What medical supplies should I carry on a BDR trip?
Jan 11th, 2015
We are often asked what medical supplies should one carry on a BDR trip. This advice comes from Rob Watt, BDR Board and Expeditions Member, and Wilderness EMT.
We carry items for wound management, breaks, basic meds and dental. You can buy a good first aid kit at one of the outdoor stores online or Touratech-USA. Get one that is an Extended Day Backpacker or 3-4 person kit. These kits usually have the basics for a motorcycle trip.
They usually don't have a SAM splint, so pick one of those up along with a couple ace bandages. One other thing that we do for every multi-day trip, is to gather important information about each rider: allergies, medications, medical issues, emergency contacts, etc.
Then we put that on a master sheet for each person, so if something does happen we have that information handy incase that person can't speak. Another good practice is to do a little research of where medical facilities are along your planned route. Is there a "flight for life" in the area? Where are the hospitals, Medical clinics, etc?
Here is a list of some items that you should have in your medical kit:
- Bandages: Assorted sizes for small cuts, blisters, etc.
- 4-inch closure strips or butterfly closures: For closing large wounds. 4-inch strips are more effective than butterfly.
- 4 inch by 4 inch sterile dressing pads (5 to 10): To apply pressure to a wound and stop bleeding
- Non-adherent sterile dressing (2 inch by 2 inch): Use these or Second Skin to cover blisters, burns or lacerations.
- Gauze roll: Holds dressing in place.
- Small roll of 1-inch adhesive tape: Holds dressings in place.
- Multi-use tool or knife: Should include knife, scissors. A scalpel and blade are also useful for first aid.
- Forceps or tweezers: For removing splinters, ticks, and removing debris from wounds.
- Scissors: Trauma scissors, which have a blunt end to protect the patient, can be used for cutting away clothing from injury, cutting medical tape, etc.
- Thermometer: Digital is generally more accurate, but batteries do wear out.
- Malleable splint: Lightweight foam-covered aluminum, such as a SAM splint.
- Irrigation syringe (35 cc): Used to flush and clean wounds.
- Suction syringe (65 cc): Used to clear mouth of fluids when giving CPR.
- Safety pins: Can help remove splinters, fasten arm sling, or make a whole in a plastic bag for improvised wound irrigation.
- Cotton-tip swabs: For removing foreign objects from eye, or applying antibiotic ointment.
- Resealable plastic bags: Many uses, including icing a swollen joint or creating wound irrigation device.
- ACE, Coban, or other rubberized bandage: Can be used as outer wrap on splints, wound dressings or support for joint injuries. Be careful not to wrap too tightly.
- Antiseptic towlettes: For cleaning small wounds.
- Cleansing pads with lidocaine: For cleaning. Includes a topical anesthetic for abrasions, stings, etc.
- Topical antibiotic ointment: For application to wounds. Simple Vaseline can also be used in dressing a wound.
- Moleskin: Prevents blisters. Cut and apply a section to your foot as soon as you discover a “hot spot.” Duct tape also works for this purpose.
- Povidone Iodine USP 10 percent, 1 oz.: For preventing infection. Bottled PVD iodine 10 percent solution should be diluted to a ratio of 1 percent or less for flushing wounds.
- Aloe vera gel: Found in packets or small bottles for relief of minor burns.
- Pain relievers, including aspirin and Ibuprofen: Provides relief for minor aches and pains, reduces fever, helps reduce inflammation of sprains and other injuries.
- Antihistamines: For relief of pollen allergies, or to reduce reaction to bites and stings.
- Immodium 2 mg capsules or tablets: For relief of diarrhea from intestinal infections.
- Pepto Bismol or antiacid tablets: For relief from general diarrhea, abdominal upset.
- After Bite or hydrocortisone cream USP 1 percent: Relieves skin irritation from bites, poison oak, stings, or allergic reactions.
- Latex or nitrile gloves: Protects against blood-borne diseases and infection.
- CPR microshield mask: A compact flexible barrier with a one-way valve for rescue breathing, which protects user from blood, vomit or saliva.
- Oral rehydration salts: Packet of electrolyte salts and glucose for treatment of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or loss of fluids from vomiting or diarrhea.
- Space bag/blanket: Lightweight emergency shelter. For treating hypothermia victims.
- Paper and pencil: For recording medical data such as body temperature, pulse, time and date of symptoms, injuries, medicines administered, etc. Most repackaged kits include accident report forms.
- Wilderness First Aid booklet: Many prepackaged first aid kits contain one. An excellent pocket guide is the Wilderness Medical Handbook