Don't discount these 10 quirky things when building your own first aid kit.
A well-built first aid kit is the beginning of every outdoorsman's necessary survival bag in the event of an unexpected emergency. Basic items like adhesive bandages, gauze pads, cold packs, antibiotic ointment, pain relief staples, and burn cream, to list a few, are just the basics of a kit that may save your life, or at least get you home in one piece.
The good all-purpose first aid kit hasn't changed all that much over the years, but many who call the outdoors their second home have found a few things that are easily added and can be a game changer if you hadn't thought of it before.
Ready made first aid kits can be purchased easily, namely from smart sources like Walmart.com, where you'll find nearly everything you need and it will be priced right.
But there's something about a customized, added-to first aid kit that makes it better for each individual.
Sometimes we're talking about utter survival, and sometimes it's just about first aid only. When you're injured in your backyard and a bandage and hydrogen peroxide is all you need for wound care, you're lucky. But for those trips further from home, there's always the chance that you may need a little more.
Here are 10 things that don't weigh much or take up too much space, and often aren't found in everyone's kit. Some of them will need to be re-packed into smaller containers, but for the most part they'll fit into what you're already working with.
1. Blood stop
When this product comes into contact with blood it turns into a gel that expands, absorbs, and seals the wound quickly. It is not meant for large, difficult wounds, but it works well for smaller cuts and abrasions. It even comes in patches and a spray.
2. Liquid Bandage
This item is no longer such a mystery to those in the outdoor world or stranger to first aid kits, but it is still worth mentioning. For anyone who has gotten some of this substance on their fingers and then touched them together, you will understand immediately how strong this stuff is.
A cut that is deep and wide may need more than just a bandage to get you home safely, and when you don't have a lot of time, it can be an immediate help.
3. Braided fishing line
Fishing line has many uses as a key item in any survival kit, including shelter support, fabric repair, and even as a snare (not to mention hook removal). One use--as an emergency necessity only--would be use as a temporary tourniquet. With no other option, the toughness of braided fishing line can come in handy to tighten and loosen this key medical issue when nothing else will work.
One other possibility: as a wrap around a makeshift splint. There's one other odd item that can do these things as well:
4. Duct tape
The first issue here may be one of sheer size, but that's actually not the case. A roll of duct tape has many, many uses above and beyond what it was intended for, and emergency first aid is among them. From wrapping a splint to serving as a temporary bandage, the venerable duct tape has a myriad of uses. The brand pictured above will add less than two ounces of weight to your kit.
It's funny that the brand in question is SOL, which is an acronym my mom used to use for "S**t Outta Luck." That is what your situation may be if you don't have some duct tape.
5. Tampons/Sanitary napkins
Both have high-absorbance and are easy to pack. Using a tampon to plug a wound works great, but be aware that a deeply placed piece of this material can be difficult to remove later. Sanitary napkins can double as a large bandage, just make sure to use the all-natural scent-free variety.
6. Solar phone charger
So what does that have to do with first aid? Once you've gotten yourself to a point where you feel that you're safe, you still may not be able to rescue yourself. Having a cell phone has been a Godsend to many outdoor living folks--hunters, fishermen, hikers, campers--so much so that it is a given that we all have one with us.
Even one call or one text is not enough in certain situations to help emergency first responders to find you. Having a solar charging device can mean all the difference.
Who else likes collecting 50ml miniature bottles? We have all these available at Gilmore Wines now. They are ideal for...
Yes, that kind of alcohol. "Nips" or "airplane bottles" are just the right size for a kit without taking up too much space. They are easily found at the local liquor store, usually right up front by the counter. The higher the alcohol content the better, because the right kind can be used as a way to sterilize tools and wounds alike.
A person in pain can benefit from a little of this as well, but caution should be taken in cold weather; the warming effect is only just that. Alcohol actually lowers your core temperature in cold weather, so a swig is enough to temporarily take your mind off the injury.
And please, don't try to use beer. Just don't.
8. Activated charcoal
In pill or liquid form, activated charcoal is used around the world to belay the effects of an ingested poison. It does matter how long that any poison has been swallowed; the sooner after ingestion the better for maximum result. A few of these pills would help out after you eat what you thought were morel mushrooms, didn't you.
9. Chewable ginger
Nausea, loss of appetite, and motion sickness are among the issues that ginger can help lessen. In pill form it is a must for those with a sensitive stomach, who are climbing to high altitudes, or who just don't like riding in an ATV.
10. Natural antibiotic
Some all-natural antibiotics include oregano oil, garlic, and honey. Adding some tiny-footprint and nearly-weightless honey sticks to your kit is easy and affords you a nice treat as well. It is one of the oldest known antibiotics used by humans which is known to kill off bacteria and aid in the healing process.
Plus, everyone's heard of honey from local beehives having positive immune system effects, so if you can find sticks from your neighboring bees, even better. Last but not least, they have a nice long shelf life.
Everyone's first aid kit should be a little different. Yours should be tailored to fit the needs of you and your family members.
Always remember some of the basic needs of a first aid kit: instant cold packs, alcohol wipes, hydrocortisone cream, and topical antibiotic ointment packets. Always have emergency phone numbers included along with any required medications, and be sure to check expiration dates.
Emergency kits and their included personal items are always best discussed with your health-care provider to obtain the best information as to how they can be the most effective. Don't rely on us providing life-saving information. We're trying to help you prepare so when you're faced with a situation, you're equipped to handle it.