Today I want to talk about First Aid Kits, more specifically ones to carry hiking. First aid kits are like common sense — everyone thinks everyone else should have some. But it seems no one wants to do it themselves! But seriously, a first aid kit does not have to be huge to take hiking. The name says what it is to be the “first” aid rendered maybe not the last, if things are serious. There are several good hiking first aid kits out there. You can do a search on Dog Pile and find hundreds of pre-made kits on line, or you can go to places like REI, Camping World, Cabelas or Bass Proshop and find several. Heck, even Walmart has first aid kits.
But what I want you do to (as in may of my articles!) is THINK. Can a mass-produced kit ever be perfect for you? I would say maybe, IF you have no special needs. But what I want you to think about is do you have any special needs? For example, where do you hike? A person who stays within a mile of the road is going to need a different kit than the one who is going to climp Mount Rainer. Let us explore some other problems that might require a special kit. . .
A big one with my signficiant other is allergies… she is allergic to many things, to be honest most of them tend to be heavy chemical odors and perfumes. But also skunks, molds and some pollens. So what do all of our first aid kits have in them? Benadryl, of course, and she carries an Epinephrine shot kit with her at all times and when I say at all times I mean no more that the length of the the Jayco away from her. And when we are going to do any wilderness camping or recreation we also get a prescription for Predisone to take with us. These will cover her from the most mild to severe allergic reaction. Do most pre-made kits have any of these? Well, a good one might have the Bendaryl, but, if someone is severely allergic to something, that can take too long to work. And do you feel up to doing a emergency Trachetomy? I do, but I am a paramedic and practice doing them at least once or twice a year. So Add what you need to a pre-made kit!
Now lets move on, what about people who have asthma? If you have severe asthma, please put an inhaler in your first aid kit and keep it current.
Chest Pain? A bottle of spray Nitro is just the ticket. The pill kinds of Nitro are too temperture sensitive, I feel.
I think you get the idea. If you have a specfic health problem, put what ever you need into the kit. It doesn’t have to be big or complicated, just something to start treatment so someone can get help or you can get out to help.
Now what do I think are some of the basics of a good hiking first aid kit?
- First bandaids in several shapes and sizes
- some kind of antibotic cream
- Mole skin
- Anti inflammatory (ibuprophren, aleve or similar)
- Pain medication (tylenol)
- Water purefication tablets
- Some dressings of different sizes (4×4, 4×8 or similar)
- Kling or gauze wrap
- Triangular Bandages
- Roll of elastic bandage
- safety pins
- Gloves (hypoallergenic “rubber” type are best)
- Dry wash or napkin type hand cleaner
- Zip lock bag to keep it all dry
And finally, a small stuff sack to keep it all in, a nice bright color will catch your eye!
These are some of the basics, yes you can add to it or substitute items. And I am sure some one is going to say why he forgot “XXXXX” how can you have a first aid kit with out that??? What kind of expert is he? Well, he is the kind that can forget or I just might not think that is needed in a hiking first aid kit! But if you think you need it . . . Then put it in by all means!
Now add your “Special needs items” and, in most places, a cell phone (turned off) in a sealed container or ziplock, small information card with Name, meds, history and allergies, and you should be ready for most hiking first aid emergencies. And just remember, being prepared is more in your mind than what you have in the kit, Evaluate, Respond, Make Do and Over Come!
Happy Hiking and Camping from,
Your Obedient Servant,
Gary Smith, Jr.