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What do you carry for First Aid?
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Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Combat gauze on 02/03/2013 21:40:17 MST Print View

Just took a trauma course from a medic with 3 or 4 combat tours under his belt. Here is what I learned from him:

Yes quick clot can cause necrosis
Combat gauze is still recommended and doesn't cause necrosis
Packing a deep wound with arterial bleeding with ordinary steril gauze is fine
hemostats are impractical in this setting

My background is military and EMS FWIW here is what I carry when I'm solo: Imodium, mucho tape, NSAID, Benadryl, moleskin, Neosporin, and common sense. Anything else I need I can scrounge from my pack. I'll flush any wounds with sterilized water.

If I'm hunting or in the back 40 during the hunting season then I'll carry a GSW kit as well. If I'm hiking with my kids or untested hikers then I'll bring a mac daddy blister kit including tincture of benzoin and alcohol prep pads. If you are a real bad @$$ then you can give the blister a hot shot with the benzoin or superglue. Hurts like heck but that blister will be good to go.

I don't do things 10 hours away from my truck that I would do 10 minutes away from my truck. The summit will be there tomorrow. The snow field will probably soften up once the sun hits it. If I keep walking I'll find a safe place to cross the stream. I make more mistakes once I've hit the wall so I know when to call it a day. I'm older now so I've lost any compulsion to perform back 40 acrobatics. My feet are pretty tough but they are my first priority of work during breaks.

I only worked EMS full time for three years and only applied a traction splint once in that time. In my experience mid shaft femur fractures are not super common but they do happen. You are only limited by your imagination but this is basically how I learned to use a field expedient one in my WFR class:

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/06/2013 12:17:33 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/10/2015 06:46:40 MDT.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 02/06/2013 17:44:17 MST Print View

Great thread.

I have training and field experience as an EMT-I, WEMT, and some tactical medicine. Bob's post is superb, nobody can tell you just what you should carry. Some tips:

- Improvisation is imperative.

- Tactical medicine techniques can be leveraged for hunting or bushcraft injuries: gunshots, arrow impalements, hatchet accidents, etc. Knowing how to pack a wound for hemorrhage control is good. If I was a hunter I would carry a commercial tourniquet like the CAT or SOFTT-Wide. Learn how to properly construct and secure an improvised tourniquet. It is possible to do it wrong and speed up the bleeding.

- Few LW/UL hikers are toting guns or axes but most have stoves of some sort. Be ready to deal with burns.

- Prevention is huge.

- Environmental medicine matters.

- Injuries from the knee down are serious because they can be (or become) mobility killers.

- I only applied a traction splint for a snapped femur once in the field, but the patient said it improved his pain better than the morphine we gave him.

Edited by El_Canyon on 02/06/2013 17:47:00 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

First Aid Kit Complete on 02/06/2013 23:01:21 MST Print View

I took the advice of everyone who posted. Your comments and insight may very well save my life.

First Aid

My kit now includes:

10 Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Quilted
2 Sterile Gauze pads
3 Sterile Sponges
3 Alcohol Wipes
2 Antiseptic Wipes
1 Tube Neosporin Antibiotic Cream
1 Sheet Moleskin
6 wound closure strips
8 Band-Aid Advanced Healing Blister Cushions- these are designed to sit on the wound for several days, acting in place of a scab. For bad blisters.
4 J&J Advanced Care Tough Pads- larger cushion pads designed to sit on the wound for several days. For bad cuts.
1 ACE Bandage with two clips
2 tablets of Antihistamine
Aleve painkillers
Papaya enzymes for stomach issues
Medical Tape

Other items also in separate plastic bags within first aid kit:
Gorilla Glue
Emergency Whistle
2 patches for rain gear

Everything stored in an Aloksak, 6in x 6.75in

Sorry, no weight. I haven't got a scale. If I had to guess I'd say 3.5oz, it's a hair heavier than my Sawyer Squeeze.

I took out about fifteen cheapo bandages that looked like they'd fall off, Insect Sting treatment, extra moleskine, and some generic ibuprofen. I was shocked at how sparse my kit was; I had no way to treat an injury larger than what I might be able to ignore. Now I can cover small wounds to prevent infection and still treat more serious wounds.

Might add more Gauze.

Thanks again for the help!

Edited by mdilthey on 02/07/2013 11:24:23 MST.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/06/2013 23:27:10 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/09/2015 14:18:37 MDT.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/06/2013 23:36:13 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/09/2015 14:18:05 MDT.

Susan D
(susand) - M

Locale: montana
Neosporin on 02/06/2013 23:39:46 MST Print View

That looks like a 1 oz. tube of Neosporin in your baggie. I suggest you save almost an ounce and put in one or two small packets of triple antibiotic. Triple antibiotic, bacitracin zinc ointment, Blistex, hydrocortisone cream, and so on come in little packets that weigh half a gram to one gram. They can be found in medicine cabinets at some places of employment or ordered online. If you had a couple triple antibiotic packets, your Neosporin weight would be reduced from 1 oz. to 1/16 oz. A little goes a long way - I used it daily on a trip last fall, and one packet lasted me six days.

Last year, I bought a bunch of first aid stuff (and food) online at Free shipping over $20. They've got small sizes of many of products.

Susan D
(susand) - M

Locale: montana
Oops on 02/06/2013 23:41:50 MST Print View

Looks like I was writing at the same time Roger was...

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Nevermind on Medical Questions on 02/07/2013 00:10:41 MST Print View

Sounds like you might be interested in some advanced first aid training. I took the WFR course through these guys and would highly recommend them.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: _ on 02/07/2013 09:32:58 MST Print View

"If I was a hunter I would carry a commercial tourniquet like the CAT or SOFTT-Wide."

