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#28678 - 06/30/04 07:34 AM First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
I'm struggling with my first aid kit. I recently have been re-working my kits and I've decided to try to move from a two tier setup (EDC + backpack) to a three tier setup (EDC + Maxpedition Fatboy + backpack) where the idea is the Fatboy would fit in the backpack. In this plan, the EDC has the most critical stuff, the Fatboy the next most critical and then the backpack has more stuff (actually I was thinking about a forth tier, but I'm getting way off topic).

In any case, my original idea was to have sort of a level 1 and level 2 first aid kits, one in the Fatboy and the other in the backpack. I wanted to use a small waterproof case for these kits. After a bit of playing around, this plan just didn't seem to work out. I picked a couple of different Pelican micro cases, but they are pretty heavy, and.I just couldn't find a happy medium.

So, I decided to go to a single kit, more than I was originally planning for the Fatboy, but smaller than the agreagate of the level 1 + level 2 kits. The plan is to carry this in the Fatboy and the plan is to have it with me nearly always.

Ok, let's get to the point, eh? Well, I finally decided to go with the Pelican 1040 micro case. Basically is was the largest I could reasonably see myself carrying most of the time. But here is the rub. I carefully picked the contents of the kit, but I could barely get them to fit in the 1040.. and... I had to keep paring things down to fit at all. I'd really prefer more stuff, but I also can't see going larger.

As it stands, it is kind of a pain when you open the case, you have to watch out so things don't spill out and you have to fuss with it a bit to get it closed back up.

So what is going on? Am I just a lousy packer? Am I taking too much stuff? What am I doing wrong?

Thanks,

-john


First Aid Kit

1 Pelican 1040 Micro Case
1 Small Scissors
1 .5 oz bottle Betadine
2 Excedrin 2 tablet pack
2 Tylenol 2 tablet pack
1 roll waterproof tape
1 10ml syringe
1 sml roll Tums
2 tablet Claritin
1 .5 oz bottle Hypo Tears
1 roll cotton gauze in plastic
1 digital thermometer
3 sucrets tablets
2 tablet Sudafed
2 tablet Benadryl Allergy
1 razor blade
2 .9g Neosporin Pack
4 large bandaids
4 butterfly closures
2 small, round bandaids
4 small bandaids
1 pair latex exam gloves
2 sterile packs, Steri-Strips (R1546)
1 small pair pointed tweezers
3 packs 3"x4" triple layer non-stick pads
1 pack 2nd Skin burn pad


Oh, and how do people carry those darn exam gloves? They don't fold worth a darn and they take up too much room! I always have a finger flopping out and threatining to get closed in the lid. I've been looking for pairs in sealed packs, but I haven't come across them and I suspect they would take up too much room anyway. Hmm.

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#28679 - 06/30/04 09:20 AM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
dave750gixer Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/17/04
Posts: 60
Loc: UK
Examination gloves I don't actually carry in the kit itself. I just grap a handfull from the lab and put them in a pocket. Dont fold them just scrunch them up. You could always put them in a ziplock bag if worried about wear and tear or contamination. I suppose its easier for me as I have ready access to them. I use them for more than first aid anyway though. I did consider carrying sterile gloves (they come packaged in pairs) but there is no real advantage that I can see to make up for the additional weight and bulk of the packaging.

Consider going for a soft case rather than a hard case. They are much much easier to pack to efficiently use the space.

I assume you have packed the medications along with the instruction sheet but binned the box it all came in? I would look again at some of the meds you are carrying. Some are not really what I would call first aid but are more for comfort. Do you really need to carry them as EDC. In my small FAC (I have a small EDC FAK and a larger one in my backpack) I carry 2 tablets of a prescription painkiller, 2 painkillers (also works as anti-pyretic), 2 anti-inflamitories (can be taken as analgesic at same time as other painkiller in emergency) and 2 antihistamine. I would say that covers me for as much as is possible in a pocket sized FAK. I carry 1 full strip of each tablet in the larger FAK plus some of the other stuff you carry. In the smaller kit I carry just part of the blister pack cut down to shape with scissors to give a rounded edge. I then put a small piece of micropore or masking tape over the foil side to protect it from damage and use an indelible pen to write active ingredient and dose on the tape. The small kit meds are always from the same batch as the large kit that way I still know the expiry date and keep the full instructions in the large kit. DO NOT do this unless you are confident of always knowing the identity of the drugs from size, shape and colour (I am a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry) and try to always use the same brand for familiarity. The writing is for other people in an emergency. Also be very careful if you do not know the contraindications of the drugs you carry without having to look them up!

