Having a first aid kit for adventures is incredibly important for any serious outdoor enthusiast. In the event of an emergency, having a well-stocked, reliable first aid kit could be the difference between life and death, or the proper, healthy healing of wounds. To be best prepared, check into the potential hazards of any outdoor recreation you are planning to take part in so that you can prepare a first aid kit with the appropriate supplies. First aid kits come in handy for many different sports including skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking.
The following list covers the essential items to include in any first aid kit for outdoor activities, it is not a complete list as every first aid kit should be customized to the activities you will be using it for.
Bandages are used to cover and protect wounds, cuts, abrasions, and other skin irritations. Pick out water resistant or extra adhesive bandages, these come in handy when you may need to be active while wearing your bandage for protection. They are also great for keeping out dirt and debris that could lead to infection. Be sure to pack a variety of sized bandages for different situations. Before applying an adhesive bandage, be sure to clean and dry the wound first.
Antiseptic wipes and spray are invaluable tools for preventing infection in open wounds. Antiseptic products, such as alcohol-based wipes or sprays, contain active ingredients that kill bacteria on contact, which can help to prevent infection from occurring. They are commonly used to clean and disinfect cuts and scrapes, as well as other minor abrasions. When using antiseptics, it is important to follow the package instructions and test it on a small patch of skin before applying it to an open wound.
Splints are used to stabilize and immobilize broken bones and joint injuries, such as sprains and fractures. They are usually made of cardboard, wood, or metal and are designed to be adjustable for a perfect fit. Splints help to protect the injured area from further damage and can also reduce pain and swelling. Splints are especially important for individuals taking part in extreme sports or going into a backcountry area where medical help may be days away. In these situations splints can stabilize a broken bone until you reach a hospital.
Antibiotic ointments are used to prevent infection in minor burns, cuts, scrapes, and other minor skin irritations. These creams are important when you have an open wound that needs to stay moist, yet clean. Where antiseptic sprays and wipes with alcohol dry out wounds, creams keep them moist and clean while they heal. They also contain active ingredients that help to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, which can speed up the healing process and prevent infection from setting in.
Oxygen Plus Elevate is a great portable remedy for altitude sickness or a boost of energy during outdoor activities, especially at altitude. Each O+ Elevate oxygen canister contains more than 50 deep breaths of pure recreational oxygen that can restore your body’s oxygen levels to normal, healthy levels. The 99.5% oxygen formula helps to increase blood flow and oxygen levels in the body, which can improve performance and help to prevent altitude sickness.
While it may seem obvious to include pain relievers, they are a critical part of an outdoor focused first aid kit and should not be left behind. Pain relievers are essential for reducing pain and inflammation caused by injuries, muscle aches, headaches, and other ailments. Additionally, they can reduce fevers which is critical for back country situations where victims may need to get out under their own power.
Tweezers are a must-have item in any first aid kit as they are great for removing splinters, thorns, and other small objects that can become lodged in the skin. Be sure to get a good pair of tweezers that are strong and easy to use, as dull or flimsy tweezers can increase the risk of infection.
Gauze pads are an excellent way to protect and cushion wounds while allowing them to heal properly. They are usually made out of cotton or rayon, which makes them highly absorbent and gentle on the skin. These pads can be used to cover larger abrasions or can be used in conjunction with adhesive bandages for smaller cuts. Gauze pads are also great for applying pressure to stop bleeding. Be sure to have non-stick gauze pads in your kit so that you don’t damage skin or re-open a wound when changing dressings.
Disposable gloves are an essential tool used when treating wounds to help prevent contamination. They provide a barrier between the caregiver and the patient, helping to protect them both from infection. By wearing disposable gloves, caregivers are able to keep their hands clean and free from bacteria and other viruses that may cause infections and illness. The use of disposable gloves also helps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination when treating multiple patients. Be sure you bring biohazard bags that close securely to dispose of contaminated gloves and other medical materials for sanitation and follow Leave No Trace protocols.
Bite vacuum pumps are devices designed to extract toxins from insect and snake bites. It works by vacuum suctioning out toxins, which can help reduce symptoms of envenomation and prevent irritation and illness. Most devices feature a silicone membrane that fits over the affected area, and a vacuum tube pulled by hand that creates a powerful suction to remove toxins left by insect/snake bites.
A cold compress is an essential item to have in a first aid kit. It can be used for a variety of injuries, such as bruises, sprains, strains, and swelling, all injuries that are very common when on outdoor adventures. The cold temperature helps reduce inflammation by decreasing blood flow to the injured area. In addition, it numbs the area and reduces pain. Cold compresses also minimize tissue damage by reducing the amount of fluid that accumulates at the injury site. Applying a cold compress to an injury immediately after it occurs can help reduce swelling and pain, and speed up the healing process.
With a well-equipped first aid kit and knowledge of how to use it, outdoor enthusiasts are able to enjoy their adventures with confidence. Tailor your kit to your planned activities and check with your trusted medical professional to ensure you have everything you need. Equally as important as having the gear is knowing how to use it. Consider taking an outdoor wilderness first responder course if you spend a lot of time away from first responders.
Don’t forget to add an Oxygen Plus portable oxygen canister to your outdoor prep bag to ensure you always have a pure source of oxygen to keep you vitalized on your adventures.