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What's in your first aid kit?
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Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
What's in your first aid kit? on 05/19/2008 16:35:27 MDT Print View

I am curious to see what others may carry in their first aid kits. I'm trying to trim some fat on my 10 oz. kit without being overly opptomistic. I am a career Paramedic, so the medical knowlage is in place, however, I tend to have the mindset to be ready for what might happen, not necessarly does happen. Hey, at least I've stopped carrying around a 1 liter I.V. bag and surgical cric kit! I'd really love to see what ya'll carry for maybe a 2-3 day hike, what's worked for you for certain ailments, and maybe even a good war story from the backcountry (those are always fun!). This is list of what I carry so far, feel free to pick it apart:
2- 4x4 bdg 1- 5x9 bdg
1- quick clot 1- mole skin
1- roll gauze 6- butterfly sutures
misc- band aids 1- CPR barrier
2pr- Gloves 1- 14ga. IV cath
2- Triple antibiotic packets
2- sting relief pads
4- alcohol pads
4- Iodine pads
1- small super glue
1- 20cc syringe
Amoxicillin, Benedryl, Immodium, Pepto and Tylenol

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 05/19/2008 16:54:53 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 20:08:21 MST.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: What's in your first aid kit? on 05/19/2008 18:15:06 MDT Print View

I just carry a few band aids and some alcohol pads. Also I carry Advil Tums and Gas-x. I may have to put a tube of super glue in my kit I use it at work but never thought about taking it hiking.
BUT for a paramedic I dont think your kit is too crazy since you know how to use it. Maybe get rid of the CPR barrier thing and just carry less of every thing else. Do you NEED alcohol AND iodine?

Ross Polete
(rdpolete) - F

Locale: Midwest Plain State
first aid on 05/19/2008 19:47:46 MDT Print View

I would think with your background you would carry what you think you will need and just a little more. I found this site and maybe it will help you out.

I personally want to carry as light as possible, but when it comes to first aid and survival kits I think it is best to have what you might need and hope you don't use it; rather than go so light and need something you don't have. I try to pack my first aid and survival kit to be used in conjuction with each other rather than on their own. The Eagle Scout in me still wants to be prepared; Hence, the epi-pens I carry.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
What's in your first aid kit? on 05/19/2008 20:01:54 MDT Print View

Alcohol pads are great for cleaning the dirt and sweat off the area to be covered by moleskin. Then I apply the tincture of benzoate, then the moleskin. Works great on sweaty body part like feet.

My 1st aid kit (2.875 oz) for solo trips of up to 8 days. It never gets smaller than this (too much trouble to unpack and repack). I've only REALLY needed it once....and it worked.

1 Aloksak
3 triple antibiotic packets
2 Tegaderm Self Adhesive pads
2 Moleskin 3x4@
1 20 ml irrigation syringe
3 bandaids
6 alcohol wipes
5 butterfly bandaids
0.2 oz tincture of benzoate
2x2 Imodium caplets
1 needle-nose tweezers
12 Ibuprofin 200 mg @
6 Vicodin
2 Ciprofloxacin

If I'm going to be out longer or going into a "higher risk" environment, I'll increase some of these items and/or add other appropriate items.

Yes, I have prescriptions for the Vicodin and Ciprofloxacin. My doctor is also a long-distance backpacker. I also know when and how to use them, and more importantly, when not to do so.

I also know how to use a suture kit, but I prefer to leave that to the pros. I'll stick to butterflys. My sewing kit will work if I REALLY need one.

Several items in my pack, such as my notebook and pen, bandana, duct tape, and spare guyline, can do double duty as 1st aid supplies in a real emergency.

Edited by wandering_bob on 05/19/2008 20:06:26 MDT.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
First aid kits on 05/19/2008 21:09:45 MDT Print View

Thanks for all of the insight guys! Especially the links from Dave and Ross. I looked through all the past forums and couldn't find anything, but alas, there it is!
To Jesse, SUPER GLUE IS THE BOMB! It is great for those less severe lacerations that wouldn't require stitches and on parts of the body, like knuckles and fingers, that are constantly flexing and moving. I know some ERs are using it to close wounds (Although it's probaly made by Pfizer instead of Elmer's and will probaly cost ya $600!) It always sticks (even two fingers together, ooops) and sets within seconds up to a minute. Just clean the cut like you normally would and your good to go. The small sqeeze tube I carry weighs 0.2 oz. It will start to flake off after a few days like a scab.
As for the CPR barrier, it's just one of those things. I carry another small one in a keychain-pouch on my car keys. I've had that for almost 10 years and haven't had to use that either. Unfortunatly, the chance of a CPR save (Spontainious Return of Circulation) is realistic under ideal conditions (less than 6 min EMS response time, AED). One can only imagine being in the back country. However, that wouldn't stop me from trying, there's always that chance that lies somewhere between slim and nothing. Plus the barrier weighs in at 0.3 oz. Thanks again everyone. Keep 'em coming.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: What's in your first aid kit? on 05/20/2008 17:13:21 MDT Print View

Dude if I had 6 vicodin in my pack they wouldn't last me 8 miles much less 8 days...

