I was trained in the fine of art of what the United States army called COMBAT MEDIC. So forgive me for being completely biased on this little issue. First aid kits come in all shapes and sizes. The GI standard issue kit of my day even included a sling that multi tasked as a tourniquet. Hopefully, you will never need something so extreme in any of your outdoor adventures.
Maybe your kit includes sunscreen, basic bandages, and aspirin. That’s fine for a little hillside hike. But if you’re going to take a weekend trip that includes portages or winter camping, or even a week long remote deer hunt your going to want to super size your first aid kit.
When accumulating the necessary supplies, you can talk to first responders or the local rescue squad for some “most often” used supplies. Large outfitters, depending on their specialty and by that I mean are they river trout guides in Wyoming or horseback elk wall tent mountain men who do not carry all the same equipment with respect to first aid.
Buying an off the shelf first aid kit can be a good start. Then go through it item by item. The combat medic teams, I served with, checked each other’s bags for the standard issue items. We knew what was in our kits. We also were instructed in the proper use of these items. There are not many courses I know of that teach first aid unless you have served on your volunteer fire department or had red cross training. But to own the kit and then not know what’s in it, or how to use it is dangerous, if you know what suddenly hits the fan.
A first aid kit is like the spare boat trailer tire. You hope you never need the thing but your awful glad its there if you do. Another big deep breath item is they very fact that you may be using these supplies on a very close friend or loved one. That is typically who we enjoy the great outdoors with. So, if before you leave, you go through the kit with all involved and keeping in mind any special medicines or prescriptions or allergies you can have one awesome FIRST AID KIT.
FIRST AID KIT is in caps because you could literally be the “first aid” someone receives. One more thing, sterile is only until the package has been opened or compromised. Compromised could mean someone spilled orange crush soda on the packaging and it got soaked up. Compromised could be that the expiration date has been achieved.
If you match a good kit with some basic but current CPR you’re a long way towards peace of mind on what’s supposed to be fun in the great outdoors. Hopefully you never have to hear someone yell… MEDIC!