You should always have a first aid kit on hand in case you are involved in an accident on the hill. Help could take some time to arrive so you need to be able to take care of yourself. Even a few plasters and a triangular bandage is better than nothing. It always pays to be prepared and have a few more key items at your disposal.
While it’s easy to build up your own solution, there are plenty of ready-made alternatives you can buy and I particularly like the range offered by Lifesystems. They start with your basic pocket first aid kits and go right up to complete solutions for mountain leaders.
My favourite for day walks in the Lake District (but which could also handle weekend expeditions) is the Lifesystems Explorer First Aid Kit. Let’s take a closer look…
Before you open up the kit, you immediately notice how everything fits into a red fabric pouch. It has waterproof zips and the grab handle makes it easy to pull out from the depths of your rucksack. The case feels sturdy and gives a decent amount of protection for the contents.
Unzip the pouch and you can see how everything packs away neatly. I like the loop inside which allows you to hang up the kit like a wash bag – useful for keeping your tent tidy when you are tending to any blisters. The different compartments are labelled so you can keep the contents organised and go straight to what you need in the event of an accident.
There’s lots of internal space in the case. All too often it’s a nightmare to get things back in once you have taken them out. Not so with the Lifesystems Explorer first aid kit, which has plenty of room for the supplied contents and any other bits you might like to add, such as personal medication.
On to the contents. This is a well-stocked first aid kit and should have enough of a range to deal with most minor injuries. Lifesystems offers a few different options around this price range (the smaller Adventurer and the larger Camping) but I feel the Explorer strikes just the right balance between size, weight and contents.
You get what I consider the ‘must haves’, such as a triangular bandage (really versatile bandage for sprains and breaks), low adherent wound dressings (for burns), a fabric plaster strip and tape (great for cutting to size for blisters), cleansing wipes and vinyl gloves, as well as some painkillers (ibuprofen and paracetemol) and sundries such as scissors, safety pins and tweezers (for plucking your eyebrows, I guess). You can find the full list of what’s included on Lifesystems’ website here.
Clearly, all of this isn’t much use if you don’t know how to use it. There’s no substitute for going on a proper first aid course. They are always great fun and they might just save your (or someone else’s) life. If you are involved in an accident, logical thought can sometimes go out the window. Lifesystems has included a really clear primary care leaflet which helps you to identify the nature of the injury and what you could use in the kit to assist. I have supplemented this with my own sheet of paper and a pencil to record details of an accident (contact details, grid reference, nature of injuries, first aid administered etc) should you need to leave a casualty to get help.
This is a great option if you are looking for a comprehensive first aid kit and don’t have the time to put together your own. For the ultimate in convenience, Lifesystems also do refill packs, so you can replenish the contents as supplies run low. Let’s just hope it’s one of those pieces of kit you don’t have to use.