First Aid / Personal Care / Gear Repair / Survival Kit

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    Justin Pogrob


    Locale: NY, NY

    Hi all, I have been a long time reader but this is my first post. This is my personal care, first aid, gear repair for up to 2 people for up to 5 days. This post started as a first aid review but with multi-use in mind it is hard for me to separate just my first aid kit as many items cross over. This is not Super Ultra Light, but in the interest of comfort, convenience, and a little extra security, this is what I have found to be a good compromise. I am not a medical professional, but do have good working knowledge of first aid treatment and how to improvise in the wilderness. Below I have tried to highlight the multi use items and uses that may not be obvious. Although I believe I have made some unique innovations in this system, a lot of the info I have acquired from BPL, so thanks to everybody who may have contributed knowledge to this setup.

    First Aid / Personal Care / Repair Kit Packed

    Here it is all packed up. The blue tube under the tin foil is from McNett gear repair tape (7g empty 49g full). The plastic bag is an Aloksak 4.5 x 7 (7g empty 69g full) and the black mesh bag (0g empty 27g full). Total kit = 149g / 5.1oz. Keep in mind this is a lot more than just first aid!!

    Repair Kit & Personal Care unfolding

    As the repair kit unfolds you can see how tight and efficient it is. No noise from clanging metal objects as I hike.

    Personal Care & Repair kit

    Items Listed from top Left going down each column:
    1) 3 BPL MicroDrop Plus Bottles (5g each full), containing:
    1a) Dr, Bronner’s Soap: General soap for body, hair, and wounds! Castle soap has proven to be a more effective wound irrigation solution than antiseptics, antibiotics, and surfactants!!
    1b) Hand Sanitizer: Useful ONLY ON CLEAN hands for a quick clean up, fire starter, may be used as an wound antiseptic when there is a very high likelihood of bacteria such as fecal matter in or near the wound. Alcohol will kill host cells & beneficial bacteria as well as bad bacteria so use with caution.
    1c) 100% Deet for bug repellant
    2) Small Bottle of Baking Soda (7g): Dental Care, deodorant, sooths bug bites & stings, Sooths rashes from poison ivy/oak and chafing, relives indigestion.
    3) Toothbrush with handle cut off: Brush teeth, boil to sterilize or disinfect with hand sanitizer and use to scrub inside severely contaminated wounds along with lots of irrigation.
    4) McNett Tube: I’m sure a small plastic vessel can come in handy.
    5) Replacement pre-filter for Aqua Maria Frontier Pro water Filter
    6) Replacement batteries for headlamp
    7) McNett Gear Repair Tape 4”x8”: Yes I could use duct tape but this does not leave a residue and is lighter and wider just in case. Serves to hold my kit together as well.
    8) Top Of McNett Tube
    9) Duct Tape: about 4 feet and has more uses than I can possibly list here.
    10) Krazy Glue with applicator: Wound closure, blister protection, gear repair.
    11) 3 Needles in foil for protection and to keep them together.
    12) Sewing kit: Black & white thread + fishing line, 5’ Feet each: Sewing, fishing, sutures.
    13) Safety Pins: General gear repair, splinter removal.
    14) Fishing Hooks
    15) Mini Glow Stick: Emergency light, marker.
    16) Tin Foil 12”x12”: Wind screen, vessel for boiling water, oven, food steamer, signal mirror, many more uses!
    17) Blue plastic band (will not break down like rubber): Tourniquet, many more uses.
    18) Plastic Baggie 12”x12”: Water carrier, solar still, wound irrigator, many more uses.

    First Aid

    Items Listed from top Left going down each column:
    1) Forehead thermometer
    2) 2 2”x3” Non Stick Gauze
    3) 1 3”x4” Non Stick Gauze
    4) Surgical Blade sealed in sterile foil
    5) 2 1.5”x2” Non Stick Gauze
    6) 10 Micropur water purification tablets: I prefer to select good quality water and use the Aqua Maria Frontier Pro water Filter to remove the big stuff. If the water is suspect or the filter fails these are good to have.

    The two bottles you see here are from an Asian market and do not even register on my scale. I can take a greater volume of product with less weight than the single use packages!! Plus they actually get used and we stay comfortable.

    6) Small bottle of 1% hydrocortisone cream: insect bites & stings, poison ivy / oak relief. This works much better and longer than sting relief wipes, it just takes a few minutes to take affect rather than seconds.
    7) Small bottle of Neosporin with pain relief: triple antibiotic ointment for wounds, chapped lips, burns and sunburn, blister lubricant and infection protection all in one ointment.

