Jul 16, 2019 The Best First Aid Kits to Help Stay Safe in the Great Outdoors
A first aid kit is a lifesaver; literally and figuratively. In a world of unforeseen accidents, having a first aid kit on hand can give you peace of mind.
However, this wasn’t the case a couple of centuries ago. At least not until the late 1800s, when the first aid kit was invented.
Back then, the best choice was to get a patient to the nearest neighborhood doctor. This meant a long and painful journey to get life-saving medical care.
Fast forward to today, and the accessibility of first aid kits has made it easy to provide emergency medical care, even in remote areas. But with so many kits in the market right now, it can be pretty hard selecting the right kit.
For this reason, we’ve compiled a comprehensive review of the best first aid kits you should pack in your next outdoor excursion. But before that, let’s first look into factors to consider when purchasing a first aid kit.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is only as good as what’s inside it. Here’s what you’ll want to look for.
While the content in most kits is similar, you want to make sure it has all the essential components. This includes wound dressings, scissors, antiseptics, gloves, and scalpel.
On the same note, don’t fall for the quantity of the components; instead, prioritize the variety of components. Simply this means that a kit shouldn’t contain too much of one component, rather it should have a wide range of supplies in the right amount. If it’s spacious enough, you can also include things like water bottles and cooling towels.
Such a kit allows you to treat different kinds of injuries.
Your first aid kit should be well-organized to make it easy for the user to find what they need.
Look for a kit whose supplies are nicely organized and labeled to make it easy to locate the content readily.
If you’ve got a lot of supplies that you may consider using a trauma bag. It has ample storage units designed to hold a significant number of first aid components.
When taking a first aid kit with you to an outdoor trip, you definitely have to consider its portability. You don’t want a kit that’s adding on a lot of weight to your ‘already heavy’ luggage.
The weight and the size of the kit should be balanced against the number of people going for the trip and the number of days you’ll be away. As an individual, a small to medium-sized kit should be enough. Thought, you may need a larger kit if you’re going out for more days.
For a large group, it’s obvious you’ll need the large-sized kit. It carries lots of supplies that will be enough to cater for everyone even when you stay out for long.
First Aid Experience
The type of a first aid kit you choose to buy should match you’re the first aid experience you have. If you limited knowledge on first aid, go for a kit that contains only the basic supplies. Trying to treat a patient using supplies you know nothing about can make things worse.
However, some first aid kits include some kind of guide that makes it easy for you to use. But make sure the guide comes from credible sources and contains the latest medical advice. Most importantly, it should be laid out in a way that’s easy to read when under immense pressure.
The scenarios in which you intend to use a first aid kit should dictate the type of kit you should get. A fisherman, for example, needs a kit that can help them with penetration wounds caused by fish hooks.
Backpackers, on the other hand, want a kit that helps them treat everything from blisters to dehydration or severe leg injuries.
An ideal first aid kit should make it easy for you to use especially in emergency situations. Gadgets like flashlight and fire makers make it easy for you to use a kit in dark places. Also, check for kits with reflective trims to make things easy to find.
Your choice of an emergency kit will likely come down to how much you’re willing to spend. Expensive kits tend to have a comprehensive variety of supplies. This makes them ideal for medical practitioners or those with a vast knowledge of first aid care.
The less expensive ones provide the basic supplies for treating common injuries.
4 Best First Aid Kits
Having known what to look for in a good first aid kit, we can now jump right into the review of the best first aid kits the market has to offer.
1. West Beach Trail First Aid Kit
West Beach Trail first aid kit is an affordable kit for budget-conscious outdoors adventurers. The kit contains all the essential medical supplies for hiking, including sunscreen packets and antibiotic ointments. All the supplies are FDA approved, thus, you can be sure they’re of premium quality.
One of the most noticeable features of this kit is the swivel clip located right at the top. This allows for the kit to be attached to your belt or backpack for easier carriage.
Besides, the bag has a compact size and almost negligible weight, further improving its portability. This medical kit is available in a striking orange color, for maximum visibility especially during those nights when camping. However, you can also choose a grey West Beach kit if you don’t fancy the orange color.
2. Conneaut Creek 1L Dry Bag First Aid Kit
If you’re out for kayaking, skiing or any other activity that exposes you to moisture, then the Conneaut Creek dry bag kit is for you.
For starter, the bag features a roll-top closure which seals the amenities in a watertight manner. Additionally, a roll-top closure means that the kit has no zippers, therefore you’ll less prone zipper failures.
The closure can as well be used as a handle, eliminating the need for straps that often tangle up. As a dry bag, it’s easy to adjust the volume of the kit in regards to the duration of your outing. So, you can carry more medical supplies on longer trips and fewer supplies on short trips.