You don't need butterfly closures and steri-strips. I would lose the butterfly closures.

rather than cotton gauze consider carrying a tampon. Ther are compressed and take up a lot less space.

Hope you found that of some use. The bottom line is that there is no perfect FAK. It depends on your own knowledge of what you can do and an assessment of what you will actually need it for.


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#28680 - 06/30/04 11:21 AM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
rbruce Offline
Member

Registered: 05/25/04
Posts: 153
Loc: California
I am thinking of doing a three tier setup like yours. Here is what I was thinking of doing. Get a small pouch that can attach with ALICE clips to the outside of the Fatboy. Either the Maxpedition M1 or M5 waistpack would probably work well. There are also many other pouches out there if you look. Put your level 1 kit in the small pouch, and attach it to the Fatboy. Then put your level 2 kit in your backpack in easy reach.

Here's how it would work. When you just have your EDC + Fatboy, you have your level 1 FAK in an external pouch that is easy to get too. Then if your are moving up to EDC + Fatboy + Backpack simply take the pouch off the Fatboy and put it on the outside of your Backpack.

Now you have both FAKs in easy reach and you can use contents from both very easily. I know this isn't a perfect solution for you because you wanted to use hard cases. This was just an idea I had and thought I might share it with you.

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#28681 - 06/30/04 12:34 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
williamlatham Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 251
Loc: Stafford, VA, USA
I am still looking for the best container, but have settled for now on a spec ops pocket buddy. This is the soft case sized for the thigh pocket of US Battle Dress Utilities (cammies). It comes with two waterproof allosacks (sp?). One holds meds (I carry four doses) and the other carries bandages. I put two ziplocks in as well. One holds general stuff (tweezers, safety pins, etc) the other holds wound management (cleansers, anitbiotics (topical) etc.) Roll of waterproof tape is on the key keeper, and the epi pen is on top in its case. I will replace the zip locks with allosacks when I get a chance. I stuff a trauma bandage in its protective wrap in the outside pocket. Eventually EMT shears will accompany it as well. Still looking for a 2 oz bottle for the betadine solution.

It is not perfect (bulges a little) and can still hold a med manual (similar to the Weiss Medicine for Mountaineering). The allosacks are waterproof to 200 ft and the rest is relatively water resistant anyway. Additionally I vacuum packed a roll of gauze to get rid of the bulk and waterproof it. Worked pretty well.

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#28682 - 06/30/04 12:35 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
NAro Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/15/01
Posts: 493
I use this:
http://www.basspro.com/servlet/catalog.T...t=SearchResults

There are ample slots and pockets in the front and back covers, but the beauty of this case is the ring-bind clear plastic pouches. I have my stuff in the pouches (added a few pouches)according to the "level" of need: Short hike in civilization; Camping trip near emergency medical help; Wilderness/Major kit. The sections work in concert: the Camping section includes the Short Hike pouches... the Wilderness section includes the Camping Section and Short Hike section.
When I want to carry less than the full kit, I pull the pouches and slip them in a pocket or pack.

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#28683 - 06/30/04 12:43 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
Polak187 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 1403
Loc: Brooklyn, New York
Well first question in your mind should be what is this FAK gotta serve me for? Is it my personal kit or just all around just in case kit? From what I see you are trying to be a corner drug store (which is good) but unfortunately it takes way to much space. In my opinion when setting up a kit I think about me and my family first, than friends and than strangers.

1 Pelican 1040 Micro Case - good case. I would tape First Aid instruction to the top lid together with expiration dates on the meds and any medical conditions you may have, allergies and current medications.

1 Small Scissors - why? you have scissors on your mutlitool or sak, plus little scissors are not substitute for trauma shears. Unless it is a nail cutter/hygiene device which really has no place in the FAK. Unsupervised they also can puncture stuff.

