First Aid kit

    In life accidents will happen. That’s the motto of every insurance company in the world. Unfortunately, they are right. I have no idea how many little cuts, scrapes and bruises I’ve had in my life. They won’t be the last. I spend a lot of time outdoors and sometimes my enthusiasm overwhelms my caution. I try to limit this by traveling with a woman with a little more caution than me, but it still happens.

 There are a lot of “probably won’t but could happens” out there. It’s an unpredictable world where anything might happen. Usually, the anything that could happen turns out to be something amazing and beautiful and are some of the reasons I love things like camping, and fishing, and kayaking, and drifting down an easy river. 

    Sometimes curiosity and excitement speak louder than that little voice telling me to be careful. That’s when preparing for anything is a virtue. Part of being prepared for anything is the first aid kit.

  This should have all those things you might need for the occasional cut, scrape, bruise, and blister. You might need to include some area and activity specific items. But they all start with the same ingredients.

  • Band-Aids - Every first aid kit should have Band-Aids. These little things are great for cuts, scrapes, burns, and blisters. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you need to have a variety to make sure you can cover whatever you need to. Some even have pictures on them for the kids or adults who want something else to look at other than flesh tones. Choice is yours, as long as they perform their function, they work.
  • Antiseptic - All those cuts and scrapes need to be sterilized. Antiseptic will kill all those germs that might have gotten on you when you had your accident. This will keep it from getting infected and should be used right after you wash the area
  • Gauze and wraps - when it's too big for the Band-Aids you need gauze and wraps. Hopefully you won't need them often but it’s better to have and not need, than need and not have.
  • Bug bite stuff - From time to time, in the outdoors, we get bit by bugs. Mosquitoes, gnats, stinging insects, ants, are all out there. This stuff will keep them from itching and keep it from getting infected
  • Bug repellant - there are more kinds of this stuff available than I can list. More of an area and time of year item, but it is definitely something you will wish you had if you need it. 
  • Gloves - this is more for when it’s not you who need the help. You might not want to get blood on you and some things like iodine will stain your skin. After covid we all know about gloves now. Carry a few pairs of the disposable kind
  • Medicines - This can be all the things from aspirin to allergy medicine. The single pack kinds are the best for kits. They are individually sealed and have one dose per package. If you have any specific kinds you need, make sure to pack extras in the kit
  • Tools - this can be anything from a small pair of scissors to cut the gauze with to a small pair of pliers to remove splinters and things. I even carry a patch kit in mine just in case.

 Those are the basics of the kit. Then there are the area and time of year things like snake bite kits. In the winter you don't need them, and, in some areas, you might not need it anyway. If you know there are going to be poisonous snakes in the area, carry one. Also check with local guides and/or rangers to find out any other area specific items you may need to carry.



Do it yourself

     Most of the stuff in the first aid kit can be purchased separately. You can buy your own bandages, meds, tools, etc. You can even get a snake bite kit. The most important thing you’ll need for it all is some kind of case.

     You need a container that is waterproof, has lots of compartments, and can be seen easily. The compartments keep everything nice and organized and let you get to whatever you need easily.  Waterproof keeps everything nice and dry and helps it last longer. 

   Color choice is usually something that stands out and can’t be mistaken for any other case of whatever. Red and white are the universal colors for first aid.

    You might save a little money putting it together yourself but the main reason for it is customization. You can make your pack specific to your needs. If weight is a concern this is a big plus. Only carrying the essentials can make room for other needed items, like food. You can never carry too much food. Trust me on this. I’ve used clay and mud to seal cuts, but when the belly is empty, we’re in trouble. 

Buying one

    There are a ton of pre-made first aid kits available. They range in price from about $20 to anything you can imagine. They have basic kits. Advanced kits, specialized kits, variety kits, big kits, small kits, medium kits. You name it there probably is one. There’s even a few that everything including a defibrillator in them. If you have not been trained in how, and more importantly, when you need a defibrillator, don’t get that kit. These are not toys and are for emergencies only.

    They all also come prepackaged in their own case. Everything already has its own place and is sorted for easy use. Some have room for you to add little extras you might need for the “probably won’t but could happens” you might need. 

    Some of these are pretty good and actually affordable. Some are not. It's like that with most things in life. You have to shop around to find a good one for what you need. Just don’t fall for the marketing. Remember “They want you to buy it.” Keep your blinders on and your guard up whenever you shop for anything.

 

[ "I’ve used clay and mud to seal cuts, but when the belly is empty, we’re in trouble."] 

 

 The first aid kit should be the first thing you pack for the “probably won’t but could happens”. It doesn't mean you will definitely have to use it every time you venture into the wild places but if you ever do need it, you’ll be glad you have it. And remember, “It might not be you that needs it.” We don’t just look out for the outdoors; we look out for each other when we’re out there. Some of us have figured it out, we should look out for each other when we come home too. I hope you have joined us. You will, eventually. It’s a fight they can’t win.

Enjoy the outdoors. Life is out Here!

written by Benjamin Evans