View Full Version : What's in your first aid kit?

SGT Rock
2003-01-22, 20:58
My first aid kit is also my repair kit. It contains the following:

.2oz - 9 Band aids: Minor cuts.
.3oz - 24 Aspirin: Pain and fever relief. I would recommend this or some Tylenol.
.1oz - 9 Immotrex: This is for a migraine condition I sometimes experience. Hopefully you don't need them.
.3oz - 24 Motrin: For sore joints - anti inflammatory. I consider it a must. But it shouldn't replace a real pain killer like aspirin or Tylenol.
.1oz - 9 Imodium: Nausea and Diarrhea. Just enough to get you to town where you can ride out a bad case that can kill you from dehydration if you are really sick.
.5oz - Sewing Kit Repair clothing and equipment. Some folks replace the thread with floss.
.1oz - Pill Bag: Small zip lock. I keep al my pills and vitamins in the same bag.
.5oz - 5 Gauze pads: larger cuts. You can cut this to the size you desire. For bad blister, use this with duct tape and Neosporin.
.4oz - Neosporin: Anti infection. Great for treating bad blisters.
.7oz - Ace Bandage: Sprains. Also works to make splints with sticks or a sleeping mat. No need to carry a SAM splint.
.2oz - Zip Lock Bag: Keep stuff dry, and the clear zip lock makes it easy to see your supplies.
.4oz - Super Glue: Good for stopping seams that are fraying, repairing broken items, and for closing cuts.
.4oz - 1 - 3v Lithium Photo battery: Spare battery for camera
.4oz - 1 AA Lithium: Spare battery for radio
.2oz - 2 Lithium 2013: batteries For LED Light.
4.8 Total

My first aid/repair kit is very minimalist. On most trails like the AT you don't need to have enough stuff to perform emergency surgery or perform major repairs. What you do need is some common sense, some first aid training, and a good pocket knife. My kit only weighs 3.8 ounces without batteries for my electronic devices. Not listed here is my Leatherman Micra which is an all around good tool for a backpacker, and duct tape which I carry on my trekking poles.

2003-01-22, 21:18
Add Psuedefed.

2003-01-22, 23:17
the meds I carry (most are over the counter) and the reasons as follows: (trust me I'm a doctor :) )

Aleve - better then Ibuprofen for several reasons, first, same antiinflammatory effect, fewer pills, longer duration of action, there fore less weight. prescriptive dose of IB is 800 mg or 4 tabs every 6-8 hours, which equates to 12 to 16 a day, compared to the equivalent dose of naproxen (aleve) which would be 2 X 220 mg twice a day or 4 tabs a day. pretty simple math really. and it will still reduce a fever. Since this is the one thing I use the most, it needs to be space and weight effective.

Benedryl - in addition to being a great (actually best antihistimine) the side effects could be desireable. due to its anticholinergic effects it is a great anxiolytic, anti emetic(for barfing), and sedative. I don't like Claritin (which is now over the counter)it is only a moderately good antihistimine, its claim to fame is FEWER side effects, which in this case I want more. It allows some of the meds I carry to act as "swiss Army knives" of the pharmaceutical world.

Polysporin - like neosporin except no neomycin, which 1 in 20 people are allergic too anyway. thats the main reason I prefer it.

Pepcid - for too many noodles. also twice daily dosing, and much lighter than tums/mylanta.

Antifungal cream - usually nystatin or mycostatin. for monkey nuts (2 inches forward of monkey butt) and foot funk.

small tube/sample pack of desitin - for that summer hiking rash you get between your thighs on the first few days on the trail.

-- prescriptive items --

If you have a particularly amiable physician you should have no trouble obtaining the following.

Keflex 500 mg, three times a day- will cover most staph and strep, and is particularly good for skin structures. would also hit about 70% of pneumonias. don't use if allergic, consult your physician, blah blah blah. handy to have in a pinch if needed.

I would probably take a Zithromax Z-pack on a longer trip to get every thing else, if needed.

Other options would include levaquin or cipro, but these are high dollar, however still pretty well tolerated. might be a good idea for female hikers as these would be better urinary tract drugs. Also useful for travelers diarhea usually only 1 day of treatment is required. I know that doesn't seem like much, but that is according to the Wilderness Medicine society, and considering they have members going to nepal and k2 every year I am pretty trusting in this advice.

Silvedene cream - for minor burns.

also for women - 1 150 mg diflucan. If you are a woman you know why.

