What’s in your FAK?
May 9, 2021 at 9:18 pm #3711961Steve HBPL Member
I’m updating my first aid kit & would love to know what everyone is packing, what’s overkill, what’s stupid light. I primarily take leukotape, foot salve, body glide, alieve, a few bandaids & a clothes pin for popping blisters. I never use anything but the alieve (& maybe salve). I realize there are factors (location, season, terrain…) that can alter what’s ideal, but would appreciate input on what your “base” FAK looks like. Thanks!
SteveMay 9, 2021 at 9:47 pm #3711963Michael BBPL Member
Sounds about right. I bring a few alcohol swabs and some allergy meds/benadrylMay 9, 2021 at 10:03 pm #3711964matthew kModerator
I take far more than that. I was just looking at my FAK today and it’s at 7 ounces right now. To be fair it’s got some repair items as well so the first aid part is probably 5.5 ounces.
In addition to what you have mentioned, I’ve got more pills, a gauze sponge, tegaderm, an irrigation syringe, some KT Tape, tincture of benzoin, nitrile gloves and a NOLS cheat sheet.
That’s my going out for a few days kit. I’d lose a couple items on an overnight.May 9, 2021 at 11:50 pm #3711966avi sitoBPL Member
May 10, 2021 at 12:46 am #3711968Roger CaffinBPL Member
- Advil\ibuprofen (unfortunately came in handy multiple times with muscle\tendon injuries)
- Iodine or antiseptic (sh** happens \ happened)
- Ace bandage (though typically used by others – not myself)
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Bandaids (ordinary & wide)
Micropore tape (25 mm)
Butesan Picrate (burns)
Panadol (I can’t take aspirin)
Bismuth Formic Iodide (antiseptic, sort of)
Scalpel in sterile cover
Also found in our gear: clean handkerchiefs (for bandages), safety pins, toilet paper (absorbs a lot of blood)
Curiously enough, it’s Bandaids that get used most, then micropore tape.
CheersMay 10, 2021 at 7:32 am #3711976Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
Ibuprofen, claritin, athletic tape and gauze, aquaphor, and a sewing needle or safety pin to pop blisters.May 10, 2021 at 8:10 am #3711984John S.BPL Member
I will have to add claritin or the like since I seem to have developed a new outdoor allergy..Diane’s post reminded me to get some.May 10, 2021 at 9:22 am #3711992Daniel OxnardBPL Member
The only item I actually use is Tylenol pm.
Total weight is 3 oz.
Bleed stop (Instant coagulant) I could get rid of everything below, and only take the bleed stop and button thread (tie off a cut exposed artery or vein), and be comfortable.
Luekotape, moleskin, steri-strips, Neosporin & sunblock in 1.5 ml micro centrifuge tubes
Na-Naproxen/Cyclobenzaprine/Tylenol-pm/Tylenol a few of each
Tylenol PM doubles as an antihistamine.May 10, 2021 at 9:35 am #3711994HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Duct tape can take care of a number of ailments (one doctor .. ER/GP type I spoke with) said he just uses that perhaps in conjunction with hiking poles for a bad sprain/fracture until evacuation), … but figure he’s got way more knowledge than I.
My added specific items are in my packs stretch pocket for quick access:
May 10, 2021 at 9:40 am #3711995dirtbagBPL Member
- Bandaids of various sizes with (antibacterial) Neosporin in the pad already
- Benadryl (travel size pack)
- Pepto-Bismal (travel size pack)
- Aleve (“ “)
- zip-lock to put it in. I use a panel of the original bandaid package to quickly identify it as my FAK.
some Vicatin.. advil, tweezers, waterproof medical tape, moleskin. bandaid, antiseptic wipe, compression towel/wipe.. Off hand I think thats it. Never needed anything yet except for a few advil.May 10, 2021 at 10:08 am #3711998Dave @ OwareBPL Member
@bivysack-comLocale: East Washington
I have found Neosporin needed on several trips.
May 10, 2021 at 10:22 am #3711999Jim MorrisonSpectator
- ointment for chapped lips
- chaffed legs or arms
- barber’s itch from swimming in a stock pond
- along with warm tea bags used it for an eye infection from too much pack horse poop dust on the trail
@plinyLocale: Pacific Northwest
The FAK is mainly for convenience. The most important thing is to know how to treat medical emergencies. A few pain killers may help you get out. The main first aid treatments I have attended to in the wilderness are scrapes and cuts, that is, bleeding. I is important to clean the wound and put a dressing on it to keep it clean. In serious bleeding keep pressure on the wound. Nice to have some 4×4 gauze squares, but a bandana or a T-shirt will work to.
So the FAK becomes a personal thing. Your meds, your preferences.
