I have examined many medical kits over the past 30+ years. Whether it was homemade, professionally assembled, or commercially manufactured I usually found something about them I didn’t like. My own kits have changed drastically over the years. When I was a kid treating my Dads ballplayers alongside various team Docs it was mostly instant ice packs, tape, Tough Skin spray and that orange goopy Atomic Balm stuff that always somehow ended up in somebodys jock. Much later as a SAR Tech-EMT for the Sheriff’s Office I was more concerned about managing airways, controlling major bleeds, and patient packaging. Put more succintly, keep air moving in and out, plug the big holes and figure out the fastest way to get out of there. I have come full circle and finally settled on the medical gear I really need to carry when emergency services are an extended response time away. Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies. Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won’t or can’t turn back.
I keep a complete BLS (Basic Life Support) med pack in the truck but that is where it stays now. My days of humping 100 pound rescue packs into the boonies are over but I still assume the mother hen/medic role when I am out with other people. I still have that “duty to act” mindset and I still hate the idea of not being prepared. So, I have two kits I regularly use in the field. One bare bones version or IFAK (individual first aid kit) for when I am alone and another for when I am with other people (which means, except for personal meds, they can ditch their kit).
My IFAK contains only what I consider the absolute essentials. Nothing more. It is light weight, waterproof and fits easily in a runners pack or BDU pant cargo pocket.
Now look, I am publishing this list because I have received many requests from readers asking what I carry in the field not because I am suggesting what you should carry. After all, I have a great deal of emergency medical training and experience but I have no idea what you do or don’t know. Education is a wonderful thing and I suggest that you get as much as you can before trying to take care of someone or even yourself. Please don’t try to take this list or anyone else’s and do things you are not qualified to do. You might make things worse.
OK, with that said, here is the medical gear I carry in the field. The items contained in my solo kit are shown in red type.
4×4 GAUZE PADS, 6 to 12 for wound cleansing, dressing
ELASTIC BANDAGE, 3 inch for joint support, immobilization, compression
STERI-STRIPS wound closures
OPSITE wound dressing
BAND-AID ULTRA-STRIPS in assorted sizes
CELOX HEMOSTATIC for controlling major bleeds
TRIANGULAR BANDAGE, cloth w/ safety pins for immobilization, packaging, tourniquet
TRAUMA PAD, 1 or 2 for large wound dressing, pressure bandage
WET PREP GREEN SOAP SPONGES for antiseptic wound cleansing
COBAN SELF-ADHERENT WRAP, 2 inch for wound dressing, joint support, packaging
HYPAFIX TAPE for blister prevention, care
ADHESIVE BACKED FELT for blister padding, care
ALCOHOL SWABS for blister care
EYE WASH, single use vials
GLUCOSE for hypoglycemia
EPIPEN AUTO-INJECTOR .3 mg of Epinephrine for severe allergic reactions
BENADRYL TABLETS-Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride antihistamine for allergic reactions
PEPTO BISMAL tablets for upset stomach, diarrhea
IBUPROFEN tablets, 800 mg for pain, inflammation
SPWIPES SUN PROTECTION towelettes, SPF 30
DEEP WOODS OFF Insect Repellent towelettes
SAGE P2 HIRISK POWDER FREE LATEX EXAM GLOVES for BSI, cleaning game
IRRIGATION SYRINGE, 60cc with catheter tip and a 7.5mm/32FR Nasopharyngeal Airway to improvise a suction device, for wound cleansing, airway management
SWISS ARMY KNIFE, small with scissors/tweezers for trimming nails, dead skin, blister donuts
HEATSHEETS SURVIVAL BLANKET-Two Person for treatment of shock, hypothermia, emergency shelter
WIGGY’S PILLOW for sitting, sleeping, immobilization, splinting, packaging (carried separately)
WATER for drinking, wound irrigation, cleansing (carried separately)
KIRKLAND BABY WIPES, unscented for personal hygiene (carried with toilet paper)
DUCT TAPE wrapped around my hiking pole for dressing, joint support, immobilization, packaging, cactus removal
SPOT 2 SATELLITE MESSENGER, for calling Advanced Life Support, evacuation (carried separately)
Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies.
Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won’t or can’t turn back.