobilising feet.
- CELOX Gauze – This is a bandage impregnated with a clotting agent. Used to pack penetrating injuries.
- Israeli Field Dressing – Large absorbent pad attached to an elasticated bandage for larger, bleeding, wounds.
- Vet or Equine Wrap – Conforming, self adhesive, elasticated bandage.
- SAM Splint – Great for breaks and sprains. Pair it with the triangular bandage.
- Box of stuff (more detail below)
- Box of things (more detail below)
- Pouch of surgical gloves.
Box of Stuff:
- Medical scissors
- Antiseptic wipes
- Eye wash
- Temporary filling kit
- Dressing pads
- Micropore tape
- Needle pointed tweezers
- Green Cannulas (for digging out thorns)
- Safety pins
- Bug bite clicker thing (stops itching by electrocuting you…)
Box of things:
- Topical anti-histamine
- Topical anti-fungal
- After bite pen
- Sudocrem (for monkey butt)
- Liquid plaster
- Topical anti-biotic
I hope this is of use to people starting out into the outdoors! Let me know what you think…