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critique 1st aid please
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Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
critique 1st aid please on 11/18/2008 10:57:58 MST Print View

2-person (healthy, late twenties, no special training) 5-day Arkansas trip in late autumn. I want to stay below 2oz. of dedicated 1st aid supplies.

I've seen several threads on this so I hope it isn't just noise. Thanks.

1st aid (currently < 1oz.):
6 Bandaids (1/2" to 1-1/4" pad)
3 butterfly closures
8 ibuprofen (2 mega-doses)
4 loperamide (up to 4 doses)
6 antihistamines (3 to 6 doses)

Possibly relevant items already in pack:
Alcohol gel
Witch hazel in small atomizer
Chlorine dioxide tablets
Guyline, poles, foam mat
Toilet paper
Small blade
Eucerin hand cream

Items under consideration:
Irrigation syringe
Antibiotic ointment
Eye antibiotic ointment* (probably not dusty enough to need)
1 aspirin 325mg (useless if healthy?)
Extractor (perhaps too cool for snakes, wasps?)
Moleskin and scissors
Topical hydrocortisone cream
Suture needle*
Lozenges or candy

* items I don't currently own

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
aid on 11/18/2008 12:35:48 MST Print View

These items are good, ditch the rest. I would adjust the amount of Antihistamines,Loperamide to two. Ibuprofen down to 4. I would think you would only need 1 tiny packet of antibiotic ointment and the same for hydrocortizone that they sell here in the gear shop.

6 Bandaids
2 butterfly closures
4 ibuprofen
2 loperamide
2 antihistamines
Antibiotic ointment
Topical hydrocortisone cream

Chlorine dioxide tablets
Guyline(use spectra cord)
Toilet paper
Small blade

Edited by grinder on 11/18/2008 12:44:55 MST.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
critique 1st aid please on 11/18/2008 12:57:29 MST Print View

Arkansas is great this time of year. I've spent a lot of time there.

I'd typically replace the bandaids w/ a 4x4 topper dressing pad and some tape. More flexible for different sized wounds, and around the same weight. It's less convenient, but cut to fit. That is, unless you are using band-aids for blister treatment (I don't, there are beter options). If they work for you, keep em.

I'd up the ibuprofen (if you need it on day 1, you'll likely need a dose per day).

Drop the following:
pack only 1-2 doses of antihistamines unless someone is allergic to something like bee stings.

Micro tweezers such as those out of a mini-swiss army knife are good, no need to pack larger.

Other areas to consider:
Why soap and alcohol gel?
What does the witch hazel do that you don't already have covered with other things?
Have you considered replacing the hand cream with something multipurpose such as sportsslick or bodyglide?

If you have a zip lock baggie, extra rubber glove or a hydration bladder you probably won't need an irrigation syringe.

You didn't list gloves, which I personally always pack due to the sheer number of times I've given first aid (or more) to strangers on the trail. It's just a rule I have.

If you pack sports slick, you may not need to pack antibiotic ointment. *Note, there are some debates on the practice of using antibiotic ointments in the field for more than a couple days. Best to reserch it and decide for yourself.

Unless someone has a history of eye severe infections, the eye antibiotic is probably overkill.

If you think you'll run across someone with a heart condition, aspirin takes up minimal room and could help, but otherwise probably unnecessary.

Extractors are rarely effective even if you need them and it really isn't the time of year. Those extractors really capitalize on the "fear of the unknown". You might see a copperhead warming on a rock but overall an encounter is so unlikely it's totally uncalled for in that area.

You're already packing oral antihistamines which work for most topical applications of hydrocortisone. So it's redundant.

Unless you actually have training on how to do stitches, rely instead on your butterfly closures. You'd be missing the silk anyway. I've done them in the field for my dog, but if you or your partner need them, best to just pack it out and ruin an extra layer of clothing to use to limit the bleeding and have a pro do it. Stitches without pain killers could ruin the relationship with most any hiking partner. Professional debriement is also very important when working with stitches and that'll definately hurt a friendship without pain killers. Besides, that's beyond firs-aid and more into actual medical care.

Expectorants - probably not needed.
Lozenges or candy - useful if a bug is going around, but overall not necessary.

Edited by slacklinejoe on 11/18/2008 13:08:44 MST.

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: critique 1st aid please on 11/19/2008 17:35:44 MST Print View

Thanks, advice taken, save following:

"soap and alcohol gel?"
-alcohol for #2. NaHCO3 can fill in for soap.

"What does the witch hazel do..."
-to be discrete, it is a topical vaso-constrictant.

"hand cream..."
-Eucerin stays in Lisa's pack. Intolerant of lip balm. Great stuff.

