Paddler's First Aid Kit

Do you carry a first aid kit when you paddle?

I’m sort of debated.

I agree with the nice article on the guidelines about building one but here below is a quote from Johnny Molloy I also agree with:

“No, I do not carry a first-aid kit. My theory is this: If you are not hurt badly, you do not need the kit, and if you are hurt really badly, your kit would not do any good.”

P.S. In all honesty, I usually tend to ignore topics like this, like the ones about wearing or not a PFD but I also noted a lot of smart comments/suggestions on this forum that could help changing idea.

Carry one
Are you solo or in a group. If you are solo, carry a really nice one. In a group you actually will need less. There are others to assist you.

Solo–if you get really injured it can make the difference in getting back or not. Plus, even if its just a little bleeding cut. A simple bandaid can keep it from becoming a day ruining problem.

Face it, a small med kit doesn’t weigh much, doesn’t take up much room but can be useful for you or others you are with.

My old girlfriend chided me about carrying my little med kit the first time we went hiking in state park. I ended up using it–not for us, but others on the trails. She was very surprised. It’s nice to be able to help others.

We have a small waterproof one…
…that my wife throws in one of her compartments for day trips, and then she has a much larger one that she put together herself for our multiday camping trips.

If you get a big slice on an oyster shell, it is nice to have steristrips, and even sutures, (yes, she can use them too).

If I was by myself, duct tape would suffice!



Always carry 1
helps for small cuts and can be very useful for larger problems. Mine is a more than store bought type. Keep lots of xtra bandages and equip.

have kit will travel
I bought a ready made one and added to it.

I made up my own kit, and in 8 years I think I needed it less than 5 times for something minor, but its always with me.

be safe,


Small one always in PFD
A small pre-packed thing I got at one of the boat stores. Don’t remember what’s in it beyond the obvious bandages, some pain killers/sting releivers/etc.

That and a small flat roll of duct tape take up only part of one PFD pocket - so I leave them there. Tape is mostly for an emergency boat repair, but with the tape, a knife, and whatever is on hand I can fashion a wide variety of bandages and splints too.

Time I gave that kit a look and adjusted contents. Might add some of that liquid stitch/bandage stuff (crazy glue). Jellyfish sting stuff too…

On day trips, usually no
However, if the day trip is solo and in a lightly inhabited area the answer is yes. If your talking about in the backcountry on overnight trips, definitely yes. I’ve hurt myself too many times to imagine being without it and would need the apothecary inside it anyway. All my stuff is in a bin ready to go (including the first aid kit), so I make decisions what to bring when I see the conditions.

Do you mean besides the flask?
Sure, made one up with stuff I know how to use. Gotta have one for daily medications, might as well put emergency stuff in, too. Gets used more than I originally thought it would.

Imodium, Ibuprophen, & Lortab
…with a few raps of duct tape on the water bottle can cure/repair most mild to moderate events for me…

I carry …

– Last Updated: Apr-14-04 6:46 PM EST –

I carry a Pro Paddler first aid kit from Adventure Medical Kits. I have added additional items to the kit.

Comes in handy to give first aid to all the people who "don't need no stinkin' first aid kit"!

The last "suffer till I get to the takeout" dude was a kayaker with a "less than bombproof" roll,
who had just added a 3 inch gash to his list of reasons why he "didn't need" a first aid kit. Bandaged it up for him; told him we'd stitch it up for him too, but he decided he'd walk back up to the put in with his kayak. Hell, I thought after we stopped the blood flow from blinding him, he'd want to get on downstream to the "good stuff"! If it had happened 3 miles downstream, I guess he'd have made a bandage out of a dirty sock, got back in his boat & "went for it"! Roll every now & then & wash the blood out of his eyes? Nah! His roll wasn't that good.........


All Purpose
I have a survival kit, home built in a fanny pack. Over the years it has grown a bit, but not what I would consider excessive. I have the backpacker’s “10 essentials” and other first aid/comfort items. The Rocky Mountain Rescue group recommends carrying this kind of kit, always separate from other gear and attached to yourself, to avoid being separated from it. Granted, getting lost in the woods parted from your pack has higher odds than being dislodged from your float. —or does it? In the yak it goes in my dry bag near the top and the bag secured to yak. Then I can grab it for those occasional necessary or optional shore excursions. If white water is involved I’m on a guided raft rather than solo.

Taj, who once was a Boy Scout, Be Prepaired!

Snake Bite Kit

– Last Updated: Apr-14-04 7:27 PM EST –

I keep a pint of Jack Daniels in case of snake bite.

I also keep a snake handy...

A couple years ago I busted my face pretty good while surfing at Pivates, but there is not much room to keep a first aid kit on a surfing SOT, and trying to apply bandages in the surf zone.....

It might have been nice to stop the flow of blood before it had a chance to attract company.....

And use it at least a couple of times a year. One of those things you HOPE to never use, but you will. WW

Bandaging your own head wounds
another good reason to carry a small signal mirror.

Forgot about it, but have one in same pocket with first aid kit and duct tape. Always there. Takes up almost no room.

i carry…
a bottle of ambisol-sp , 1/4tube hydraquartazone, a few bandaids, duct tape, and large bottle of Vitamin I . i dont consider the flare gun first aid tho i guess it is

Be prepared…
A simple first-aid kit can be as simple as a zip lock bag with a few different size bandages. Never know when a blister can ruin you day or a small cut. I carry a kit all the time as well as duct tape. Don’t forget the toilet paper either.

Have a safe one,


Experience with first aid kits
I have been a scout leader and started carrying a first aid kit in my car when kids were under my responsibility. . When you are around kids doing things outdoors you are going to have bad cuts, broken bones, sprains, bleeding head wounds, fishooks, cholla cactus massacres and other adventures. Almost all of these have been from kids not under my responsibility but nobody else had a first aid kit. I carry a good first aid trip on overnight paddling trips. My car kit has been used for treating lots of surfing accidents (deep bleeding cuts) including bad Sting Ray misadventures and very nasty cuts and abrasions from a rock jetty ( I was glad I had the tweezers to pull the muscle shells out of my own shins). When you are in mexico or a deserted section of the coast having materials to stop bleeding, disinfect and clean wounds etc is worth having around.

Great question. I have different kits.
I love making kits. My AFA, WFA and CPR certs turned me into a fanactic. Have different ones for different trips. #1 is the day trip kit. Consists of the usuals. Gloves, Band Aids, gauze, ibuprofin and tape. #2 is the weekender kit. Same as one, just more of it with a Sam splint, allergy pills, irrigation tube, some crevats and a burn kit. #3 is the tripper kit. Same as two, but with an epi-pen, penicillin.

We learned in class, an hour away is wilderness. And the First Aid necessary is different from urban.


Always carry one
My first aid kit is based in a Sawyer paddler’s kit with additions. The Sawyer kit has a really neat dry bag which seduced me.

Anyway, the kit comes in hand. A couple of weeks ago during pool practice someone cut his leg and my kit provided the bandage.