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ryan850
09-12-2013, 19:33
Hello,

You guys helped me out so much with questions for my interview with the New Orleans Saints Dietitian, I thought I'd ask you to help me again. Are you feeling taken advantage of yet?? I figure if you love talking about anything backpacking as much as me, you'll be okay with it.

I'm going to be working on a post about UL First Aid kits with help from an instructor at NOLs Wilderness Medicine. I know there isn't a single first aid kit that is perfect for everyone, since some people have specific needs that others donít, but I'm going to have him help me tweak my kit and hopefully help give us some ideas for what first aid skills all backpackers should learn. Additionally, what skills will help us reduce our kit weight by learning how to use the environment and how we can re-purpose gear items, that we already carry, for first aid use.

I know so little about first aid that I'm not totally sure what questions to even ask.

I know there are other posts on here about what to carry in a first aid kit, and those helped me out a lot, as a beginner especially, but I'm curious if any of you have something to add. Like, what do you carry and why? How have you re-purposed other gear in a first aid situation? Here is what is in my kit:

Neosporin (a few single use packs)
Advil or Aleve
Excedrin, for migraines
Tylenol PM, if itís a long hike, to help me sleep with the ache and pains
Hand Sanitizer
Duct Tape
A few gauze pads
A couple butterfly strips


Items that I have, or that could possibly be, re-purposed for first aid


Toilet paper, with duct tape for bandages
Bandanas, extra socks (for bandages, splints or tourniquet)
Hiking poles or Neo-air sleeping pad (for splint)
Bleach for water treatment, for sterilizing bandages/instruments
Cordage, floss, or fishing line
Safety Pins

Something Iím considering on the next cold trip is latex gloves. They could be used when helping someone else with a wound, and also as waterproof layer over gloves in cold weather, when doing anything that could lead to wet hands. like gathering water, digging in the snow.

What do you think?

quasarr
09-12-2013, 21:05
I think latex gloves are a good idea. You don't seem to have any blister and foot care, which I consider essential for a backpacking first aid kit. I would add a safety pin for popping blisters, moleskin, and band-aids. Sure you could use duct tape, but it would suck! And band aids hardly weigh anything.

MuddyWaters
09-12-2013, 21:09
needle, dental floss
small alcohol prep pad
benadryl (antihistamine)
loperamide (anti diarrhea)

something most should carry, but dont is a CPR barrier. not necessarilly for someone else, maybe for someone to use on you too.

yes, the latex gloves are a good idea. If someone needs to help YOU with a wound, they will want them. They arent necessarily for someone else. If they are intended for wound care, ixnay on using them for anything else.

ryan850
09-12-2013, 21:37
I think latex gloves are a good idea. You don't seem to have any blister and foot care, which I consider essential for a backpacking first aid kit. I would add a safety pin for popping blisters, moleskin, and band-aids. Sure you could use duct tape, but it would suck! And band aids hardly weigh anything.

I agree about the band-aids. I guess it is kind of weird that I chose to reduce that 0.5 gram of pack weight lol. I used to carry bandaids and moleskin, but ended up giving it to another hiker on the AT, so I used duct tape when I was out and it worked well. I haven't had too much foot trouble though. At least not with hot spots or blisters. I wear trail runners and some toe sock liners when my feet get wet in the rain. I've hiked 3,500 miles or so without needing it, but I totally agree with you though that it needs to be included on the post whether i take it or not.

I do carry safety pins to hang my wet socks on my pack, so they could be sterilized and used to pop blisters.

Thanks for the feedback!

ryan850
09-12-2013, 21:44
needle, dental floss
small alcohol prep pad
benadryl (antihistamine)
loperamide (anti diarrhea)

something most should carry, but dont is a CPR barrier. not necessarilly for someone else, maybe for someone to use on you too.

yes, the latex gloves are a good idea. If someone needs to help YOU with a wound, they will want them. They arent necessarily for someone else. If they are intended for wound care, ixnay on using them for anything else.

Very good point about the gloves. I feel very selfish now! lol. I do carry a needle and floss, forgot to mention that. Do you know if Purell can be used to clean a wound? I will definitely ask him about CPR barriers. I'm also curious what he has to say about the effectiveness of CPR vs. other procedures. I've heard CPR only helps like 8% of the time.

Thanks for the feedback! I have a lot of research to do.

MuddyWaters
09-12-2013, 21:57
I had a Wilderness First Aid course, these are the standard items.

Today, they also teach CPR to just do chest compressions. This is what they taught my daughter in school. 1) its easier to remember 2) people are less reluctant if they dont have to swap spit with someone (seldom does anyone actually have a cpr barrier) 3) the compressions do cause some air exchange to take place, so keeping blood flowing is the most important thing.

quasarr
09-12-2013, 22:41
I haven't had too much foot trouble though. At least not with hot spots or blisters. I wear trail runners and some toe sock liners when my feet get wet in the rain. I've hiked 3,500 miles or so without needing it, but I totally agree with you though that it needs to be included on the post whether i take it or not.


Yeah, once your feet toughen up you don't really get blisters any more. But really hot weather can make them show up again, don't know if this has happened to you. On the Hat Creek Rim I know several people that got bad blisters who hadn't had one in a thousand miles. The section was so hot it made their feet swell up and blister all over again!! (Not me, I night hiked it and thought it was quite pleasant at 3am lol)

AngryGerman
09-12-2013, 23:32
Re-purposing gear for various uses is one of the mantras of an UL backpacker. I've added a holistic approach to my 1st Aide Kit as well; see below.


14 Tylenol w/caffeine (migraine
medicine for the worst)

14 Ibuprofen for extreme injuries

Sew kit w/a bit of fishing line in it (I'll explain below) I remove the buttons from the sew kit and only have a small bit of
black and white thread.

