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First aid kit contents
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Gordon Gray
(GordonG) - F

Locale: Front Range, CO
Duct Tape on 05/12/2014 13:25:31 MDT Print View

I had about 2' of duct tape on my trekking poles and used it all on my heels during a 3 day trip. I don;t think it would hurt to pack a couple extra large bandaids since they don't really weigh much. Doesn't hurt.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Hy Perox on 05/12/2014 14:10:53 MDT Print View

> small bottle of hydrogen peroxide

I've been told repeatedly, and read repeatedly (EMT postings), that hydrogen peroxide is no longer recommended for wound care. Perhaps someone with credentials would like to comment?

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"First aid kit contents" on 05/12/2014 15:24:10 MDT Print View

I pared my kit down to things I can handle- so lacerations, blisters, sprains, headaches, allergies. So I've got analgesics, allergy pills, my Rx meds, assorted bandaids, superglue, a Quikclot sponge, moleskin, Newskin, antibiotic ointment, a burn patch, duct tape, tweezers, nail clippers, a needle, and a SAM splint. My kit is stored in a 1 qt ziploc with room to spare (except for the SAM splint, which doesn't fit and I keep in a separate pocket).

Carrying gear to treat injuries that will require an evac doesn't make sense to me, so I don't. If someone has a major injury and isn't ambulatory, I will do what I can to keep them comfortable and from going into shock, but I'm not going to try and set a compound fracture or do any minor surgery. I have no medical training. Those are the instances where we'd push the button on the PLB.

Edited by EagleRiverDee on 05/12/2014 15:28:46 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
bug in the eye on 05/12/2014 15:29:59 MDT Print View

"Speaking of agony, if you ever spend three days barely being able to see out of a watering swollen eye that you can't keep open, and not being able to sleep with it closed, from having a bug fly in it that you can't get out, a small mirror might make a justified addition."
I have a small mirror in my PSK as a signaling device and I have used it for just that problem. I also used the cap off my water bottle as an eye wash. I was finally able to wash that critter out of there, and it was agony until I did.

David Ayers
(djayers) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Hy Perox on 05/12/2014 16:42:02 MDT Print View

I'm no a med pro, but like Delmar have heard/read that Hy Perox is not recommended for wound care. Neosporin is, see for instance .

Neosporin is wonderfully multi-purpose. The ointment works for chafing, is a fix for nasty backpacker armpit odor, etc.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Hy Perox on 05/12/2014 18:02:11 MDT Print View

In my WFR class it was taught that H2O2 was now discouraged, under the reasoning that it may damage healthy tissue and slow healing. For me, purified water is the easiest and lightest option as it can generally be created on the spot.

That said, this Medscape article on wound irrigation notes the literature is somewhat mixed in this area. There doesn't seem to be a large difference between saline, potable water, or 3% hydrogen peroxide in terms of reducing bacterial count, and evidence that hydrogen peroxide slows healing is not consistently present.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
FAK stuff on 05/12/2014 18:33:06 MDT Print View

"I do carry (seperately from my first aid kit) some body glide and goldbond powder for any chafing or crack rash."

I am a big fan of Goldbond and what it does to reduce monkeybutt, swampass, et al but after reading stories of bears being attracted to peppermint Dr. Bronners, I started visualizing a bear dragging me out of the tent by my daddy-parts so have since removed it from my daily outdoor ritual.

My kit is pretty minimalist and is designed to stabilize and immediately evacuate. I haven't weighed it in a while but I think it's around 3-4 ounces:

*Roll of sterile gauze to pack a wound. If I needed to apply a pressure dressing above it, it would be from non-sterile sources found in my kit. Same for splinting material, tourniquets, etc.

*A few 2x2 gauze

*Triple antibiotic in sealed straw. I'd irrigate the wound with sterilized water squeezed through punctured PET bottle lid.

*A few safety pins

*SAK classic

*Moleskin (for kids/can't remember my last blister)

*Duct Tape (on trekking poles)

*Trekking poles can be used as a traction device or as part of a splint



*Advil PM (clearly marked so not to exceed daily max of Benadryl)

*Imodium (which reminds me I need to replace it. Saw yesterday that it expired in 2011 oops!)

*A couple Band-Aids

*Edit to add- steristrips

When I'm with my nephew: Epi Auto Injector and extra Benadryl

When hunting, backpacking during hunting season, or around things that go boom in general: Quick Clot (Soon to be replaced with Combat Gauze... keep forgetting to), a few rolls of sterile gauze, Asherman Chest Seal and/or petroleum jelly impregnated gauze and enough plastic and tape to treat both the entry and exit holes for a sucking chest wound.

