Bushcraft First Aid Kit: Compile and Apply
Learn what a bushcraft first aid kit contains and how to deal with injuries. If the injury is fatal, your life is at stake.
From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.
👉 The key facts from this guide
- An emergency kit is essential in the wilderness, as you must act quickly and effectively in case of injury to save your life.
- Your Bushcraft first aid kit should include wound dressings/plasters, scissors, bandages, a compress, a rescue blanket, gloves, a triangular bandage, a tourniquet system, and a tick removal tool.
- In case of injury, it is important to stop the bleeding and cover the wound to prevent bacteria from entering. In case of deep cuts, a pressure dressing or a tourniquet system may be necessary.
- It is significant to be able to assess whether you need a doctor. For heavily bleeding, larger wounds, wounds with frayed or gaping edges, and heavily contaminated wounds, you should seek medical attention immediately.
- Make sure that you always have your first aid kit with you that none of the items have expired, and that it is kept in a waterproof container/bag.
- Take regular first aid courses to ensure that you know how to handle injuries.
Out in the wilderness, you are on your own.
A first aid kit is incredibly important. Because once you are injured, it will be crucial for your progress.
If your injury develops poorly, your life is at stake.
Learn today what your bushcraft first aid kit must contain and how to deal with injuries.
Why have a first aid kit?
In case of an injury, you have to help yourself - quickly and effectively.
If you can't stop a heavy bleeding, you run the risk of bleeding to death until proper help arrives. But even a small cut with your pocket knife can lead to an infection.
Once you are injured, injuries have a massive impact on your progress. You are not only biologically impaired, but also psychologically affected.
Please note that first aid primarily does not involve wound cleaning and extensive care (such as stitching wounds). Both of these are the responsibility of a doctor. First aid means stopping bleeding and covering and treating wounds to prevent bacteria from entering.
Therefore, it is important that you can assess whether you need a doctor. In case of doubt, abort your tour and immediately seek medical attention.
More heavily bleeding, larger wounds, wounds with frayed or gaping edges, and those that are heavily contaminated must be treated by a doctor.
Look, most people who are out and about have a first aid kit:
Contents of your first aid kit
I will now list my recommendations for you. Please note that such a set is often a personalized compilation and depends on your needs. Many of the individual products can also be purchased separately at your pharmacy.
Adhesive bandage / plaster
With adhesive bandages, you can treat superficial injuries. Also pack a few wider strips.
With these, you can not only cut your bandages to size. You also require scissors to cut clothing to quickly locate the bleeding.
Always take at least two bandages with you. This way you can generally treat injuries. But a bandage is also useful as a pressure material.
With a compress, you can efficiently cover large-area injuries in a sterile manner. The compress is also needed for a pressure bandage.
With the emergency blanket, you can protect yourself or the injured person from hypothermia or overheating.
The disposable gloves are useful to prevent dirt from entering the wound. When it comes to bushcraft and survival, it is inevitable that you will get your hands dirty. And there is another advantage to the rubber gloves: if you have to help others, you will not come into contact with their blood or other fluids.
You can use the triangle scarf in many ways. For example, to splint bone fractures or simply to have a headscarf in hot weather. You see, it is also useful to wear a neckerchief. If you always have one with you, then leave the triangle scarf behind.
Tourniquet Binding System
The word Tourniquet comes from French and means "turnstile", also "artery press". A Tourniquet is a binding system with which you can stop or completely interrupt the blood flow in the veins and arteries. This prevents bleeding.
The area of application is a severe external bleeding on the extremities, such as the legs. Pressure bandages, especially on the legs, are often not sufficient for a significant external bleeding.
Since the application (especially for the inexperienced) takes a little longer, manual compression (e.g., knee in groin or armpit) is sometimes useful as a bridging measure.
With a Tourniquet, the blood flow must be completely interrupted; otherwise it will only worsen the bleeding tendency - that is the task of the Tourniquet. Furthermore, the applied Tourniquet will cause extreme pain to the person seeking help in a short time.
