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IFAK for Hiking/Backpacking.

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by DrMaxit, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. DrMaxit

    DrMaxit Dirtbag Airman

    Sep 15, 2005
    Oahu HI
    So I've been finding myself and friends hiking a lot more recently. We've been going in pretty deep and far at times and I started to wonder "what would I do if something happened?"

    I was a SABC (Self Aid Buddy Care) instructor for the AF when I was active, and just became one now that I'm in the Guard. That said, I was thinking about modeling my first aid kit after the AF (and other branches are similar) IFAK kits.

    So far this is what I have for the list. These items will have to be able to fit into a "Camel bak" type backpack with two pockets. Please feel free to add input.

    2 Israeli Bandages
    2 Triangle bandages
    1 C.A.T (Combat Action Tourniquets)
    2 SAM Splint
    2 Pair Rubber Gloves
    1 Lip Balm
    1 Neosporen
    1 Medical Tape
    1 Self Adherent Wrap/tape
    1 Quick Clot Guaze
    1 Nasopharyngeal Airway
    1 Leatherman

    And various small items to include, but not limited to gauzes, band-aids, safety pins, non stick bandages, alcohol prep pads, ect.

    I also thought about throwing in some water purification tablets, compass, fire starter.

    Please provide suggestions and comments.

    Thanks! :wavey:
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  2. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    Ditch the airway unless you have training on how to use it.

    You have a lot of stuff for major trauma but almost nothing for more routine health issues.

    I'd add a small plastic ziploc bag with the following drugs:

    2 Zyrtec
    10 Ibuprofen
    10 Asperin
    2 Immodium

    I'd also add some small bandaid bandages in various shapes.

    Add some burn gel packets

    Tweezers and a single edge razor

    You need some surgical sponges

    You should have some small ace bandages

  3. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    My experience as a former scout master, hunter, outdoorsman, bicyclist, ATVer, tells me that lacerations, contusions, sprains, separations and fractures are most common. Field dressings/lots and lots of gauze pads, gauze wrap/bandages is the most important thing. A triangle bandage to make a sling, elastic bandage to immobilize an extremity and provide pressure.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  4. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    Okay, let's take a look.

    Instead of the water purification tabs, just get a small bottle of tincture iodine. Serves the same purpose of disinfecting water and also cleans small wounds i.e. it is dual purpose. Additionally, something like a SAYWER bottle that filters up to a million gallons yet is the same size as most water bottles would fit into hiking/camping plans perfect.! You need to be redundant about ways to make fire because of its multiple uses i.e. protection, warmth, cooking etc. Obviously a lighter is a good option. You can get a package of 9 Bic-style lighters at Walmart for a couple of dollars. They are cheap a fairly reliable. Secondly, get a magnesium bar with the striker on one side. Harbor Freight has these for less than $3 and often puts them on sale for less than $2. One bar could literally start thousands of campfires. Waterproof/windproof matches are always a plus. has a plethora of different types of firesteels, some with a button compass and with a place to carry tinder.

    The point is being redundant in a few key areas, fire is one of them.

    As far as tinder, you've already got lip balm which is petroleum based. Smear it on a cotton ball and/or bandage and it will burn for several minutes while you light larger wood pieces. And of course, if you have a magnesium bar the shavings are tinder.

    As mentioned above, items for smaller 'emergencies' and inconvienances.

    The Leatherman multi-tool is a good idea. I'd have a good solid folding or fixed blade knife as well. I doesn't need to be a Rambo special! But something that would assist you in building a make-shift shelter if you had to. Heck, the good ole Mora knife that Cody uses is light, sharp, easily sharpened and used all over the world for exactly that.

    I signal mirror, the kind with a sighting/focus hole in the center. I got mine off Amazon for about $5. And a whistle is a good idea to attract attention.

    And do NOT forget about one or two flashlights! Particularly a good LED version. I was turned on the the CREE LED lights off of Ebay here on the board. Cheap and make a great back up and bright!!! I also like the Maglite XL50 and again, bargains for brand new ones on Ebay are there. These give you great run times, great 'throw', some have great flood and many of them a multi-mode with high/low/strobe/SOS.

    Even if you only hike during the day....something happening might put you in the woods at night. Be prepared.

    Hope some/all of this is useful. :wavey:
  5. PaulMason


    Feb 10, 2010
  6. Benadryl or an epipen should be included

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  7. John Rambo

    John Rambo Raven

    Feb 15, 2010
    Tampa, Fl.
    On the subject of Iodine, leading into a much broader consideration to have. Remember, people can be allergic to things in your medkit, including Iodine. Its pretty rare, but it can happen. While topical allergies are usually just irritating, if something gets in a wound that the person is allergic to, it can kill or seriously injure them before help arrives.

    The issue of wound cleaning took me a couple of days to research for my marine first-aid kit. As of right now, I don't have any liquid to fill that role at all due to possible allergy complications. Be interested to hear what anyone has to say on the subject.
  8. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Rebel South
    looks good but I am not a proponant of quickclot.

    food for thought:

    large 3m wound closure stips
    wound irrigation
    bandaids for fingers, knuckles and moving joints.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  9. Aceman


    Nov 30, 2008
    Serious hiking:

    Mosquito/tick spray
    Bandaids / gauze/tape

    Lot's of the above.

