Now that I am getting older (not that old), I actually plan for emergency situations during even my most routine hikes. When I was younger, the thought of carrying a first aid kit with me never entered my mind. If I got a cut or twisted an ankle, I took 500 mg of suck it up and dealt with it when I finished the hike.
These days, I do have to admit that I have a little bit of a fear that if something happens to me while I am hiking, I might have to spend the night in the woods. For a situation like this, I believe that I am prepared if this does happen.
A good way to prevent spending a potentially long, cold and painful night in the woods from happening is to think proactively. First and foremost, you should write an itinerary of where you will be hiking. I always leave a written record of where I will be parking, the route I will be taking and how long I think my hike will take. If I think that I am going to go over the time that I allotted, I text that person and let them know that. Of course getting a cell phone signal at times can be challenging out in the woods, but at some point you will get one. Regardless of your age, I strongly suggest that everyone do this. Many people have spent days in the woods and elsewhere because no one knew where they were. Case in point-Aron Ralston.
Here is what I currently carry in my daypack:
Starting from left to right on the top:
- A Back Country First Aid Book. It covers care for every conceivable ailment or injury that you could incur out in the woods.
- A small shelter (space blanket) that will offer protection in the rain, wind, snow and the chill of the night if you are caught outside even in the summer.
- Along with a lighter, I carry waterproof matches.
- Of course bug spay.
- A small pouch that has gauze pads, band aids, Povidone-Iodine U. S. P. Prep Pads and antiseptic towelettes.
- The package marked Bandaging Materials has many of the same things as the red pouch, just in larger sizes.
- Pain relieving antiseptic spray.
Now this doesn’t seem like much, but for most of the minor to moderate things that can happen to you during a hike, I am more than prepared to deal with them. Especially if I am hiking with smaller children, a bee sting or bug bite can be made more comfortable until they get home! I keep all of these items in large baggies to make sure that they stay dry and all of this doesn’t take up much room in my pack. That leaves plenty of space for water, snacks, my camera, ipod, etc.
Finally, I did purchase two first aid kits off of Amazon for my daypack. If you do a little research on the web, you can certainly make your own First Aid Kit by going to your local pharmacy or grocery store and buying everything that you need there. This is what I have done to replenish the items that I have used.
If you have any suggestions or would like to share what you currently use, please do so. Let’s learn from each other!!!!