My girlfriend likes to joke about how much vested time I have in researching any particular piece of gear in my arsenal. Normally I disagree with her, but for this particular item I have to agree. Maybe it was the excessive amount of free time I had, my tight budget for this particular piece, or the concern for the consequences of poor selection. Regardless of the cause I feel that I now have a solid modular first aid kit that fits my style for adventure.
My goal when originally thinking of updating my depleted first aid kit was to come up with something that fit my particular needs. I often host backpacking trips with groups that number up to ten. Although I am not legally responsible for these individuals the piece of mind and knowledge behind the first aid kit allows for a more relaxing trip. In between hosting backpacking trips I often find myself on day hikes, either solo or with a small group of friends (or as I refer to them, "Elites" (you know who you are)). My first aid kit needed to represent those two styles of activity without limiting the usefulness and bog me down with unnecessary weight.
After countless hours scouring blogs, SAR rescue gear list, and pre-made kits I found what I was looking for. Adventure Medical Kits has an extensive (and expensive) line of first aid kits for everything from day hikes to full medical rescue setups. I was most intrigued by their Ultralight/Watertight line. The kits were streamlined for weight couscous adventurers, but still managed to provide a solid base first aid kit. The kit that stood out the most to me was not actually listed on their website in the Ultralight/Watertight section but found in the Professional section. The kit I am referring to was their Professional Ultralight/Watertight Pro kit. There was a lovely story about its creation (take that with a grain of salt) but at the base provides an excellent platform for assembling a solid first aid kit. The price tag for the kit is a hefty $125 and with my old first aid kit duplicating some of the contents; it did not seem like a smart purchase. After doing some searching I located a older model of the same kit on eBay. The kit had some medication that was out of date (not a big concern) and the spec list was slightly different. The differences were actually in my favor as they had cut cost when they changed the model a few years back.
After pulling the trigger on the kit I was eager to modify it. The kit comes in a rather large nylon bag and a secondary bag internally that houses a Ultralight/Watertight .9 Kit. The specs between the .9 Kit sold by Adventure Medical Kit and the one included were slightly different, but hardly worth mentioning. This setup allowed me to leave the large bag with the group first aid contents behind when I'm on smaller trips. It is extremely easy to grab the modified .9 kit and go rather than having to sort through all the contents to decide what I need for each trip.
Contents of Purchased Kit-
Alterations to Kit-
-Removed the 'Complete Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine' book. Although a great little resource I saw no need to carry the book with me in the kit. The best method is to have training and internal knowledge of how to use the equipment in your kit.
-Removed the SAM splint as I already had one. Ended up selling the brand new one (that came with the kit) for ten bucks on eBay. This further cut down on the overall cost.
-I immediately separated the contents of the kit into two setups as mentioned above. The .9 Kit bag was stuffed to the gills with the necessary equipment for day hikes, solo backpacking, and small group hikes of up to 4 people. The second larger bag (which houses the .9 Kit) was used to supplement the .9 Kit with more supplies and specialty items for backcountry group travel.
Contents of Altered .9 Kit-
-Bismuth Subsalicylate- 6 chewable tablets
-Diamode- 2 individual packets
-Diphen- 2 individual packets
-Asprin- 2 individual packets
-Acetaminophen- 2 individual packets
-Ibuprofen- 2 individual packets
-Survival Items- Compass, six storm proof matches, small role of duct tape
-1 Emergency Blanket
-1 Res-cue Key CPR Shield
-2 Pairs of Nitrile Gloves
-2 Safety pins (large)
-Patient assessment form and pencil
-1 Triangular bandage
-1 Roll of Bandage, Elastic, Co-hesive, Self Adhering, 3"
-1 Bandage, Conforming Gauze, Non-Sterile, 3"
-1 roll of Tape, 1" x 10 Yards
-1 Syringe, Irrigation, 10 cc, 18 Gauge Tip
-2 Povidone-Iodine Pre Pads
-2 Alcohol Cleansing Pads
-3 Triple Antibiotic Ointments
-6 Saline Solution Wipes
-1 5"x9" Trama Pad
-3 Knuckle Bandages
-5 1"x3" latex free bandages
-2 2"x2" Surgical Sponges 8 Ply
-2 Sheets of precut moleskin
-3 3"x3" Surgical Sponges 12 Ply
-2 3"x4" Non-adherent Pads
-1 package of 1/4" x 4" Steri-Strips
-1 Tegaderm 2 3/8"x 2 3/4" Bandage
-1 aLOKSAK Bag for waterproofing
-5 ziplock sacks to organize contents
Contents of Group Additions-
-1 Laerdal CPR mask
-1 SAM Splint 4"x 36" (I use this as a hard shell to protect the other first aid contents in the bag)
-2 Packages of Diamode
-2 Packages of Diphen
-2 Packages of Acetaminophen
-1 Package of Blistex
-1 Package of Triple Antibiotic Ointment
-3 Packages of Sunscreen 30 SPF
-4 Packages of Saline Solution Wipes
-2 Packages of Alcohol Cleansing Pads
-2 Packages of Povidone-Iodine Prep Pads
-1 Tincture of Benzoin Topical Adhesive, Vial
-1 5"x9" trama Pad
-1 Sterile Eye Pad
-2 3"x3" Sterile Surgical Sponges
-1 3"x3" Sterile Surgical Sponge 12 ply
-1 Package of Wound Closure Strips (Off brand Steri-Strips) 1/4" x 4"
-3 3/4" x 3" latex free bandages
-3 1"x3" latex free bandages
-4 2"x3" Heavy Woven bandages
-1 .1fl oz Lubricating Eye Drops
-1 Dog and Cat flee comb (for removing cactus)
-1 10ml Syringe with 5ml of Saline
-4" EMT Sheers
-1 Bandage, Conforming Gauze, Non-Sterile, 3"
-1 triangle bandage
-2 Safety pins
-1 small roll of kinesio tape
-1 biohazard labeled bag
-2 aLOKSAK bags (for waterproofing)
-2 Ziplocks for organization
Altered .9 Kit- 15.4 ounces
Large Group Add on Kit- 17.68 ounces
Although this kit may not fit everyones desires it provides an excellent base to work from. The larger bag has additional room to add items that are specific to the trip, while still keeping the items organized and easily located. The entire kit setup cost me under a $100 and provides me the piece of mind needed for backcountry travel with groups or solo. Obviously I strongly encourage you to take a Wilderness First Aid/First Responder/Basic First Aid/CPR course, as the contents of your kit are only as useful as the knowledge of how to use them properly.