Thats it for meds. I am sure this looks like a lot to most folks, however you should have seen my list of "essentials" before. All of my medical equipment fits in a band aid box, and that includes an ace wrap.

feel free to email me with questions or on the forum.


SGT Rock
2003-01-23, 09:51
Redbeard, I used to carry psuedefed. It worked for me sometimes to get rid of these bad headaches. Later I got a perscription for Imotrex (sp?) for migrane headaches and it works much better.

Sundog, seems like you know what your talking about, did you go to school for that? ;)

Aleve vs. Ibuprofin. That sounds good. Can Aleve also replace Tylenol or Asprin? It was explained to me that Ibuprofin could not do all the things that Asprin or Tylenol could regarding pain other than inflimation, fevers, and other stuff. I like the idea of cutting the Ibuprofin down because it was also explained to me that you need to dose with Ibuprofin for about 12-24 hours before it really has much effect. Since you are well trained can you clarify this for me.

Benedryl - I never get poison ivy or other stuff like that, rarely have sinus problems, and sleep like nobody's business in a hammock, do I have a need for this?

Rash stuff - haven't needed.

Anti-fungus - I recently got a dose of athelet's foot, really sucks at times. I've been using tolnaftate which als says it is good for jock itch and such. What would be best?

Silvaden - I used this once on some bad chest burns, but for minor stuff I just suck up the pain. It's only pain, pain don't hurt.

2003-01-23, 09:55
Sundog, any thoughts on long term Aleve use? A lot of people seem to pop Ibuprofin (hence Vitamin I,or climbers candy) regularly. On that track, any thoughts on long term Ibuprofin use?

2003-01-23, 14:00
obviously you will want to tailor your kit for your needs.

Aleve (naproxen) is in the same class as ibuprofen. aspirin is also in that class, but has some other side effects, it irreversibly inactivates platelets, "thinning" the blood. thats why we use it to prevent heart attack and stroke. it also means if you get a cut you will bleed alot. generally not enough to be dangerous. otherwise it is the same kind of drug as IB, Naproxen, Orudis, and a bunch of expensive prescription NSAIDS, that are really no better than those over the counter.

Long term NSAID use has been associated with renal failure (kidney problems) since ASA is in that catgegory it can also be associated with renal failure. In addition you can also develop problems with stomach irritibility, and sometimes ulcers that can bleed a dangerous amount. This usually only happens to people that are on scheduled doses of these meds and for long term, i.e. 800 md ibuprofen 3 times a day for 2 years. although the GI side effects can manifest sooner.

to specifically answer Sarges Question: ASA is roughly equal to IB or Naproxen. all will function very well as anti-inflammatorys, fever reducers, pain killers, and there is no difference in their effectiveness. because of the side effect profile of aspirin including clotting factors, I generally don't use it. I wouldn't be opposed however if thats what you are comfortable with. Of course the last consideration would be scheduled dosing.... 325mg X 3 =975mg, every 4 to 6 hours is going to be 12-18 tabs a day, and that would rapidly enter the world of adequate supply vs. weight questions.

there will be a quiz next week. :)

2003-01-23, 14:05
imitrex is good stuff, however I would not want to be on the trail the first time I used it. If you have used it before and not had a problem you should be fine.

I get migraines about twice a year. not enough to cripple me, just enough to make me REAL sympathetic.

BTW, Going on vacation next week, so don't be offended if I am not answering email/posts then.

happy trails all

SGT Rock
2003-02-10, 14:47
I tried the Aleve last week. I've been getting some anterior shin pain from running, and buying new running shoes has not really helped. The Naproxen did the trick, pain wan't gone, but the soreness was dimished to a manageable level with two 200mg doses a day, but the best part is I noticed it within a few hours of taking it without any stomach upset or anything else nasty. Today my PA gave me a perscription of 500mg naproxen I'm suposed to pick it up this afternoon. I think the 200mg is doing well, and after thinking about it - will 500mg be too much?

2003-02-10, 15:17
probably not too much. If it bothers your stomach try taking it with food or milk. BTW, I finally cured my shin splints with Rest for one week followed by a slow return to activity, along with a theraband exercise. The thera band is a big rubber band used by physical therapists. The goal would be to fatigue your tibialis anterior. What I did was loop it around my bed post and my foot, and then with my leg in kind of a half bend position I would flex at the ankle, 10 reps each side, every day. my shin splints were gone after 2 weeks, and I am back to running 3 miles every day.

