Everyone agrees that a hiker should have a first aid kit in his or her pack. But almost nobody agrees on what you should carry in it. We don't claim to be experts in first aid, but we have been hiking quite a while, and M's father is a physician--whose advice is aways sought and often taken. Over the past week we've taken the time to think this through again, and check on our first aid kit. Here's what we decided to take along.
And while this might not be the perfect first aid kit for you, it has served us well over the years. It's built on a very basic philosophy: it's aimed at making someone comfortable for a day or two, while someone else goes and gets real emergency help. So you won't find splints for setting broken legs, or surgical tools for emergency surgeries. (We do carry a pocket knife, for those McGyver moments!) If you are really in trouble, you'll need more than this kit to survive. But the things in this kit will help you recover from minor injuries and maladies. And they may just keep you alive long enough for someone else to come and get you!
Ibuprophen--for sore muscles etc.
Acetominophen--for headaches and pains
Chewable pepto bismol--for bilious bellies
Imodium--for more bilious bellies
Antiseptic wipes--to clean wounds and our hands
Antibiotic ointment--to put on those cuts and scrapes to prevent infection
Bandaids/bandages--we carry a large assortment of sizes and shapes. And lots of them.
Moleskin--the hiker's friend, for blisters and potential blisters
Ace bandage--to hold things together and give support
Pre-wrap--this stretchy stuff actually works better than an Ace bandage...and for more things
Space blanket--to keep you marginally warmer.
Sewing kit--to stitch up everything from the tent to your elbow
Ziploc bag--to keep everything dry and together.
How many of these items have we used? The first two get regular use, both by us and others whom we meet on the trail. Nothing like Tylenol for that altitude induced headache! And we've occasionally used the wipes and bandaids for minor cuts--and the antiseptic ointment. So far we've never used the rest of it, except the sewing kit to repair various parts of our kit.
And we are very grateful for that.