Adventure First Aid Kit
Risks are inherent to all adventure sports, but that's one of the attractions in the first place. Often of these adventures, you will find yourself out in the wilds and far away from help, so it pays to be prepared for things taking a turn for the worse. As a qualified paramedic, my first aid it is probably a little much because I like to be prepared for both an accident where I find myself alone and far from help, or, I find myself in the position to help others injured. For me, the weight is worth it, it gives me peace of mind when travelling alone and also arms me with some handy tools to help others with the skills I have. It's completely up to personal preference on how much space and weight to dedicate to your first aid kit that meets your needs. You can buy a travel first aid kit, or make your own, but it's important to think about what could go wrong in your adventure and make sure you have the right equipment. Think about your own medical history, allergies, possible accidents, availability of health care and the weather conditions when making your first aid kit.
Common accidents to consider:
- Trauma: cuts, scrapes, broken bones, burns, animal bites/stings (dog, tick, snake, jellyfish)
- Medical: Allergic reaction, diarrhoea, infection (head cold, UTI, skin infection)
- Weather Exposure: heat stroke, hypothermia, frostbite, food or water poisoning, sun burn
It's also worth considering how long it might take you to get to proper health care when stocking your first aid kit. If it's going to take you several days to stumble out, you will need extra stock to change your dressings, maintain a good level of pain relief and administer enough pharmaceuticals.
So...What’s in my kit?
- Nightingale dressing for major trauma (optional)
- 6x sterile adhesive dressing
- 3x sterile non adhesive pads
- 2x gauze
- 5x antibacterial-impregnated dressings
- Crepe bandage
- Compression bandage
- Triangular bandage
- Waterproof plasters- varied sizes
- Self adhering tape
- Duct tape
- Skin tape
- 2x steristrips
- Sam splint for broken bones (great for trips that will be far away from help)
- Emergency blanket
- Water purification tablets
- Broad spectrum antibiotics (if you have limited access to healthcare)
- Haemostatic gauze for major trauma (optional)
- Strong pain killers
- Cold and flu tablets
- Alcohol wipes
- Chamois cream (for saddle sores)
- Burn gel (from campfire burns or sun)
- Lip balm
- Antisecptic hand gel
- Water purification tablets
- Whistle (in case you are too injured to move and need to call for help)
- Dental gum (in case you break a tooth or part of a permanent retainer breaks)
- Lancets x2
- Nail scissors
- Sewing kit
- Suture kit (training required)
- Note pad and pencil
- Zip ties
- AAA batteries
- Flagging tape
- Elastic bands
- Insect spray
What you will need to carry will differ on how long you’re going for, the activity you’re doing, the conditions you might experience during the adventure and who you are going with. While it may seem bulky, a well stoked first aid kit might save your life!
Another thing I always carry on backcountry and solo adventures is a personal locator beacon (PLB). When triggered, it sends satellite co-ordinations and the information you’ve registered about your trip to the local search and rescue authorities. I have never had to use it, but it brings me peace of mind to know that if everything turns for the worst, someone will be working towards finding me and my family will be updated.
I hope you never have to use your first aid kit on any of your adventures, but if you do, I hope this post helps you to be prepared. Happy Adventuring!