G Dup
(lococoyo) - F
re: first aid on 05/29/2008 18:38:49 MDT Print View

- alcohol for fuel, sterilization, and emergency mood reassignment (i keed you)
- all sorts of meds, most are mixed up in a sak but i'm familiar with their colors - benadryl, claratin, excedrin (aspirin, caffiene, tylenol), ibuprofen, immodium, pepto bismol tabs, tylenol
- and of course 100 µg fentanyl patches my doctor gave me for headaches - don't worry jesse, I know how and when to use them ;-)
- bit of medical tape and duct tape
- butterfly closures
- cordage (guy lines)
- floss
- hand sanitizer
- moleskin
- tiny tube of crazy glue

Might be other stuff I haven't remembered...
Looking into acetazolamide for AMS - I hear a little coca to chew also works well.

edit: Looking at your list reminds me... I need to find one of those tiny plastic tweezers for my kit. They have come in way too handy for those incessant cholla/cactus spines. Steroidal anti-inflam cream helps as well. Use duct tape to remove (nearly) invisible glochid spines.

Mike, I was curious what the syringe is for? Irrigating what - a blister, massive infections? What about the amoxicillin? I'm not versed on antibiotics, but what would this help with? Sickness from dirty water? Do you bring a whole regimen of the pills and have to keep taking these everyday ow what? Is it fast acting? Seems like it'd only be useful on long (ie. multi week) hikes from the sound of it, no?

Edited by lococoyo on 05/29/2008 18:47:10 MDT.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: re: first aid on 05/31/2008 22:14:50 MDT Print View

"Looking into acetazolamide for AMS - I hear a little coca to chew also works well"

By AMS are you refering to Altitude Sickness or Altered Mental Status? And if so, how will a diuretic help for either? Sounds like it will just help to dehydrate you.

But hey, I live about a foot above sea level so I'm not familiar with treatments for altitude sickness. Maybe it's commonly prescibed in mountian regions? I'm not trying to be condisending, I really don't know anything about it.

I don't have it listed, but I have a pair of those little tweezers that come w/ a small Swiss Army knife as well as the scissors from it as well. The thin metal edge on the tweezers is a bit more effective at getting under the skin than the thicker plastic ones.

Irregation is exactly what I use the syringe for. The Amoxicillin is for any suspected infection or sepsis (Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, malaise). The recommended dose is (3) 500mg tabs a day for 10 days. I don't carry anywhere close to a 10 day supply. Maybe 2 days- just enough to get the ball rolling on fighting infection until more definative care can be given.

Unfortunatly, It would take 30 tabs for a full corse, which I WON'T carry. I'm sure there are better antibiotics that require less pills (like Z-packs) but this is what I have available to me at the moment.

BTW: Dude! Forget the Vicodin, you have Fentanyl?! You lucky guy! I'm sure as an adult you know your limits for you own meds and how to use them and blah, blah, blah... but be careful- Cause that's some pretty good stuff. As long as you're not like some of these rocket scientist high school kids in my area and decide to eat them you should be in pretty good (actually, really, really good) shape.


Edited by ekim765 on 05/31/2008 22:22:29 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
What's in your first aid kit? on 06/01/2008 00:10:22 MDT Print View

I've used acetazolamide for AMS. Not as a treatment, but as a preventative measure. I start taking it two or three days before my trips. The literature says it removes bicarbonate from the body via frequent urination, setting off a chain of events that has a side effect of the body being able to adapt to changes in altitude at a much faster rate than normal via enhanced ventilation.

I've used it twice, and felt awesome on both trips. For me, it has let me drive from sea level to the sierras after work, and start hiking in the morning without loss of appetite or upset stomach.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: What's in your first aid kit? on 06/01/2008 13:32:45 MDT Print View

Very cool. I'll keep that in mind when I get a chance to venture into higher altitudes.

I could conjur up a chain of events that could possibly be negative to losing bicarb from your system (acidosis, purely speculation of course), but it sounds like you've had some really good results and no ill effects from it.

Is it a prescription med or OTC?

Edited by ekim765 on 06/01/2008 15:54:18 MDT.

Skruffy McGruff
(skruffy) - F

Locale: Central Oregon
first aid kit doesn't need much on 06/09/2008 22:34:12 MDT Print View

I'm far from an expert in this arena. However, after advice from my mother-in-law, an ER physician, my kit contains super glue, duct tape, and Benadryl. Nothing more. Make sure the glue is brush-on, it's much easier.