Quarter ounce of lavender oil (stops bleeding and eases pain)

One ounce of tea tree oil (antiseptic, mouthwash, etc.)

Half ounce of German Chamomile (heals cuts, stops infection, etc.)

Hand sanitizer, mini bottle

Two feet of gauze roll stuffed inside the TP roll

Duct tape wrapped around the trekking poles for bandages, etc.

One very small piece of lemongrass soap, maybe quarter ounce (only during high bug season)

Swiss Army knife with scissors attachment; usually kept in the food bag

Aqua Mira Ė lasted me the entire AT thru; I treated my water maybe ten times on my thru last year and didn't get sick once.
With that being said, I don't recommend everyone take my approach to water purification.

*Tea Tree oil combined with lavender also aids in easing bee stings and bug bites.
*Lemongrass soap aides in bug deterrent along with cleaning your nasty parts.
* Essential oils listed have many uses as does certain teas that you would possibly drink on the trail.
If interested, perform some quick research and you will discover what I am talking about.
*Teas can also be used for hot or cold compresses.
*Use thread and the smallest sewing needle for blister treatment. Thread the needle through the blister then leave the thread inside the blister over night. This will aid in
allowing the blister to dry out while you sleep. Use duct tape for coverage the next day if needed. You can also use fishing line for blister drainage.
*If you need stitches in a pinch, use that sewing kit and fishing line; it works! Leaves a nasty scar sometimes if you or your buddy can't sew; hehe!

Hope this can be of
assistance to you folks.

garlic08
09-13-2013, 09:26
Your kit is a good one. As far as meds, just carry what you might need. I never get headaches or joint pain, never get intestinal upset, don't have allergies, so I don't carry any pills. I do suffer from athlete's foot, so I typically carry an antifungal on longer trips. Neosporin is usually in there on longer trips, too. I figure on weekend trips those things aren't going to affect my hike and I can take care of them when I get home.

The gloves are a good idea and I carried some for about twenty years. I never used them so I don't carry them anymore.

One of my rules is that everything must fit easily into a snack-sized ziplock.

Tweezers are a handy tool, as are nail clippers, for those nagging things that affect your day in a minor way. I carry a roll of white athetic tape, the kind used to tape sprains, for taping hot spots and preventing blisters, and once for actually taping a sprain.

The kit must vary based on terrain. My desert hiking kit is different than my ski mountaineering kit.

NOLS folks that I run into always seem very attentive to reducing pack weight, but they need to balance that against responsibility to clients so they carry a LOT. As a solo hiker, your only responsibility is to yourself, so you can take your own risks.

icdaywee
09-13-2013, 11:01
I do not have any comprehensive medical training, but the chest compression only cpr is assuming that you have professional medical services close by. A quick quote that I found by Dr. Clifton Callaway, associate professor and vice-chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh:

"While a few minutes of chest compressions without ventilations can be tolerated and can support life, eventually the patient needs oxygen."

You are essentially just acting like the persons heart, and forcing his oxygen rich blood to circulate to his vital organs. The "procedure" is intended to act as a stop gap that bystanders can do easily before trained professionals take over. But eventually you will have to resort back to traditional CPR to provide oxygen to the body. Especially if you are out on a trail where you will be far away from rescue. Just something to keep in mind before you cross the cpr barrier off your list.

jeffmeh
09-15-2013, 10:47
NOLS folks that I run into always seem very attentive to reducing pack weight, but they need to balance that against responsibility to clients so they carry a LOT. As a solo hiker, your only responsibility is to yourself, so you can take your own risks.

Absolutely right. My kit when I led groups was comprehensive, and exceeded my personal kit in weight by almost the full group kit. :)

HeartFire
09-15-2013, 19:33
I think latex gloves are a good idea. .

personally, I think LATEX gloves are a very bad idea - too many people (like me) are allergic to latex. Get vinyl or other type of NON LATEX gloves.
Tylenol PM - just very expensive brand name benadryl - get some generic benadryl if you want it to put you to sleep.

What is the first aid kit for? you personally or for a group? - different responsibilities there.

Advil, Aleve, Exedrin and Tylenol are 4 different brand names, and could be the same drug (not) Advil is Ibuprophen, Aleve is naprosyn, Tylenol is Acetaminophen, Exedrin is acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine . Personally, I'd take the generic ibuprophen and generic benadryl (diphenhydromine) along with something for diarrhea and leave the rest at home.

Athletes foot - antifungal cream - this is not an emergency and can be picked up in the next town stop if needed. One or two 'thin maxi pads' in plastic wrappers make great gauze pads to soak up blood. one gauze triangular bandage (cravat) can be used for all sorts of things and is much bigger than a bandana.

I would never use purell on an open cut - it's pouring alcohol into a raw wound - very very painful- just use plain water and /or soap and water.
for popping blisters, I prefer to cut them/slice them - a pin prick will just seal itself almost immediately - I cut the blister, drain it, and then put a fairly tight bandage over it for the rest of the day. overnight, I let it 'air out' and dry up, the skin will adhere to the skin underneath, it rapidly forms a callous in a day or two and does not hurt anymore. (I do wrap it up the second day but after that it doesn't need it.

CPR, when you compress the chest, you are squishing the air out of the lungs, when you come up off the chest, some fresh air goes into the lungs. You only use about 20% or less of the oxygen you breath in with every breath, so there is plenty left over to keep using.

my first aid kit is quite heavy only because I now carry 2 epi pens with me - they weigh a ton! but unfortunately, they are a necessity to have with me - I also carry chewable kids benadryl - it's quicker into your system. hit yourself with the epi pen and then load yourself with benadryl.