If you spend any amount of time in the backcountry, it's only a matter of time before you or someone you're with needs backcountry medical attention. It could be as little as being low blood sugar, or as serious as wound care or a heart attack.
Either way, it is always a good idea to prepare for the worst and plan for the best.
Here's a list of med kit essentials for you to take into the backcountry. You can make your own it to make it as lightweight and slim as possible, or you can find good options on the market as well.
This is not an all-inclusive list, but a list of most of the essentials. You can use sticks or other objects in the woods as splints to cut down on packing.
It is also recommended you take a course online or in person to learn the basics on how to use the following items:
- Antiseptic wipes (BZK-based wipes preferred; alcohol-based OK)
- Antibacterial ointment (e.g., bacitracin)
- Compound tincture of benzoin (bandage adhesive)
- Assorted adhesive bandages
- Butterfly bandages / adhesive wound-closure strips
- Gauze pads (various sizes)
- Nonstick sterile pads
- Medical adhesive tape (10 yd. roll, min. 1" width)
- Blister Treatment
- Ibuprofen / other pain-relief medication
- Antihistamine to treat allergic reactions
- Splinter (fine-point) tweezers
- Safety pins
- Rolled gauze
- Rolled, stretch-to-conform bandages
- First-aid cleansing pads with topical anesthetic
- Hemostatic (blood-stopping) gauze
- Liquid bandage
- Lubricating eye drops
- Diarrhea medication
- Oral rehydration salts
- Glucose or other sugar (to treat hypoglycemia)
- Injectable epinephrine (for severe allergic reactions)
- Aspirin (primarily for response to a heart attack)
- Knife or multitool
- Paramedic shears (blunt-tip scissors)
- Safety razor blade or scalpal
- Cotton-tipped swabs
- Standard oral thermometer
- Irrigation syringe with 18-gauge catheter
- Medical / surgical gloves (nitrile preferred; avoid latex)
- CPR mask
- Notepad with waterproof pencil
- Medical waste bag (plus box for sharp items)
- Heat reflecting blanket
- Hand sanitizer
It's also a great idea to have a means of protection out in the backcountry and that's where we come in. Don't forget a proper holster when carrying your sidearm into the backcountry.
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