What's In Your First Aid Kit?

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AlmostThere
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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:20 am

One of the things I learned in the 80 hour Wilderness First Responder class (EMT type training) is that everything you have in the backpack can be first aid gear. Running scenarios we had only the tiniest of first aid kits yet we managed with spare clothing, cord and basic 10 essentials stuff other than FAK to address a broken leg and a head injury -- because things like head injuries and broken legs are not addressed with ibuprofen or bandaids, they are addressed by stabilization and evacuation.

Biggest, most effective thing in your first aid kit is wilderness-focused first aid TRAINING. The more you go out, the more you need the training. Someone who goes once a year or less runs a rather minimal risk. Being out every weekend exposes you to more risk of encountering an injury, either in your own party or someone else's, and having the ability to assess and intervene (only if they give you permission, by the way) can make a huge difference.








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rlown
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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit

Post by rlown » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:54 am

mort wrote:As time goes on I've added a few things; I hurt my back several years ago, since then the kit has a few day's of Vicodin. I expect that a dose of Vicodin will make carrying a pack unlikely, so I also bring Tramadol.
-mort
You can definitely hike on Vicodin.. Done it 3 times. Once tooth (humphreys basin) and twice sprained and slightly broken ankle (Glen Aulin area and Dinkey lakes). I don't go out of my way to get the drugs; they are usually left overs from certain dental procedures. IMHO, 3 advil == 1 vicodin, so I would alternate them to manage the pain.

I like AT's response though. At least basic first aid training is important. Eric, are the first aid kit threads going to be merged?

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit

Post by oldranger » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:33 pm

AlmostThere wrote:One of the things I learned in the 80 hour Wilderness First Responder class (EMT type training) is that everything you have in the backpack can be first aid gear. Running scenarios we had only the tiniest of first aid kits yet we managed with spare clothing, cord and basic 10 essentials stuff other than FAK to address a broken leg and a head injury -- because things like head injuries and broken legs are not addressed with ibuprofen or bandaids, they are addressed by stabilization and evacuation.

Biggest, most effective thing in your first aid kit is wilderness-focused first aid TRAINING. The more you go out, the more you need the training. Someone who goes once a year or less runs a rather minimal risk. Being out every weekend exposes you to more risk of encountering an injury, either in your own party or someone else's, and having the ability to assess and intervene (only if they give you permission, by the way) can make a huge difference.
Absolutely correct!
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:10 pm

FrozenInTime. Actually I know who John Zahorian is and it wasn't him, though he doesn't carry much, at least he brings along scissors, tape, and a couple of other items I forgot. I forget the guy's legal name, but his trail name is Jupiter. I know he has done a lot of hikes as well, but that doesn't mean that his way of hiking is the best or even safe. As I pointed out before, even if you include the weight of the scissors/knife/multitool and the tape, its still under 4 oz, and the tape and tool have other uses besides first aid.

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by frozenintime » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:01 am

hey lumbergh, that's interesting. i wasn't aware of him. i certainly agree with you that his way isn't the 'best' by any means. but it's a tricky business telling someone else what they should be carrying. his method is clearly working for him if he just happily walked 4800 miles from the tip of quebec to key west. it's true he may eventually get himself in some trouble that a first aid equipment would be useful for. for better and worse, it often seems that we have to find things out for ourselves.

did he advocate that no one bring a first aid kit? that'd be another story.

(the above paragraph sure makes me sound like a dyed in the wool libertarian. which i most definitely am not!)

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:53 pm

I have to totally agree with Almost There. The best "first aid kit" you can have is a wilderness medicine course or training. I think we put too much emphasis on the "first aid kit". The other important "item" is common sense avoidance of accidents. Most accidents are caued by our own errors in judgement. I read accident reports, and I do not recall anyone dying due to missing a component of a first aid kit.

My ditty bag fell out of my pack once and I was a day into a trip when I realized I had no first aid kit, no personal hygiene stuff, no TP! I also carry my spoon in my ditty bag, so got to eat wtih my fingers. I decided to continue the 4-day trip. Unfortunately it was pine pollen season and my eyes nearly swelled shut, I itched like crazy, tears rolled down my face. Yes, I made it through, but I was miserable. So I will continue to carry my little first aid kit. And if I find my stuff missing, now I would probably turn around and to back to my car. I am just not into misery. It is really such little weight to carry.

