Save Your Own Life!
Make an extra effort to keep yourself safe and prepared while in the backcountry. Often we put a lot of focus on gear that keeps us warm, cool, fed, hydrated, and moving. But gear that could mend an injury or even save us sometimes gets overlooked. There are many different med and first aid kits to choose from, however, they commonly add unwanted weight and are full of basic single-use items, which is why med kits get left behind in the first place.
As they say: If you want a job done right, you just have to do it yourself. Using a few common items you may already have, or that are easily found at a nearby pharmacy and medical supply store, you can make a well-rounded—and light—emergency med kit. And it won’t get destroyed in your pack.
Elastic Sports Wrap:
Duct Tape (long strip rolled several times over itself with a tab for easy peeling):
Small Freezer Vacuum Seal Bag (the freezer bags are more rugged):
Pain/ Anti-Inflammatory/ Allergy Meds (if you choose, and these should be placed in a plastic sandwich bag and separated accordingly):
I've found the order that works best for packing the kit (for both size and efficiency of retrieving items from it) is to first pack the elastic wrap then the antisepctic packets and meds before the gauze so that they are protected between the two more bulky items. And then slide the tape roll under all of it inside the bag and vacuum seal it shut.
Once tightly sealed (to be extra safe I seal it twice) leave an inch or two flap, and cut it in the middle to create a perforation of sorts so that it can be easily found and torn open when needed. You can even add tape flaps on either side of the cut to make it easier to tear open. Write the date on the kit from when it was made and the expiration dates of the meds that you’ve added visibly on the outside.
This kit weighs mere ounces, which allows you to carry it and use it anyway you choose, and it's few contents have vital multiple uses. By using the vacuum sealed packaging it creates a more compact kit, but zip bags can be used as well, however, they hold air making the kit more bulky and eventually let dirt and dust in, which contaminates your supplies.
Be Safe and Prepared out there!
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