When it comes to any sporting activity, the odds of getting injured increase substantially when you’re engaging in physical activity. The more extreme your sport, the higher the risk of injury. That’s why it’s important to have access to a good First Aid kit any time you’re engaging in high-risk activity. There are tons of great First Aid kits on the market, but there are some things to consider before buying. First, kits can get pretty pricy really quick. While you may love hiking and rock climbing, forking over $500 for a First Aid kit might be a little too extreme for you. Second, not all kits are created equal, and certain sporting activities will require a specific kind of kit with activity-specific items.
The easiest solution for ensuring you have everything you need for your specific activity without breaking the bank is to build your own kit. Here’s how to do it.
First off, think about the kinds of activities you’ll be engaging in when you might need to use the kit. Is it going to be just a general kit you’ll keep in your car or are you planning for the serious trauma that can occur when you’re hiking or climbing? You’ll obviously want different items in your kit for various applications.
You’ll also want to think about just how far you’ll be from EMTs or hospitals in the (hopefully) off-chance you’ll actually need to use your kit. The further you are away from help, the more you’ll need to pack.
When you’re ready to start physically building your kit, one of the first things to consider is what type of container you want to store everything in. The sky is the limit here. You can buy a cheap plastic toolbox from a hardware store, fill it with your medical supplies, and keep it stored in your trunk if you’re building a kit that you don’t plan to carry around with you. If you’re backpacking or engaging in an activity where you’ll need your supplies with you all the time, you’ll probably want to go with a smaller pack or nylon pouch of some kind.
When it comes to filling your container with actual supplies, the options are literally endless. If you run a chance of serious injury, you may want to invest in higher dollar items like blood-clotting agents, splinting material, and tourniquets. Make a list of potential injuries that are relevant to your specific activity and consider the supplies needed to treat those injuries. However, at a bare minimum, your kit should include the following:
- Butterfly strips
- Nitrile gloves
- Cleanser for wounds (peroxide, antiseptic wipes, etc.)
- Antibiotic ointment
- Bandanas (for making slings, pressure dressings, etc.)
- Burn treatment
- Sting treatment
- Pain killers (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.)
The great thing about building your own kit is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money up front. Budget a bit each week and build your kit up with supplies over time and before you know it, you’ll have a robust kit that will help you deal with a variety of injuries. However, it’s also important to know when and what you can treat yourself and when it’s time to get professional help. A First Aid kit should help you take care of minor wounds—for anything else, consider it as a temporary solution until you can get to an EMS or hospital.