One more thing. Make sure your partners have their own so they will not deplete your bandaids and Tylenol.May 10, 2021 at 1:12 pm #3712019Daniel OxnardBPL Member
My new pack addition thanks to Matthew K.May 10, 2021 at 2:06 pm #3712024Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I would include a tick removal tool. Should check for and remove ticks daily to reduce chance of disease. Ticks appear to be on the increase.May 10, 2021 at 4:44 pm #3712042Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I would include a tick removal tool.
Little ones (nymphs) – we use a fingernail.
Big ones – a loop of dental floss tied around the probiscis, or a carefully wielded knife blade and a finger.
But yes: the MOST important part of the FAK is knowledge.
CheersMay 10, 2021 at 4:52 pm #3712046Paul LeavittBPL Member
I would add tincture of Benzoin. comes in individual applicator tubes. I take only 2 tube. Makes the bandages and tape stick to your skin much better. Include some butterfly closures for cuts, 2×2, 4×4, tape,leuko tape, moleskin, alcohol pads, needle , thread, otc pain, diahrrea, and allergy. From a guy that has had a few good cuts on the trail from falls on sharp rock.
My FAK is still < 4 ozMay 10, 2021 at 5:07 pm #3712051Barry HBPL Member
My one addition to this list is a very small tube of super-glue to close cutsMay 10, 2021 at 7:20 pm #3712075
Mostly, my first aid capacities are carried between my ears.
But physical stuff?
A dozen each of:
– Tylenol (acetaminophen)
– Advil (ibuprofen)
About 6 each of:
– Aspirin (anti-coagulant)
– Benadryl (topically for insect bites, poison oak; orally for hay fever, cold symptoms, motion sickness, and insomnia. Normally injected for severe allergic reactions, I’d have someone snort it to deliver it ASAP.)
– a few packets of fiber for when things aren’t moving.
– Imodium (loperamide) when they’re moving too fast.
I change it a bit seasonally and climatically.
California foothills: more posion-oak treatment (steroid creams, maybe some prednisone pills).
Tropics or a really wet trip: anti-fungal cream for between one’s toes.
Desert trip: great tweezers.
Solo trip: small mirror to inspect oneself (or smart phone).
A few sizes of bandaids (reattached my fingertip with one on a NZ trip).
Luekotape on a non-stick backing.
2-3 single-servings (0.5-gram) triple-antibiotic ointment (mostly to keep cuts hydrated so the edges can knit back together rather than drying out).
Victorinox Classic (which might be in another organizer bag) for the scissors, blade, and (yeah, minimal) tweezers.
A few needles enbedded in a small bit of waxed cardboard (protects the sharp end and doubles as a fire starter).May 10, 2021 at 7:21 pm #3712076Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
Claritin works wonders on noseeum bites and poison oak. And it’s super tiny, ultralight.May 10, 2021 at 7:51 pm #3712086Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I was in workshop where the WFA trainer recommended to folks who do not carry chlorine dioxide to treat water, to carry a couple of pills to treat water for wound cleansing.
This of course would be a back up if an accident happened that needed cleaning and you did have enough treated water on your person to cleanse the wound.May 10, 2021 at 11:44 pm #3712121
Gradually whittling down my first aid kit, but decades of misadventures and Wilderness First Responder courses keep pushing back.
About 7 ounces total, including some personal prescription meds omitted.
Everyone’s kit should be customized to their health needs, training, trip profiles, and responsibilities for others.
Good training is the most important, by far.
10 Baby aspirin tablets
10 Excedrin tablets
10 Aleve tablets
10 Tylenol tablets
24 Benadryl tablets
8 Imodium tablets
6 Senokot tablets
20 Baby Zyrtec tablets
1 Tums, roll
4 Neosporin ointment, packet
2 Glucose drink packets
1 NOLS Wilderness First Aid Pocket Guide with additions
1 3×5 card with meds, dosage, indications
3 Roller gauze
1 Wound closure strips
5 Large Nexcare bandaids
5 Small Nexcare bandaids
1 Wound cleaning syringe
3 Leukotape, tiny rolls
1 Wallet magnifier
2 Safety pins
1 Tyvek layout sheet
2 3×5 cards for notes
Plus other stuff usually carried, including:
Small Swiss Army knife with scissors, blade, pen, and almost useless tweezers (IME)
Chlorine dioxide tablets
I like clearly labeled, separated meds. Doesn’t take long or weigh much.
May 10, 2021 at 11:46 pm #3712122
“What’s in your first aid kit?” is a frequent BPL forum topic:
Your favorite search engine can find many more, using something like:
site:backpackinglight.com “first aid kit”
— RexMay 10, 2021 at 11:48 pm #3712123
Rex: I should add a Tums packet or two. Easier than finding some limestone or a freshwater clam shell and grinding it up.May 10, 2021 at 11:57 pm #3712124
@davidinkenai No problem with an ultralight mortar and pestle. I think Zpacks sells them?
— Rex :-)May 11, 2021 at 1:03 am #3712126
In California, I just seek out native grinding stones – the ones they used for acorns work fine for carbonates and then I carry no extra weight.
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