Being backcountry hunters, we want the lightest most durable equipment we can afford. We spend thousands of dollars on our optics while our packs make the average hunter have a mini stroke when they ask what the price tag is. So why do we buy just any medical and survival kit and call it good? Most guys I talk to about these kits get a blank stare on their face when I ask what is in them. Having a solid kit along with some sort of satellite communication is a cheap but necessary insurance policy.
Backcountry First Aid
My kit is designed to provide basic first aid, as well as mitigating life threatening injuries while you wait for help. Training is crucial to survival and I recommend getting training in basic medical or backcountry medical emergencies. Medical and survival kits are very important for us for obvious reasons which is why I combined my kits and carry it with me every time whether it is on a 10 day backcountry hunt or a short overnight trip. The items in my kit is pieced from a variety of sources that gives me the most functionality and weight savings I’m comfortable to bet my life on when times get tough. My whole kit is compiled in a medium pullout from Kifaru and kept in an outer pouch on my pack at all times. I keep it in an easy to reach spot to save time when you actually do need it.
These items will vary depending on your level of training and you should not use/carry an item if you are not trained. I picked up these supplies from various places but the UST brand Featherlite 2.0 kit is a good start for a one-stop shopper.
- 2-3/0 Sutures
- 1-Cloth ½” medical tape
- 6-Alcohol prep pads
- 2-BZK towelettes
- 5-Cotton tipped applicators
- 6-Aspirin (will take more depending on length of trip)
- 6-Loratidine (allergy meds), nothing sucks worse than being miles from civilization and having allergies.
- 3-2×2 sponges
- 3-4×4 sponges
- 4-1×3 cloth bandages
- 5-Butterfly closures
- 1- 5×9 combine abdominal pad.
- Various mole-skin
- 1- Havalon blade
Why Sutures? They are good to sew up broken equipment. I also had to sew up my dog the other day after she got in a fight with some barbed wire. I don’t recommend using a suture without proper training. Sutures are also the best tool to sew up the mouth of your once in a lifetime trophy for your hero shots. With the mouth shut, your picture will come out significantly better and might make or break your chances on getting in between the covers of your favorite hunting magazine. After all, no one likes seeing a bloody tongue hanging out, especially editors.
For the survival side of my pullout, I keep it fairly simple to conserve weight but have what I feel are important to get me out of most jams. My biggest concern is fire, shelter, and water. With these items, I feel I can accomplish those 3 items with ease. I keep the survival stuff in a small Kifaru pullout inside my medical pullout.
- 50 feet of 1.25mm Dyneema cord
- 50 feet of Duct tape
- 6-MSR water treatment tablets
- 4- UST Wetfire fire starting tender
- 10- AMK waterproof tenders sticks
- 1- BIC lighter
- 1- AMK fire lite sparker
- 20- Waterproof matches in a watertight container.
I carry so much fire starting supplies because my biggest fear is I will not be able to start a fire under the worst circumstances. All of these items are double bagged to protect against the weather as well.
The importance of this kit cannot be expressed enough. When times get tough, this may be your last line of defense whether you are a ridge away from civilization or miles into the wilderness.
You can comment on this article or ask Travis questions here.