haemorrhage first aid kit on the grass

What you should carry in your hiking first aid kit

Stay Safe on the Trails

Hiking and wild camping offer exhilarating adventures amidst nature's beauty for everyone, both outdoor professionals and first-timers. However they also present unexpected challenges. Whether it's a minor scrape against brambles or a more serious injury such as a heavily bleeding open fracture, being prepared for these unexpected injuries can make all the difference between it being an enjoyable outdoor experience or your last!

In the UK, the emergency ambulance response time for serious bleeding can vary between a category 2 response with a target time of 18 minutes or a category 1 response with a target time of 7 minutes. How long do you think it would take professional medical help to get to you? - Probably too long.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. With a comprehensive first-aid kit, including bleed control supplies, we can prevent our own (and others) preventable death, and it doesn't have to break the bank either!

wild camping set up in the brecon beacons


Essential Contents of a First-Aid Kit for Hiking

  • Adhesive bandages of various sizes for minor cuts and scrapes.
  • Sterile gauze pads for wound dressing.
  • Antiseptic wipes or solution to clean wounds and prevent infection.
  • Tweezers for removing splinters or debris.
  • Scissors for cutting bandages or clothing if needed.
  • Disposable gloves to protect against contamination.
  • Trauma shears for cutting through clothing or bandages in emergency situations.
  • Sterile saline solution for flushing wounds.
  • Medical tape for securing bandages and splinting etc.
  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or/and paracetamol..
  • Allergy medication for bee stings or insect bites.
  • A blister kit for, well, blisters!

This list is not exhaustive, and there are many commercial outdoor first-aid kits on the market. However, almost none of them are constructed to help manage heavy bleeding. This is when you need to upgrade and include some haemorrhage control products.

Recommended haemorrhage control products

Major bleeding is a leading cause of death across the globe, primarily the direct result of injury, such as road traffic collisions, violent crime as well as slips, trips and falls. 

haemorrhage control kit

If you are consistently out and about on the hills, we advise investing in a haemorrhage control pack. You should check Medic Lodges affordable pre packed bleed kit, or,  if you wish to build out your own, then these are our recommended pieces.

  • Emergency Tourniquet for severe limb bleeding. There are many different brands but the most popular tourniquet worldwide is the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet).
  • Haemostatic Gauze for severe junctional (armpit, groin and neck) bleeding. These products are designed to increase our bodies' clotting abilities and they’re ‘packed’ directly into the wound to help stop bleeding.
  • Emergency Trauma Bandage for all forms of heavy bleeding.
  • Vented chest seal is an additional item to consider. These are designed to cover any penetrating injuries to the chest. For example; Falling over and landing on a fence causing a stab wound. Their purpose is to allow air and blood to leave the chest cavity and not enter it via a one way valve.

It goes without saying that if you undergo medical training you’ll be in a much more effective position if you ever have to use these products.

Bleed Control Aide Memoire

This clinical aide-memoire card provides simplified step-by-step guidance on how to use a tourniquet, haemostatic gauze and chest seal in a first-aid setting (although this should not substitute hands-on training). 

bleed control aide memoire back
bleed control aide memoire front

Please save this image to your phone, or better still, print it out as an addition to your med kit.

Stay safe!

'The medics lodge is a veteran founded organisation, spearheaded by active healthcare professionals who specialise in the provision of pre-hospital trauma education and equipment for hazardous industries.' 

PJ Mcleod

Lead Clinician, The Medics Lodge

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