Canadian Canoe Routes

First Aid for Solo Trippers
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Author:  Seaweed [ June 1st, 2017, 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  First Aid for Solo Trippers

After a relatively long hiatus from solo tripping I've got a few planned for this summer with a trip to Wabakimi in the books for September. I'm doing everything I can to ensure my family that I'll be safe and to that extent, I've purchased a Garmin InReach. I've never taken formal first aid training but I've dealt with numerous first aid situations that worked out well. I have a pretty severe allergy to wasps and I carry epi-pens with me everywhere I go. I'm wondering if formal first aid training may be may be beneficial. I'm curious about what first aid training other solo trippers may have taken and any other safety considerations that I should consider.

Author:  recped [ June 1st, 2017, 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

When I travel solo I expect the only things I could treat myself would be minor lacerations, burns, fractures or infections so I only take things that will assist in that area. For anything more significant I'm pressing the button and the only things I want to have are some painkillers for while I'm waiting.

I'm lucky to have no allergies or ongoing existing health issues so my kit is pretty minimal, a small variety of bandages to treat wounds, a round of antibiotics and some pain meds (Advil / T3's) and perhaps some of the common items found in my home medicine cabinet.

Formal first-aid training can't be a bad thing but it's probably going to be more useful in a group situation where you are the uninjured party treating the injured party.

Author:  Sam82 [ June 1st, 2017, 7:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Hey Seaweed,

Not sure what your kit contains but here are some helpful and sometimes "forget to pack" items:

alcohol swaps
Obviously a number of epi pens for yourself (which you stated you have)
Dimenhydrinate (Gravol)
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Triangulars (can be improvised)
Compression dressings
Medical Tape (or Duct Tape)
4X4's, 2X4's
lip balm
bug spray
Afterbite (if you or the group are sensitive to bug bites)
Vasoline - I pack this more for my dog...if bugs are bad you can apply it to a dogs ears, groin etc...the bugs will stick to it and there will be less bites, vasoline is not poisonous for them....if they lick it off it can have a laxative effect....which in the bush is no big deal.
If you can I would try to bring some narcotics like Tylenol 3's, Oxycodone, Percocets, Dilaudid etc etc.....these would be a just in case you really hurt yourself and know how to use them...proper dose, route, etc... .

Baby Powder - I will use some when I get to camp and put dry clothes takes away any moisture in the Netherlands it is great!
Rash Cream - Nothing like ending up with rash burn in your groin half way through the trip and not having a cream to treat it! I had SEVERE rash burn in my groin on the Harricana, did not bring a cream for it, I was so crippled I could hardly walk without tears...fortunately Recped saved me and had a gift from god. But when your wet and moving around all day it is really easy to develop this...especially if you have big legs.

First Aid Kit is different from a survival kit...the above is for first aid only. Survival Kit is another subject really.

Oh and good job investing in the InReach!!!

Author:  Seaweed [ June 3rd, 2017, 6:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Thanks for your thoughts and your kit list....there are a few things on it that I will add to what I normally take. I think that the formal first aid training would do more to put my family's fears at ease than it will to be of much benefit on a solo trip. As you say Recped, anything beyond simple cuts, burns, etc and I'm calling for help!
By the way, a buddy of mine who got his Advanced Wilderness First Aid certification (40 hours of training!) told me that, after you've used your epi-pen, you can cut it open and get 3-4 more doses from it...I have to look this up on youtube.

Author:  Stencil [ June 3rd, 2017, 7:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Take some super glue.
Works well for mending little cuts and splits that develop on fingers.
Also the best prevention of injury is to slow down.
If you have a canoe on your head or a heavy pack on your back watch where you place your feet. Don't fall down. If you do, sooner or later you will wish you hadn't.

Author:  Seaweed [ June 3rd, 2017, 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Actually, the reason I love to solo is because it forces me to slow down and take extra time to consider everything I'm doing. I'm so consciously aware of the safety issues that I try to think about every movement and decision before I make it. It makes me "live in the moment" more than anything else I do...something sadly lacking in so much of the rest of my life!

Author:  jedi jeffi [ June 3rd, 2017, 3:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Two things I have added that do not take a lot of space are a couple of clotting sponges (can get them at Canadian tire) and a pre- made arm sling, one you can easily put on yourself instead of trying to make one.
oops make that 3 things, a small bottle of eye wash, ( not the super tiny ones) but something that you can give you eye a good flush with.
The eye wash is the only one I have ever used.

Author:  cheryl [ June 6th, 2017, 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

anything with 40% zinc in it will help the rash burn heal as well as keep you from chafing. just need to rub it in enough to so i tgoes transluscent and you don't get your clothes white. Check th diaper cream aisle. We use Presidents Choice or Teddy's 40% zinc. works as lip balm and sunscreen as well. Don't need much!

Author:  sturgeon [ June 6th, 2017, 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

I had a minor but painful burn a cooking mishap, and found those "second skin" burn pads useful. in addition, a tube of polysporin containing lidocaine can serve double duty: topical pain relief from stings and from minor burns. really helps if you can open your first aid kit with one hand or with one hand and your mouth. :-)

Author:  cheryl [ June 6th, 2017, 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Those second skin moist ones are awesome and worth every penny. Get the largers you can find. They saved me too from sev. burns.

Author:  Eddy Turn [ June 6th, 2017, 9:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

I'm in the minimalist camp, my First aid kit weighs about a pound, but I'd add to the above suggestions:

2" and 4" bandages, tweezers, scissors, Q-tips and safety pins
elastic bandage works great for strained ankle or wrist
pain relieving patches for muscle strains

Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ June 6th, 2017, 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

I bring runners anti chafe cream though it sounds like Cheryl's recommendation might be better. Comes in handy on my drysuit neck gasket.

Something to keep in mind, always protect your feet. On canoe trips, even with a good first aid kit it's hard to fight infection in a cut on your feet especially on the bottom.

Keep bandaids and polysporin outside your kit. You don't want to be spilling your kit to get a band aid. I put some in a waterproof zip and keep it in my daybag. I also keep bandaids, drugs and a clotting sponge in my PFD survival kit.

Author:  littleredcanoe [ June 7th, 2017, 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

Advil Tylenol and ASA mostly ( not entirely ) do the same thing.. Most of us don't need all of them

Gravol is an anti emetic but if you are vomiting in the field there is a good cause. If you are on chemotherapy you wouldn't be in the field.

Poly sporin and bactine do essentially the same

You don't need compression dressings. 4x4s and duct tape wrapped tightly does well You only need something sterile next to the skin.

Nu skin is great for small abrasions that seem to be the most common thing that happens to me.
You can make 2x2s from 4x4s
Scissors help

Formal training helps though a lot of first aid is common sense.. Do you know how to deal with cramps, do you know when you are dehydrated? Can you stop a nosebleed.

There are many situations that can happen that you can treat WITHOUT any first aid kit but you have to recognize them and know how to treat them.

Author:  Yury [ June 7th, 2017, 8:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

The most frequently used item in my kit is "Liquid bandage", "New skin" or another brand of butyral-phenolic glue.
For fire or sun burns I use 70%+ ethyl alcohol. It's purpose is to denaturate already damaged proteins and prevent inflamation.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ June 18th, 2017, 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Aid for Solo Trippers

You are solo and have cut your face. Facial cuts bleed heavily. How bad is it? How are you going to examine it, clean in and dress it?


Now put that cut on the back of your head or neck. You need two mirrors.

Small clamshell compact mirror. You can snap the little plastic hinge and angle the two mirror halves to see any part of your body.

$5 in any make-up aisle.

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