I know that wasnt very clear, I will post pictures tonight.


2005-02-17, 11:17
Just Lurking here.

I'm only a lowly EMT, but i have to admit. I knew most of that stuff b/4 I started the class. I agree knowledge and clear thinking is the best Med precaution.

I would dare to say alot of pplz Med gear is uneccessary. Especially on shorter trips. I'm lucky if I get out for more than a week at a time so go figure.

2oz - 9 Band aids: Minor cuts. I can fix most everything with a bandanna and/or duct tape. Yes I might have to tear up a rag but its not like I haven't literally found them on trail.

.3oz - 24 Aspirin: Pain and fever relief. I would recommend this or some Tylenol. Not exactly necessary I've heard from ultra-ultra lighters but I'm no badass so I carry some for aches and pain.
.1oz - 9 Immotrex: This is for a migraine condition I sometimes experience. Hopefully you don't need them. Thank God I don't. I've experienced a migraine once or twice and I was completely incapacitated.
.3oz - 24 Motrin: For sore joints - anti inflammatory. I consider it a must. But it shouldn't replace a real pain killer like aspirin or Tylenol. Nothing wrong with a few extra pills imho. If you need them in the backcountry they're golden. So far I've gotten along without Motrin. I just take the Tylenol.
.1oz - 9 Imodium: Nausea and Diarrhea. Just enough to get you to town where you can ride out a bad case that can kill you from dehydration if you are really sick. To true. Ariz hikers know about dehydrating but now I've started carrying Pepto tabs. After 5+ days of dehydrated rations I find these more useful as a "intestinal thickening agent"
.5oz - Sewing Kit Repair clothing and equipment. Some folks replace the thread with floss. Floss works but this Spyder fishing line is indestructable. Your pack and bones will dust b/4 this stuff rots away. Floss will easily snap. And I've seen a guy try to sew up a gash with floss. Doesn't work worth a crap. Of course that may be because he was using my "Minty" floss. I The ER still talks about him.
.1oz - Pill Bag: Small zip lock. I keep al my pills and vitamins in the same bag. Ziplocks rule.
.5oz - 5 Gauze pads: larger cuts. You can cut this to the size you desire. For bad blister, use this with duct tape and Neosporin. In my experience gauze turns yellow and brittle in time. Back to duct tape and cloth for me. I've actually flipped the sticky side out, placed it over a wound and held it in place with some proper duct tape.
.4oz - Neosporin: Anti infection. Great for treating bad blisters. LOVE this stuff. It's multipurpose. Not only does it aid healing and keep grit out of wounds it lubes. I get chronic chaffing. Probably due to my pace. Stop and treat hot spots by drying area and treating aggressively w/Neosporin. I NEVER leave w/out it.
.7oz - Ace Bandage: Sprains. Also works to make splints with sticks or a sleeping mat. No need to carry a SAM splint. Wise. Once we got out a dayhiker with a fractured Fib out w/ the bandannas and sticks tho. Duct tape can also stabilize joints.
.2oz - Zip Lock Bag: Keep stuff dry, and the clear zip lock makes it easy to see your supplies. *Bows to the ziplock*
.4oz - Super Glue: Good for stopping seams that are fraying, repairing broken items, and for closing cuts. This works surprisingly well. Just be triple sure not to trap anything in the wound. Oh, and do not get the glue in the wound. That stings really really bad for a loooong time.
.4oz - 1 - 3v Lithium Photo battery: Spare battery for camera. I've learned to try use equipment that all use the same Batt size. GPS, camera, headlamp, ect. Not perfected yet.
.4oz - 1 AA Lithium: Spare battery for radio. There's some crank models that are worth looking at I hear tell. Infinite power sounds nice. Weight? In truth I don't carry a radio. Yet.
.2oz - 2 Lithium 2013: batteries For LED Light. Batteries don't really count as Med kit to me anyway unless you use a Steri-pen or something.
4.8 Total

To add to it a couple bandanas can make an arm sling or if you get something amputated just blot the end for pressure. I don't use tourniquets. Ever. If you know arterial pressure points consider doing that instead.

Oh yea, rattlesnakes. We have them. I do carry an "Extractor" brand suction device. Works great on bug bites and stings. Comes in a big case fulla crap. I carry one suction head and the main chamber. The rest I leave at home and my knife will shave if need be. Hard to get the suction on hairy spots as you can imagine.

