Not many things are working “properly” this evening; I never win fights with computers. Except today, after 20 minutes of leaping about, gesticulating, swearing, and setting things on fire (old road flare from Selma’s emergency first aid kit still works!).
On that note, I present my current emergency kit. It goes in the pack (almost) no matter what. Always when cycling and hiking for any significant distance. Enough for a weekend, not too much for a day. Because you always need to be a good boy scout.
Fire starting stuff (wood matches in baggie, 2 oz denatured alcohol)
I’ve messed with other fire starters, and with lighters, and this is the stuff you want when all the wood is damp and there’s a good wind. Without fire, you’re dead.
1 Latex glove in micro-baggie
Useful for hygenic wound care of others, you can also fill it with water and irrigate wounds through a small hole in a finger. Very small.
1 Sterile Gauze wrap
Most useful form of gauze for most medium wounds.
4 Cloth Butterfly bandages
The kind I typically want for minor, yet annoying cuts and blisters.
Small tube Neosporin
Beyond the obvious sterile function, very useful for all the chafing issues brought on by speed-oriented backcountry activities.
Water purification Tablet
Right now I need more of these. I’ve long been a fan of iodine, because the taste doesn’t bother me and it’s cheap and simple. They do have a shelf-life, and can stain plastic. I’ll check out other options at the store tomorrow.
Needle, floss, tweezers
Light repair, blister, and cactus tools.
When you need it, there’s no substitute. I used to have some Percocet, but it expired and seemed excessive anyway.
Pill Jar w/ Gorilla Tape
Jar contains VI, tweezers/needle/floss, and provides redundant water protection for matches. Gorilla tape does everything, and is my preferred blister treatment.
Extra bite valve
Not something easily MacGyvered. I had two seperate malfunctions this fall, both definitive and very annoying. It seemed worthwhile.
This all goes in a small pouch. Not pictured are an LED light source with good batteries, and the contents of the pack. My cycling pack always has tools, plus some zip ties and 10′ of webbing. Any pack will have food and layers. One more than you think you’ll need, plus a very thin synthetic hat (two in the cold). I have a Cloudveil heavyweight longunderwear type hat that covers my ears well, wicks fast, and is in general one of the very few bits of gear I’ve owned that I really couldn’t improve in any way. Best $15 I really have every spent.
Not mentioned is a compass. I’ll bring a good Suunto with adjustable declination and a sighting mirror if I’ll be doing quad-scale navigation, otherwise my Suunto Observer watch compass and common sense is adequate. Maps are good, but cycling often precludes a good map for a variety of reasons, usually a combination of scale and availability.
The contents of this kit have changed a lot in the last four years. Increased physical demands in a normal day have resulted in some (Neosporin, Gu), more practical first aid knowledge and experience others (glove, gauze, type of bandage). I’ve also almost been benighted a few times (it has been a while), and every time was about 20 minutes away from making a fire to make a cold night more bearable.
It will continue to evolve, but the “possibles pouch” is a tradition as old as white guys running around these hills.
Yes, M got her camera, so know I can pose my bikes on the couch and such. Tomorrow I hope to have my new fixie wheels.
It’s hardcore spring here, well after dark and all the windows wide open. I can deal, for the moment.