Carrying Device - One that works best for you, and the environment in which you travel. Dry Bag/Box, fanny pack, compartmentalized pouch, ziplock bags, etc.

Personal Protection - it is generally a good idea to have these at easy access. Gloves can be placed in various places in your pack, or on yourself, such as a lifejacket in a film canister, etc.


Wound Care - this is probably the most used portion of the kit:

Wound Cleansing - a must in any remote setting needs to be done well and often. What is needed now is Povidine Iodine (PI) used in a solution with water, to adequately irrigate the wound and surrounding area. In many kits, PI is in the form of pre-soak pads that pack well, but you need quite a few to make the proper solution with water (looks like weak iced tea). Be careful of carrying it in bottles, it will leak. And, in cold environments it will freeze. There is are some people who are allergic to iodine, so check your medical history first. Alternatives that have an alcohol base usually have a tendency to "sting" or "burn" if applied directly to a wound. There are some good biodegradable camping soaps, as well as medical "scrubs" that can be used for cleansing around wounds. The most important factor here is copious amounts of water for washing off residue. A irrigation syringe, 12cc to 60cc, works great for washing out wounds, as well as, a corner cut off a ziplock, which is squeezed like a cake decorator. Wound closing is an option when the person needs to be able to walk or paddle with a minor injury. The risk of infection is greater when the wound is close, so prior wound cleansing is vital. Butterfly bandages, Steri-strips, or even cloth tape can be used.

Splinting - is probably the most improvised skill there is. Ensolite pads, lifejackets, packs, paddles, ski poles, etc. all make great splints. The key here is to make sure you use the injured's equipment first! There is nothing worse then watching the helicopter fly away, after a successful rescue, with your sleeping pad wrapped around a person's unstable leg injury. The two best commercial splints going for extremity splinting, is the 36" Sam Splint (foam covered aluminum), and the aluminum wire splint. You will also need a way of securing the splint to the injured. Ace wraps, Coban, Kling, and triangular bandages all work well. And, don't forget the duct tape. Remember to watch for constriction, comfort, and compatibility.

Blister Care - the key here is prevention. At the first sign of a hot spot, care should be taken. Personal preferences include, moleskin, molefoam, first aid tape, and duct tape to prevent blisters from forming. Once a blister forms, the care changes to open wound care, with wound cleansing and proper bandaging.

Hardware - this the stuff that can make someone a hero for being able to pull out a splinter, or make an emergency shelter.

Medications - the legalities of using medications should not be taken lightly. Adequate training, written policies and procedures and medical control should all be considered. The big problem is that it is much easier to put the medicine in, then it is to take it out.

* General amounts for the usual day trip or weekend trip. If you can not be resupplied easily, such as a month long expedition or voyage, it is probably good to triple all these amounts. Program first aid kits that have youth at risk for clients will probably have more wound care materials than a expedition group of experienced participants, etc. There are no hard and fast rules to quantity, only your experience, your training, and your judgment. So, after looking over your kit, and you don't see "enough" povodine iodine pads, you are customizing your kit to your needs.

Finally, Putting This All Together.

The First aid kit must be well organized, weather proof, accessible in an emergency, and user friendly. There are many good ways to approach this concept. The simplest way to organize is to separate your bandages, dressings, meds, etc. with ziplocks, or some sort of waterproof dividers. Writing what's in the bag can help when the adrenaline is pumping, or some people even color code what is what. Having gloves, pocket mask, and other protection readily available is very important. Knowing what you can improvise with can also make an accident situation go more smoothly. Being able to quickly grab the ensolite, duct tape, and shears can greatly reduce the stress of the moment. Not only is the first aid kit itself important, it is how easily you can assemble all your resources.

Suggested Personal First Aid Kit List

1 - roll 1" cloth tape
4 - 4" x 4", or 3" x 3" general gauze pads
2 - non-adherent gauze pads
1 - 8" x 7" combine (bulk) dressing
8 - band-aid bandages
2 - 3" or 4" stretch roller gauze
3 - 3" or 4" occlusive dressings
2 - triangular bandages
1 - 4" ace wrap
1 - Sam Splint or wire splint
4pr - vinyl exam gloves
1 - CPR pocket mask w/ 1 way valve or shield
1 - Airways, nasal and/or airway
1 - blister kit (personal preference)
5 - povodine iodine packets
1 - trauma scissors
1 - splinter tweezers
1 - thermometer
1 - med kit (personal preference)
1 - blanket pin
2 - safety pins
1 - 12 to 60cc syringe
1 - 20-30' duct tape