How to Choose a First-Aid Kit
Whether you're backpacking for a month or camping for a weekend, a first aid kit is one of the first things you should pack. No matter what type of terrain or weather you're expecting, you have to be prepared for emergencies.
Of course, not all first aid kits are created equal. Where one might be great for a lengthy hike another was designed specifically for action sports. This means that they have different supplies and varying amounts of certain items. While you could use a kit for something besides it's intended purpose, it's always better to have one that's been put together with your exact needs in mind.
The Absolute Basics
Some items absolutely have to be in your kit to ensure that you have a safe adventure, regardless of how little danger you think you're facing during your outing. You also need to have a large supply of bandages, ointments and tweezers to ensure that you can treat basic wounds and injuries.
These supplies should always be with you during your trip. Remember that even a minor scrape can turn into a large health problem so you need to be able to take care of yourself and cover any cuts before infection can set in.
Time to Get Specific
Before you head out on an adventure, run through a checklist of all the risks you're most likely to face. Once you know what you can expect, you can start searching for the medical equipment necessary to keep yourself healthy for the entire outing.
Let's take a look at some of the specific items you need for a few popular outdoor activities.
The first thing you need to think about when you go for a hike is your feet. You need a solid pair of boots that provide enough comfort and support to get you through the entire trip without getting any blisters.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult from stopping blisters from forming. You might think these are just painful, but they can pose some health issues if not treated properly. If a blister breaks, you run the risk of an infection, which would put a damper on more than just your latest journey into the wilderness.
That's why you need to include moleskin and antibiotics or ointments in your first aid kit. Moleskin is great for providing relief for blisters because it serves as additional padding, which can also stop them from bursting. Meanwhile, antibiotics or ointments can help keep open blisters clean and stave off any bacteria during the healing process.
Additionally, a splint should also be among your medical supplies. If your footing gives out and you twist an ankle, you need something to keep the limb stable while you finish your hike or at least find more extensive medical care. The AMK Sam Splint would be perfect in this regard.
When you're going for a limb, your hands need the most protection. Even with durable wraps and gloves, you're fingers, palms and wrists will likely end up cut and bruised well before you reach the top of the mountain.
Bandages and gauze are sufficient for dealing with most damage. Make sure the wrap the gauze tight to your skin to ensure that it doesn't slip off while you're in the middle of a climb. Remember to wash any cuts before applying bandages as well.
Athletic tape should also be kept on hand. This is important for when your skin rips on the rocks causing flappers along your fingers.
The key to packing a first aid kit when camping is thinking about the site and the surrounding area. This is because the dangers in one place are completely different from the dangers in other so you'll need various gear to help you along.
For instance, if the woods is known for its large bee population, you need a bee-sting kit. Even if you've never been stung before, there's always a chance it'll happen. You need the right tools for removing the stinger and closing the wound. If you're allergic to bees, you should take your medicine and seek emergency care as fast as possible.
Meanwhile, sites that have a great many ticks require you to pack a tick-removal kit. When you have exposed skin and walk through tall grass, you'll likely attract the attention of a tick and you need to dig it out as soon as you can.
Prepacked or DIY?
All of the above items are included in one first aid kit or another, making it easy for you to find one that'd be perfect for your trip. These prepacked options are great for every trip, regardless of whether you're a rookie hiker or an experienced climber.
However, if you're concerned about not having enough of one supply and too much of something you won't use, you can easily make your first aid kit. Just remember to account for every possibility and buy all the right items to avoid any hairy situations once you get outside.
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