If you’re venturing off on an outdoor adventure, then you’ll want to ensure you carry a first-aid kit. Several options exist, whether a prepackaged one or the DIY version, they may be just what saves you in the unlikely event of an accident or mishap when you’re off the beaten track.
More important than carrying a first-aid kit is knowing how to use it. First-aid training courses are frequently offered in major towns and cities and are well worth partaking in, especially if you’re responsible for the safety of a large group. The skills you learn with stay with you and can often be applied in other walks of life.
For those who decide to go the DIY route, here we list the essential items in a first-aid kit.
An irrigating syringe with a high-pressure outlet is especially useful for cleaning out wounds. When out in the backcountry and far from medical help, you’ll want to make sure that any wounds are thoroughly cleaned to lessen the risk of an infection which can spell disaster if you’re off the beaten track without medical assistance.
First aid can be messy. If there are open wounds and blood involved, then you’ll want to stay clean and safe while working with the injury. Medical gloves can be bought in bulk relatively cheaply.
An essential first-aid item, tweezers are perhaps one of the most useful lightweight items you can carry. Debris in a wound or a splinter in a finger can turn into something rather more serious in subsequent days. To avoid the risk of infection, a set of tweezers allow you to remove the potential source of any infection immediately.
Consisting of a combination of antibiotics, this ointment is used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. Applied to the skin, they help treat infected wounds, burns and boils. When in the wilderness, and perhaps days from the nearest medical facilities, an antibiotic ointment may be just what you require to keep symptoms under control until you get further help.
Great for treating wounds when you’re out in the sticks, a hydrogel pad provides a sterile and protective solution. They can generally be applied for up to 4 days before requiring a change, meaning a small quantity can go a long way.
Bandages and Gauze
This one almost goes without saying. From simple cuts and grazes to something more serious, bandages ensure a wound can be sealed off from dirt and germs. Non-stick gauze is recommended. You’ll be thankful when it comes time to remove it!
For the more serious mishaps, athletic tape can come to the rescue. Used to help support things like injured joints, sprains and damaged ligaments, they may be the very thing that gets you off that mountain and back down to a place where you can receive further treatment.
From insect bites to allergies, there are a lot of potentially unforeseen dangers associated with backpacking in the wilderness. Anti-histamines can be very useful in treating allergies, while pain relievers and anti-inflammatories will help keep symptoms under control when off the beaten track. Just be sure to follow the directions on the package.
Additional personal items
Depending on the time of year and the conditions, several other personal items should form a part of your kit.
If you’re hiking or exploring in exposed areas under a strong sun for a prolonged period, then sunscreen is a must. We all know how dangerous sunburn can be for long-term health, but a serious burn can result in a severe infection in the short term. Always apply sunscreen or cover-up exposed areas.
Biting insects can wreak havoc on any hiking adventure. Whether when sitting around the campfire or in your tent, we all have an aversion to biting insects. With a suitable bug spray, they can be kept at bay, something which is even more important if you’re exploring parts of the world where mosquitos spread diseases such as malaria or dengue fever.
The all-too-common occurrence of dried chapped lips when out hiking can be treated with lip balm. It helps moisturise and relieve chapped lips all in a small easy-to-carry tube that you can slip into your first-aid kit.
At Decathlon, as well as providing all of your gear needs, we also stock an impressive array of first-aid kits for those that prefer a pre-packaged solution. In a variety of sizes and optimised for a host of different activities, you’ll be sure to find the right one that’ll help you face any eventuality on your next outdoor adventure!