College Ambassadors

Minimalist Medical Kit: why you should have one and how to pack it

Gear heads like myself blow hundred of dollars every year on new equipment, leaving low funds for essential-yet forgotten outdoor tools. One of these often forgotten items is a good medical kit for emergencies in the wild. Hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, camping- any outdoor activity has the potential for a medical emergency of some sort. If an emergency does happen you’ll want the tools to solve the problem and they tend to be inexpensive. Some people that I know carry a backpack full of medical supplies, others a pocket full of bandaids; Here is a good middle ground medical kit concept. 

If you want to stay organized I would suggest picking up a pouch. Most gear or toiletry pouches will work just fine. I pack mine in a ‘tactical’ pouch because of the durable materials used. If your pouch has a small compartment inside fill it with rubber gloves (PPE) so you can stay ‘sanitary’ if you end up giving care. The next important piece of equipment is first aid materials: bandaids, moleskin, gauze tape, gauze pads, gauze rolls and an elastic bandage, e.t.c. You can fix most minor-medium injuries with these materials alone.

However, In the event that the injury requires more than a little gauze or bandage it’s best to keep these around: a SAM splint, which is a soft moldable splint that can be shaped to immobilize a leg, forearm or cut to fit a finger( shown below)

Space Blankets, which are a reflective ‘blanket’ to help lock in body heat if someone is experiencing hypothermia. This is one of my personal ‘musts’ especially if you’re going to be near cold river water or outside during the winter. They are waterproof, windproof and reflective making for a very functional piece to have in any medical kit. 

Trauma dressings. The military and law enforcement use these pressure bandages to help stop/keep pressure on heavier bleeding wounds. In the event of a laceration or puncture wound these can be vital in controlling bleeding.

It’s important to note that your medical kit can be filled with whatever you feel is necessary to bring. You can dress it up and bring a tourniquet, combat gauze, CPR mask, or dress it down- leave behind the SAM splint and utilize a stick for splinting instead. It is your choice, as long as you bring one along.