"You didn't list gloves"
-will consider

"antihistamines...for most topical applications of hydrocortisone."
-Intended for poison ivy, can use witch hazel.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
critique 1st aid please on 11/19/2008 20:06:01 MST Print View

Now that you've narrowed down a lot of the gear, I'd suggest you look at what you can do to repackage certain things into smaller containers.

As of late, I've been repackaging things into either the BPL containers or to repackage them into straws. There are tricks to folding them to pack stuff into reusable containers for things like salt, but as an experiment I've been packing single doses of things like antibiotic ointment, sportsslick, or anything else that would otherwise be messy to repack by cutting straws to fit and then heat sealing the ends.

Here's an example of some gear oil I repackaged for gear maintenance single serve use:
heat sealed straws

To do it, simply use a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the straw closed with 1/8" of the straw sticking out on one side and apply a flame. Insert your ingredients and repeat for other side. It heat seals nicely. It's practical for things that you can gauge how much you'll be needing in advance or that you can break up into needing several segments depending on need, such as sun screen. By doing this, you'll likely save many ounces over even the smallest bottles of witch hazel, hand cream and ointments.

By the way, when hiking I've used oral antihistamenes many times to address poison ivy rashes (I'm extremely allergic and often have half to full body reactions). OTC Benadryl works well enough to eliminate most of the need for topical applications and is a lot more practical for the field.

Edited by slacklinejoe on 11/19/2008 20:16:03 MST.

Linda Vassallo

Locale: Eastbay
Re: critique 1st aid please on 12/02/2008 21:34:22 MST Print View

Hi Jeremy:

I'v just cut my pack wt down (with the help of other BPL members). One thing they reminded me is to carry what you need, not what you think you might need.
For the past 4 years I had carried a fairly "complete" first aid kit. It contained items I ended up never using but had for "just in case" situations. In those 4 years I only used the moleskin once (for someone else).

Now, all I carry (as of my recent gear revision):
Moleskin, 1 sheet
small scissors to cut moleskin
a needle, 2 pins (needle for blister care)
bandaids, 5 assorted
Bacitracin ointment, 2 sm packets
few assorted pills for headache, pain, antihistamine, decongestant

My first aid kit now weighs in at 2.2 oz. Much lighter than previous and I don' think I'll miss any of the deleted items. Time will tell.


Roman Ryder
(RomanLA) - F

Locale: Southwest Louisiana
Seems heavy... on 12/04/2008 04:41:52 MST Print View

You don't seem to be getting much bang for your buck. I'm guessing the scissors are adding the extra weight. I carry one of the tiny swiss army knives that has scissors and tweezers. All of this stuff is only 1.7 oz, including the bag...

Duct Tape, Assorted Bandages (x5), Butterflies (x4), Moleskin, Super Glue, 3-in-1 (x2), Hydrocortisone (x2), Alcohol Wipes (x2), Iodine (x2), Sting Relief (x2), Sinus & Cold (x2), Ibuprofen (x2), Benadryl (x6), Immodium AD (x4)

bill rogers
(chiefcrazytalk) - F
re: first aid on 12/04/2008 23:40:55 MST Print View

i don't bring a "first aid kit"
find me any life threatening ailment that can't be taken care of more effectively with a t shirt, electrical tape (i like it better than duct tape, it's smaller, stretchy, can be used multiple times- stays sticky for years. you can wrap some around a trekking pole for extended periods and it won't leave that nasty powder residue. just don't use crappy stuff, i like 3M super 33+ ) a small sewing kit (just needle and thread), and trekking/tent poles and i might change my mind.
i once put a sheetrock knife into my palm, had bandaids around but opted for electrical tape, taped the wound shut and didn't need stitches.
another time i taped the tip of my thumb back on (whacker-tacker incident) and it healed very nicely, not even a scar.
my reasoning is that if i never use "first aid" at home, why bring it on the trail.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
pads on 12/05/2008 00:34:31 MST Print View

I like to bring one large bandage in addition to the kits many people have mentioned. My preference is for a maxi-pad or something, can be used with a wrap very effectively. Probably more a climbing item vs. backpacking but is very useful to have around when someone cuts themselves deeply or for a larger bleed.
:P Would suck ruining a good shirt when its not life threatening, lol.

IMO pack a maxi-pad with the steristrips, most likely, in the off chance that you do, you'll use them together.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
first aid on 12/07/2008 11:18:54 MST Print View

Electrical tape is good, but it contians chemcials that are Carcinogenic and is recomened to wash hands after handling it.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
critique 1st aid on 12/07/2008 11:54:29 MST Print View

Super Glue is a good multi-use items (repairing sun glasses)...

That's the only think I would add.