Solo med kit

Perhaps this has been addressed other times and I just missed it, so if this is redundant I apologize. Relative to those that solo on wilderness trips, what do you take relative to a med kit?

Solo First-Aid Kits
There’s ample information on the web regarding wilderness first-aid kits. Here’s a good place to start:

You could easily adapt any backpacking/camping first-aid kit for paddling, adding waterproof bandages and second skins, blister pads, and other watersport-related items. Also, to treat the hypothermia more likely to strike paddlers, pack extra warm and dry cloths, space blankets, and means for heating and dispensing hot water/beverages. A Snickers bar (high sugar content for fast burn) and a bagel (high carbs for a longer burn) are good items to add to any bailout bag. Unlike backpackers, paddlers have the luxury of lots of extra space and weight-hauling capacity, so we should have no excuse for not carrying sufficient first-aid supplies.

I just completed a Wilderness First Aid course from the Wilderness Medicine Institute, and besides learning a daunting amount of information, I also realized my own first aid kit is woefully understocked. A sprained ankle requiring a supportive tape wrap, for example, will consume nearly half a roll of 1-inch tape. Even if re-wrapped only once a day, instead of the recommended twice, my single roll will only last two days; not nearly enough to get a victim through the typical 4-5-day trip. I’m now reevaluating the stock and the contents of my own kit.

As for your specific question regarding SOLO paddling, make sure that any items in your own kit are easily accessible and are usable by yourself, probably in a slightly incapacitated state, or worse. For example, although I got an ‘A’ on the abovementioned ankle wrap on a cooperative victim, I’d have to really consider how to apply one to MYSELF, while in intense pain. After dark. In the rain …

Find wilderness first-aid kit lists online and in books, modify for your specific environment, and learn how to use it. I highly recommend the course(s) offered by NOLS:

Good Luck!


– Last Updated: Apr-24-07 11:54 AM EST –

Consider making an "investment" in a Pro-Paddler first aid kit from Adventure Medical.
You can add any other personal items you might need to this kit, and you should be good to go on virtually any paddling trip.

Yes, it is a fairly expensive, initial investment, but it will last for a long time, with proper care. Cost at NRS $110.00 Weight: 2 lbs. Contents of varied kits can be found at
Mine is always with me in a waterproof bag.
Last time I used it was to splint a friend's broken wrist.

When considering cost; divide total cost of the kit by the number of years you think you'll have it available to use. Also do a few comparisons with the cost of your pfd, paddles, and varied other paddling gear you have.

If you decide to make your own first aid kit; keep track of the cost of "all" the items you purchase for your home made kit. Compare that cost to the initial cost of a pre made kit.
May be similiar to buying a car one piece at a time..........


Just 3 items
Duct tape, sterile pads, triple-antiobiotic ointment.