So you love going out in the beauty of the remote areas and yet in the back of your mind you are thinking: "What if I or someone else is injured?"
You need to ask yourself ...................... What skills can I learn to help me to keep someone alive? Have I had any training? What will I need to keep someone alive with my level of training? Do I need a more comprehensive first aid kit? What environments do I frequent and how will that affect my preparations?
For myself I took a WIlderness First Aid course that I wrote about in this post:
Completing the course does not make me a medical expert nor does it mean you have to believe anything that I write or even copy anything I do. You are on your own. I do want to share what I arrived at and you can use it to inspire your own choices but you do need to own your choices..
What sort of natural environments do I operate in the most? The primary environments will be western deserts and mountains of the U.S. with temps ranging from below freezing to somewhere past 110 degrees. The high heat is what made me think about including rehydration salts. Potential worst case injuries could include accidental gunshot wounds, lacerations and broken bones.
This kit is intended more for my remote back-country vehicular trips where self rescue is the main option and external help may only be available via helicopter. Places in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and in California the Sierra Nevada Mountains or Death Valley are typical locations.
Do I have adequate supplies to help me deal with possible life threatening injuries? This is important because no store bought kit will cover that question very well. If you buy one you'll have to modify it. If you build one you'll be much more intimate with the contents and also know the limitations of your kit and how to improvise when necessary. When on scene use your signs / symptoms / chief complaint / history of the present illness as your north star and your kit should help you to apply solutions for your anticipated scenarios.
My kit has eveolved a bit but I had the benefit of starting it with great advice from Ian McDevitt who also wrote a book some of you may find useful.
Tactical Medicine: An Introductory To Law Enforcement Emergency Care. ISBN-10: 1581602553 and ISBN-13: 978-1581602555
Don't try to select your kit's container right off the bat. Build your kit up and then you can look at what is out there in the form of backpacks, fanny packs, duffles, etc, and pick one that works for you. For myself the kit lives in my vehicle but I wanted it to be easy to hike with if someone was injured outside of camp.
Here is what I started with
Tactical Assault Gear's Basic Medical Pack is designed to provide essential medical equipment in any battle field trauma situation.
• Made with 1000 Denier Cordura nylon.
• Top carry handle allows quick accessibility from any type of vehicle.
• Outer cinch straps to compress the pack when fully loaded.
• Individual internal compartments to separate your medical equipment.
• Internal mesh pockets allow quick view of contents.
• Internal pouch for 100 ounce hydration bladder.
• Large opening for hydration tube so you will not have to disassemble your mouth piece to get it in and out of your pack.
• Contoured shoulder straps with a fully adjustable sternum strap.
• Shoulder straps are placed wider on the pack to prevent uncomfortable pinching around your neck.
• Aluminum stays for added rigidity that can be easily removed if not needed.
• Zippered Gusset at the top of the pack allows for quick and easy access to your hydration bladder without having to open the main compartment.
• 100oz. Source hydration bladder space.
• Dimensions: 16" x 13.5" x 8", 1728 cubic inches
Besides "normal" first aid I wanted to be able to deal with stopping potentially large losses of blood until better qualified care could be obtained. The current weight is 22 pounds and being in a backpack means that I can easily haul it to an injured person who is not near my vehicle.
It is set up with 4 external pouches for fast access to some items. Overall the contents and their internal locations are subject to change and improvements.
First Pouch: Two (2) CPR shields and a pair of nitrile surgical gloves
Second IFAK style Pouch Small EMT shears, one (1) CAT and one (1) Adventure Medical Trauma Pack with Quik Clot
Third Pouch (American flag): WeatherMax all-weather notepad, pens and mechanical pencil
Fourth Pouch: One (1) Princeton Tec Remix Pro single CR123 headlamp and One (1) Streamlight Microstream C4 single AAA battery penlight
Medicine for Mountaineering & Other Wilderness Activities, softcover book, 4th edition
Rubbing Alcohol. 12 ounce plastic bottle
Oral Rehydration Salts, Five (5) packets
Hyfin Individual Chest Seals, Two (2)
Sam Splints; Two (2) standard sized and One (1) Softshell version for Hand/Wrist/Forearm
One Airway tube (never used one but had it and threw it in)
Also One (1) 9" x 14" compartmented Plastic Box
Alcohol Prep Pads
Straight Razor Blades
Small Folding Scissors
Disposal Bags marked as Biohazard
The main compartment is layered with one wall made up of mesh storage pouches, a fold out divider and a large storage area. The signaling items in the main compartment are a military VS-17 signaling panel and a military (strobe light) distress marker, the FRS/MS 2000M.
This is the first set of mesh pouches
Top Row Left: medical tape, five (5 )rolls, various sizes
Top Row Right: 3M Coban rolls, two small one large
Middle Row Left: Disposable wire splint (small) and two burn gel packages
Middle Row Right: Small packages of Quik Clot powder, five (5)
Hydrogen Peroxide, two (2) 4oz bottles
Eye wash solution, 1 oz bottles, three (3)
Antihistamine bottle, 100 tablets
Aspirin bottle, 175 tablets
Ibuprofen bottle 200mg, 100 caplets
This is the fold out main divider.
Tweezers, small metal
Tweezers, regular size, platic, disposable
Neosporin, two (2) tubes (one OEM one generic)
Anti-Itch Cream tube
Gauze Rolls, 2" x 6 yard, eight (8)
Nalgene Cantene, 32oz (intended for rehydration salt mix)
Hand sanitizer, two (2) bottles, 2oz
Toothache relief & repair kit
Instant Cold Compress, four (4)
Instant Heat Compress, four (4)
CAT, one (1)
Underneath the Pouch is stored one (1) heavy duty survival blanket
Between the Two Pouches
Adventure Medical Trauma Pak with Quik Clot
Small roll of duct tape
Second Pouch, bottom Left:
Telfa sterile pads, assorted sizes
Assorted regular bandaids, fabric style, in ziplocs
Space blankets, small, four (4)
Oximeter, Nonin Oryx model 9500
Pepto Bismol Tablets, box of 30
Laxative tablets, box of 24
Anti-diarrheal, box of 12 softgels
Open compartment, Left:
Abdominal Bandage, Big Cinch 12"x16", two (2)
Compression bandage, Cinch Tight 8"x10" abdominal pad, one (1)
Coban, 1"x5yd, five (5) rolls
Kerlix, 4.5"x4yd, one (1) roll
Gauze, 4"x10yd, two (2) rolls
Tegaderm, 4"x4", ten (10)
Tegaderm, 2"x2", ten (10)
Open compartment, Right:
Cover sponges, 4"x4", sixteen (16)
Flexderm Hydrogel 3”x3”, one (1)
Steri-strip, 1/2"x4", three (3) packs
Steri-strip, 1/4"x4", two (2) packs
Eye Pads, two (2) boxes
Compress dressing, 5"x6 & gauze bandage 4"x56"", one (1)
Bandage roll, 4.5"x4yd
Some other items I will address when I update this post will be:
Emergency flow chart so maybe someone that is not familiar with the contents knows how to find what they need, especially if they are treating MY injuries.
Consider the military's MIST card: Mechanism. Injuries. Symptoms. Treatment.