I Don’t Need No Doctor

A lot of my regular kit tends to exist in anonymity, especially stuff that doesn’t end up in the photies. One thing that goes on every trip, gets used one way or another on every trip and never gets seen is my medical kit.
It’s based around an old AdventureMedicalKits Ultralight 3, and rather loosely based I should say as I think the only original component is the yellow bag and even that’s now got a Haglöfs zip pull on it after the other one broke. Most medical kit contents are what you think you might need and what the manufacturer knows looks good on the swing tag, but is it really what we’re after? Experience says not for me, and if you add in that the likes of AMK comes without pain killers you’ll have to start customising right away anyway.

I’ve just had to refill my wee kit, so this is as good a time as any to shake the grit and heather seeds out of the bag and see what else I’ve got I’ve there just now. It’s small but it’s got everything I need for a few days, and as has been proved time and time again it’s all stuff that other folk need and never have themselves. I’ve patched up myself, friends, photographers, journalists and complete strangers. Going light means you’re taking risks by cutting back on essentials and comfort? My arse.

It’s not all medical stuff, there’s other bits and pieces in there and some items I swap about, all the contents change around though. The favourite for taking in and out is any kind of crepe bandage. I’ll find it in the kit box and pack it, them ditch it for six months again. I always carry a Buff, that’ll do if I need wrapping probably. Maybe?

Missing from the photies but kinda in the same group are a wee packet of plastic wrapped of tissues, and maybe some travel sized wet wipes, the travel sized bottle of hand cleanser is at the back. I take camp hygiene very seriously, animals could have been using your tent porch as their toilet just before you arrived, and having had illness due to suspected sheep shit interaction at camp a couple of years back I’m more careful than ever.

So, in no particular order in there we have:

1. Spenco 2nd Skin Adhesive Knit. That’s the two sheet of fabric at the front, and this stuff is genius. It’s like a thin version of the backing from a fabric plaster, soft and silky on one side, fully adhesive on the other. You cut it to shape, be it to cover a wound, use as DIY stitches or stop abrasion on your skin. Put this on an area that’s prone to rubbing and the Compeed’s will sat in the wrapper. It’s breathable, stretches a bit and sticks well even when wet, it’s vital stuff and is item most applied my me to myself and other people. Hard to find in the UK these days, but well worth keeping some handy.

2. Compeed. Just bought a new packet as I haven’t carried any for months and they’ve changed the design, they’re a bit quilted now. Not keen on them, they’re a last resort. Their thickness squeezes a blister which makes walking more painful I think, but if a blister bursts they’re ace for sealing it all up. Don’t think I’ve worn one of these since the West Highland Way3 years ago, and then I was reinforcing them with tape…

3. Climbers finger tape. Vital stuff this, will hold together your shoes, your rucksack, your tent, a broken axle on your Radical design Wheelie and of course your damaged person. It’s  non-stretch and very strong, wetness won’t unseat it, indeed the chances are you’ll have to cut it off after any extended wear. I carry a roll of this at work and I frequently bleed into strips of it on my hands, brilliant stuff, it’ll hold you together until you get home.

4. Elastoplast. Various sizes and shapes, all are liable to be useful, but all are fabric backed as other kinds of plaster are useless. I’ve got a few Elastoplast Extreme’s which are actually pretty good, rounded edges that don’t catch and they stick to you like shit sticks to a blanket.

5. Antiseptic wipes. You need at least one or the plasters and stuff will be diminished in their expected effectiveness.

6. Big safety pin. Fixes anything fabric from you to your rucksack harness.

7. Dental floss. My teeth need it, so much trail food wants to fill the gaps in my teeth and stay there, the chewing gum is the alternative. I carry half a toothbrush and little 1″ wide make-up jar with toothpaste too.

8. Sudocrem. Little grey tub at the back that I sometimes carry in summer or longer treks. It’s powers are mighty, any chaffage, heatrash or even insect bites are dealtwith effectively and you also smell like you’ve just changed a nappy.

