A lot of my regular kit tends to exist in anonymity, especially stuff that doesn’t end up in the photies. One thing that goes on every trip, gets used one way or another on every trip and never gets seen is my medical kit.
It’s based around an old AdventureMedicalKits Ultralight 3, and rather loosely based I should say as I think the only original component is the yellow bag and even that’s now got a Haglöfs zip pull on it after the other one broke. Most medical kit contents are what you think you might need and what the manufacturer knows looks good on the swing tag, but is it really what we’re after? Experience says not for me, and if you add in that the likes of AMK comes without pain killers you’ll have to start customising right away anyway.
I’ve just had to refill my wee kit, so this is as good a time as any to shake the grit and heather seeds out of the bag and see what else I’ve got I’ve there just now. It’s small but it’s got everything I need for a few days, and as has been proved time and time again it’s all stuff that other folk need and never have themselves. I’ve patched up myself, friends, photographers, journalists and complete strangers. Going light means you’re taking risks by cutting back on essentials and comfort? My arse.
It’s not all medical stuff, there’s other bits and pieces in there and some items I swap about, all the contents change around though. The favourite for taking in and out is any kind of crepe bandage. I’ll find it in the kit box and pack it, them ditch it for six months again. I always carry a Buff, that’ll do if I need wrapping probably. Maybe?
Missing from the photies but kinda in the same group are a wee packet of plastic wrapped of tissues, and maybe some travel sized wet wipes, the travel sized bottle of hand cleanser is at the back. I take camp hygiene very seriously, animals could have been using your tent porch as their toilet just before you arrived, and having had illness due to suspected sheep shit interaction at camp a couple of years back I’m more careful than ever.
So, in no particular order in there we have:
1. Spenco 2nd Skin Adhesive Knit. That’s the two sheet of fabric at the front, and this stuff is genius. It’s like a thin version of the backing from a fabric plaster, soft and silky on one side, fully adhesive on the other. You cut it to shape, be it to cover a wound, use as DIY stitches or stop abrasion on your skin. Put this on an area that’s prone to rubbing and the Compeed’s will sat in the wrapper. It’s breathable, stretches a bit and sticks well even when wet, it’s vital stuff and is item most applied my me to myself and other people. Hard to find in the UK these days, but well worth keeping some handy.
2. Compeed. Just bought a new packet as I haven’t carried any for months and they’ve changed the design, they’re a bit quilted now. Not keen on them, they’re a last resort. Their thickness squeezes a blister which makes walking more painful I think, but if a blister bursts they’re ace for sealing it all up. Don’t think I’ve worn one of these since the West Highland Way3 years ago, and then I was reinforcing them with tape…
3. Climbers finger tape. Vital stuff this, will hold together your shoes, your rucksack, your tent, a broken axle on your Radical design Wheelie and of course your damaged person. It’s non-stretch and very strong, wetness won’t unseat it, indeed the chances are you’ll have to cut it off after any extended wear. I carry a roll of this at work and I frequently bleed into strips of it on my hands, brilliant stuff, it’ll hold you together until you get home.
4. Elastoplast. Various sizes and shapes, all are liable to be useful, but all are fabric backed as other kinds of plaster are useless. I’ve got a few Elastoplast Extreme’s which are actually pretty good, rounded edges that don’t catch and they stick to you like shit sticks to a blanket.
5. Antiseptic wipes. You need at least one or the plasters and stuff will be diminished in their expected effectiveness.
6. Big safety pin. Fixes anything fabric from you to your rucksack harness.
7. Dental floss. My teeth need it, so much trail food wants to fill the gaps in my teeth and stay there, the chewing gum is the alternative. I carry half a toothbrush and little 1″ wide make-up jar with toothpaste too.
8. Sudocrem. Little grey tub at the back that I sometimes carry in summer or longer treks. It’s powers are mighty, any chaffage, heatrash or even insect bites are dealtwith effectively and you also smell like you’ve just changed a nappy.
9. Signal mirror. What the hell? Aye, a mirror, I suppose I could signal with it, but instead I’ve used it twice to fish out grit lodged under an eyelid. It happened once at camp and I was in misery, now I am prepared and glad. Good for checking for ticks in hard to see areas and to see if you did indeed break a filling on the unexpected raisen stone in your trail mix.
10. Petzl e+lite. I rarely carry spare batteries for my headtorch, how the hell would I change them in the dark anyway? The e+lite is a much better idea and goes everywhere with me.
11. Folding scissors. Originally packed for cutting the Adhesive Knit into shapes but they’ll do most things a regular blade will do including trimming nose hair.
12. Knife. I’ve got two Gerbers tha got sent for test ages back and they both regularly get packed. The black knife on the yellow lanyard is a cracking wee thing, cuts up beef jerky with ease, the Curve multitool gets packed in winter in case I have to bugger about with crampons at camp.
13. Pills. Paracetamol for a splitting head if I forget to drink enough, Nurofen Lemon Meltlets for an easy intake and dealing with aches or swelling and some Gaviscon Cool tablets for any stomach worries.
There’s a few other things that are often in there too, like a Gore Tex patch. This is currently missing, whereabouts unknown and was replaced with a packet of Park Tools puncture repair patches on the last overnighter. Their little box smaller than a 10p piece and will stick to your sleepmat and tent as well as your jacket.
Too big, too small, just right? Does me anyway. And every other bugger along the way too.
PS, there’s a pair of earplugs in there too.