    8) 6 QTips, nothing feels better than a good ear cleaning with virtually no weight penalty, also good for applying Neosporin with dirty hands.
    9) 2” x 4” x 1/8” thick moleskin
    10) 3 bags of assorted pills with paper indicating the numeric mark on each pill to ID in the field:
    10a) 2 Vicidin: for severe pain, if you can’t walk due to a sprain or a slipped disk nothing else will save you!
    10b) 4 Benadryl: If you get lots of bug bites or stings, nothing stops the itch like this and it will knock you out at night so you can get some sleep.
    10c) 1 Xanax: If there is a panic situation this can be very handy.
    10d) 2 Zoverax: anti viral, just in case a dead animal was found upstream of a water source, it could not hurt to get a jump on treatment.
    10e) 2 Claritin 24 hour: a lot lighter than a box of tissues.
    10f) 8 Advil 200mg Gel caps: Fast acting pain relief and anti-inflammatory, can be used in conjunction with Benadryl for sever bug bites or venomous bite.
    10g) 4 Pepto Bismol Tablets: heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea.
    11) Medical Paper Tape (aprox 6’): Sticks to clammy sweaty skin better than anything I have ever used, breathable, durable. Ankle support, make bandages with gauze as required, secure moleskin, apply directly to wounds.
    12) 3 Bandages: purely for convenience.
    13) 4 small butterfly bandages & 2 large.
    14) 2 Alcohol pads, not a substitute for good irrigation.

    Other Items not shown above that i always carry:

    1) Aqua Maria Frontier Pro water Filter & 2L Platypus 3.6 oz: Can be used for wound irrigation when clean drinking water is not on hand. I fill my 2L platypus from any water source, attach filter, attach drinking hose, apply foot pressure on platypus and irrigate wound.
    2) Icebreaker Marino Wool Bandana (2.3oz), it’s on the heavy side but with so many uses its worth it. Just the medical uses: Water Filter, Splint, Tourniquet, Sling, Ace Bandage, Large Wound Dressing, Extra insulation even when wet.
    3) Mini Swiss Army Knife: Small blade, scissors, file, screwdriver, tweezers, tooth pick all for .7oz!
    4) Suunto mini comet compass / thermometer with bezel and map scale (9g).
    5) Mini Bick lighter, the fastest, lightest, fire starting system I can find (11g)!
    6) 4 cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in water proof plastic tube with tiny fire steel, 16g insurance policy!
    7) Zipper Pull Whistle (4g).

    All the items above this line make up my survival kit that I always have on me when away from my pack or that I bring on a day hike. It all goes into an Equinox Cordura Ditty Bag (10g) totaling 16.5 oz.

    Other Optional Items I bring on occasion:
    – If I am going to be somewhere with a lot of direct sun exposure I will bring a tin of Dermatome Lips’n Face SPF 30 (.5oz)
    – If I am with a group of non ultra lighters I may bring a chap stick tube packed ½ full with stick deodorant/antiperspirant (.3oz).
    – If I expect lots of biting insects I bring Tui Bug Balm, I discovered this in New Zealand and it is amazing stuff (12g) all natural, respells bugs, sooths rough skin, sooths bug bites.

    Other items i carry but not listed above:

    Titanium pot/mug, stove, fuel, windscreen / wood stove, tarp tent or Hennessy hammock (solo), down sleeping bag, trekking poles, cloths, food & water, BPL Ultra light 2oz Bear Bag kit.
    + Sea to Summit Ultra light Dry Bag 13L (1.4 oz): During the day I pack all my moisture sensitive stuff in it and don’t have to worry about my pack getting wet. At camp it can be used as a kitchen sink / water hauler. At night it can be used to store times outside the tent or hammock with weather protection or weather proof / odor resistant? bear bag.
    – 1oz of paper towel as TP

    My total pack weight w/o food & water = 12.86 lbs (solo) + .5 lb with tarp tent for double occupancy.

    Any Suggestions on the first aid, gear repair, personal care setup? I will post the detials of the rest of my gear soon.

    Ike Mouser


    did you have a needle for sewing wounds?

    David Olsen


    Locale: Steptoe Butte

    Have you tried boiling water in the foil?

    Justin Pogrob


    Locale: NY, NY

    Sewing needle #11 can be used to suture if it were needed.

    Have you tried boiling water in the foil?

    I have. This is by no means my std. cook pot, just an emergency use for tinfoil. You could also boil water in a paper cup, the water keeps the temp of the paper below combustion temperature.

    Christopher Konsowitz


    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    It looks like you have thought this over a lot, and you have some items that overlap, but if it makes you sleep better at night ok.

    I would cut the moleskin, duct tape with work just as well if not better for blisters imho.

    Also, why do you need a head thermometer? They are hot and sick and you can tell by symptoms and using your hand or they will be fine and there is nothing that knowing approx temp on the trail will help you solve.

    Do you have 2 replacement batteries? Can't tell by pic. First, I wouldn't carry any extra batteries unless you are night hiking or doing over a couple weeks on the trail. Secondly, just replace the batteries before you go out or every so often and you will be alright.

