Western Traveler

First-Aid Kit

It’s not something anyone wants to talk about, but problems do occur in the back country. Most incidents are minor, but even a minor problem can become a serious problem in not addressed.

My background is emergency medicine is fairly extensive. While in the Scouts, I achieved proficiency in basic First-Aid. I became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) while in college and have spent most of NPS career working on emergency response teams. I’ve been certified in Cave Search & Rescue and Rope Rescue (Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced).

Having said all that, the bottom line is that a few carefully-selected items will make for a very adequate First-Aid Kit. Here’s what I carry in mine.

  1. Moleskins (for blisters)
  2. Gauze pads
  3. Roller gauze
  4. Adhesive tape
  5. Band-Aids
  6. Advil (for sore & aching muscles and joints)
  7. Triangular Bandage (for wrapping serious cuts, or to be used as a sling in the event of a fracture, or to hold a head dressing on)
  8. Neosporin (for cuts and infection prevention)
  9. Prescription medications

While many experts will say that this is not nearly enough, I have never needed anything beyond these few items. In the past I carried a massive and all-inclusive trauma kit. The only result was that I got unnecessarily tired packing things I never used. This is not to say that these items will take care of all medical problems, but if the injury is serious, emergency personnel will be required anyway.

Last modified on: March 15th 2012.
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