I have some hand sanitizer that makes some awesome fire starter but I've started carrying antibacterial "Handy wipes" because I can treat wounds, clean me or gear, and take a "whore bath" w/them in the bag in winter. Contrary to the filter market studies show most ppl get sick on trail because some buddy didn't clean up proper after a cathole stop.

I carry antihistimine because I've been stung over 65x in one setting bringing my life total well over 100+ (always check for your friends the ground hornets/bees before setting up your shelter!)

My wifey carrys first aid spray due to an accident w/a white gas stove that involved both her hands being on fire for a substanital amnt of time. That night she looked like she was trying to land aircraft or something.

And of course a good knife. Hope I never have to cut my limb off or anything but it has happend to some folks. A big enough one replaces your trowel too but you'll want a small wet stone if your one of those folks.

A straw. I've read where some hikers suck water out of the rocks and crevices along the way. Not a bad deal if you trust it.

I'm not debating other's posts, just weighing in my own personal preferance of course.
I think this is a GREAT site where I've learned alot so hopefully others will also benefit from this type of post.

2005-02-17, 22:18
I keep mine pretty simple... a few bandaids, a roll of gauze and some pads, a very few otc painkillers. Prevention, i.e. staying in top shape and tossing glucosamine/chondroitin keeps the need for daily doses of vitamin I away, and regular handwashing minimizes the nasties. Other than prescription meds that vary by person - I need a bee sting kit among other things, the only 'different' item I carry is Bactine wipes. They're antiseptic, anesthetic, and bandages will stick to skin that's been treated with bactine.

2005-02-17, 22:51
Ive cut my FAK down to 2 peices of paper towel, 3ft of duct tape, some superglue, 5ft goretex dental floss, a suture needle, and some iodine tabs.

If theres anything that this little kit cant handle, Im not in a position to walk myself out anyway.

2005-02-18, 02:07
Well, we carry quite a lot in our emergency kit, but most important is:
Red signal flares and firing pen (Also to scare off muskoxes - When hiking on Greenland :smile: )
Red Glo-Toob, set for SOS signaling.
Reflective anti-shock blanket.
MSR MIOX for water purification (Also used for surface water).
Tenso bandage, to support most injuries.
99% pure isopropyl for disinfection.

Anyone know anything about using plants as medicine ?

2005-02-18, 02:32
I know a Special Forces Medic who used his MIOX to clean a fairly major wound before stiching the guy up. Apparently the guy was walking around against orders, left it uncovered againt orders, never used any antibiotics, and it healed up without any issue whatsoever.

That situation has seriously got me thinking about dumping the iodine tabs and my polarpure, and just going with the MIOX.

2005-02-18, 02:35
Anyone know anything about using plants as medicine ?

Yes. Your best bet is to contect a local botanical garden or apothocary for some good refernce books for your area. Some even have classes.

2005-02-18, 04:08
Nomad, I carry an Epipen auto injector (favorite hunt area is "hornet ridge") and we also hike and hunt around a bunch of snakes. Any lighter ways to stop anyphylactic (sp?) shock, short of a round to the head?

2005-02-18, 06:23
Epipen is your best bet. I recently read a discussion online where the idea of using primatene mist (vaporized Epi) and a handful of benadryl might work, but an ER doc advised against it in the end, as theres a strong possibility that an anaphylatic reaction will result in swollen broncials and tounge, making it hard to get that stuff into your system.

With an Epipen, just jab and wait.

Major Slacker
2005-02-18, 08:54
It's hard to know where my first aid kit stops and the utility kit begins. I carry in a pocket of my belt pack a quart-size zip-lock bag of essentials. If I day hike from a base camp and want the belt pack pocket for something else, I distribute the essentials to various shirt and pants pockets. In there is a 2x3" packet that most resembles a first aid kit:

* tiny Swiss Army knife,
* 2 bandaids & 2-3 antibiotic and burn cream pouches from the box on the wall at work,
* 2 antiseptic wipes,
* ibuprofen & acetaminophen in a tiny zip-lock (I save the plastic bags, if they have any strength, from just about everything we buy.),
* foam earplugs from work,
* white Photon flashlight for night hiking (I carry a yellow one on a string around my neck for all-purpose use. The yellow one is supposed to have the longest battery life.),
* spare batteries & tiny phillips screwdriver bit (One thing I don't like about the Photon flashlight is the need for a special screwdriver, but none of the S.A. knife blades fit the screws. Flashlight and screwdriver together still weigh less than the alternatives.)