9. Signal mirror. What the hell? Aye, a mirror, I suppose I could signal with it, but instead I’ve used it twice to fish out grit lodged under an eyelid. It happened once at camp and I was in misery, now I am prepared and glad. Good for checking for ticks in hard to see areas and to see if you did indeed break a filling on the unexpected raisen stone in your trail mix.

10. Petzl e+lite. I rarely carry spare batteries for my headtorch, how the hell would I change them in the dark anyway? The e+lite is a much better idea and goes everywhere with me.

11. Folding scissors. Originally packed for cutting the Adhesive Knit into shapes but they’ll do most things a regular blade will do including trimming nose hair.

12. Knife. I’ve got two Gerbers tha got sent for test ages back and they both regularly get packed. The black knife on the yellow lanyard is a cracking wee thing, cuts up beef jerky with ease, the Curve multitool gets packed in winter in case I have to bugger about with crampons at camp.

13. Pills. Paracetamol for a splitting head if I forget to drink enough, Nurofen Lemon Meltlets for an easy intake and dealing with aches or swelling and some Gaviscon Cool tablets for any stomach worries. 

There’s a few other things that are often in there too, like a Gore Tex patch. This is currently missing, whereabouts unknown and was replaced with a packet of Park Tools puncture repair patches on the last overnighter. Their little box smaller than a 10p piece and will stick to your sleepmat and tent as well as your jacket.

Too big, too small, just right? Does me anyway. And every other bugger along the way too.

PS, there’s a pair of earplugs in there too.

59 thoughts on “I Don’t Need No Doctor”

  1. Without being too delicate about it, tampons and lady towels are designed specifically to absorb a lot of blood. As such, they make pretty good additions to a first aid kit.

  2. I have a small FAK in my ditty bag that moves into whichever rucksack I’m taking out for the day, and then a wildcamping personal hygiene kit. Together they cover what you have in your FAK. Wet wipes are really useful; as a contact lens wearer I have a mirror in my kit too. And if you’re searching in those ‘hard to see’ places for potential tics, is there a tic twister in the FAK in case you find one?

  3. Pretty much mirrors what I carry in a small bright orange/red silnylon dry bag (Sea to Summit I think?)

    I also have a few plastic tie wraps for repair to rucksac harness, splinting tent pole or detaining terrorists.

    A small square piece of thin card with some duct tape wrapped around it. I think the lasdt time I used it was to keep the down inside my PHD ultra pullover after I melted a wee hole in the cuff on my stove pan support.

    A few anti-histamine tablets.

    I picked up some Stingose when in Australia there. Its a gel with aluminium sulphate in it that you put on bites stings and I found it way more effective than anything I’ve found here.

    Blistex lip balm too as it has stops sun from burning my lips and cold from cracking them.

    I also now always carry a pair of those disposable handwarmers you get too as Louise suffers from Reynauds.

  4. Regarding Compeed, I find that preventing blisters is better than treating them, so I always carry a Compeed Stick rather than the Blister Patches. It works great for me, haven’t had a blister in years…

    +1 for the tic twister

    And I’m not familiar with Nurofen, but is it strong enough to get you through a few hours with a broken bone? I know Paracetamol isn’t, as my companion learned the hard way as we had to walk 8 miles back to a phone and another 6 or 7 hours until the ambulance found us. All in all she withstood 12+ hours with a broken collarbone places before the nurse administered the morfine… We carry heavier painkillers now for such occasions (even if you hope to not ever need it again)


    p.s. we should talk about repair kits one day, that’s where people get innovative :-)

  5. I should really re-read my posts before submitting (my limited English doesn’t help either :-)… please disregard the word “places” ^_^

  6. Bon Jovi I do believe? And a change in the Date Font or is that totally new… or have I just not noticed it before?

    That’s a lot more comprehensive than mine to be honest.

