Updated: Mar 13
So you're going to spend some time in the wilderness. Maybe you're working in construction or in the oil field, or as a land surveyor or a park ranger. Or maybe you're going camping or doing a day or multi-day hike with family or friends. Whatever your reasons, when you're surrounded by trees, wildlife and steep unstable terrain, accidents are bound to happen so it's important to make sure you have the essential medical supplies that will keep you safe and alive until you can get proper medical care. After all, it's not like there are doctors lurking in the bushes who can help you at a moment's notice - you are alone and it may take hours or even days to get help.
So what should you include in your medical kit? Here are some important items you may not have thought of, based on the experience of wilderness survival experts from Apocalypse Preparedness and Survival School.
Chapstick – usually forgotten to be carried but one of the first items people wish they had after being a few hours in the field without one.
Scissors or sheers – Robust trauma sheers are best. Clothing, shoe laces, belts and bandaging materials may all require cutting under first aid conditions.
Crazy glue – not an optimum way to close wounds but a good temporary solution.
Roller gauze – useful in bandaging, wound-packing and filtering particulates out of water prior to purification.
Self-adhesive tensor bandages – great for sprains and strains as well as securing splints and bandages in place.
Large abdominal dressing pad – the larger the dressing the better as it may have to cover a large body surface area in case of burns or other trauma.
Triangular bandages – good for securing splints and bandages, slinging an arm or making an improvised tourniquet. A triangular bandage can also be made into a bandana to keep the sweat out of your eyes and the sun off your head
Roll-up or fold-up splint – these can be up to a couple feet long and can fold or roll up to be as small as a deck of cards. These splints can be formed to be rigid and are good for immobilizing and splinting most joints and long bones of the body.
Sharpie marker – it is important to write down an injured person’s health information such as their allergies, medications, prior medical conditions or what time a tourniquet was applied and to pass this information onto the healthcare staff.
Tether rod (for improvised tourniquet) – something thin and strong enough to resist the force of an improvised tourniquet. A screwdriver or a piece of strong metal cutlery will do the trick.
Medications – some medications may be beneficial to carry as well such as a bottle of over-the-counter pain killers or Benadryl for allergic reactions. Attention must be paid to the expiry dates so that the medications can be replaced in a timely manner.
Other basics - Alcohol wipes cleanse and disinfect any small open wound, a variety of shapes, sizes and types of Band-Aids, tweezers to remove ticks and splinters.
For a comprehensive list and extensive information on the use of these materials, including basic wound packing and stitching, take our Critical Conditions Survival Course being offered now!