I’m off bikepacking for a couple of months across New Zealand starting in January and I’ve been thinking about what I would want to carry with me regarding a first aid kit. Of course you can buy them straight off the shelf and head out onto the hills but I often find them lacking. Or sometimes completely useless. So what would a Paramedic take with her? And why is she referring to herself in the third person?
You need to take into account where you are going and access to healthcare. If you are planning a remote trip along the Amazon you’ll need different kit than if you were to spend a few weeks touring vineyards in the south of France (for which you’ll probably need a lot more Paracetamol for your hangovers!)
With bikepacking – the lightest option is usually the best option. This is never so apparent than when climbing up a mountain pass with an over-laden bike wishing you’d pack a few less socks or the jeans you’ll never wear.
But when packing you also want to be as prepared as you can be without going over board. I’m not planning on suturing my leg back together on a mountainside with nothing but a stick to bite down on. I’m not Rambo. Realistically I’d do a running repair and try to get myself off to a hospital to get the wound cleaned properly and closed. Although I am trained in wound management and closure, if I can’t get it clean- I’m not closing it.
You also need to think about what sort of injuries or illnesses are likely to occur. Feasibly, I’m going to fall off my bike a bit. So gravel rash and bruising are quite likely. Hopefully nothing much worse but FOSH (Fall onto Out Stretched Hand) injuries are common with biking, which results in wrist, elbow and shoulder and possibly clavicle injuries. Bites, stings and other illnesses are also real possibilities. Before I put myself off going completely here’s my list.
My First Aid Kit contains*:
- Saline pods and sterile gauze for washing eyes and for wound cleaning/debridement (rather than hydrogen peroxide/alcohol which slows wound healing by damaging tissue)
- Tweezers and tick remover
- Roll zinc oxide and Transpore tape
- Conforming bandage
- Cohesive bandage
- Ambulance dressings
- Sterile low adhesive dressings
- Selection of Plasters
- Triangular bandage
- Ibuprofen/Paracetamol/Cetirizine Hydrochloride or Chlorphenamine Maleate (for pain relief, fevers and minor allergic reactions)
- Electrolyte replacement sachets (although if you’re cycling you might be using these in your water bottle anyway)
- Epi-pen (not everyone will need to carry one but if you have experienced an anaphylactic or severe allergic reaction to anything then this might be a good idea)
- Couple of pairs of gloves
- Duct tape
- Sun block
- Hand sanitiser
- Foil Blanket
If you are travelling to the distant corners of the world with limited access to healthcare facilities you may want to supplement the above with:
- Suture kit (if you are trained and comfortable using it)
- Water filter
- Irrigation syringe
- Povidone-lodine USP 10.0% (normally saline will do the job for wound cleaning but for a wound with lots of contamination this may be useful)
- Stronger pain relief (Codeine etc)
If you fancy a bit of remote first aid training before you embark on your trip head on over to our website to find out all the training courses that we run. Nearly all of our courses have a remote/outdoor element to them and we go up into the local hills to give you real life scenarios to practice on.
*This kit is based on my own personal research and what I feel comfortable carrying on a fairly remote trip with access to healthcare facilities within a reasonable distance.