    Gaffa Tape – use for plasters too.
    Cable ties – tourniquet if needed.
    Swiss Army knife I’ve had since I was 16.
    Petzl e-Lite
    Spare bootlaces.
    Compeed – only used once as never get blisters normally.
    Lucozade tablets – half a packet.

    That’s my Emergency kit tho too, the only other thing I may carry is a Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy if I’m not carrying a tent or bivvy sack.

    The Diclofenac is the most important item… used only when in grim time pain. Old dodgy knee you see.

  7. I have the exact same lovely yellow pouch for my first aid kit but must admit to up until recently not carrying any sort of first aid at all. Nothing. Until I had an enlightened talk with Phil Turner(@PhilOutdoors).

    It’s always great to see what others carry now that I’m trying to refine my own. What I carry isn’t too much different. Just minus out the signal mirror, e-lite and swap some tablets about.

    On blister side of things if I get one. It gets burst by one of the safety pins and taped up climbers tape with moleskin. Found out years ago that by trying to walk with an unburst blister cause to walk ‘funny’ to avoid the pressure point and thus creating new rub points and more blisters. But thats just me :)

    Great informative post Petesy.

  8. Good stuff folks. By the way, for the post title we can also have Ray Charles or W.A.S.P.

    Tampons, heard about that one before, that’s a good call. Zip ties is another good one, I carry them in my bike pack, so I might stick a couple in here too. For ticks I used to have a pir of tweezers in my knife, a knife I no longer carry, so I’ll get a twister asap as I’d forgotten about that.
    I carry various lip balms to suit the season, got a nice summer one just now and a kids sunbloc.

  9. Ah, painkillers, two paracetamol and two nurofen (a brand name for ibuprofen) at the same time does dull the pain pretty well.

  10. No real surprises. Elastoplast and zinc oxide / climbers tape (the Strappal stuff is great) are my most used items – I very rarely get a sniff of a blister (occasionally some ski boot rubbing on the shin or ankle) but this stuff sorts it out. I’m sure I’ve got that 2nd Skin stuff somewhere, I’ve never got on with Compeed, it’s the work of Satan.

    The Ticktwister is a must! Zip ties and tampons make it in there too.

    I sussed out a good while ago for winter camping and hut touring that a spare torch would be handy for changing batteries in the main one – my current setup is a tiny Photon Freedom to supplement a Zebralight H51, that’s a powerful beast but since it only demands 1 AA at a time, carrying a spare in case I eat one up getting out of trouble is no bother. The Photon also hangs in the tent to provide a bit of ambient light for doing nothing in particular :)

    My FAK has grown ridiculously a couple of times, each time just after I’ve completed and outdoors first aid certification – I’ve found myself carrying flexi-splints and a resusci-facemask! Then the enthusiasm (and knowledge) fades and it shrinks back to something far more compact and simple that I think I’d actually be confident to use…

  11. That spenco stuff is superb. Funnily enough i’ve had some for years but only used it on other people who have been amazed by it. Another thing i always carry is a small length of spinnaker tape (used in sailing repairs) is ace for quick repairs to jacket rips etc and it keeps stuff waterproof.

  12. Not far off mine.I carry melolin dressings and closure strips,also micropore tape to stick dressings if needed and for any hotspots that develop,which is rare these days.

  13. Zantac is more effective for heartburn etc. One tablet lasts 12 hours so if you’re prone to that they’re a Godsend.

    Nurofen is basically 200mg of ibubrofen but costs about £3 more. If the pain is really bad you can always take three with paracetamol as well.

    I’ve learnt to put contacts in without a mirror and my Gaffa tape goes round my Sigg.

    Used to blister a lot and it’s true that prevention is the big priority. If you do get one then bursting it asap is the way to go. I take a couple of sterilized needles. Even if you don’t blister you should be prepared for it as it can throw up some surprisingly serious situations.

    Good topic!

