First Aid is something that most outdoorsmen will have some knowledge of. If you're out in the brush, accidents can happen. Most First Aid kits contain the basics that are needed to deal with minor scrapes or injuries, and these are the most common uses for first aid in the wilderness. Depending on where you're going, and how long you'll be out there, preparing and planning what medical items you may need is vital to maintain your health, as well as ensuring that any unnecessary weight is cut out.
Minor accidents occur on a regular basis, and most of us are prepared to deal with minor scrapes, bruises, etc. However serious injuries can pose a potentially fatal hazard, especially in the wilderness. There isn't an emergency service in the world that can locate and treat you in any reasonable span of time in those circumstances. This is why additional preparation is necessary for serious enthusiasts.
Medical equipment that can save your life without the need for a fully trained emergency services to use are tools that you'll never hope to need, but will be VERY glad you have them, should you need it. Drawing from my experience in the outdoors, as well from the competitive shooting world, we've designed this First Aid Kit to suit all of your outdoor needs, large or small.
This kit is meant to do everything a basic kit can do, with the addition of potentially life saving trauma tools. It's important to note that none of these tools are a full treatment, and are only meant to prevent potentially lethal blood loss and immediate relief for other injuries. Any and all serious injuries should be treated by healthcare professionals as soon as they are able to do so.
Without further ado, let's get into what this medical kit contains, and why these items were selected.
It doesn't really matter what components you have if they're not properly packed and organized. Next to that, you need to be able to carry the bag seamlessly and access it quickly. We chose a tried and true MOLLE style design with a tear away back panel. This allows you to mount the bag to something stable, such as the back of a car seat, or onto a MOLLE compatible backpack. The tear away design allows you to pull the pouch away, so no need to fuss with removing it after it has been mounted.
Finally, the interior organization has been specifically packed and organized to separate minor and major injury use cases. You should become familiarized with the locations of the items, whether you reorganize it or not, so that you can quickly and confidently find the items that you need most.
For treating minor wounds, such as small scrapes and cuts, the basic medical items below are included:
• Sterile Gauze Pad 2" x 2" (4)
• 1 gram Antibiotic Ointment (2)
• Alcohol Prep Pads (4)
• Rolled Gauze (1)
• Roll of Medical Tape (1)
• Assorted Adhesive Bandages
• Burn Treatment Pad (1)
These items really don't need much explanation, but these are the basics an outdoor first aid kit might have. Small cuts and splinters are very common while bushcrafting, and the tools above are meant to deal with most of the issues you may encounter.
The quintessential element of outdoor survival is fire, and of course minor or serious burns are always possible when stoking your fire. The included burn pad will provide relief for several burn related injuries.
• 4" Emergency Trauma Bandage (1)
• Vented Chest Seal (2)
• 10 x 20 cm Sterile Trauma Pad (1)
• Tourniquet (1)
• 2" x 10" Rolled Aluminum Splint
• Triangular Bandage (1)
• 2" x 4" Hemostatic Gauze (1)
• Trauma Sheers (1)
• Pair of Nitrile Gloves (1)
• Survival Blanket
There's a lot to digest with the tools meant for major injuries, and some of those components can be used for less serious injuries if needed. Let's talk about why these components are vital for outdoor enthusiasts.
Broken or Fractured Bones
For broken or fractured bones or limbs, these debilitating injuries can greatly lower your chances of survival in the wilderness. Not only are broken bones extremely painful, you can suffer life-long debilitations if it's not properly treated. Broken bones are generally something that has to heal itself, but must be properly supported to promote proper healing. The rolled splint is an aluminum board sandwiched with foam, making it extremely pliable, but stiff enough to support these types of injuries. Using the trauma sheers, pieces of this splint can also be cut, allowing you to make a finger splint, or utilize the entire split to support a broken leg or arm. The triangular bandage is commonly used to craft a sling for a broken arm, and the combination of these two will greatly increase both your comfort, and your healing abilities if you endure one of these injuries.
Heavy Bleeding Injuries
Although humans are the apex predators of the planet, our bodies are actually pretty low on the bar for damage resistance. Injuries which can cause heavy bleeding can happen much easier than you think, and are really some of the most quickly fatal injuries you may get. Since these would be considered potentially life-threatening injuries, regardless of where you are, we wanted to make sure that everything is available in this kit, in case those injuries occur.
For heavy bleeds, stopping the bleeding is the first priority. A tourniquet is used to temporarily stop the blood flow to the artery - NEVER leave a tourniquet on after the wound has been treated and close. Another rule of thumb with a tourniquet is that it will likely cause some pain or discomfort when it's being used. You should not be able to feel your digits on the other end of the TQ, and that's an indicator that the blood flow has been stopped. From here the wound must be cleaned utilizing the provided gauze and trauma pads and then covered using the Hemostatic gauze.
Hemostatic agents are developed specifically to coagulate blood on contact, quickly clotting the wound. Applying this pad to the affected area will help to staunch the bleeding, while the trauma bandage can be placed over to secure the hemostatic pad.
A trauma bandage is a self compressing bandage. For heavy bleed injuries, these are an absolute must. The bandage works as any rolled bandage might, although it contains a plastic tab to maintain consistent pressure on the wound. Once this has been applied and secured, the tourniquet should be removed.
Heavy blood loss is a very taxing thing for your body to undergo. Once the wound has been treated and sealed, the survival blanket should be used to help maintain your body heat. Especially if you're in a cold environment, preventing hypothermia from blood loss is vital to ensuring your survival.
Although not as common for outdoors, these types of injuries can still absolutely happen. Whether it's a full puncture such as a through and through, or a single puncture, these types of injuries can also be potentially fatal if they occur on the torso. Our chest cavities are not only used to the pressure maintained by our thorax, but also the amount of oxygen that flows into our blood vessels. A puncture greatly disrupts this basic bodily function and can lead to a slew of issues such as over oxygenation, which can lead to temporary loss of brain function. One bad fall onto a sharp object could be really bad, which is why we included Vented Chest Seals to deal with these problems.
Two vented chest seals are included to treat through and through injuries or use one for a single puncture wound. Each seal is self adhesive and can be applied to seal the puncture. The purpose of having a vented chest seal is to protect the individual. Let's be real, injuries of this type are traumatic, and most people will likely panic without sedation. Since you'll likely be in an outdoor environment, a vented chest seal allows any additional pressure to leave the chest cavity - from hyperventilation or just stress induced breathing. Cleaning the wound prior to applying these seals is a must, and will provide a nice, tight seal to maintain the pressure your body is used to.
So now that we've gone over all the items and why they're included, I wanted to add again that this kit is designed to help prolong your life until you can be treated by a medical professional. The kit is meant to potentially save your life in an immediate life or death situation, and if you sustain ANY major injury should immediately seek appropriate medical care.
Always be aware of your surroundings and asses the potential danger that certain pathways may provide. While we always try to be methodical and careful out there, accidents can, and will, happen. Make sure you're as prepared you can be with our Complete Trauma Kit!