Backpackers First Aid Kit: Don’t Forget the Moleskin!
Although some parts of the country right now are hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk, there are also some glorious locales with cooler temperatures, scenic views, perfect fishing holes, and paths to walk that will transport you through some of the most idyllic places in the country. However, as all good backpackers will tell you if you’re headed into Mother Nature, make sure you’re always carrying a prepackaged first-aid kit or one that you put together all by yourself. In order to do the latter, make sure to gather the perfect items. (One tip: knowing what these items are is as important as knowing how to use them, so if you’re a beginning backpacker, taking a short training course from the hundreds online is a great idea.)
Start with those “must-have” emergency essentials. After all, you never know what that great outdoors is gonna throw at you, so make sure always to have these essential care items on-hand: Antiseptic wipes; antibacterial ointment; bandage adhesive and assorted fabric bandages; butterfly bandages with adhesive wound-closure strips; gauze pads; nonstick sterile pads; medical adhesive tape; ibuprofen and other pain-relief medications you prefer; insect sting/anti-itch treatment; antihistamine to treat allergic reactions; tweezers; safety pins; and a first-aid manual. These are the basics that will help with all the scrapes, scratches, and minor emergencies.
When it comes to medications, any prescriptions you take are always the first thing you should pack in your kit. However, there are other helpful medications you may not want to be without. Sunburn relief; throat lozenges; lubricating eye drops; diarrhea medication; antacid tablets; oral rehydration salts; glucose or other sugar (for treating hypoglycemia); injectable epinephrine (for those who suffer from severe allergic reactions); and aspirin, are definitely items to consider.
With these two lists, you have the necessities, for sure; but there are also tools you may want to add to the kit to make sure you won’t be caught in a tight situation. After all, most of us are not MacGyver and cannot make a heavy-duty tool from a tree limb and an acorn. So, making sure to pack that small pocketknife (or multi-tool); paramedic shears; a safety razor blade; cotton-tipped swabs; a standard oral thermometer; irrigation syringe with an 18-gauge catheter; medical gloves and masks, as well as hand sanitizer, will alleviate the worry.
When it comes to the most essential item, doctors and avid outdoorsmen agree. One of the largest pains for the backpacker comes in the form of blisters. Therefore, you have to make sure that moleskin is definitely with you when you head out on your journey. To prevent blisters from forming, make sure to get good-fitting boots, wear a thin liner sock under your hiking socks, and take care of any hot spots right away by covering them with a padded blister bandage made of moleskin. To care for blisters before they worsen, it’s recommended to cut a blister-size hole in a piece of Molefoam and protect it with that, avoid draining if possible, and dress it like a wound if it happens to pop. Moleskin is the most reliable dressing for blister prevention available, so never be without it!
The locale is picked, and the First-aid kit is packed. It’s time for a great adventure!