Here, in our third post on the Ten Essentials, we look at item 2 on the Boy Scout list, item 6 on the Mountaineers classic list, and item 5 on the Mountaineers updated list: the first-aid kit, or FAK. In the FamilyTrivium household, we have several FAKs: one dedicated to the house, one dedicated to each vehicle, a basic version for each of our hiking bags, an “advanced” module for each adult to take on outdoor activities, and even pocket versions for walks in the neighborhood and trips to the store. We believe in always having one close at hand. You never know when one might come in handy.
We’ve established that we are big advocates of FAKs, but what exactly is a FAK? The Macmillan Dictionary defines the first aid kit as “a small box or bag with the things that you would need to treat someone if they were injured or suddenly became sick.”
While we definitely advocate carrying a FAK, there is no definitive standard as to what should be in one. A common philosophy is that it should contain items that you are most likely to need and, as importantly, actually know how to use. For example, a young person’s first aid kit may only contain adhesive bandages and antibiotic ointment – essentially the contents of the aforementioned pocket version. Persons mature enough to handle medications might add over-the-counter pain relievers, an antihistamine, and an antidiarrheal medication. The aforementioned “advanced” module might add a CPR mask, compression bandages and a hemostatic agent.
As we’ve said before, we value knowledge over stuff, with an understanding that some stuff is good. First-aid kits are good stuff, but the knowledge to use the items they contain is as important. As you expand your first-aid knowledge, you can expand your kit. With that in mind, we will likely revisit this topic in future posts. In the mean time, we hope you’ll find some time to get out and enjoy some nature, but stay safe and be prepared.