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Types of First Aid Kits

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“Poor Man’s” First Aid Kit

Making something out of nothing. The need to be creative is essential when in the outdoors. For example when hunting, you can dismantle your gun, unload it, take the barrel and blow through the end to create a trumpet-like noise. This does take some practice, but is an excellent mechanism for alerting a member of your party that you are lost, hurt, or possibly both. Use cellophane from a cigarette pack to cover a wound. It is an excellent improvised bandage and somewhat non-adherent. It can also be used for sucking chest wounds and to carry water. Yes, not a lot of water, but a few ounces nevertheless which is better than nothing when you are confronted with dehydration.

My father’s tackle box when fishing was the front pocket of his shirt–a few hooks a few weights, and a pocketknife. I swear he routinely caught more fish than others with their tackle boxes filled with exotic lures! A plastic bag with tape, gauze, bandages, Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen is really all you need for a poor man’s daypack for a day on the lake or in the woods. I would add a whistle and metal match, matches, which will be discussed in the next section.

Day Pack / Weekend Pack

Whistle: If lost or unable to ambulate due to a broken ankle or leg, one cannot yell long enough or loud enough to alert others that you need help, especially if the wind is not in your favor. A whistle can be used. It is very loud and carries very, very well. It is recognizably a common sound for help.

Metal match: A fantastic tool to start a fire, even in a light rain. A cotton ball saturated with Vaseline® is great tinder for starting a fire with a metal match.

Knife: You do not need a knife with a blade larger than a 3”. It is just not necessary, and will increase your chances of cutting yourself.

Duct tape: Multiple uses.

Bandages, gauze: For lacerations and abrasions.

Plastic Ziploc® bags: To hold your items and medications. These plastic bags can be used as irrigation devices for wounds. You can carry water in them. They can be used as a nonstick dressing. For irrigation, they can be filled with water. Poke a very tiny hole in one corner and squeeze like you are decorating a cake, an excellent device for irrigating out wounds.

Safety pins: Safety pins can be used to attach the sleeves of your shirt to the chest area of your shirt, creating a makeshift sling. This is just one example for this multi-purpose item.

Toilet tissue and Kleenex®: Obviously you would place these items in a Ziploc® bag to keep them dry.

Ace® bandage or wrap: Also excellent and have many uses, for pressure dressing bandages and for sprains to mention a couple.

Over-the-counter medication:

  1. Ibuprofen: You can take up to 4 tablets, which is 800 mg. of Ibuprofen for pain, every 8 hours with food. Please be advised of allergies to medication one might have. Ibuprofen can trigger asthma attacks in asthmatics. Be aware of this.
  2. Acetaminophen: You can take 2 tablets every 4-6 hours for pain. It is very safe to take 3 Ibuprofen and 2 Tylenol every 8 hours at the exact time for moderate to severe pain, especially in the outdoors. This works very well as a moderate analgesic.
  3. Imodium AD®.
  4. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®). Wound use (although not recommended): Take liquid Diphenhydramine, soak a 4 x 4 gauze and apply to the wound. It does have a very mild analgesic affect, and will stop some pain. Again, Diphenhydramine has not been approved or recommended for this use, but it will not cause harm to you and it does work.
  5. Rolaids® or Tums®.
  6. Afrin® nasal spray (Side note: Afrin nasal spray can be used on wounds to help stop bleeding. This works very well.)
  7. Sun block.
  8. Lip balm (for chapped lips). Lip balm can also be used as a fire starter by saturating cotton material. It is a great fire starter because it contains Vaseline® (petroleum).
  9. ASA (aspirin). I usually take four 81-mg. tablets, chewable preferably, and wrap in aluminum foil so they stay dry. I usually double wrap them by wrapping in cellophane and then aluminum foil to keep watertight. Recommended use: In sudden onset chest pain, if one is concerned about possible myocardial infarction (heart attack), the first line of treatment is for 81 mg. tablets of aspirin. This should always be carried in your pack if someone in your party has history of cardiac or has experienced chest pain in the past.

Medical kit for 7-days or Longer

The following is a list of items for a 7-day first aid kit, whether camping, hiking, hunting or fishing. Always remember to take into consideration the climate where you are going, tropical vs. deciduous vs. winter or summer weather. The medical kit is not all inclusive. There are other things that should be added to fit your needs. Individuals wearing eyeglasses should always bring an extra pair and/or contacts. It is important to consider how many people will be coming along, along with the sex of the individuals. A 7-day kit should also include a metal match and fire starting ability like weatherproof matches. Some of the best weatherproof matches we have found are from REI.com. Caution should be used when buying weatherproof matches. They should be tested first, even though they are touted as wind and waterproof. This author has found that many are not. However REI.com has some of the highest quality weatherproof matches.

  1. Know how to use what you carry.
  2. Replenish outdated medication.
  3. Practice. People rarely practice techniques such as starting a fire with metal matches, splinting, etc.
  4. Container. Holds the contents of your medical kit. Your container should be a well-recognized, bright colored bag, easy to see amongst your other supplies. It must be waterproof. For the purpose of this website, the medical kit we will outline will be for non-medical individuals.

Medical Kit Contents:

  • All purpose scissors, able to cut cloth, including denim, duck tape, gauze of various sizes.
  • Medi-rip® (Medi-rip® is a self-adherent) bandage.
  • Splints, preferably a SAM® splint.
  • Ace® wrap.
  • Topical antibiotic (make sure no Neomycin®; approximately 10-12% of the population is allergic to Neomycin, and causes local redness, and itching.)
  • Topical steroid cream, great for bites and rashes.
  • Gloves.
  • Oral rehydration salts.
  • Water purifier, either through filtration or tablets.
  • Cotton-tipped applicator/Q-tips®, great for everting eyelids, looking for foreign bodies.
  • Forceps.
  • Superglue (Krazy glue®).
  • Vaseline® or petroleum jelly.
  • Paper tape.
  • Sterile dressings.
  • Lip balm.
  • Sun block.
  • Non-adherent dressings, Telfa®.
  • Steri-strips.

Dental Kit:

  1. Floss.
  2. Cavit® filling material. I have used this product on a couple of occasions and it has not worked very well; however, it is this author’s experience that use of this product is better than having nothing at all.
  3. Oil of Cloves for pain relief.
  4. Zinc oxide.


  • Imodium AD®.
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®).
  • Afrin® nasal spray.
  • Rolaids® or Tums®, antacids.
  • Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen.
  • Meclizine, over-the-counter for motion sickness.
  • *Pepto Bismol® (*Watch for aspirin allergies. Pepto Bismol® does have aspirin in it).
  • Antibiotic cream.
  • H2 Blockers like Pepcid®.
  • Milk of Magnesia®.
  • Metamucil®.
  • Deet or Picaridin, which is a new product the manufacturer Cutter is using which works well and does not have the odor or toxicity of Deet.
  • Antihistamine eye drops.
  • Baby wipes and toilet paper are a must.
  • Tampons for their obvious gynecological use. However, they may also be used for nosebleeds.

Originally posted 2012-04-18 09:26:45.


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