Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Gear Guy

DIY First-Aid Kit?

What should you carry in a first aid kit?

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
$1.33 / week *

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Gaia GPS premium with thousands of maps and global trail recommendations.
  • Try out best-in-class gear and apparel for free before you buy
  • Coming Soon: Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Should I carry a first-aid kit, and if so, what should be in that kit?

—Ben Asprin | Salt Lake City, Utah

The great polar explorer Robert F. Scott included cocaine, opium, morphine, a tincture of cannabis mixed with chili pepper, and whiskey in his
medical kit. To paraphrase Major Kong in Dr. Strangelove, “A fella could have a pretty good time in Vegas with all that stuff.”

For cragging, I don’t carry a first-aid kit, but I would pack one to go to a remote location, and I would prioritize supplies to stop bleeding
and establish an airway. Anything else is a luxury.

For bleed-outs, the U.S. military uses QuikClot, a natural enzyme in powder form that coagulates blood. This stuff will stop bleeding even in the
case of a severed femoral artery. You can purchase it from amazon.com. QuikClot also comes in the Adventure Medical Kits Trauma Pak along with
other essentials such as a sterile dressing, gauze and tape.

D-I-Yers should also get a NATO First Field Dressing, sterile triangular bandages, duct tape, disposable rubber gloves and a CPR pocket shield.
That is all you might need to save someone’s life—if it can be saved—in most trauma situations, but, like Scott, I’d toss in a
few more items to make being around a wounded person more bearable. A flask of whiskey, pain meds such as the opiates Oxycodone or morphine
in pill form, antibiotics and an antibiotic wash, scissors, a suture kit and safety pins all help quell the screaming.

Familiarize yourself with these items, and know when and how to use/administer them. For example, don’t take the pain meds and whiskey at the same
time.

If you are serious, take a wilderness first-responder course. NOLS offers a two-week clinic in many states and charges $600 to $900. At a more basic
level you can take a simple American Red Cross first-aid course. Gear Guy Has Spoken!

 

This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 209 (April 2013).