Part of being prepared means that a lot (!) of stuff spends a looooooong time sitting around unattended waiting for that moment that, honestly, may never come. But if it does come, that gear needs to be in operating condition and ready to perform…otherwise its just been a waste of space and instiller of a false sense of security.
Some stuff stores really well. Drop some ammo in a new metal ammo can, sit it on a shelf, come back in 50 years and it’s probably gonna be perfect. Sadly, other stuff is not as durable…without some help.
I keep a couple first aid kits laying around and packed up, ready to be dropped into a backpack or jacket pocket for t hose hunting and fishing trips. As you can imagine, first aid stuff needs to be kept dry, clean, and prefereably in its original sterile packaging. Most of the time, the factory packaging is good enough but there are those times that you can kinda foresee things being a little rough-n-tumble and you might wanna hedge your bets.
So…a couple weeks ago I picked up a Hand Held Heat Sealer to go with the mylar bags I bought a few months ago. Mylar bags are nothing new, if you do any type of food storage you probably have some experience with them. However, didja know that they come in varying thicknesses? Oh yes, they can be had in a gossamer wispy thickness all the way up to something that looks like it will stop bullets. That bullet-stopping thickness is where I started my purchasing.
My goal was really quite simple – when I go hunting I want a small-ish pocket first aid kit that will be absolutely 100% impervious to the environment. Now, a lot of times that means something like a little pocket-size Pelican case. However, I wanted something a) disposable and b) flexible. I wound up getting samples of several sizes and thicknesses of mylar bag and eventually settled on these. They are 7.5 mil thick and about 5″x8″ with a resealable closure to keep everything in one place. I wasn’t trying to fit a surgical suite in there, just the usual combination of gauze, pads, bandages and tape to let me fix whatever owies are incurred in a day of tromping through the boonies.
Never having been satisfied with premade first-aid kits, I figured I’d just assemble it using components I felt were necessary for my anticipated usage…buncha Telfa pads in varying sizes, assorted adhesive bandages, some rolled gauze, gauze pads, triple antibiotic, assorted pills, and some tape. No muss, no fuss. My anticipated owies when afield are fairly simple – cuts, tears, scrapes, perhaps a burn. I want to be able to stop the leaking and prevent infection until i can get out of wherever I am and get back to a real medical facility or at least back to my house where I can do a more professional job of skinfixing.
So I played around a bit and found that if you carefully tetris* your supplies, you can fit quite a bit into what appears to be a small space. Once the bag as sealed, I took a Sharpie and listed out the contents on the bag. A more professional way to do it would have been to print a nice adhesive label, but for a first effort I think I’ll be okay. So, that gets tucked into my hunting pack and it should stay pretty much impervious to any inclement weather or conditions that get dumped on me. In the future I’ll probably throw some dessicant in there. Or maybe not. need to think about the good/bad effects of that.
So…after making a handful of these things I still have a sheaf of mylar bags. What to do? Well, a box of 50 rounds of pistol ammo will fit in there nicely. So will a change of socks and underwear. Really, anything that I’d like to keep perfectly clean and dry for a long period of time will work. This is the sort of thing that is ‘only limited by your imagination’ and, well…Im a pretty imaginative guy.
The heat sealer was a hundred bucks and its a made-in-China piece of work. I suspect you could get the same effect with a $20 hair straightener and in the past I’ve simply used an iron. But the ‘waffle’ pattern lends an air of neatness, and its a more fumble-free method than juggling an iron and a straight edge to seal the bag. The mylar bags, in small quantities, are around fifty cents, depending on size and thickness, but that still puts them in the realm of disposable-without-regret. If you have some small (or small-ish) items you want to protect..small radios, parts, first aid stuff, medications, etc….you may want to check out getting a similar setup for yourself. Pick up some dessicant or oxygen absorbers while youre at it. (Although, I am told, you don’t use both in the same package.)
* = Yes, tetris is now a verb.