The return of the robin means it is spring. Spring means camping and outdoors. Camping and outdoors puts you at risk for wounds, burns, blisters. Severe bleeding. Sprains and strains. Nobody is immune to ailments when camping or backpacking. Not even the robin.
The Adventure Medical Kits Weekender ($60) can treat just about any injury or illness in the backcountry for up to six people up to seven days or can be permanently stashed in your car as a portable trailhead urgent care.
Bleeders will appreciate the variety of adhesive bandages and dressing gauze as well as gloves, hand wipes and a 5” x 9” trauma pad. For blisters, it comes with a package of GlacierGel and 14 pieces of pre-cut and shaped moleskin.
Should you need to perform CPR, the kit contains a CPR face shield. Why would you need a face shield when giving CPR?
When CPR victims are revived they oftentimes become sick to their stomach and puke; oftentimes while you’re in the process of giving CPR. So the face shield protects you from the saliva, bacteria and vomit.
There’s also duct tape, bandages for fractures/sprains, four-inch EMT shears, a pencil, three safety pins, tweezers/tick remover, three disposable thermometers, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamine, antiseptic wipes, cotton swab, iodine, irrigation syringe, adhesive wipes, wound closure strips, tape, instructions for the treating of wounds, bleeding, fractures and sprains, a patient assessment form and the Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine.
And it all fits into a tidy 10" x 9.5" x 4" zippered pouch that weighs 1lb, 15 oz. All items are arranged and organized into categories to make it fast and easy to find what you need for the emergency at hand: Wound care/Burn/Blister; First Aid Manual, Medication, Instruments; Fracture/Sprain; Bleeding/CPR.
It is compact and lightweight but you still have to keep that in perspective.
If you’re going on a solo backpacking trip, or even with a buddy, it’s not compact and lightweight. It’s overkill. You would definitely want to choose a smaller, lighter kit, like the Ultralight & Watertight .5 ($17). Unless you’re accident-prone.
If you’re in a group, appoint a medic to carry the Weekender while you carry his camp stove. Or something.
Experienced backpackers could ditch the many literature packets, the patient assessment form, EMT shears (the experienced always carry a trekking knife) and the Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine and to save weight and space.
On a scale of one to ten, I rate the Weekender as packed by AMK as a nine. I say “as packed by AMK” because it lacks the following three vital accouterments:
- Trauma Pak with QuickClot® ($25): QuickClot is by no means a suitable alternative to stitches applied by an experienced medical professional but it does help quell the bleeding until you can get to an emergency room.
- Natrapel ($5.99): Minnesota’s state bird and state insect is the mosquito and tick respectively. This DEET-free insect repellant keeps the buggers off you for eight hours.
- After Bite ($3.99): If one managed to get you before you could apply Natrapel, After Bite really does stop the itch on application.
I added these to my Weekender. Now it rates about a fifteen on the one to ten scale.
The Weekender is one of two AMK that I own. I keep the Weekender in my car for post-mountain biking first aid and the general uncertainty of life. While I’m mountain biking or hiking or backpacking, I carry the Ultralight & Watertight .5.
As a final tip, check your first aid kit on a regular basis and always replenish any exhausted or outdated medicines and supplies.