One of a short series of pieces, looking at what I carry/use on solo, self-supported jaunts. Though I hope folk find something helpful here, it’s just geekery really.
Why carry a first aid kit?
Well, habit for one. And more practically if I get injured, I can maybe fix it and get on with my trip, or self rescue. I’m not of the macho persuasion that says a strip of ripped tee shirt will do for knackered kneecap or lugging lughole^. Although, there’s a bit of improvisation may be needed with this kit. Oh, and it’s probably certainly “when I get injured”, I’m a klutz.
But that’s what MRT are for? Well, let’s consider a twisted ankle, on Outer Edge; that you could strap up and hobble out on. We’re assuming you’ve got phone signal and power. From the call is about 90-120 minutes until the initial snatch team reaches you. And that’s with good weather and team availability. Total extraction time is probably around five hours, again assuming good weather and team member availability^^. So, yeah, I’d rather not explain to the MRT why I was a pillock without a first aid kit.
A note. I’m not a doctor, though I’ve had a bunch of first aid training. This is a lightweight patch-up kit I’ve developed for my needs over many years. Use your judgement, take advice and get some training.
This gets shuffled round into near every bag I use, it’s a basic “get me out of a scrape” kit. It works for a loop round Burbage up to a (very)long weekend trip. As I said earlier, there is space for improvisation with the contents. Hopefully though, none of them will be needed.
So, what is in it? This …
Oh, precisely? Okay
They’re clean, my paws probably aren’t
You can clean dirty paws with these too.
Sticky stitches, remarkable wound closures. Fixed a pack buckle with these too.
For those “why is that scratch still bleeding?” moments.
Hydrocolloid heel plasters
For blisters, in the obvious place. Two, because I’ve got two heels.
Clean absorbent dressing for really bloody cuts/grazes. Scalp wounds for instance bleed a lot.
Good for grazes/steri-stripped cuts.
Crepe bandage, & safety pins
Can bodge a twisted joint, make a sling or hold a dressing on a nasty cut. Safety pins because well, they work in any weather.
I’m moderately allergic to bee stings. This aggressive antihistamine helps me get to safety.
Two doses; no ibuprofen, it doesn’t play well with dehydration or diabetes.
Opticron eye drops
Plant material in my eye is really bad news. Should be here, but the pharmacy were out of stock.
Swiss Army Knife
Tiny, it has a sharp blade, scissors, toothpick*, tweezers and nail-file. *this isn’t sharp…
LifeSystems tick remover
Easier to use than the tweezer type, works on thorns as well. Has a handy magnifier too.
About 300 kCal food
Enough to keep me going if needed. It’s food I find palatable. I’ve no truck with the daft idea emergency food (for when you’re tired, possibly scared etc) should be something you don’t like. Apparently it’s so you don’t just snack on it …
Tiny and bright, with very long shelf life button cells.
1 litre Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil: to hold it all, and keep it dry.
The plasters, drugs and dressing are all kept in separate ziploc bags too, to keep them organised and dry in use. All this stuff has expiry dates, they’re noted in a diary, along with a regular reminder to check the kit.
This kit is always accompanied by a LifeSystems Heatshield bivi bag(this might make that wait for the MRT slightly less uncomfortable).
Basically it’s a tough, reusable space blanket, in bag form. Bags like this offer way more protection than blankets; if needed you can easily make a blanket from a bag; t’other way is a bit trickier. I’ve refolded the bag to be a little flatter than the rolled lump it comes as, easier to pack.
All told, the kit weighs 215g, the bag 133g(by my kitchen scales). And, for reference, this will comfortably go in my Inov8 All Terrain waist pack, leaving room for sweater, hat & gloves, food, shell, reading glasses(I‘m getting old…), water, camera, map & compass, notebook, kitchen sink and purse.
Of course, the ideal is all this stuff goes out of it’s expiry dates unused. That would mean fun days, with no injuries. As I said though, I’m a klutz, so in the bag it goes.
Anyway, enjoy your playtimes dear non-klutzy people.
^ yes, it’s from The Goons
^^ info from search dog handler and guidebook wizard Paul Besley his Twitter is paulbesleywrite; perhaps more importantly Scout’s Instagram is searchdogscout