1 .5 oz bottle Betadine - I would loose the bottle and get the swipes or wipes. Less mess and you donít use your sterile pads for application.

2 Excedrin 2 tablet pack

2 Tylenol 2 tablet pack - I would make it four

1 roll waterproof tape - I love the tape. This is the best thing ever. Did I mention that I love the tape?

1 10ml syringe - why?

1 sml roll Tums - if you use them a lot i would keep the roll otherwise would carry only few of them

2 tablet Claritin -

1 .5 oz bottle Hypo Tears - is it because you wear contact lenses? or just in case? If this is just in case I would loose it (unless you have space)

1 roll cotton gauze in plastic - I would get a cravat and loose that gauze... use your sterile pads for direct wound cover and attach it with tape, cravat or tear something like a tshirt. If you need a blood stoper/absorber use a tampon.

1 digital thermometer - why? knowing exact temperature will not help you out a bit. Learn between hot, normal and cool and cold... you can measure it with the top portion of your hand

3 sucrets tablets

2 tablet Sudafed - do you see the difference in SUdafed and Bendaryl when in use? Do you prefer one over another? If you think one is better I would stick with that.

2 tablet Benadryl Allergy

1 razor blade - this should be in your PSK already.

2 .9g Neosporin Pack - that's good

4 large band aids

4 butterfly closures - if you need that you either need stitches or your cut is in the weird spot. Nothing tape wouldnít fix. I would loose that.

2 small, round bandaids

4 small bandaids

1 pair latex exam gloves - I carry two pairs. First of all you have to remember that they are not sterile unless they are packed in separate bag by the manufacturer. Gloves are there to protect you from contamination not your patients (well to the point if you are sick you don't want your patient to get what you have). Now the way I carry mine is that I pack two together and roll them into small squares starting at fingers. This pushes all the air out and I'm set.

2 sterile packs, Steri-Strips (R1546) - why?

1 small pair pointed tweezers

3 packs 3"x4" triple layer non-stick pads - get two 4by4s... they are sterile and each pack contains 2 pads... if you need more than two to control bleeding you are in trouble.

1 pack 2nd Skin burn pad - skip this add water burn jel (pocket) and use non stick pads


To your setup I would add aspirin, Imodium and some kind of cpr barrier (if you know how to do cpr).

Now when I wrote my comments I don't mean to say that you are wrong in what you are carrying. I just tried to give you a different point of view on what I would carry. I also have a modular kit. My basic kit lacks certain stuff due to my philosophy is sucking pain up but in my extended kit I also carry weird stuff such as Narcan, Atropine, Dextrose, Thiamine, Glucagon, Epinephirne, Lidacaine, Lasix, Nitro, prescription eye drops and I carry Normal Saline in order to set a drip up. I have few syringes, needles and suture kit. But my expanded kit is for no one but me, my family and my closes friends (only in emergency situation as in during kayaking trip when no help can be found within 5-6 hours). My expanded kit also has a lot of trauma supplies. My super extended kit has O2 supplies and airway maintenance kit (intubation). Again "right to use" of this kit belongs to me only and I will not use it on the stranger or even a friend if I know I can get help to them (unless I work under someoneís medical license like during blackout when I would grab it and throw it on the ambulance since restocking was limited and far in between). And remember you can have a pocket hospital in you kit but without skills and training it will do more harm than help.

Very nice way of sorting out your everyday carry things was given to me by another member on this board. He told me to lay out my EDC items and write them down. Carry all of them for a week and jot down which item I used and how many times. Items that were big and bulky but used 0 times were potential candidates for back pack carry or actually leaving them at home. Some items such as FAKs would not be used every day (which is good) but when you used them notice the pattern of which meds and supplies you rotate thru. Iím big on cuts and burns so my EDC FAK has load of band aids, 4by4s, alcohol wipes, burn jel and antibiotic ointment. Less on other medications. But if you are a person that has allergies, gets cold often or headache maybe a med part should be extended and trauma should be kept to the minimum.

Just my two cents. Cheers. Half fun is putting your kit together.