Item I'll add this year: better tweezers and maybe a tick key

Honorable mention dual purpose item: Mirror on Suunto MC2 to remove crap from eye and check the undercarriage for ticks.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 05/12/2014 18:57:01 MDT.

Kenda Willey
Re: Neosporin as deodorant? on 05/12/2014 20:24:00 MDT Print View

David, I'd never heard of using Neosporin against "backpacker odor"! Another multipurpose item--I'll try it on my next trip!

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
No oral antibiotics in FA kit on 05/12/2014 20:50:58 MDT Print View

I reserve antibiotics for very serious health situations where I know they will help. Since I have no way to know if Antibiotic X will treat Malady Y that I experience in the back country, I don't have antibiotics in my first aid kit. I plan to evacuate if I think I'm getting infected. I have evacuated for an infection, and probably will again.

Taking an oral antibiotic is not risk-free, either for you or for your friends and family when you return.

- Antibiotic resistance is becoming a world-wide health crisis - because we're overusing antibiotics.
- When you take antibiotics, you kill off healthy bacteria that you need, at least for a while.
- Studies show that people are 2x-3x more likely to get other diseases in the weeks after a round of antibiotics.
- Even broad-spectrum antibiotics don't work on every kind of bacteria.
- No antibiotic works against viruses, and a lot of mystery infections are caused by viruses.
- If you fail to take the full round of antibiotics, you can leave behind antibiotic resistant bacteria in your body to infect again. Now you are really screwed, and you can infect friends and family with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Don't even think of taking an antibiotic you haven't had before, or giving an antibiotic to a someone that they haven't had before. And that means the exact kind of antibiotic, not just "well it's sorta like penicillin, so it's all good". You may quickly be dealing with reactions you can't handle in the back country. I had a serious reaction to an IV antibiotic in the hospital, that they didn't figure out until it almost killed me.

Sorry for the soap box, but our national attitude of "taking antibiotics can't hurt, might help", is literally dead wrong.

-- Rex

Edited by Rex on 05/12/2014 20:54:47 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: No oral antibiotics in FA kit on 05/12/2014 21:01:48 MDT Print View

Rex, I don't think that the discussion was so much about oral antibiotics. It was more about topical antibiotic ointments. There are some on the market with a mixture of different antibiotics to hit a broader spectrum of typical infections. I don't see much wrong with applying an ointment like that against typical skin wounds.

On the subject of oral antibiotic (pills), the only time that I carry something like that is when I am going to some third-world country and I will be a long way from any sort of professional medical care. In that case, I carry Bactrim (oral, for GI problems). Basically, if I had some GI problem that wouldn't get solved by Immodium, then Bactrim would be the next step. So far (knock on wood), I haven't had to go past Immodium.


Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
first aid on 05/13/2014 00:09:53 MDT Print View

I will agree that hydrogen peroxide is no longer recommended for wound care. Its kills off any living cells. This means it will kill off any bacteria in a wound, but it also means it will kill off any healthy living tissue that is helping the wound bed heal. It can be used in emergency situations, but should only be used one time to initially clean the wound. If it is used repeatedly to clean a wound, it will take a very very long time for the wound to heal. The best method for cleaning a wound is with sterile or CLEAN water. If you need to clean a wound purify the water by filter, boiling or chemical treatment. ideally you should purify it, and if you can also use chemical treatment. Then irrigate the wound with high pressure water...use LOTS of water. best wound be an irrigation syringe or squeeze water bottle. Poring water over the wound will not suffice. In the ER, we use well over a litter of water to irrigate a small laceration. So the best course of treatment is to irrigate with large amounts of clean water and apply a clean dressing. Then keep it clean and dry. An antibiotic ointment like Neosporin will not help with an infection. it is good for keeping a barrier over a wound and to promote healing and minimizing scarring.

As other said, don't take antibiotics until they have been specifically prescribed to you and for the specific infection you currently have.

Lastly, I think it should be noted that a first aid kit and the treatment you provide to yourself and others should only go as far as you are trained and feel comfortable doing. if you aren't trained to suture a wound...don't do it, which means you have no need to carry sutures.

Along with that...I think its a good idea to have some type of basic first aid training if you are going to be isolated in the backcountry and especially if you are hiking with others. Do most people on BPL have some type of basic first aid training?

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
First aid kit contents on 05/13/2014 01:21:03 MDT Print View

>> In the ER, we rarely will prescribe abx for an infected wound until we culture it, determine what is growing and then decide the best abx for the specific organism <<

Dan - I think this shows that you live/work in another world (the ER/Hospital)...

