I must confess that I am guilty of venturing into the backwoods without a first aid kit. In an effort to conserve space and weight, I’ve left all of my first aid gear behind on countless occasions. Thus far, I’ve been lucky. But I’m not one to leave things to luck so I decided to inventory my family first aid kit (which goes with us when we car-camp) and compile a useful but small backwoods first aid kit. During my time in the military, I was certified in Basic Life Support and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, and have earned awards for my services as a combat lifesaver. So I’ve had the training and real-world experience to know what is needed to keep you or your fellow woodsmen alive long enough to reach medical support.
Before detailing what I’ve compiled for a backwoods kit, there are a few things to discuss. First off, I almost always have my Gerber Suspension when I am venturing into the wild. This gives me additional tools that can be used in a true emergency situation. I most always have some type of soap with me as well. This allows me to wash my hands if I have to do any emergency first aid on myself or anyone else. Additionally, I always keep a small container of ibuprofen in my possibles bag to help with pain and inflammation. And for legal purposes, it should be noted that I am no longer certified in any medical capacity. None of my recommendations or tips should be considered medical advice.
Here is the list of everything in my backwoods first aid kit:
1 Triangular Bandage 36″ X 36″ X 51″ – used for large wounds or for immobilizing broken bones or sprained joints
1 Small section of adhesive moleskin – used to treat blisters
8 Alcohol prep pads – keeps the bacteria at bay
2 Individual packets of antibiotic ointment – used for cuts, scrapes and burns
1 Smallest roll of medical tape you can find – mostly used for securing bandages but can be used for a variety of wounds
1 Smallest container of hand sanitizer you can find – can even be used to sterilize hands, multi-tools and first aid equipment
1 Pair of tweezers – mostly for splinters
6 Self adhesive bandages (what I would call Band-Aids) – used for small wounds
2 3″ X 3″ sterile pads – used for small to medium wounds
All of these items together will fit into a container smaller than a sandwich bag. They weigh approximately 5.25 ounces. All of the items can be purchased locally and should be easy to find.
Certainly there are quite a few other items that would prove useful in a medical emergency. However, I’ve found that most first aid kits are large and heavy. It’s better to take the few items most likely needed than to leave your entire kit behind.
In the future, I’ll be providing posts on a few backwoods medical emergency scenarios as well as discussing more complete first aid kits.
If you have any questions, comments, recommendations or backwoods emergency stories, please feel free to comment on this post.