Matt

_________________________
Matt
http://brunerdog.tripod.com/survival/index.html

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#28684 - 06/30/04 02:54 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
David Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/09/02
Posts: 245
Loc: Tennessee (middle)
JohnN--

Good list, but I'd question a few things. The scissors, for instance...Carry a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Micra (or copy) with scissors, instead. Leave them out of the FAK.

The thermometer is unneccessary in a pocket FAK, though I think I've got one in my vehicle kit--gotta double check that (we have small children, & it is nice to have when travelling!).

The tears solution...why? Do you wear contacts, or is it to irrigate/flush an object from the eye? If the former, OK, you need it. If the latter, use drinking water, or get small single use ampules of tear solution or saline. I explained what I wanted to my Opthalmologist & asked his advice; he gave me several samples for my various kits, some of which contained multiple single use ampules. Those got divided among kits. By the way, I'm not against having something dedicated for an eyewash (I obviously have it, but just in the smallest possible package). I'm not looking for extended, repeated use--just true first aid. We like to ride excursion trains--especially steam locomotives, & when you get a cinder in your eye, you want it washed out quickly!

On re-reading the thread, I see I'm merely repeating some of what Matt said, so I'll end now. He's made pretty much the same points I was about to make.

Good luck in your choices.

David

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#28685 - 06/30/04 03:33 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
X-ray Dave Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/11/03
Posts: 572
Loc: Nevada
Good start, I'm not sure what situations you are planning for. A 3 or 4 inch Ace type wrap has multiple uses. I skip the small and regular bandaides and include an assortment of "knuckle and finger" type and a couple of the extra large as well.

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#28686 - 06/30/04 04:04 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
First, thanks Matt (and everyone else), these are great comments. I'll try to go over Matt's comments for now since I need to get on the road t the office soon.

Quote:
Well first question in your mind should be what is this FAK gotta serve me for?


Yah, when I saw your message I realized I should have given a bit more context in this regard. I live in the Seattle, WA area and work in downtown Seattle. Other than the general uncertanty of life, one thing that is on my mind when I prepare my kits is the possibility of an earthquake, and what it might mean for me working downtown.

So, in a lot of ways, I've tailored my personal kits around this possibility. While I am not strickly trying to prepare for an earthquake, it seems to be a superset of a lot of situations from a preperation perspective.

So, my thinking is I need to escape my building, deal with injuries and possibly hoof it 25 miles home through debris.

I am also likely to take the same kit on light backpacking trips.

In a limited emergency, I would use the kit for whomever. In a large scale emergency, certainly my focus is myself and my family and friends, but to be honest, I would probably still use anything I had left on whomever and just take the risk of having no supplies left.

Quote:
1 Pelican 1040 Micro Case - good case. I would tape First Aid instruction to the top lid together with expiration dates on the meds and any medical conditions you may have, allergies and current medications.


Yes, I was going to add instructions and inventory to the kit.

Quote:
1 Small Scissors - why? you have scissors on your mutlitool or sak, plus little scissors are not substitute for trauma shears.


True, I carry an S2 on my EDC which has small scissors. However, I kind of want to be able to open the first aid kit w/o rummaging for other things. These are decent sewing scissors.. You don't think they would suitable for trauma shears?

Quote:
1 .5 oz bottle Betadine - I would loose the bottle and get the swipes or wipes. Less mess and you donít use your sterile pads for application.


I'll be on the lookout for something like this. Now that you mention it, didn't someone sell swabs that were filled with Betadine or something? I was thinking the larger bottle would allow me to pour into a wound.


Quote:
2 Tylenol 2 tablet pack - I would make it four


Ok.

Quote:
1 roll waterproof tape - I love the tape. This is the best thing ever. Did I mention that I love the tape?


Yah, I figured I'd get some flack carrying a full roll of tape, but I think it is worth the bulk.

Quote:
1 10ml syringe - why?


Wound irrigation.

Quote:
1 sml roll Tums - if you use them a lot i would keep the roll otherwise would carry only few of them


The pack is pretty small, but I will consider losing some. The gotcha is packing loose stuff is kinda a problem unto itself. Maybe I'llcome across individually packed ones somewhere.

