5 things to think about on First Aid Kits!
What do you know how to do? You are limited by your parties knowledge of medical interventions. If you don’t know how to use your equipment, it will be dead weight and most likely not used correctly if you do have to pull it out.
2) Time & Distance:
How long are you gone, and how far are you from any form of rescue, the longer you have to take care of an injured friend, the more equipment you will need. Will you need to carry someone out of the back country? Do you have the equipment necessary to do so?
What will your venture consist of? Going for a day hike on a familiar trail close to home? A small personnel first aid kit will probably due! However, a 10 day river rafting trip will warrant a personal kit carried by every individual and a bigger kit staged on one of the rafts. Cuts, breaks and strains are common among rock climbers, so make sure to bring splinting materials, etc, etc.
Almost everyone owns some form of commercial first aid kit, these are a great step in the right direction and as the old saying goes “anything is better and nothing,” If you find yourself short on supplies before your trip, you can talk with your partners on the trip and combine kits into a group kit that meets your requirements. You should never go into the back country without the minimums!
Just having a kit with you is still not the best practice. You need to know what is actually in it and how to use its contents. Sit down on rainy day, open it up and practice. Splinting, bleeding control, patient movement, how to control body temperature are just a few examples of thinks to practice. When your hiking partner breaks their leg in the wilderness, that is not the time to find out that you don’t know how to splint their leg or get them out of there!
PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!