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Adventure Medical Kits
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Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Adventure Medical Kits on 04/02/2013 19:17:14 MDT Print View


Following up on first aid thread from earlier this year (, does anyone carry Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .5 First-Aid Kit (

I'm looking for a lightweight "check the box" solution, but I'm open to piecing my own kit together if that's lighter or more comprehensive than the standard Adventure Medical Kit. Thanks.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Adventure Medical Kits on 04/02/2013 19:38:48 MDT Print View

10.4 ounces seems like a lot of weight for a short trip.

I checked on my first aid kit for a five-day trip, and it is 3.0 ounces.

You have to know what kinds of injuries you are susceptible to and how many trivial injuries you are willing to ignore.


Michael C
(chinookhead) - F - M
Make your own kit. on 04/02/2013 19:53:33 MDT Print View

Personally, unless you are on a super tight budget or really lazy, I'd put together your own kit. In this way, it will likely be much more versatile and effective. Also, if you put together the kit yourself, you are more likely to know what is really in your kit and have more knowledge on how to use your first aid tools.

I have a "first aid bag" that I carry on all hiking adventures from small day hikes to multi-week backpacking adventures. Into this first aid bag I add or take away ziplok bags with specific types of items in it. These ziplocs are just sitting in my gear closet and I can just grab them easily before a trip. For example, for a long term backpacking trip I add my "blister treatment" ziploc and a ziplocs with "serious meds" like antibiotics and prescription pain killers etc. that I would not take on a short trip. Having everything separated into little baggies also makes things really easy for me to just grab when I need it in emergencies and not have to really think about it or search for it. For example, I have a serious wound bag.

My main "First Aid Bag" is a Sea to Summit Big River dry Bag, which is very durable and waterproof, since I don't want to have to worry about babying it. You could also use a Loksak or a cuben dry-bag etc if you are real worried about the weight. I like it to be something waterproof.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

No Actual Advice on 04/02/2013 23:00:10 MDT Print View

After this week's basketball game, I think I'm putting a little extra rope in my bag for makeshift splints...

Nice to see my thread still helping people months later. An important conversation!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Adventure Medical Kits on 04/02/2013 23:05:51 MDT Print View

Okay, I'll try to generate a checklist, but please, everyone, feel free to tweak/expand it.

Good first aid knowledge and PRACTICE! - take a course that includes simulated, practical sessions.

aspirin (blood thinning for stroke or MI)
tylenol - pain relief
acetaminophen - pain relief through a different mechanism
Benadryl - for hives, congestions, hay fever, anaphylactic shock, and as a sleep aid.
Imodium - for the squirts (diarrhea)
tiny professional sample of triple-antibiotic cream.
some laxative - if you don't know a dozen natural laxatives you can find on the trail

Know how to use:
sleeping pads as splints.
clothing as dressings, slings, and traction devices
pack frame, branches, and hiking poles as splits, etc.
knife / scissors / razor blade to assist in preparing such field dressings.

Know how to identify and more importantly AVOID environmental exposures (hypothermia, frost bite, heat exhaustion, heat stroke) using the gear you normally carry.
Have appropriate water treatment and use it, if needed.
Hand sanitation scheme used before every meal/snack and after every elimination.
Sun lotion, hat, long-sleeve clothing.

bandaids - 2 to 4
moleskin, molefoam (and if someone has totally untested boots: second skin) and scissors to prep them (e.g. SAK Classic).
Duct tape in a few wraps around your water bottle. Good for sucking chest wounds, securing dressings, splints, etc.
Some people swear by super glue in lieu of stitches. The MD I sleep with says stitches on the trail are for the Rambo-wanna-bes. You shouldn't stitch something up unless it has been irrigated and cleansed in a way we just can't do well in the field. And waiting a few days has no downside once the bleeding has stopped.

Longer trips: anti-fungal cream for athlete's foot, jungle rot, ringworm, etc. Again, a tiny professional sample.

Medicine history / knowledge of the people on the trip. This is often overlooked, but is REALLY helpful with an unconscious victim.

Specific drugs based on the individuals along. No known bee sting, peanut allergies? I'm not bringing the sting kit. But if someone has a chronic or acute condition, I'll stock on the expected drugs as well as some for contingencies.

I would rarely bring ALL of these. But based on trip length, group size, remoteness, and individual issues, I'll consider each one carefully. On a 16-day, 16-person rafting trip of the GCNP (including an obviously gay dude who wouldn't disclose his health status), we brought much more, but the raft floats no matter how much you put in it and we had two MDs along.

I'd rather have a creative, knowledgable first aider with only the non-first-aid items on his/her back, than an untrained idiot with an ambulance full of equipment.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Re: Adventure Medical Kits on 04/02/2013 23:24:08 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies. Very impressive list, David. Probably overkill for my shorter trips, but I'll look through and pick out items I could use. The only thing in my current "kit" is a bit of pot, which basically covers items 1 - 7 on your list!

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
Ever seen how a head wound bleeds? on 04/03/2013 05:17:22 MDT Print View

A couple years ago i stumbled across a guy on Mount Osceola who'd landed onhi sbean and looked like he was bleeding out (he didn't). Ever since then v'e carried Quik-Clot. it doens't really matter that it stings like hell; it's not for me!

I also carry a Sam Splint (4 oz.) cuz i saw that basketball game too and don't really thing a compound fracture is a good time to be experiemnting with multi-purpose gear.