These are great tools for those who work with/around firearms, chainsaws, etc. While it's easy to improvise a tourniquet, these are hard to beat and are much more effective than using a traditional cravat and stick.

One important thing to remember when buying these off of Ebay is that they are susceptible to UV degradation. Many of them were carried by GIs returning from theater and often times they are worn on the body armor and are exposed to the sun.

If anyone is interested in buying one for a trauma kit, pay a couple extra bucks and buy a new one.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Neosporin on 02/07/2013 11:23:53 MST Print View

My impression of serious injuries is that you can never have too much antibiotic. At the risk of over-preparing, I can imagine a lot of scenarios where not having a way to prevent infection is a very bad thing, which to me makes it the only thing to bring extraneously. Bandages can be improvised; antibiotics can't.

My worst-case scenario is slipping on a fallen log and getting a gash or impaling injury on my leg. I think I can reasonably prepare a first-aid kit for walking out of that or a similar injury and then count on using my head and staying put for anything worse (and normal precautions like telling people where I'm going.) In the event of that injury, my solution is to use the wound closure strips, gauze, an improvised covering along with the ACE bandage, and a hefty amount of Neosporin to keep the wound clean and infection-free for a few days of travel out of the wilderness. In that case, I might use 3/4 of a tube over two or three days.

My logic; if it's flawed, don't hesitate to say so. This just felt like 1-2 ounces that were graciously accepted to put my mind at ease, but experience could correct me.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/07/2013 11:27:19 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Whistle on 02/07/2013 11:26:12 MST Print View

Oh, also, I carry the whistle with my winter camping backpack because I don't want to buy a buckle whistle when the bag itself weighs upwards of 5lbs. The ounces saved there could easily be saved through massive cutting and trimming; i'll get to it eventually.

My 3-season backpack has a built-in whistle already. There, I actually care about ounces quite a bit.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Neosporin on 02/07/2013 11:48:48 MST Print View

Hi Max,

I too carry Neo in my FAK. It's in what is referred to as "single use" packs. They are little sealed foil envelopes of Neo that I cannot find anywhere anymore in my area.

"My logic; if it's flawed, don't hesitate to say so."

I won't because it isn't. ;-)

My single use packs have been all that I have ever carried on the trail and have never had to use one of them. What I have used more of from my FAK has been Ibuprofen after straining my knee and some tape for a developing blister.

Just because I've been lucky and have not had to use any of my Neo doesn't mean that I don't see the logic of the 1 - 2 ounces that you carry.

FWIW I'm at that age where the health professionals routinely ask if I've fallen lately. ;-b

Up until last year I had never fallen on the trail. I didn't need any Neo after the fall but as I said before, "I've been lucky..." If it makes you feel more comfortable carrying a larger amount of Neo by all means you should.

As for what I carry my plan was to go lighter, use it if needed, determine if I had enough to continue on or pick some up at a trail town or resupply point. My last option would be to bail if the injury were serious enough.

This will probably make English teachers all over the country cringe but, Lighter Ain't Always Righter! ;-)

Party On,


Edited by Newton on 02/07/2013 11:53:28 MST.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Ointment on 02/07/2013 11:49:23 MST Print View

I’m not a doctor but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night….

I almost lost my mom to sepsis a couple years ago due to a physician not following needle protocol so infection control is high on my list of priorities. I use the ointment to take care of minor scrapes and cuts. If I have a serious laceration/abrasion, my SOP is to clean the wound the best I can after boiling my Swiss army tweezers and flushing it with sterilized water (which ISN’T boiling!) I would then immediately execute my evacuation plan. Cellulitis/Gang Green is nothing to mess around with.

My line of thinking is that my first aid kit is designed to keep small injuries from becoming big problems and if I’m seriously injured/sick, that I have what I need to di di mau to the trail head to seek definitive treatment.

In a HYOH sense, you are never wrong for carrying it but a whole tube may be overkill.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/07/2013 11:49:25 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/09/2015 14:19:46 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Neosporin on 02/07/2013 12:17:49 MST Print View

There's probably a more appropriate happy medium, but I can picture myself with 2 inches of a drinking straw filled with neosporin and a 5-inch gash, thinking "What now?"

I'm glad I'm not the only one who occasionally reads between the lines of the UL bible, though. Party on, newton!

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Neosporin on 02/07/2013 13:14:48 MST Print View

Then it becomes a matter of getting out rather than fixing yourself. There are things that you will not be able to fix and will then need to rely on your other preparations.. knowing bail out points and/or contacting rescue.

If you have a large laceration the best you can do is close it up and minimize bleeding. A whole tube of neosporin won't help much.. but steristrips, gauze and tape will.

Avoiding accidents is generally easier than dealing with one. In rock climbing we have "don't fall" zones.. sometimes you can't protect adequately and you can either back off or go up knowing you're unprotected. If you are far from rescue or rescue contact it is best to know what risks you should avoid. Descending steep terrain carefully.. crossing rivers at safe areas etc.

skills vs gear.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 02/07/2013 13:15:40 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/09/2015 14:20:23 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

I used up all my UL points.. on 02/07/2013 15:13:55 MST Print View

I think my luxury item is my 3lb DSLR Camera and chest pack, haha...

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Adventure Medical Kits on 03/11/2013 19:05:12 MDT Print View

Has anyone tried the Adventure Medical Kit line? REI sells the .5 model that comes in under 4 oz.