  14. Good to see we’re doing pretty well with our feet. I live in fear of going back to the blister days.

    I’ll get my tick twister tomorrow!

  15. blimey…..I feel positively naked with my medical kit:

    climbers tape
    ibu and para
    um….thats about it

  16. Aye but you’re wearing an invisible shield of invincibility :o)

    I had my kit out yesterday, more of that when I write the trip up.

  17. When I was younger I had an invisible invincibility shield but I kept losing it.

    Nothing to do with the post but has anyone had any dealings with a wild Country (yawn…tents) Zephyros 1 (oh God..yawn..not more tents).

    It’s a copy of a Laser. 1.4kg – £100!

    Anyone? I promise I’ll buy something soon and shut up!

  18. Same thing happened to my hair and waistline…

    Wild Country are to Terra Nova what Squier are to Fender
    You’re in the family getting the same designs, just getting heavier fabrics and slightly more clunky features.
    I’ve got heavier one person tents here that cost three or four times as much as the Zephyros, it looks like a good deal from here.

  19. Thank you kind people.

    There’s also a two man version (1.6kg) for £140.
    Still waiting on a field test from some guy on the OM thread but it looks like it’s the same tent but with heavier fabric which some might see as a good thing.

    Either way they’re awfy cheap. If I got one I’d just sew a Terra Nova label on it in the same way as I put a Fender decal on a Tokai once!

    Looking forward to the Fisherfield write up Pete.

  20. 70’s and 80’s Japanese guitars have gone all collectable these days, takes all the fun out of it!

    Write-up soon, doing the concise version of the trip for Trail right now. Then it’s all about bad timing, my feet and lasagne on the beach.

  21. Then it’s all about bad timing, my feet and lasagne on the beach…………..
    Pete had a pretty good day for himself.
    They choppered in T-bones and beer and turned
    the LZ into a beach party.The more they tried to make it just like home,..the more they made everybody miss it………

    Wis it just like that then?

  22. Alan, are you trying to say Pete looks like Robert Duvall?

    “The midges were a strange one, and will be part of my story. Soon!”

    Maybe he means they’ve learnt to fly helicopters.

    Can’t wait.

  23. are you trying to say Pete looks like Robert Duvall……ah those rugged good looks you mean but gypsymac I’d really have to say………probably not !!

    As regards the midges some o’ them are the same size as helicopters up in the wilds of the far North West.

  24. …and just before I do, what is this spot tracker thingy? Is it a free service or what?

    I generally fear change but a wee unit tucked away might be a good idea on the longer, solo back of beyond trips.

    See, I’m learning stuff.

  25. Gypsymac/Pete………Just what were you guys on last night. Methinks something stronger than the odd Sweetheart Stout!

    I have thought on the Spot thing [gear freako] but the reviews that I’ve seen seem to indicate OK only if you have an absoloootely clear & uninterrupted view of the heavens. I present that as a completely unverified “fact” No doubt Pete will fill us in.

    As regards the hair thing that remains unproven as I’ve seen no pictures without a hat :o)

    By the way what’s that causeway like? I’ve never seen it close up. Looks pretty good there but a long way for a brach party.

  26. I must now makes friends with Bjhut.

    The Spot’s a subscription thing, and it is better than folk think (some old stuff here from me https://petesy.co.uk/?s=spot+tracker, WHW map is still here http://www.adventuretradingpost.co.uk/Maps/WestHighlandWay.html), the secret is patience when you use it in places where your view of the sky is restricted, switch it on and sit it on a rock.
    I don’t think it’s missed as many as 10 pings in the 3-odd years I’ve had it. For solo stuff and letting home know where I am it’s been great, calms family nerves.

    The causeway’s the oddest thing, stone built with a very old looking concrete top with channels for the water to pass through it.
    I’ve got photies, coming soon. Honest.