Alasdair Fowler
(MessiahKhan) - F

Locale: Newcastle, UK
Adventure Medical Kits on 04/03/2013 06:17:43 MDT Print View

My kit looks something like

Leuko Tape (amazing stuff that sticks to everything, including sweaty feet.
Sewing needle (To drain blisters or pick out splinters).
Superglue (To stick people and things back together)
Alcohol Gel (To clean hands for hygiene and help sterilise wounds or needle)
Anti-histamine cream (For insect bites)
Ibuprofen (For pain relief)
Scissors (To cut clothes to make bandages or to cut nail etc)
Bodyglide (For chafing)

That covers most of the common injuries and ailments. As others have said, it is having the knowledge of what to do and how to use kit that is more important.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Advice this time on 04/03/2013 06:23:14 MDT Print View

As far as I know, Quik-Clot was stopped by the US Military because it was causing Quik-Clots in the heart. Use pressure.

Wound closure strips = temporary stitches for bigger wounds.

The backflusher from your Sawyer Squeeze can be used to irrigate wounds.


Edited by mdilthey on 04/03/2013 06:24:07 MDT.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Tylenol is acetominophen on 04/03/2013 06:37:41 MDT Print View

David, I think you meant ibuprofen for one of the listed meds. Tylenol is a brand name for acetominophen (or paracetamol in the UK). I make the same mistake often and my wife is quite patient in reminding me.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Dermabond on 04/03/2013 08:24:21 MDT Print View

Has anyone used Dermabond and a wound sealer and closer? I have no experience with it.


Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Quick clot on 04/03/2013 09:00:14 MDT Print View

Max, I can't speak for the entire military but I just received some trauma training from an 18D where we used similar products. Quick clot was abandoned because it causes additional necrosis. Supposedly combat gauze and a couple other products do not have this problem and is still being used by the military and law enforcement. With the training I've received, I feel comfortable packing a wound with normal gauze.

Somewhat funny story relating to superglue. I use it in lieu of tincture of benzoin to give problematic blisters a hot shot. I had to use my FAK yesterday for something minor and was welcomed by a massive glob of band aids, alcohol pads, etc thanks to a ruptured tube of superglue.

Lesson learned! I'll just stick (pun intended) to the benzoin from now on.

I can't speak for Dave but my guess is that he meant ibuprofen instead of mentioning acetaminophen twice. There is a reason the military calls 800mg ibu tablets "Ranger Candy." Works great for me to keep me moving.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
aspirin on 04/03/2013 09:05:16 MDT Print View

if you have a clot type stroke which is more ocommon, you want to use aspirin

if you have a bleeding type stroke, you want to avoid aspirin

it's difficult to know which you have

if you have a heart attack, you want to take an aspirin

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: aspirin on 04/03/2013 11:44:23 MDT Print View

"if you have a heart attack, you want to take an aspirin"

Yes, although a nitroglycerin tablet would be quicker.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: aspirin on 04/03/2013 16:35:50 MDT Print View

> if you have a heart attack, you want to take an aspirin

UNLESS you happen to be allergic to aspirin. If you are, then you may well die from the aspirin rather than the heart attack.


jason quick

Locale: A tent in my backyard - Melbourne
Re: Re: aspirin on 04/03/2013 16:38:03 MDT Print View

"if you have a heart attack, you want to take an aspirin"

"Yes, although a nitroglycerin tablet would be quicker."

It depends on the pathophysiology.

An aspirin won't vasodilate, it will only stop, or slow the aggregation process if there is clot development during unstable angina. If merely angina, aspirin won't really help at all...but a GTN will make a massive difference.

Edited by jase on 04/03/2013 16:39:07 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: aspirin on 04/03/2013 16:58:11 MDT Print View

Jason, in this country it is quite common for any patient who has ever had significant heart symptoms to be prescribed nitroglycerine pills. If symptoms of a heart attack appear, the patient is supposed to pop one pill and wait five minutes. If there is no relief, then the second pill is popped. If there is no relief within an additional five minutes, then it is probably a real heart attack. However, the NO liberated by the pills tends to massively dialate all of the large-bore arteries, especially the cardiac arteries. I've heard that those can be quite important.


Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Bare essentials on 04/03/2013 17:00:21 MDT Print View

Super glue, IB 1000's, claritin, and Norco- is really all I usually bring. I guess I should bring more? But I dont solo that often and we usually have about four first aid kits in the group that never get touched except for blisters which I dont get in my current salomons.

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Superglue on 04/03/2013 17:11:26 MDT Print View

"Somewhat funny story relating to superglue. I use it in lieu of tincture of benzoin to give problematic blisters a hot shot. I had to use my FAK yesterday for something minor and was welcomed by a massive glob of band aids, alcohol pads, etc thanks to a ruptured tube of superglue."

I had used Super Glue since I was a teenager for an assortment of injuries, so it of course went into my backpacking kit. Didn't have any real call to use it on the trail, mainly because I prefered the forgiveness of the blue stuff that came from a tiny vile of liquid bandage (by Band-Aid). I ran out of it because they stopped selling it, so I went to the Super Glue. Didn't even contemplate that once opened, my elevation changes while going over mountains would work almost like a pump and displace most the glue into the rest of my first aid kid.

Ditto on "lesson learned!", and probably for the best, because the backcountry is a horrible place to accidentally squeeze a bunch of Super Glue onto your hands.

Nancy Twilley

Locale: STL
prejudice much? on 04/03/2013 20:07:09 MDT Print View

Whoa, hang on, "including an obviously gay dude who wouldn't disclose his health status"??????????

Seriously? Check all those prejudices, David Thomas. I think the implication here is that you 1) assumed you knew the man was gay and 2) assumed that because he was gay he either had AIDS or had a high chance of having it.

Why does this man have any obligation to disclose his sexuality to you? Would you give the time of day to someone who assumed that you were diseased just because you looked or seemed gay to them?