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Backcountry First Aid

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Ray52

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Backcountry First Aid
« on: January 21, 2008, 12:42:19 PM »
What works for you for a first aid kit for a 3-4 day backpacking trip?  

I bought something off the shelf several years ago and don't believe it's ever been used.....band-aids, a few aspirin, tweezers, etc all neatly packaged for the pack....and it's been along as extra weight on all of my overnight hikes since then.  All of the adhesives are now dry and powdery and the expiration dates passed before many of you could drive legally so I need to replenish.  What I have in mind is something minimal for a solo hike.  Most likely I'll have some pain and maybe a little swelling in one knee, and possibly pain in my lower back.  Don't worry......this is how I live my life and I'm otherwise very healthy.  Also I don't drink anything more than an occasional Shiner Bock in good company so single malt liquid painkillers aren't the answer.  

Many thanks for your input :icon_biggrin:

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Offline Doc Savage

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 01:11:55 PM »
Ray,

I think you will find as many answers to this as there are individuals to ask. In typical fashion, I find out that what I need to carry usually happens to be what I don't have. I'm a little more of the mindset of better over prepared than under prepared. Basic first aid kits are nice, but a more targeted one is typically more useful in my experiences.

Unless you plan on only minor cuts and scrapes, I find bandaids themselves to be pretty useless. Tape and gauze is much more versitile, it covers the basic stuff you need bandaids for, as well as bigger stuff. Wife swears by using a triple antibiotic ointment with any scrape also. One thing I never went backpacking without was ace bandages, prewrap, and athletic tape. I have bad ankles and knees and it doesn't take much for me to sprain an ankle, and depending on the stress level, the knees may need a little help. I also think that moleskin is essential (after having my boots get wet on the AT in a rain then snow storm and freeze and getting blisters the next day I like to be prepared for them). Basic Meds is the main thing you will need, but OTC stuff is what ever works for you. I've found that Asprine, Excedrine Migriane, and Aleve (prefer generic) will knock out about any aches and pains I encounter.

However whatever you carry, the most important thing is to always check it (so adheasives don't go to powder) and rotate medications. Every month, I'll put new pills in my go bag and use the ones that were in there so they are never more than 30 days out of date. I have a full daypack as part of my CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) gear. I go thru it and pack and repack it every month checking batteries, and swapping meds. The same should be true of any first aid kit you have.

Just a few ideas.

Robert
Enjoying the Texas life!

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Offline STARLITDARKNESS3

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2008, 01:42:23 PM »
I agree with Doc on overprepared.  I carry the basic items along with Kerlix (long bandage) with some very light splinting material.  I do not go out there thinking I'm going to break a bone, but if that happens to me or others, I am prepared.  I carry some Naproxen, muscle relaxer. 

So, basic bandages.  Forget the assorted band-aids, pick one size and carry a few.  Also there is liquid bandage.
Some antibiotics, Some allergy meds, Splinting kit (I prefer Kerlix with Sams Splint), a few electrolyte powder mixes, Emergency blankets. 

At times it depends who is hiking with me.  If my sister is along, I carry a Blood Pressure Cuff.  Her blood pressure tends to drop, Medication.  The cuff can stop a major bleed if needed.  If a friend of mine thats a diabetic hikes along, I carry some glucose (he can carry his own meter).  Thats just me, I overprepare and dont mind never having to use it. 
"Are we there yet?"  ... by my Kids

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Offline JimNewOrleans

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2008, 01:47:14 PM »
Imodium always is in mine also – nothing, nothing worse at all than diarrhea on the trail – had it once on the dodson.
Sunscreen (although not first aid per se, I keep it in there anyway).
Sting Eze - esp if with kids.
Signal mirror / whistle.
I think a snake bite kit essential, although never used it - supposed to be good for scorpion stings also I think.  Can repackage it from that big yellow case it comes in to save space & weight.
I keep mine packed so that if I go on a day hike from base camp, I can grab it at a moment’s notice and even if I get nothing else, basic essentials in there.  So, a few spare matches, and small amount of toilet paper.
A few tabs of an antihistamine - helps in case of minor sinus headache, and also helps it you get bee stung repeatedly.
Tweezers, as you say, are a definite - but if you ever have a serious cactus issue, small pliers might be needed – I saw a camper in Joshua Tree get a good brush with a teddy bear cactus, and believe me, I felt his pain as he had his friend pull them out with a leatherman.
I keep a small unbreakable mirror in mine for any eye debris removal, as well as a backup to my ‘main’ mirror since I wear contacts.
And I definitely echo Doc Savage - moleskin/foam is abslutely essential.  
Yeah, you'r eright, a first aid kit is a little hassle to carry, but a first aid kit with you that is not used is better then the alternative!

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Offline jr ranger

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 01:59:24 PM »
Advil, basic Benadryl, chewable Pepto Bismol. Tweezers, small mirror, just a few band aids and larger square self adhesive pads and some cleansing wipes. I always carry a slip on ankle support just in case. I have only had to use the Advil & tweezers to date.   :ranger:
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

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Offline Al

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2008, 02:03:34 PM »
Butterfly band aids.  Have only needed them once due to a major gash on the leg while coming down a steep slope.  Didn't have them and wish we had.