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:31 am

frozenintime wrote:hey lumbergh, that's interesting. i wasn't aware of him. i certainly agree with you that his way isn't the 'best' by any means. but it's a tricky business telling someone else what they should be carrying. his method is clearly working for him if he just happily walked 4800 miles from the tip of quebec to key west. it's true he may eventually get himself in some trouble that a first aid equipment would be useful for. for better and worse, it often seems that we have to find things out for ourselves.

did he advocate that no one bring a first aid kit? that'd be another story.

(the above paragraph sure makes me sound like a dyed in the wool libertarian. which i most definitely am not!)
He was fair in his response. Explaining that it is how he hikes, why he does it, and basically that he isn't changing. I got what I asked for, an explanation. I disagree, and most (all?) people who watch his videos or read what he says will follow his advice. Still at least I hope they think about it. Like Wandering Daisy wrote, I carry my first aid kit to make life easier and to help keep me on the trail. Anything major and I would need to get off trail; anything minor, and I want to be able to stay on trail with as little discomfort or risk of complications as possible. That's the reasoning behind what's in my first aid kit, well, with the exception of the super glue. That's for sealing cuts or punctures that wouldn't stop bleeding through the application of pressure and a small bandage. I recently had a puncture wound to my hand like that. Whenever I released pressure, even after over half an hour of maintaining it, it would start bleeding again within seconds. Something like that would likely prevent me from hiking to safety unless I have a way of sealing the wound, since for most of my trips I'm at least a day (20 miles) from the nearest trailhead. Since I don't know how to suture a cut (though, I did watch the doctor do the one on my hand), I'm hoping Super Glue will do the trick.

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:17 am

I would hesitate to super-glue a puncture wound. I may be wrong, but I thought you are supposed to let those bleed out to clean them.

Are medical treatments for known medical problems considered first-aid items? I really consider these more a part of my personal hygiene kit. I need allergy pills, not for first aid, but they are what I always take during allergy season. If I were to add an Epi-pen, then that would be "first aid". or not? My husband takes blood thinners for a heart condition. It worrys me no end as to what to do if he were to get injured and seriously bleed. How do you deal with that? For solo hikers, the first aid kit is problematic - just what first-aid can you do on yourself? The balance of weight carried versus probability of the injury becomes a more complicated decision. Whereas a pretty hefty first-aid kit is less of a burden on a larger group. It all boils down to your margin of safety. I think we each have to decide this for ourselves; to the point where our decision does not adversly affect others. It certainly is not black and white. And there is a lot of conflicting information out there

Does the fellow cited who does not carry a first aid kit carry a SPOT or other emergency device? If so, then is his "first aid" to push the help button? Did he say if he has wilderness medicine training? If pushing the button were due to not having sufficient first-aid training or stuff to fix yourself, then I would call that irresponsible. If he simply is willing to take the risk and not involve anyone else, then I guess that is not as irresponsible, the fallacy being that someone who runs across an injured hiker is not going to just leave them, even if they say the need no help. You implicitly get others involved in your dilema. I do think a lot of the UL-trhu-hiking crowd are depending a lot on PLB's and help from passer-bys. They see themselves as a member of a large but unorganized and separately walking backpack group.

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:26 am

To add- are pain killers first-aid? I suspect the fellow does take pain killers, which would be needed in order for him to walk out if injured. He might even take a few antibiotics. A lot of people do not think of pills as first aid.

The biggest myth I see out there is the idea that we are going to be able to walk out 20 miles in a day when injured. Even minor injuries can make you incapable of walking out. Or the idea that if we are injured and walk out, the weather is going to cooperate! What if you are injured and pinned down in a storm?

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Re: What's In Your First Aid Kit?

Post by mort » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:00 pm

The best "first aid kit" you can have is a wilderness medicine course or training.
I also take "Medicine for Mountaineering..." ed. by James A. Wilkerson http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/Medici ... -P506.aspx But his recommended "outing" first aid kit is a bit over the top. His personal kit includes morphine.
If you have sufficient training that you didn't need a kit wouldn't you take one, based on your training? I think the guy mentioned in the OP is more fatalistic than I am. Or perhaps I have an unrealistic optimism that my first aid will be any use. I'm willing to carry the weight because it gives me confidence.
As far as personal meds, those are personal, I mentioned the drugs I bring and would share.
-mort

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