I've been playing around with this kit for a while and have found it to be adequate for my needs (short trips <3 days, healthy 25 y/o male without chronic medical problems and no allergies). Thought I'd share in case it will fit your needs as well. Priorities for the kit are minor soft tissue trauma, blisters, and minor aches from overuse musculoskeletal injuries:
3 4x4 surgical sponges (each pack contains 2) 1 moleskin 2 Band-aids (standard size and shape) 4 safety pins 1/2 roll TransPore tape (surgical tape, 1/2 inch) 1 packet triple antibiotic ointment 1 packet BurnGel (used as a topical anesthetic for wound cleaning) 3 providione-iodine prep pads (diluted in water for wound cleaning, or for routinecare of feet to kill odor) 3 ibuprofen 600mg tablet (prescription strength, equivelant of 2 OTC tablets) 2 packets Tylenol Extra Strength (each packet contains two 500mg tablets) 1 packet Immodium (contains two tablets loperamide 2mg...much more likely to have volume shock problems from diarrhea than from severe arterial bleeding) 1 tube After Bite
All contents in a freezer bag...technically I suppose you could poke a hole in the corner for wound irrigation, but it's really hard to get nough pressure that way.
As a caveat...I have training in wilderness medicine (teach it too as a matter of fact) and am very well acquainted with the use of everything in this kit, and methods to improvise many things the kit does not contain.
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
That is more or less what is in my kit. I always wonder if I should have a SAM splint though. I notice you don't have one in your kit and have much more experience than I do.
If you don't mind, could you give more detail on why you don't have one?
I'm also considering adding an EPI pen to my (summer) kit - my last sting - my whole hand swelled up, and each sting I've gotten this summer has been a magnitude worse (talking to the dr about that one, of course.)
One thing I do carry in my kit is butterfly's - something you don't have - what are your thoughts on them?
Most of my injuries have been of the sprain type... (I'm a clutz) and I hike alone.
SAM splints don't really achieve anything that can't be achieved using items from your pack or found in your surroundings, even on the tundra (there's always willow and alder you can cut to make a splint). I do like them for their ability to mold to the body, but they are heavy, relatively speaking, and mono-use tools. The SAM belt for pelvis fractures might be good if you're doing alot of unprotected climbing or scrambling, but you probably couldn't put it on yourself if you fell and fractured your pelvis (I might be wrong, but you do really need to torque down on them pretty tightly from an angle above the pelvis, so I'm not sure). I think, if you are prone to skeletal injuries like sprains, a few good elastic bandages might be a good idea for your personal kit. Also, you might find a few extra webbing sleeping bag straps (Wal-Mart) a handy tool to have on hand for minimal weight, multi-use tools and great for cinching down on improvised splints.
Butterflies are ok, but duct tape is just as good for pulling together the edges of an open wound. And it is mulit-use.
For stings, local swelling isn't life threatening, but if you started feeling tingling (or swelling) in your mouth or tongue, or feel your breathing become more difficult (as opposed to rapid, which anxiety will do) then you may be headed toward a future severe reaction. If that is the case then you will probably be prescribed an epi-pen. Remember, however, that you can ONLY use it on YOURSELF, and if you use it you have to get to the nearest ER ASAP if not sooner. Definitely carry benedryl, and lots of it. Get those benedryl dissolving strips that they make for kids... it gets into your system faster, but the dose is lower so you need 4 strips to equal 1 adult dose (2 tablets). Bear in mond, though, that peope who have severe local effects generally do not develop an anaphylactic reaction, so don't be surprised if your MD tells you not to worry. But definitely follow-up with an MD on this issue as only they can tell you if you are at risk. For sting first aid, meat tenderizer (Adolph's) rubbed into the sting (moisten with a little water) will start to break down the toxin quickly and prevent alot of the swelling that goes on. If you have a little vinegar in your food stash, that will help as well.
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Hey thanks for the suggestions!
I hadn't thought of the duct-tape, which I already carry.
I think I'll replace my benedryl tablets with the strips in my kit next spring.
Yeah, the stings just startled me cuz I've never reacted and then this year each sting got worse (reaction) and I have many people in my family alleric - and at least two people in the family are life threatening ones.
You are missing an early fall BTW (Fairbanks) though today was just perfect - blue sky, 65ish F. Great change from the rain and smoke of the summer.
Loc: The State of Jefferson
If your MD thinks you need the EpiPen ask about an Ana Kit. It's 2 syringes preloaded with epinephrine and chewable chlorpheniramine tablets. It has the advantage of a second hit of epi if you need it but you do have to unlock the plunger on the syringe and push it down.
I've tried both the ultra minimalist and the light versions of FAKs (I'm not counting the "group" FAK that I always tended to carry), and have found that when I have the light version I don't need anything, and when I carry the minimalist version I've wished I had more. I, personally, carry benedryl and pepto tablets because they are both multi-purpose. One other thing that I carry, because I have never learned to chew my toenails is a nail clipper. I always seem to find a nail digging into the toe next to it when I don't carry the clippers.
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.