Al

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Offline Hayduke

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2008, 02:11:58 PM »
While I'm sure you can get many good suggestions from other posters on this board I think it's better to start with a list that's bigger than you'll probably ever need, and pare it down based on your specific needs.

William Forgey's Wilderness Medicine (a relatively inexpensive paperback) has an excellent appendix that covers the contents of what he calls a Wilderness Expedition Medical Kit. This goes well beyond what a simple First Aid kit might contain but it's separated into a few modules so a person can easily pick-and-choose based on your specific needs. And it's not just a list - he explains the use of each item.

I used Forgey's list as a basis from which to choose items for my own FA kit which I have used for about the last 15 years. Most of what I have comes from only two of his six modules - those for Topical Bandaging and Non-RX drugs. My FA kit is compact enough that I bring it with me for anything from Dayhikes to Backpacks, and I use it for foreign travel as well. I've also used it for anything from solo hiking to taking a group out for a week.

While I'm at it, I strongly reccommend taking a Wilderness First Aid class (or better Wilderness First Responder). My wife and I do a lot of hiking off-trail and (especially in a small group of two) it's a great idea to be prepared for the situations that might arise.

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2008, 02:38:21 PM »
I thought about answering this question first, but realized I am woefully under qualified to do so.  Mainly b/c of what Doc Savage said, "I think you will find as many answers to this as there are individuals to ask."

On that note, I believe that others have just about covered it.  But I would like to interject and say that if you are backpacking also remember the rules of light weight packing (if you're into that) and bring things that serve multiple purposes.  For instance, the stays in your pack can be used as splints, a zip loc bag can be used to irrigate at wound, and duct tape can be used for almost any purpose (especially fending off the onset of blisters).

One thing I almost always contemplate not bringing, but am happy I did, are my trekking poles.  At some point in my 30's, my knees started getting a little tricky.  Sometimes they do just fine and other times it’s excruciating.  The trekking poles have been invaluable and have saved my trip a few times.  A pole could also be used as a splint.  Two together with a sleeping bag could be used to drag a buddy out.  And, if you sprain or break a walking appendage, can be used like crutches.  These are just my thoughts and opinions...ymmv.

Regarding snake bite kits...I've heard that they are a must carry and I've also heard that they are completely useless and may actually do more harm than good.  Does anyone have an opinion on them?


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Offline RichardM

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 02:49:15 PM »
Regarding snake bite kits...I've heard that they are a must carry and I've also heard that they are completely useless and may actually do more harm than good.  Does anyone have an opinion on them?
Oh yeah, but best to post them in the Snakebites topic.

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Offline Hayduke

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2008, 02:56:26 PM »
Oh yeah, but best to post them in the Snakebites topic.

Ooops, saw that too late!

Moderator note:  Ayup, already moved it for you! :ranger:
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 03:09:30 PM by RichardM »

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2008, 03:45:33 PM »
in addition to the stuff already mentioned, my wife used 3 of the small eye-washer modules out of our 1st-aid kit on our most recent BB hike.  Been schlepping them around forever -- they really came in handy this time!
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline MJ

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2008, 05:23:51 AM »
What works for you for a first aid kit for a 3-4 day backpacking trip?  

I bought something off the shelf several years ago and don't believe it's ever been used.....band-aids, a few aspirin, tweezers, etc all neatly packaged for the pack....and it's been along as extra weight on all of my overnight hikes since then.  All of the adhesives are now dry and powdery and the expiration dates passed before many of you could drive legally so I need to replenish.  What I have in mind is something minimal for a solo hike.  Most likely I'll have some pain and maybe a little swelling in one knee, and possibly pain in my lower back.  Don't worry......this is how I live my life and I'm otherwise very healthy.  Also I don't drink anything more than an occasional Shiner Bock in good company so single malt liquid painkillers aren't the answer.  

Many thanks for your input :icon_biggrin:

some of the responses to this thread were really useful:
http://forums.outdoorreview.com/showthread.php?t=1124

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2008, 09:08:37 AM »
Don't forget scissors, even if they're just part of a small pocket knife.  Useful for trimming bandages, etc.  You can even make your own butterfly bandages out of athletic tape (or even duct tape).

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Backcountry First Aid
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2008, 04:41:35 PM »
I tend to pack a little more than I might need, but have learned its better to have it than not, dual purpose everything you can. Knife folding and muti-tool, scissors, tape, gauze pads, duct tape, duct tape and pain tabs (your choice) flex splint or be creative. Of course any personal meds you need, keep it simple, if something major happens you most likely will not have much ability to deal with it anyway. I also carry a second pair of reading glasses in case (blind as a bat up close). KISS works also educate youself on proper treatment and care of wounds, bleeding, airway etc.  Be careful, have fun.
:
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

 


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