Quote:
1 .5 oz bottle Hypo Tears - is it because you wear contact lenses? or just in case? If this is just in case I would loose it (unless you have space)


I sometimes do wear contact lenses and not having something to clear/wet your eyes can be a real pain. However, it is a good point that this isn't really first aid. I'll think about it. As someone else pointed out, if I can get little single use packets you could have the best of both worlds.

Quote:
1 roll cotton gauze in plastic - I would get a cravat and loose that gauze... use your sterile pads for direct wound cover and attach it with tape, cravat or tear something like a tshirt. If you need a blood stoper/absorber use a tampon.


Stupid question, what is a cravat? I'll look it up later I guess. Interesting point, I was actually wondering if this was needed when I was putting the kit together considering the sterile pads. I'll put this on the list for likely removal.

Quote:
1 digital thermometer - why? knowing exact temperature will not help you out a bit.


Hmm. Living in the NW, I tend to think about hypothermia as a possible issue. I was thinking being able to objectively observe true body tempature might be useful, but perhaps this is just silly. I imagined that there might be other uses as well, but I suppose if I can't arriculate them I don't have a good argument for inclusion. :-)


Quote:
2 tablet Sudafed - do you see the difference in SUdafed and Bendaryl when in use? Do you prefer one over another? If you think one is better I would stick with that.


You mean the Claritan? Yah, this falls into the comfort realm again. Actually, this whole group of drugs probably fall into this realm. Typically I would use the Claritan for normal allergies. If I got into something or was having some more serious reaction the Benadryl is much more effective, but has the side effect of making you a bit drowsy and loopy.

Quote:
4 butterfly closures - if you need that you either need stitches or your cut is in the weird spot. Nothing tape wouldnít fix. I would loose that.


Yah, now that you mention it they are probably redunant. I tossed them in because they were super small, but in hindsight they aren't useful so I'll take these out.


Quote:
1 pair latex exam gloves - I carry two pairs. First of all you have to remember that they are not sterile unless they are packed in separate bag by the manufacturer. Gloves are there to protect you from contamination not your patients (well to the point if you are sick you don't want your patient to get what you have). Now the way I carry mine is that I pack two together and roll them into small squares starting at fingers. This pushes all the air out and I'm set.


Yah, I wanted two pairs (seems proportional to the rest of the kit), but I has having a hard time fitting them in. So, after you roll them up do you put something around them to keep them rolled? This is an area I'm having trouble with.

Quote:
2 sterile packs, Steri-Strips (R1546) - why?


Wound closure. I have to admit I am partially swayed because I think these things are the best thing since sliced bread. They don't take up much room.

Quote:
3 packs 3"x4" triple layer non-stick pads - get two 4by4s... they are sterile and each pack contains 2 pads... if you need more than two to control bleeding you are in trouble.


I'll have to look for the 4x4. You think the extra inch matters much? I think the 3x4 might fit into the case a bit better. One of my concerns is not so much that *I* might need several of these, but that there might be serveral people might need them at the same time.


Quote:
1 pack 2nd Skin burn pad - skip this add water burn jel (pocket) and use non stick pads


I'll look for this, but these things are slick and don't take up much room.

Quote:
To your setup I would add aspirin, Imodium and some kind of cpr barrier (if you know how to do cpr).


Yah, if I take out the guaze, I might have room. I'll have to look at cpr barriers. I wonder how bulky they are.

Quote:
Now when I wrote my comments I don't mean to say that you are wrong in what you are carrying. I just tried to give you a different point of view on what I would carry.


No, this is great. This is exactly the type of feedback I'm looking for to help me look at this from other points of view.

Thanks!

-john


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#28687 - 06/30/04 05:46 PM Re: First Aid Kit: Packing and Stuff?
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 923
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
"The scissors, for instance...Carry a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Micra (or copy) with scissors, instead."

Personally, I disagree. Paramedic shears are designed to cut open clothing to expose an injury without risking further damage to the patient. The "scissors" in a SAK are pointed and quite small; in an emergency where someone is losing blood rapidly, they would simply take too long (have you ever tried cutting up a pair of blue jeans with a SAK) and if you try to rush, you run the risk of sticking the patient with the point of the scissors.

Blunt tipped scissors would be far better; professional paramedic shears (or possibly a BenchMade Rescue Hook) would be even better.
_________________________
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
-Plutarch

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