That's the list for now, but having read the other posts, I'll be re-thinking it.

I also carry a small zip-lock pharmacy of daily prescription meds. I have a chronic neck pain condition and allergies that give me severe sinus headaches -- not exactly migraines, but equally painful -- if I miss a dose. After taking the wrong pills a couple of times I now usually separate the meds by dose into tiny packets of waxed paper. Those plastic boxes with a compartment for each day work fine at home, but I can't stand the rattling noise they make while I'm walking.

Somebody mentioned a straw. Street vendors in Mexico and Guatemala, where they still use returnable glass bottles for Coke, etc., make sure they get their deposit on the bottle by vending the soda in a plastic bag with a straw. I carry a straw and plastic bag for mixing and drinking an energy drink I like. The bag and straw fold up to fit in a pocket and weigh almost nothing. The straw could be used for slurping up surface water in an emergency, but, given the alternative, I would probably first use a bandana to sponge it into a container and treat it.

2005-05-20, 15:44
* foam earplugs from work,

Now that's a good idea. Not for my FAK but for a decent rest. I sleep light and there's nothing dangerous around here to miss.

2005-07-27, 09:43
We used to take a bottle of doxycycline with us because in addition to being an antibiotic it can be used as a fast acting short term antimalarial drug. The standard antimalarial regimen, (primaquin?), needed to be started 2 weeks prior to departure. I don't think doxycycline would be that hard to acquire in countries where malaria lives. Although normal antimalarials are longer lasting and much easier on your body, they're ineffective against other mosquito transmitted diseases, such as the clap. I'm not recommending anybody take doxycycline as an antimalarial unless they don't have time, or access to standard antimalaria meds.

As far as meds, I just carry immodium, benadryl, exedrin (tylenol+asprin+caffien=usefull), and motrin. Avoid drinking your stove fuel if you're taking tylenol for anything. Tylenol by itself is bad enough for your liver.

But someday I may want to do the Inca Trail.

2005-07-27, 23:11
It's tough to separate my emergency kit, from my medical kit, from my dop kit, from the stuff I carry everyday, as they all do double or triple duty.

What I call my medical kit (a mental separation to make sure I don't forget things) is 4 band aids, 4 2x2 sterile pads, 2 6x6 sterile pads, 1 ace bandage, a neoprene ankle brace, small metal travel container of asprin, a small pill bottle of Gaviscon (my upset stomach medicine of choice), a box of antihistamines (I don't buy a special brand - as they quite working if I use the same type for to long - hay fever), neosporin, 4 safety pins, and a small squeeze bottle of vinegar (works on skin irritations, burns, and also sanitizes areas and wounds without drying out the skin).

My emergency kit and some everday things: In my pockets I carry, a small locking pocket knife, a serber tool (like a mini leatherman), P-38, #80 Spider Wire (works for fishing, snares, stiches, sewing, hanging gear, etc.), 2 needles, 4 band aids, aspirin, single use Neosporin (in case I get separated from my med kit), square of tin foil, 3 plastic bags with twist ties, birthday candle, bic lighter, matches, small compass (top of match case), 2 single use salt, 2 boullion cubes, 2 hankerchefs, and a survival blanket - most of these things are in a pill bottle (wrapped in duct tape).
(I also carry a Rappela lure, because I had room for it in the kit, but in an emergency I can get fish by much easier methods than by "fishing").

Dop kit: toothbrush, soda, dental pick, toe nail clippers, tweezers, needle, safety razor (I don't like dual edge razors), double edge (safety) razor blades, ivory soap, shaving brush (takes up less room\weight than a can of cream and I feel it does a better job), small mirror, medicated talcum powder (to make sure I don't get foot/crotch rot), homemade handi wipes, and Visene allergy eye drops.

I also carry things in my other supplies that could be used for medical problems i.e. salt.

2005-08-23, 01:18
hey all...first post here...

I carry a couple of different kits depending on what I'm doing. My personal kit fits in an army compass pouch and contains (off the top of my head):

1 small squeeze bottle of sterile saline - wound irrigation
2 tegaderm dressings - transparent approx 3x3 adhesive dressings
1 OB tampon - great blood soaker
8 bandaids
4 2 inch gauze
2 4 inch gauze
small aspirin tin with ibuprofin, benadryl, immodium
iodine ampoule with built in swab
1 activated charcoal dressing

and a few more things...I'm at work right now so it's not with me, since I have an entire ambulance as my FAK...