    Also, mini glow stick, drop!

    Why do you need the nonstick bandages, if you are cut and need a bandage, improvise and use some clothing to stop the bleeding. just carry one if you really care.

    Just replace your prefilter for the Aquamira before you go out and don't carry an extra unless you are out for a while.

    I think that's it for now. Not much weight savings, but just repeated things or unnecessary things.

    The Konz

    Justin Pogrob


    Locale: NY, NY

    I would cut the moleskin… -Agreed

    Also, why do you need a head thermometer? -Agreed!!!

    Do you have 2 replacement batteries?
    Also, mini glow stick, drop!
    – Im going to ditch the extra batteries and keep the glow stick. I am typically a weekend warior and do hike in at night alot inorder to make the most of the weekend.

    Why do you need the nonstick bandages
    – id rather carry an extra .05 grams and save a $70 icebreaker T for a minor cut that only required a peice of 10 cent gauze.

    Just replace your prefilter….
    – agreed

    Thanks for the input The Konz!

    Christopher Konsowitz


    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    No problem my friend! It's prob not going to save you too much weight, but every gram counts in my book, especially when you are just dropping stuff and not talking about spending money.

    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    Wow, that is a lot of 1st aid stuff. Have you ever used any of it? I have been bacpacking solo for 40+ years and have only used Moleskin for blisters (now use Leukotape – rarely needed with since changing to trail runners), bandaids, antispeptic, and Advil or similar. Duct tape has fixed any broken equipment. The tweezers in my Victronix Classic deal with the rare tick. 1st aid kit weighs .5 oz for a trip up to a week. I have never used a water filter, just tablets. Longest trip ever taken is 6 months. Never got into a serious survival situation, but have had some serious training in the military. Have had some stove malfunctions over the years, and just cooked over a fire.

    Justin Pogrob


    Locale: NY, NY

    I Typically hike with my wife so keep in mind my kit is intended for 2. Hydrocortisone cream comes out allot. Why suffer when I can bring enough for 2 people for under 3 grams? I don’t think I have ever been on a trip where somebody didn't use something in the kit. Would that person have died if a Band-Aid was not administered, no, but they felt allot more comfortable with it on. I try to make people as comfortable and safe as possible on the trail so they continue to enjoy themselves.

    paper tape (duh)
    McNette tape (duh)
    1 med & 1 small gauze
    1 mini plastic bag from pills
    ½ tin foil
    2 cotton balls in Vaseline
    serperated pills into 2 portions so it's easy to leave one out for solo trips.
    Keeping the batteries

    Down to 4.2 oz for first aid / personal care / gear repair / fire backup

    Ditty Bag new total = 13.4oz – old 16.5oz
    Total weight savings = 2.1 oz
    This is why these exercises are so helpful.

    Josh J
    BPL Member


    Let’s be honest your not going to be suturing yourself or anyone. There’s plenty of other better options, especially if you’ve never done it before and without any local numbing it’s going to be excruciating painful.  If it gets to the point you need to suture in the back country…… Ever hear of a tourniquet? Steri strip’s? Ect….


    Never heard of flushing a wound with soap…… I’ve always known saline and if not that clean water, it has to be forceful to clean out the wound, a syringe is a good choice. I’ve had plenty of stitches and can remember in the ER the doc having me run my wound under a faucet before he sewed up

    Alex (he/him)
    BPL Member


    I have a very similar first aid / survival / repair kit. Have many people hiked much further than me successfully with much less? Yes. But do I like having my stuff just to be safe? Also yes.

    Having experienced constipation for the first time in my life recently (absolutely horrible and completely debilitating), I added combined stool softener / laxative pills to my kit.

    BPL Member


    Im adding to what Josh J mentioned: a small plastic syringe is a very useful first aid tool for flushing out wounds. I don’t see it mentioned enough. It can help prevent an infection from forming in a cut or open gash. I recommend a WFR course to learn the proper technique.

    In a wilderness first responder course I took, both of the nurse/teachers in the course noted its significance. I think of it like cleaning your kitchen floor with a fire hose. Thats going to get it very clean.

    Ive stopped and reversed an infection from a wood splinter with a syringe and boiled water that was left to cool + a tiny bit of betadine (although modern wilderness first aid courses i’ve taken suggest plain or saline water is better).

    BPL Member


    Castle soap causes more problems than saline in rinsing wounds.


    Alex (he/him)
    BPL Member


    I have had a plastic syringe in mine for 15 years and never used it, even though of course there have been wounds. I guess I haven’t wanted to take the time and face the pain, and all my trips are short enough that I figure an infection can’t get serious that fast.

    It’s still there though. Just sharing I guess :-)

    I am considering taking it out and maybe a few other things and putting them in a “trip longer than a weekend” auxiliary first aid kit.

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