DIY Emergency Kit

I’m a nurse. I’ve been working in university hospitals, health care centers and rehabilitating home care unit since 2008. (Yup, I’m that old). This doesn’t really mean that I’m super nurturing at my spare time, actually pretty much the opposite. I’m often a bit too carefree when it comes to my own well-being, even though I take of myself by eating healthy and working out. But when it comes to preparing for accidents or even treating my flu, I’m no good at it.

It’s not because I don’t know that stuff. It might be because I’m lazy or maybe I just think that things are always going to be okay. But while traveling, that’s not a bright idea. Especially when you’re traveling to more remote areas and/or are trekking, you should be prepared. Things happen, you know.

Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash

Obviously you’re going to need basic things like sun screen (use a reef-safe one, we don’t wanna destroy the coral or have a cancer!) and 100% aloe vera gel, sunburns are not a joke, but here’s a list of things you could pack into your DIY emergency kit. At least I wanna have the important and good quality stuff in there, not just some cheap useless garbage. Of course it also depends where you’re going to travel, but here are some items which I’m packing in my own kit.

First of all, the bag itself. You can use pretty much anything you want, but a lightweight toiletry bag or a drybag is worth considering. Of course you can always put your bag inside of a bigger drybag if you use those for packing the important stuff. Anyways, it should be easy to reach if something happens and you need to use it, so don’t pack it in the bottom of your backpack. Here’s a couple of ideas of what could work IMO:

  • Extremely budget-friendly toiletry bag, with this you can easily see the stuff you have in there. It’s also super lightweight, boxed-product weight is less than 100 grams.
  • Another budget-friendly option is Gonex toiletry bag. It’s also pretty lightweight and you can organice your stuff in three different compartments. It’s also waterproof.
  • Exped Fold First Aid Kit Drybag – this is pretty cool I think! It comes in two different sizes and you (and other people) can quickly recognize it as a first aid kit, which might be highly helpful in some situations. It keeps the content dry and is extremely lightweigt: size S weights 22 grams and size M 36 grams. The downside is that it doesn’t have multiple compartments.
Photo by milan degraeve on Unsplash

Okay, let’s get down to business. Here’s the list of thing I pack into my emergency kit. You can add or delete whatever you want.

  1. Plaster. I prefer textile elastic plasters like this one. You can just cut whatever size you need and these also have a strong adhesion which is super important.
  2. Blister plasters. What a funny word. Blister plaster. But blisters are not fun and you should take your hot-spots seriously, especially when hiking. Those little things can cause major trouble! You might wanna get a mix pack of different kind of blister plasters.
  3. Medical tape like Leukoplast or similar for secure fixing of bandages.
  4. Multi-tool. Except that this might not be placed in your emergency kit because you need it a lot, especially if camping, cooking your own food and opening a bottle of beer. I have this one, but if you want a really good one, you should maybe buy a Leatherman.
  5. Small scissors. In case you don’t have scissors on your multi-tool.
  6. Alcohol pads. A must have in every emergency kit, these are quick and easy to use if you need to disinfect some small areas.
  7. Disinfection spray/gel/ointment for wounds. Whatever you use in your country, you can always ask from your local pharmacy.
  8. Tiger Balm. You can use it pretty much for everything: muscle pain, stuffy nose, bug bites…
  9. Diarrhea medication. Because that Delhi belly happens. There’s a lot of options. First of all, you might wanna have some probiotics a few weeks before and during your trip. I pack Imodium and only take it if I really need to. Also some electrolytes are a very good idea, because if shit happens, you need to prevent the dehydration. You can choose between tablets and powder packs and find it in your pharmacy or online.
Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash
  1. Saline eye wash. A couple of 20 ml pods.
  2. Steril non-woven swabs. For cleaning wounds and so on. Just some cheap basic ones.
  3. Tweezers to remove splinters (and excess eyebrow hair).
  4. Compression bandage. Comprilan or something similar, you can use it if you twist your ankle.
  5. Sterile burn dressing for acute burns. You can just throw a couple of these into your kit.
  6. Emergency blanket. It’s super lightweight, cheap and versatile. There’s a lot of options, this kind of blankets are the cheapest. You can also find emergency bivvy bags. Don’t skip this item from your kit.

Yup, that’s pretty muc it. Of course there’s a lot of other stuff you should have with you, like emergency whistle, but that one you should have somewhere near, like hanging from your backpack. An ice pack would also be great, also some painkillers but those you can buy pretty much everywhere on the way to your adventures. In case you have some traveling friends, you should share some of the stuff since they come in big packages, like alcohol pads. You don’t need a hundred of those. And obviously you can always buy a first aid kid, there’s a lot of good quality kits to be honest, but hey – where’s the fun in that!?

Safe travels to everyone 🙂


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