Tourniquets are mainly used when many injured people need to be treated, for example in explosions with amputations.
Tick remover and tick tweezers
In our latitudes, there are more and more ticks and these annoying creatures can really get on your nerves. It is important to remove ticks from your body as quickly as possible. Therefore, a tick set is indispensable for me. Read here for more information about ticks and how to protect yourself.
First, I would like to mention that I am not a doctor. I have learned a lot and now want to pass on my acquired knowledge to you as a bushcraft and survival friend.
Superficial cut injury
For a small cut, usually a band-aid is sufficient.
Let it bleed out, so any dirt particles are flushed out.
If the bleeding does not stop after a few minutes, press a sterile bandage lightly on the wound for five to ten minutes until the bleeding subsides.
Tips for wound care:
- Do not suck on the wound (saliva contains many germs)
- Do not rub or squeeze the wound
Deep Cut Wound
When dealing with a deep cut (a larger, more heavily bleeding wound), proceed as follows:
- First, you treat the wound with a sterile dressing (such as a compress) and wrap a gauze bandage around it.
- As the next step, if the wound continues to bleed heavily, you apply a pressure bandage.
- If the pressure bandage still does not help, it is very likely that a larger blood vessel is injured. You must then stop or completely interrupt the blood flow in the veins and arteries (such as with a tourniquet).
Raise the injured body part high so that less blood flows in.
It is incredibly important that the bleeding stops. If you can't manage this, you will bleed to death.
How to make a pressure bandage?
For most injuries, a compress and a bandage are probably sufficient. However, there are also more serious injuries where you need a pressure bandage.
I will show you in a few simple steps how to create this.
- Hold the injured body part up.
- Place a compress on the wound.
- Wrap the gauze bandage around 2–3 times.
- Then place a stable object that is not absorbent over the wound.
For example, an unopened gauze bandage is suitable for this, so you should always have at least 2 packages of gauze bandages with you. In an emergency, a closed package of tissues will also work.
- The object is now wrapped and fixed with pressure on the wound.
The pressure must now be strong enough to stop the bleeding.
- If the bleeding does not stop, another pressure bandage must be applied over the first one.
Below in the graphic you can see how a pressure bandage is constructed.
Furthermore, I have created a video for you in which you quickly and easily learn how to apply this to yourself.
The advantage of the compression bandage is that it only applies pressure to one part of the body. Ideally, this should be where the wound is located.
A regular bandage that is very tight would constrict the entire body part. This can result in the complete cessation of venous blood flow or arterial inflow.
A few more notes:
- A pressure bandage should only be applied to the extremities (arms, legs)
- It must be ensured that blood supply is guaranteed and no nerves are pinched
- If possible, call an emergency doctor as soon as possible
Tips for your first aid kit
I have a few tips that I have noticed over the course of my time.
- Always make sure you have your first aid kit with you (especially if you are traveling with children!).
- Make sure that no plasters, bandages, gauze, or compresses have expired.
- Always keep the first aid kit within reach in your backpack.
- Bring a flashlight so you can treat injuries in the dark.
- If you are allergic or need other medication, always bring it with you.
- Adapt your first aid kit to the duration of your trip, type of travel and country.
- Store your first aid kit in a waterproof container/bag.
- If you are traveling for several days, bring diarrhea medication and painkillers.
Regularly conduct first aid courses
You have a first aid kit - great. But what good is it if you can't apply a pressure bandage or don't know how to react to circulatory problems?
Therefore, I recommend that you participate in a first aid course. These are often offered for free in every city.
I can assure you that these courses will alleviate fears and make you feel more confident in case of injuries.
Even though dealing with wound care may not be a great topic, the equipment, and knowledge about it are immensely important.
Because when push comes to shove, you need to know how to apply what you need. Without a first aid kit, you're lost in the wilderness if you get injured.
Therefore, put yours together as quickly as possible and learn the basic techniques.
What does your first aid kit look like? Did I forget anything essential?
What do you consider to be particularly significant?
Write your opinion in the comments now!
Sources for the guide
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