The Conneaut Creek medical kit makes it easier for you to access the medical supplies thanks to its ‘container’ shape. All the medical supplies contained in the kit are FDA approved including the hand sanitizers and insect repellents.
3. Longs Peak First Aid Outdoor Essentials Kit
Named after the prominent long mountain summit of North America, the Long Peak kit is ideal hikers as well as other outdoor enthusiasts. But don’t let its small size fool you. In fact, the kit is among the few kits within its price range that pack a CPR face shield.
It also comes with other essential supplies for hikers such as insect sting relief pads and burn creams. The supplies are well-organized in two clear compartments for easy access.
The kit is made using a strong polyester material that guarantees the durability of the first aid kit. This is due to its abrasions and wrinkling resistance properties.
The kit also deserves thumbs up for enhanced portability thanks to its lightweight and fabric loop for hanging to your backpack.
4. Rubicon Trail First Aid Kit
Rubicon Trail First Aid Kit is a versatile medical kit that can be used both outdoors and at home or workplace. The kit is made using the traditional polypropylene plastic material that’s hard enough to protect the supplies from physical damage.
It also has the good old ‘First Aid’ label with a white cross on the side for easier visibility.
Compared to the other kits, packing the Rubicon medical kit into your bag can be a bit challenging. As such it’s best that it’s kept at one central point for all to access, rather than carrying it in your luggage.
Nevertheless, the medical kit contains all the important medical supplies including 1 CPR face shield and 2 pairs of disposable gloves.
First Aid Kit Maintenance Tips
While having a kit is the first step towards being prepared for a medical emergency, it’s equally important to have maintained your kit and keep it properly stocked. Here are some few maintenance tips for an effective kit:
Keep Your Kit Up-to-Date
It’s easy to buy a kit, put on a shelf and forget all about it. Besides, sometimes we tend to look for something only when we need it the most. But this shouldn’t be the case with medical kits given that medical supplies expire/deteriorate fast.
As such, it’s recommended to regularly check on your kit to ensure all items are in good condition. Look for expiration dates on medications and also check whether the sterile items are still sealed.
Restock Your Kit
Restocking your medical kit is crucial maintaining its effectiveness. This way, you won’t have to come to a rude shock upon realizing that some essential supplies are missing during an emergency situation.
The easiest way to restock your first aid kit is to take note of all the supplies used during your outing. For instance; if you used up the insect repellent during your excursion, you’ll have it in mind that you need to get a new repellent once you get back home.
Keeping a checklist of all the items can also be a good way to ensure your kit is well stocked. You can use the list to check if all the items are in the right capacity as documented in the list.
Sanitize Your Kit
The best way to keep your medical kit sterile is to wipe it using sanitizing disinfectant. This is especially recommended for kits made from polypropylene or nylon material. These materials are easy to clean as compared to kits made from a fabric material.
Nevertheless, fabric materials can also be sanitized using disinfectant spray.
When sanitizing, empty the compartments one at a time while paying attention where each item came from. This ensures you maintain the organization of the kit.
Remember to also pay attention to the handles as they are the most contaminated part of any kit.
The place you store your first aid kit plays a huge role in the maintenance of the kit.
Although outdoor medical kits are usually compact can be stored almost anywhere, you want to be careful not to store it in a place that may damage the medical supplies.
The ideal place of storage should be cool and dry despite the fact that some kits are water-resistant. It’s also advised that you keep the kit far from kids as they may ingest the liquid supplies or damage it while playing.
Nevertheless, at all times, the kit should be placed in a spot that’s easier to reach. This also applies even when you’re out there hiking or camping. Keep the kit close to you.
Choosing the Best First Aid Kits
Generally, all first aid kits are the same with the only difference being the number of supplies a kit contains. As such, as long as the kit contain all the necessary medical supplies, it’s safe to say that it qualifies to be a good kit.
Besides, some kits allow you to add your own medical supplies in an effort to ensure the kit serves your needs. Such flexibility is essential especially to those that may want to add their prescribed medication as part of their supplies. You can also add other important items such as a flashlight and an emergency blanket to make the kit suit your needs.
Nonetheless, given the landscape of the market, it can be overwhelming trying to choose a good medical kit for your outdoor adventures. After all, not every medical kit suits to be an outdoor first aid kit. However, with the above review of the best first aid kits, you’ll surely find it easy to choose a kit that suits your outdoor needs.
Planning on an outdoor excursion?
Check out this insect repellent buying guide to help you buy an effective repellent that keeps bugs away.