I upgraded the first aid kit I carry around in my bag the other day. Previously I was using an organizer from Outdoor Research. It was a tri-fold zippered organizer that worked well, but it could stand an improvement. First aid kits are fairly personal things, so I almost never find a commercial product that does everything I want. Many of them are simply an assortment of bandages and antiseptic. Part of me feels that if you have an injury that only requires a Bandaid and some Bactine, you arent really injured. However, another part of me realizes that small ‘Mickey Mouse’ injuries can get really serious, really fast if you leave them untreated and they get infected.
Originally, I was going to replace my previous first aid kit container with one of these from Maxpedition:
It had a good amount of room for all the necessities that might be called for in your average stomping-around-in-the-boonies misadventure and I really liked that it was detachable from the velcro-backed MOLLE panel. Problem was, it’s big and bulky…too bulky for most simple trips out fishing or hunting or geocaching. Great for a more extended trip or something where you’re carrying a larger-than-usual pack or where trouble is expected to be more likely than usual, but otherwise….too bulky.
So, next one was this:
This one still gave me plenty of room and organization options but was a bit less bulky. This is what I currently carry in my Tactical Tailor bag that goes with me most places. I like that it has MOLLE attachment points, as well as a couple D-rings, so I can attach it to my gear or just put it on a carabiner swinging off my pack. This is an excellent compromise between size and bulk.
Like Goldilocks said, the third one was just right:
This is the one I wound up buying several of. It’s got enough room I can stuff it with the things I anticipate needing in a non-EOTWAWKI situation, but still packs down small enough I can keep a bin full of them and toss one at the wife when she heads out the door to go hiking with the dog and say “Hey, take one of these.” For hunting, fishing and that sort of thing, where I dont want to carry a lot of gear and a lot of bulk, I go with this. It even has enough room for one of these fabulous little kits (Which I highly recommend. Sealed in a pouch to make ‘em waterproof and dirtproof, these things are awesome.)
(By the by, each first aid kit we have has a printout, in tiny type, stuffed into it with a list of materials and quantity contained within. This makes things extremely handy when calculating amounts needed to keep on hand for restocking and replacing.)
Now, I’m not going to tell you what to put in your first aid kit, that’s actually another post I have lined up for next week (or maybe the week after), but what do you do once you’ve used your first aid kit? Well, you have to restock it, of course. For storing bulk medical supplies, that lovely Hardigg Medical Chest from a few posts back would be perfect. Trouble is, $200 is a lot for what basically amounts to a waterproof Snap-On tool chest. (Plus availability is something of an issue…I see they’ve sold out and are outta stock….again.) Fortunately, there are cheaper options. I was actually tempted to get one of these older-style medical storage chests but these are simply the outer container. Like the Hardigg, they originally had a ‘dresser drawer’ style interior that is sometimes available elsewhere. However, any large waterproof container is suitable for stashing medical supplies if you organize it right. Many of these older style containers are sold locally at the surplus store as ‘bearproof’ boxes for storing edibles when out camping.
I’m very much liking this smaller, and much more affordable, container. Just the right size for stuffing in a truck box, in the rafters at your hunting cabin, or under the counter at your shop. I’ve something similar that I keep a couple medic’s shoulderbags in. The bags contain pretty much a little of everything and are identical to each other (well, yeah, of course theres more than one). This way, in a we-gotta-go-now-now-now situation I can just snag one and run out the door with the rest of the gear if I don’t have the time or space to grab everything.
For better or worse, what with the floundering economy and the impending ‘overhaul’ of the health care system, being able to handle the minor medical emergencies that spring up is probably going to be even more important than it is now. Just having the materials on hand is going to make a big difference. Even if there isn’t a shortage or availability issue, .gov keeps mucking around and time-tested OTC medications that we’ve relied on for years are getting nerfed….heck, even my favorite The Green Death (aka NyQuil) had to reformulate and now isnt quite as effective as it used to be. So, yeah, stockpiling medications is in the cards.
At some point, I’ve got to sit down and make a list of all the books I’ve got here on the subject. I’ve got a bunch, but only a handful are, in my opinion, absolutely mandatory for any well-stocked survivalist’s library.