Knowing First Aid on the Trail

By Denali Staff blogger Rebecca Brooks

This weekend at our hike at Sleeping Giant, we spoke with our great hike participants about the importance of having basic First Aid knowledge when outdoors. Being out in the elements there are many factors that can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When conditions change and accidents happen the outdoors can become a very scary place and being prepared is always a good idea.

There are many ready made first aid kits available in drug stores as well as in our Denali and Trailblazer shops. Although these items are great they are really  just a starting point for your first aid kit. While these pre-assembled kits have very vital pieces, very few are complete on their own. Pre-assembled kits are great for scrapes and blisters…but not too much beyond that.

Now keep in mind, the idea behind all first aid kits is to never have to use them. I always feel better  having this knowledge regarding first aid but I would be perfectly fine if I never had to use it. That being said, here are the contents of my first aid kit.

Basics: These are the items most first aid kits will include and they are a great place to start.

  • Adhesive bandages (various sizes)
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Moleskin
  • Cleaning agent (rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or my choice povidone iodine)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Disposable gloves
  • CPR barrier

Additional:

  • Triangle bandages
  • SAM splint
  • Safety pins
  • Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and dyphenhydramine

In addition to these items which are part of your first aid kit it is also a good idea to never leave home with out  a general sense of preparedness. That in mind, consider the following items as well.

Miscellaneous

  • Med-alert ID band/necklace
  • Water purification tablets/filter/drops

I have tried to make my kit as complete and ready for the backwoods as possible. Also it is of note that I prefer to hike ultra-light and thus quantities are small and compact, but I DO NOT compromise the completeness of my first aid kits contents. Some things you don’t sacrifice weight for, first aid is one of them. I’ll go for light weight options but I still have all my pieces present.  If I were to need more than what is in this kit to take care of an injury in the wilderness I would be looking to evacuate my buddy, not wish I had brought more in my kit.

If you’re interested in learning more about Wilderness First Aid you can find a course through some of the following companies.

Wilderness Medical Associates: www.wildmed.org

SOLO: www.soloschools.com

NOLS: www.nols.edu

Be safe out there!

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