Surviving Vacation

I’m building a lightweight, low-cost survival/trauma kit for my 3-week backpacking vacation in Montana, and thought I’d document what’s going into it here. I’m pretty happy with the result, and will probably get a subset of this together to keep in my truck as well.

I’m setting out two options, one with some extras that still comes in under $100, and a minimal kit that comes in at around $50 (depending on what you already have lying around). I’ll include links to the exact pieces of kit I’m taking where possible.

Survival minimal:

When people get lost and die in the woods, the dying part usually happens because they’re too cold, they have heart trouble, or they get too thirsty (the dehydration is usually accompanied by an injury that prevents them from walking out). So with those in mind:

Survival extras:

  • 4 Fishing Hooks
  • 4 Fishing Sinker Weights,
  • 50’ 10lb Fishing Line
  • wire saw

Trauma minimal:

People who die from injuries in the woods, do so from bleeding too much, or because something has happened to make it so they can’t breathe. So:

Now that you can buy CELOX for less than QuickClot, I can’t think of a good reason not to. QuickClot is good stuff, but causes pretty bad chemical burns, and really, you’re going to have enough to worry about as it is.

I was shocked, by the way, to discover that I could purchase a Nasopharyngeal Airway on Amazon for $7. It’s good that I’m no longer a teenager because we would have been playing a whole different kind of doctor if we had the internet when I was a kid.

Trauma extras:

It is, of course possible to improvise a tourniquet and a splint, but they aren’t heavy items, nor are they overly expensive, and if you’re in the kind of situation where you’re seriously considering the application of a tourniquet, I think you’ll be happy to not have to risk screwing it up. Further, if you’re backpacking in Montana and need to splint a bone, you’re likely to need to move several miles to hit a road, which is not something you want to do with an improvised splint.

For trauma kits, you want the folded “zpack” or “S-rolled” gauze. It’s way easier to deal with than the classic role as well as less likely to become contaminated.

Anyway there it is.