  27. Alan I was on a lack of sleep – just like right now. Here’s a Brach Party


    Now that guy’s going lightweight. That’s the last of my spelling mistake punishments – I promise.

    I’ll look into the spot tracker Pete. It looks like the sort of thing you’d never use then regret it one day if it wasn’t there. My gear wishlist seems to be expanding!

    Also PTCs first link above shows him using it with hair (Pete that is, not the tracker).

  28. Keryst gypsymac who put my picture on that !!

    I’ll mention the Spot to the financial advisor. Then again she’d always know where I was…….hmmmm.

    Liked the link on the Spot. Still not convinced on the hair front.

    That’s it. Dogs walked. Off for a cuppa.

  29. Good grief. At least his nappy looked dry.

    The Spot’s dead accurate as well, the one I sent from the Fisherfield camspsite is perfect. If you click on the link, change the format to satellite and zoom right you can see me waving up at you. Maybe.

    I do tend to wear a lot of headgear doing outdoor stuff don’t I?
    Oddly, if you put Flying V into the search box it comes up with lofts of photies of me without hats?!

  30. You know there are some real gems out there. Almost like getting into a good book. Just wish you had an index.

    PHD make some good stuff. The only bit of kit I’ve been disappointed with is the non down belay jacket. Nothing to do with the manufacture it’s just that it’s TOO BIG for the sack. Once you’ve got all your winter gear in the sack you then need another one to carry the jacket. Carried twice. Worn once. Now consigned to the expensive mistakes cupboard.

    A couple of thoughts:
    1) Would the nappy save carrying a P bottle?
    2) Still not convinced on the Kilgore front. Wot I will say that you have more than me…….but so does a billiard ball;o)

  31. Just had a mate round and this page was open on my monitor. He asked me perfectly seriously why I was on a Chuck Norris forum. Awesome!

    Time to change your avatar maybe?

  32. That Chuck Norris thing has come up before :o)

    Index? I have thought about that often, I can’t find stuff anymore either, I’ll do it at some point.

    Synthetic jackets are always a quandry, good in the damp but warm ones are bulky to pack. For years I’ve cheated a little with this by carrying a light synthetic jacket and a down vest, comes up warmer than a single jacket and gives great mobility in all my daft wee tents.

    Nappies, is merino underwear natures nappy with it’s hygienic super powers?

    Talking of hair, there’s a picture of me with my mid 90’s hair on here somewhere. That’s funny, if I had an index I could find it.

    Fisherfield Part 1 later today. Probably, got to change the front brake pads on the motor first.

  33. Simple is good I think, I used to carry far too many items that never got used.
    It means that can actually find things now as well.

  34. Ahh, compeed,
    out for a local walk, (not long started) boot rubbbing at the top, put one on to stop the rubbing, 5 min later, off it came, dried foot and put new one on, 5 mins later, off it came. Walked home. Moral of the story, the new compeeds don’t seem to be very sticky (the old ones stayed on a lot longer)

    And seeing as it’s been mentioned here, the new Wildcountry tent, ordered it (1 person version) should hopfully make a reasonable tent for sharing the dog with (based on dimentions and heavier-tougher materials) should be good!

  35. Ant, let us know how you get on with the Zephyros. You can get them for £90 now and I’m starting to foam at the credit card. I mean c’mon. As my Dad used to say “what are ye wanting? Jam on it”

  36. Will do. although if it does not suit my needs (ie is not as big as the diagrams make it out to be) then it’ll probably be going straight back. Although I know I can fit in a laser comp with the dog! (the helpful staff at cotswold outdoor let me take the dog in one with me)

  37. Oh I’ll probably call it the “Laser copier” ;-) (it just seems easier to say, and indeed spell than “Zephyros” !)

  38. Zephyros 1 Actual size is the same as a laser comp. which sadly means that although I like it, at the same weight as my TN voyager superlite for less space it is going back, if it was the same size as they state on the floorplan then Id have kept it as it would have been ideal for what I want!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.