Going out into the wilderness for a physically challenging adventure can be a fun time, but it can also go horribly wrong. And given that most wilderness adventures take place in the wild, where there’s no easy or immediate access to medical professionals in the case of an accident, you’re going to want to be well-prepared for any emergency in case things go wrong.
Anytime you venture out into the world for any adventure sport, whether it’s climbing, camping, hiking or skiing, you’re going to want to bring a first aid kit with you. What belongs in that first aid kit can vary depending on what terrain and environment you will be in and what activity you plan on doing, but there are some items that should definitely be included in every kit.
Here’s a guide on what you should always include in your adventure sports first aid kit before you hit the mountains, hills or any other outdoor environment.
Basic injury treatment
Not every injury is going to be life-threatening. Most of the injuries you’ll acquire on any adventure will be minor scrapes and bruises - things that won’t leave you bleeding out and dying. However, scrapes and bruises can get irritated or infected, which means you still want to treat and bandage them up appropriately.
You need a self-adherent wrap, like an ace bandage, to wrap up any minor sprains. You need medical tape, bandages and gauze to clean and cover any small wounds, and you need an antibiotic cream of some kind to apply to scrapes and bruises before covering them. You should also bring alcohol and iodine, as most wounds need to be cleaned before they’re covered, especially in the wild.
You also need some basic medications - ibuprofen for pain, swelling or fever, immodium, benadryl, aspirin and some hard candy, in case your glucose levels drop.
Finally, tools like scissors and tweezers, butterfly closures, blister bandages and tampons should be added to your pack. These will round out your necessary basic first aid tools and cover any bleeding or blistering that might occur on the road.
Preparing for serious injury
While you want to be fully equipped for minor cuts, bumps and bruises, you may also face more serious injuries while out in the wild. Broken bones happen all the time, as well as concussions and infections. Each of these can be serious in the wild, especially if left untreated.
Your first aid kit should also include equipment like a CPR pocket mask that allows you to help resuscitate someone, a portable splint that allows you to temporarily sit injuries, oral rehydration tablets that can help someone who’s become sick or otherwise severely dehydrated, and chlorine tablets for treating water before using it. You should also consider bringing gloves and extra gauze in order to wrap up more serious injuries and minimize bleeding out.
When it comes to selecting equipment, you don’t necessarily want to go all out with packing your first aid kit and stuffing it with anything you can possibly think you might have a purpose for. For one thing, as a TMJ specialist would say, the kit has to be convenient and portable, which means making it large and heavy will defeat the purpose. You don’t want to accidentally cause another injury straining yourself from the weight of your pack.
Pick things that are multifunctional and practical. If you have the time and inclination, do a bit of research before picking up materials to make sure there’s no well-known issues, such as a brand of medical tape known for sticking poorly in humid conditions. Don’t forget to check your kit regularly and replace anything you have to use as soon as you get back from your trip.
An important thing to remember about getting injured in the wild is keeping a cool head. By staying calm and utilizing the resources you bring with you in your medical kit, you can minimize your risk of worsening any damage and ensure you can make it out of your adventure with minimal damage.