Most of us don't go to the ER for a simple infection. If I go to my Doctor or a medical clinic, they rarely send a culture off to a lab. Most Doctors can't get a lab result anywhere near as quickly as the ER since they don't have a lab as part of their clinic. The Doctor prescribes the most suitable antibiotic based on his knowledge and the odd time they have done a culture they say they will call me if they need to change the prescription (I've never been called).

Typical BPL over-reaction with these types of discussions (antibiotic use)... always seems to go sideways.

I mentioned that I carry a prescription antibiotic for infected blisters or similar skin infection. My doctor knows I won't be treating lung infections, intestinal bugs or other people! I make the intended use very clear to my Doctor and he thinks carrying an antibiotic for blister infection is a good idea. He actually said the antibiotic that he prescribes would not be used in a serious (life threatening) infection, so he's not worried about me developing a resistance to it.

Maybe not for everybody but as I've related in my earlier post, I've had a bad experience that an antibiotic would have resolved, so now I carry a half ounce insurance package.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: First aid kit contents on 05/13/2014 01:37:37 MDT Print View

To each there own I guess. Just be careful with abx use, and I would be a little curious/ cautious as to why a provider would not culture wound infection. Obviously respiratory and GI issues wont be cultured...but there are sooooo many different possible infectious organisms for a wound, a culture really is needed....regardless, as Rex mentioned, overuse and misuse of abx has become a major issue, not just in the US, but world wide. I still say that proper cleaning and care of any wounds should almost completely prevent any need for abx treatment.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: first aid on 05/13/2014 10:27:07 MDT Print View

"if you aren't trained to suture a wound...don't do it, which means you have no need to carry sutures."

A backpacker friend of mine had no first aid training beyond the typical Red Cross 8-hour class. He went out on a long solo trip and then managed to find deep snow in a talus field. His foot punched through the snow and into the void below where a sharp granite rock ripped open his leg. With no help around and a long journey to get out to safety, he decided to cleanse and suture up his own leg wound using ordinary needle and thread. He managed to limp out for a few days and got home, then removed the remaining bits of thread from the healing wound. Two days later, he saw a doctor about it. The doctor wanted to know which emergency room doctor had sutured the wound, because it was done so neatly.


Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
First aid kit on 05/13/2014 13:22:45 MDT Print View

I think one should consider what they know how to treat as much as what injuries may occur.

There is no point carrying splints, triangular bandages etc if you can't use them.

Then there's the consideration of whether to carry only the things you can treat yourself with (if hiking alone) or whether to carry enough to help others you may find in danger/injured.

You could easily end up carrying half an ambulance.

Carry what you feel comfortable with.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: first aid on 05/13/2014 14:45:14 MDT Print View

On the wound closure topic, if the wound is sufficiently deep or under tension closing it up can create a nice oxygen-free pocket inside. This is a Bad Thing in terms of infection risk, and a case where leaving the wound "open" (but still dressed) would be appropriate. I was taught the traditional wet-to-dry gauze method, but I understand there are more modern (and less painful) options available.

Edited by requiem on 05/13/2014 15:33:25 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: first aid on 05/13/2014 16:38:39 MDT Print View

"if the wound is sufficiently deep or under tension closing it up can create a nice oxygen-free pocket inside. This is a Bad Thing in terms of infection risk"

That's interesting. I realize some bacteria are anaerobic but this wasn't covered in my WFR class years ago. Looks like it's time for a recert and to update my knowledge in this area.

I think bottom line is ABCs first and infection control second. Obviously we all want to try and do both at the same time but if your artery is shooting blood over my shoulder, sorry pal but I'm packing that wound with my skanky bandana if nothing else is available and we'll worry about your antibiotic drip once medevac dumps you on the roof of the ER. This is obviously different that the scenario you're painting here though so just making an observation more than trying to be contrary to what you’re saying.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: First aid kit contents on 05/13/2014 23:16:52 MDT Print View

Mine is pretty minimal. Years ago I got rid of everything I never used.

David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
First Aid, What I have actually used on trips on 05/14/2014 07:09:43 MDT Print View

Athletic Tape-blisters, badly sprained ankle, over dressings.
4x4 gauze- cut open knees, smashed finger tip
neosporin- eye infection, cuts, chaffing, cracked lips, barber's itch.
clown white- sunburn, chaffing
2nd skin- burns, blisters
Bandana- dislocated elbow, twisted ankle, improvised sunglasses
Ibuprofen-fever, sore knees, headache
peptobismal- food illness, diarrhea (better than lomotil in my opinion)
oral rehydration solution (water, sugar, salt) - diarrhea, hyperthermia, over exertion, hangover