    Serious anti-histamine
    Dental gear
    butterfly bandage for knuckles

    That mil kit is for gunshot / grenade wounds. I'd bring that too...but the mundane stuff is a PITA if not dealt with.
  10. quinnt


    Jan 26, 2005
    New Hampshire
    For cleansing a wound you could use normal saline/sterile water as in copious amounts it will flush a good amount of stuff out. You could also carry isopropyl alcohol and ask if theres an allergy before using it. I've been an EMT for a while and only had 1 person tell me they were allergic to alcohol, and I'm pretty sure it was the drinking kind not the sanitizing kind but they weren't oriented enough to tell me.

    Another thought though, you're simply stabilizing a wound long enough to get the person more serious help, let them dealing with sterilizing the wound. An uncontrolled hemorrhage can immediately lead to shock and death, a dirty wound not as quickly.
  11. quinnt


    Jan 26, 2005
    New Hampshire
    And to the original poster, off the top of my head, theres 9 different sized nasal airways for a reason, I'd ditch just that one. I also didn't notice sterile lube as NPA's can be quite sticky at times. If you insist on carrying the NPA, don't use if theres a serious head injury.

    In my hiking IFAK I carry a leatherman, gauze, medical tape, benadryl, tylenol and this

    [ame=""] Adventure Medical Kits Trauma Packwith QuikClot: Health & Personal Care@@AMEPARAM@@[/ame]
  12. DrMaxit

    DrMaxit Dirtbag Airman

    Sep 15, 2005
    Oahu HI
    I do have training on how to use them. I am an instructor for the Air Force and I train people on how to use them. Good point though if anyone else reads this that hasn't had the training, you can do some serious damage if you're not trained.

    Good idea on the OTC medications and the other small items.

    Great posting. I had forgotten about a light. I do carry a headlamp with me hiking already. I guess I should have listed everything that's in the bag already, not just what I'm adding. LoL. But yes I'll toss a lighter in there as well and another small cheap light. I'll probably stick with the purification tablets, as I don't like iodine. Good suggestion though.

    Great site, thanks!

    Great idea. There are plenty of people that come out to the islands that don't realize they are allergic to some of the fruits and plants on these hikes.

    I'm going to have to stick by the quickclot guaze. Also going to add those small items as well. My Camel Bak holds about 3.2L of water if I recall, that would be use to quickly wash nay wounds. Any serious sanitation would be done at home/hospital. Thanks!

    Moleskin. A lot out here hike in either Vibrams or barefooted so blisters aren't usually an issue, but can't hurt to toss in there. Good call on the butterfly bandages.

    Great posting as well. I was going to grab one of the NPAs that are issued in the AF IFAK, cut to fit also comes with KY type jelly. That's a great little trama pack in that link, I might grab that instead of quick clot gauze as it's about half the price and comes with other goodies.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  13. DrMaxit

    DrMaxit Dirtbag Airman

    Sep 15, 2005
    Oahu HI
    Adding on to what quinnt said, I wouldn't worry about serious sterilization in the field. Let the hospital or the house deal with that when they get back in. I would just rinse out fairly well with some water to get most of the debris out and roll on.
  14. DrMaxit

    DrMaxit Dirtbag Airman

    Sep 15, 2005
    Oahu HI
  15. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA

    First aid kits are priority in hiking packs. BUT! I think having fire starting tools (metal match), shelter tarp of some sort, a container to store water, A good strong blade, and flashlight are essential when miles from home if your forced to stay out overnight due to an injury, weather or whatever. Just my 2 cents.
  16. racerford


    Apr 22, 2003
    DFW area
    Lots of good suggestions so far. I won't repeat them.

    Ditch "rubber" gloves and go with nitrile. I would add a couple more pairs as they have lots of uses.

    I see nothing for burns. I would add BurnJel in a bottle and some BurnJel sheets. They can also be used to treat sunburn/exposure as well. Many people fail to respect fire in the field and end up with burns. A 2nd degree or worse burn bigger than your palm can be a life threatening danger.
  17. redbrd


    Sep 20, 2005
    Quikclot and tournaquets should not be used unless higher care is going to be available. Military uses them under the assumption that a quick exfil will make higher level care available in a short period. Quikclot chemically burns the area and often does additional damage, tournaquets likewise stops bleeding but over time will result in more extensive damage. Both should be used only in extreme situations when a pressure dressing won't cut it.
    I agree the most useful things to stock will be small bandages, superglue, iodine, tylenol, ibuprophen, a broad spectrum antibiotic (doxy...), sunscreen, and of course some duct tape. That along with what you have will cover most injuries that you are likely to encounter and the average person can treat.
    Bug repellant and/or mosquito net is a good thing depending on the area. Tick and other insect bourne diseases could be come a real problem.
  18. John Rambo

    John Rambo Raven

    Feb 15, 2010
    Tampa, Fl.
    I don't think the new generation of QuickClot burns the area anymore, but I didn't research it all that well. To tell the truth I'm much more a fan of Celox after what I've read. I opted for more gauze instead of either of them, but may add Celox in an applicator at some point if I feel comfortable enough with it. The fact that you can pump Celox into the body to stop a deep, penetrating wound from bleeding and it does nothing except form an artificial clot would make it very useful if someone gets a spear through their ass at sea in my situation.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  19. quinnt


    Jan 26, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Most modern chemical hemostatics stop the bleeding as they enhance the clot, some also cause vasoconstriction making the bleeding stop.
  20. John Rambo

    John Rambo Raven

    Feb 15, 2010
    Tampa, Fl.
    As I understand it, Celox is granules that swell up and get all gunky when they get around the blood. Kinda like pasta. Except not with as tasty of a red sauce. :supergrin: