Do you know what’s in that prepackaged first aid kit?
Really, do you truly know what is in a prepackaged first aid kit? I could guess, a bunch of random size band-aids, medical tape, antibiotic ointment, and gauze. That prepackaged kit, probably has nothing for crazy tick attacks, getting rest with a pulsing injury, headaches, and a host of other common backpacking ailments.
What do we put in out first aid kit?
We have a random assortment of pills. Well actually we have a few thoughtfully packaged pills in a water resistant case, like this one found on amazon. Our first aid pill case is the solution to common ailments we personally have encountered in our wilderness adventures.
In dealing with infections, I personally do not believe ointment to be enough to prevent infection or to treat infection. Say you are a couple days out at Big Bend and get a major injury, spreading that little tube of ointment everywhere isn’t enough. That is why we have a couple 100 mg Amoxicillin pills in there. There are a few ways to acquire these, however the proper way is to speak with your physician about them. Let them know you will be out in the backcountry for a while and want to have them on hand in the event of an emergency.
You just survived 200 tick or chigger bites at Cossatot State Park, it’s dark and you cannot stop itching. Tomorrow you have to hike half the day to get out of the brush. Sleep is important, and sometimes when you are in such a bad way, like after a chigger attack or a bad sunburn that sleep is all but impossible, but still necessary. A little help goes a long way. A common over the counter sleep aid is Unisom and can be purchased on Amazon. However, if you commonly have insomnia bringing along your prescription sleep aid is a smart move. If you are itching like crazy, dealing with the pulse of a injury, a bad sunburn, or just need sleep but can’t get there yourself, these pill can save your night.
Next up in our pill holder is pain relievers. Headaches happen all the time and hiking with a headache is no fun. More importantly than headaches, a pain reliever, like Advil, will allow you to still be mobile if you’ve hurt yourself. If you are out in the backcountry you can sit for days waiting for help. If you’ve sprained your ankle, or thrown out your back, a pain killer will let you hobble your way back to civilization. In our case we have 10 Advil, they are tiny, and definitely are worth the negligible space and weight they take up.
Lastly, but equally important is a histamine blocker like Benadryl. You are going to encounter flora in the wild that you may never come into contact with around town. These pills, can be the savior from a severe allergic reaction where help is hours away. While most of us are aware of the common poisonous plants, there are many others that you may touch unknowingly. Then there are bee and wasp stings which you may not know if you are allergic to. Pack this, it just might save your life, and at the very least it will make you more comfortable if you are itchy from poison ivy, or having a seasonal allergy attack
The other items we have in our first aid kit.
Pretend that chigger attack I mentioned just happened, it’s 10 a.m. and sleeping isn’t really an option. That is why you need hydrocortisone cream in your kit! We carry prescription strength. If you have that on hand add it to your kit but if not, the off the shelf stuff is good too. Putting this on right way will relieve the itch fast and prevent it from getting itchy again. I cannot even count the amount of times we have applied hydrocortisone cream. This is probably the most used item in the entire kit, so I would recommend you don’t skimp on this item. Get as big as you can find!
Baking soda is another unique item we have in our first aid kit. It is in there for wasp stings and ant bites. If you make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the sting immediately it takes away the pain and prevents a histamine reaction. I’ve used it several times on wasp stings on myself and my kids and within a half hour you cannot even tell there was a sting. You don’t need much, a tablespoon is plenty, so the weight and space taken are negligible.
Then there are the more common items, we have band-aids, gauze, tweezers (great for cactus thorns), and medical tape.
There are many other items you could include in your kit, you’ll need to assess what you really need to prepare for. For example, we generally camp near water and in the south, that means snakes are around. However, since snake bites are generally rare unless you mess with them, we don’t see a need to pack in a snake bite kit.
The inventory list of our kit:
- 2 x 100 mg Amoxicillin
- 1 x 400 mg Quetiapine (prescription sleep aid)
- 10 x 200 mg Advil
- 8 x 25 mg Benadryl
- 1 tube prescription Hydrocortisone cream
- 10 band-aids
- 3 packages of 2″ x 2″ gauze
- 1 roll medical tape
- small baggie of baking soda
Having a good first aid kit, thoughtfully prepared for the adventure you are planning should be right up there after having water, food and shelter.
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