Edited by skruffy on 06/09/2008 23:12:51 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: What's in your first aid kit? on 06/09/2008 23:14:45 MDT Print View

I will have to dig my kit to list exactly what is in there, but it is basically a customized Adventure Medical UL 0.5 with a final weight of 6 ounces.

I have taken a FA/CPR/AED course here and there, but generally speaking, my first aid kit has more to do with caring for myself. I do not frequently find myself in situations where care of others would be likely. At least not on hiking/backpacking trips. My multi-day wilderness river rafting kit is much more comprehensive.

I do have a few questions if you will indulge us:

- Are wounds that require a 5x9 blg common in non-motorized recreation situations?

- How well does the quick clot work, and when should it be used as opposed to allowing the wound to flush?

- What might one use a syringe for?

I have never carried a CPR barrier because I figure my chance of needing it are very remote.

But really Mike, we would probably learn more by asking you why you carry what you do.

Richard DeLong
(Legkohod) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
Practical Backpacking podcast on wilderness medicine on 06/09/2008 23:28:44 MDT Print View

I highly recommend listening to this podcast:

PBP Episode 9 - Shana Tarter - Wilderness Medicine

Until then I had basically been taking just bandaids, antibiotic ointment, and a hand sanitizer. She strongly recommends an irrigation syringe, plastic gloves, and waterproof-breathable bandages that I can't get where I live.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
FA Kit on 06/10/2008 11:55:49 MDT Print View

I mostly carry stuff for blisters but I have WFR training so I've been taught to improvise a lot.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: FA Kit on 06/10/2008 12:26:05 MDT Print View

Assorted Band-aids, Benadryl, Vitamin-I, Pepto, a little moleskin, alcohol pads, a larger dressing, and maybe some other small things (don't have it in front of me).

My whole gear/body repair kit, with Superglue, needle and thread, weighs a hair over 3 oz.

I don't have any specialized first aid training apart from what school and Scouting provides.


PS: I'm also curious as to whether acetazolamide is prescription only or not. I'm going out to Colorado for a week at the end of the summer, and since I live at about 1,100 ft I'd love any help acclimatizing as smoothly as possible.

Edited by aroth87 on 06/10/2008 12:31:41 MDT.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
What's in your first aid kit? on 06/11/2008 22:16:38 MDT Print View

From Jason: "I do have a few questions if you will indulge us:"

- Are wounds that require a 5x9 blg common in non-motorized recreation situations?

I've personally used them in many non-motorized incidents. They cover a pretty decent area and are extra absorbent.

- How well does the quick clot work, and when should it be used as opposed to allowing the wound to flush?

No personal experience w/ Quick Clot, my department doesn't use it. I know the Military uses something similar. After reading everyone's replies, this is one of the items I've decided to remove from my kit. I'll give it to a friend of mine, who is an avid hunter. That will save 2.15 oz. itself. Thinking back to some of the more severe lacerations we've treated, even some impressive looking, spurting, arterial bleeds have been controlled w/ a single 5 x 9, kling, direct pressure and elevation.

- What might one use a syringe for?

Irrigation of wounds. It directs water flow better than my hydration tube.

-I have never carried a CPR barrier because I figure my chance of needing it are very remote.

I agree that the chance of needing it is remote as well. Like I said before, I've been carring the one on my key ring for years, never having to use it either. It's one of those mental things I'll have to get over I guess.

-But really Mike, we would probably learn more by asking you why you carry what you do.

I'm pretty knowlagable about treating trauma from the back of an ambulance. On the trail is a different story. I could tell you all of the equipment I'd bring if I was called to an injured hiker, and 30-40 lbs. later we'd have it all. That is why I'm reaching out to those who have a few trail miles under their belts and keep checking out this forum for any new posts. Again, thanks everyone for your comments, critiques and suggestions. Thanks to ya'll my kit has gone from 10 oz to 6 oz. If I knock it down to just treating minor ailments for myself it'll probally go down to 3-4 oz.

Edited by ekim765 on 06/12/2008 14:12:44 MDT.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
Practical Backpacking podcast on wilderness medicine on 06/12/2008 15:59:40 MDT Print View


Thank you very much for the link for this podcast. Shana Tarter even talks quite a bit about AMS and acetazolamide for treatment/prevention and it's effects and side effects. It is a prescription med.

Thanks again,


Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
What's in your first aid kit? on 06/21/2008 15:34:56 MDT Print View

* Pills (18 ibuprofens, 6 pseudopheds, 4 benedryls, 4 imodiums)
* Duct Tape
* 2 Gauze Pads

Peter Fogel
(pgfogel) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Whart's in your first aid kit,...............consider adding on 06/21/2008 18:05:52 MDT Print View

Consider adding:

Cayenne Pepper. It's a fantastic pain numbing and blood clotting agent.

Turmeric: It reduces inflammation and swelling.

A 1/4 oz. or so of each can go a long way.


Edited by pgfogel on 06/21/2008 18:06:40 MDT.