Medical Kits, and Wilderness Medicine

Every good outdoor adventurer should carry with them a proper medical kit. Unfortunately many do not, in fact many don’t carry one at all. Pay close attention because what I’m about to share with you may save yours or somebody else’s life. First thing is first, if you’ve been carrying one of those generic “first aid” kits, I congratulate you for trying. Now take that first aid kit, and remove the few handy items out of it, and throw the rest away.  Those kits won’t save anyone’s life, and do not have the proper tools to do anything more than turn someone into a band-aid monster.

Next, if you have no medical training, I recommend you get some. Your local Red Cross likely offers basic first aid, and CPR courses for a small fee. If you want to get serious about wilderness medicine there is Wilderness First Aid, and Wilderness First Responded courses. These courses are much more in-depth and provide you with the tools necessary to handle almost any medical emergency that could happen in the wilderness.  The two most trusted names in these type of training are Wilderness Medical Associates, and National Outdoor Leadership School. Both offer training courses across the country.

It is important to note that if you treat someone, you know what you are doing. Their life may depend on it, and you can be held liable for mistreatment.


Medical bag: Your medical bag should be large enough to contain all of your medical supplies, yet compact enough that it fits into your backpack.


Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch (Tan, 8 x 6 x 3.5-Inch) – The Condor Rip-Away is my personal choice for a medical bag. It contains enough space and pockets that I can keep my med-kit somewhat organized and compact.



What goes in a medical kit:
AMBU 000 252 123 Red PVC CPR Res-Cue Adult and Infant Face Masks – This is a great face mask kit for performing CPR. It contains both an adult size and child size mask. Please don’t perform CPR on someone unless you are properly trained, and do not perform CPR on someone without a face mask.


SAM Rolled Splint 36″, Orange/Blue – Sam splints take the work out of making a splint. Just form the SAM splint to the sprained or broken appendage, and tightly wrap with elastic bandages to create an effective splint.


Rescue Essentials Shears EMT/Scissors Combo Pack with Holster, Tactical All Black– This is a great shears and scissors kit, containing all the essential: shears, bandage scissors, forceps, pen light and hemostat


Grafco Elastic Bandages – 4″x 5yd – Box/10 – Great for making splints with a SAM Splint, holding gauze in place, and putting consistent pressure where needed.


Dynarex Stretch Gauze Bandage Roll, Non-Sterile, 3″, Box/12 – It is especially useful for dressing wounds where other fabrics might stick to the burn or laceration. Also can be used for soaking up blood from cuts, and scrapes.


Safe-Touch Non Sterile Blue Nitrile Exam Gloves, Non-Latex – Gloves are essential. If you are going to be touching somebody else’s wound, don’t do it without protecting yourself.


ATHLETIC TAPE- ROLL, WHITE – Athletic tape can be used for a range of things, from preventative injury use to as simple as holding a dressing in place.


Irrigation Syringe – Use when cleaning out debris from puncture wounds or very dirty scrapes.



Extra Heavy Moleskin – 2″ x 5 yards– Place on blisters and hot spots.



Triangular Bandage – Use a triangular bandage to make a sling for a broken, fractured or sprained arm or shoulder.



Pill Organizer – Pill storage. Unfortunately it is difficult to find these without the days of the week printed on the case. I just used a sharpy to note the type of meds in each compartment.


The meds:

Pain relievers – Due to people’s various allergies I carry Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen Sodium.

Allergy relief – Diphenhydramine

Anti-Diarrheal – Loperamide Hydrochloride

Antifungal cream – Miconazole, or Clotrimazole


Iodine wipes


Adhesive Bandages:

Adhesive Fabric Bandage, 1 Inches X 3 Inches

Adhesive Fabric Knuckle Bandage

Fabric Fingertip Bandage

Butterfly closure strips