First aid Kits

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 08:58
ThreadID: 110371 Views:3722 Replies:12 FollowUps:18
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I was just flicking thru the online 4x4 magazine when I came across the first aid kits.
We have always made one up and put it in a cooler container about 30cm by 20cm by 20cm. Because it is like a box you tend to be always be pulling things out to get to what you need so in the end it looks like a dogs breakfast inside.

These first aid kits are well laid out with their different pockets etc. Chemist have always told us to just make one up.

I was wondering what others have done and what is the best first aid purchase ?

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Reply By: CSeaJay - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:05

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:05
We have also done what you did, and you are right it ended up like the proverbial.
I have looked at the purchased first aid kits but always felt that they were lacking in certain items that was important to us; Enough compression bandages for a snake bite on a long limb, burn-aid and the like. Once you purchase this, there is nowhere in the made-up kit to put it as all the little pockets are jammed already. So back into the cooler bag, and back looking like the proverbial.
Then, when at a fishing shop, I looked at the tackle boxes. All shapes and sizes, and thought I'd give that a try as they have several compartments from little to big.
But I found that I needed a tackle box twice the size of my cooler to fit everything in. (there is a lot of unusable spaces in those boxes between sections and compartments)
So we are back with our cooler bag. :-)
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:23

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:23
I have yet to find the 'perfect' answer.
I am currently using an 'off-road' kit in a "tackle"-like box with a lift-out tray. After adding some extra components it is rather over-full. I have tried the "tool-roll" type but found it too small and confining.

One problem of the 'box' type is that if placed on the ground, as it sometimes must be, then the contents get spilled-out onto the sand. The tool-roll type could go towards solving this if large enough, but then gets bulky when rolled up. What I may try is packing a groundsheet next to the kit, then I could just tip the whole box out onto it, just like a woman's handbag! lol

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AnswerID: 542741

Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:24

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:24
We have two. One is a soft bag from the RFDS and another is a green two shelf tackle box type with a big FIRST AID and white cross on the outside. The latter had a very basic kit in but we have supplemented that with some more sealed bandages, small aspirin and antiseptic creme and special sealing anti toxic bandages and sterile water in vials, some protective gloves (I am toxic after chemo) and some anti nausia pills for me. There is also a phone list for the satellite phone in each bag and a basic "how to use the satellite phone" guide. We also have some blow up splints and a neck collar.
AnswerID: 542742

Follow Up By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:31

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 10:31
My dear Dragon was an Ambulance Officer with St John. We have a kit that looks like a smallish holdall. Unfurlls to reveal lots of pockets etc for excellent storage. It is pretty compressive with plenty of large pads/bandages for serious trauma etc. This lives in the van, we have a second smaller one that lives in the vehicle.

Apart from a good kit its is well worth while to keep First Aid Training up to date.

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 11:43

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 11:43
I second the St Johns kits. All in a fold out HD canvas bag that keeps everything in its place and easy to find contents.
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Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 11:48

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 11:48
Scott and John
I googled the St J kits but cannot find what you describe. Any chance of a link?
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 12:31

Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 12:57

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 12:57

Thanks, I know I got to that site first up as well.
But which one fits the description of 'holdall, heavy duty canvas, unfurling to reveal pockets'
Is it the "4WD/Offroad" kit in the choice of a bag?
Cheers, CJ
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 13:25

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 13:25
CJ, any of the leisure kits will do it - haven't seen the inside of the 4wd one, but would imagine it would be the same... this link gives an idea of what's in them
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 13:47

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 13:47
I looked at all of these in the flesh Scott but could see no advantage in the roll-out bag type over the one below which I bought.


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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 14:31

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 14:31
Allan, horses for courses I suppose.... the OP asked about kits that had the contents organised in pockets - I've always found the soft St Johns ones easy to find things.

I looked at the outdoor kit - good set up, what swung it for me was that the soft canvas kits can be stuff behind a seat or in a confined space more easily than the hard box ones. Depends on the set up in your vehicle I suppose.....

No right or wrong - there's other suppliers of first aid kits out there, just always liked the St Johns ones.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 16:14

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 16:14
I agree Scott, no "right or wrong", just whatever rings your bell.
As I said above, I have tried both types and still not entirely happy.

But the OP did not just ask about kits with pockets. He actually said "I was wondering what others have done and what is the best first aid purchase ? " Why am I always needing to defend myself against misquotes?


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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 17:13

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 17:13
C'mon Allan - let's pick a fight on this thread - might be a bit of a diversion from Solar Controllers ........ ;-)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 17:39

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 17:39
I just took a look Scott. They are STILL at it!

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 20:12

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 20:12
Mods just killed it Allan, suprised it took that long. Maybe we can start a barney with Bantam below. It seems like whatever we're doing is wrong .....
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 21:27

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 21:27
OK Scott, but I can't understand just who was defaming who! In fact I couldn't understand much of the post at all!

But no, don't start Bantam up. I'm too busy going through my first aid kit throwing out al the rubbish bandages and non-sticky tape so I can buy new stuff from his "specilist first aid wholesaler." lol

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Follow Up By: Flighty ( WA ) - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 13:43

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 13:43
C'mon guys
Nearly time for a nap huh. lol
..... ;)

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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 16:51

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 16:51
Hi Lachie

I don't think it really matters what type of first aid kit/container you use. The important thing is that you have the skill to use what is in it and you know what is contained in your first aid kit and you can get to it daily when you need it.

While this may go against what a lot of people will recommend, my first aid kits are always the last thing that is packed - so that they are the first thing you can grab.

In saying that, I pesonally use the Equip Pro 3 first aid kit. I have one in my 4 wheel drive, one in my camper trailer and a smaller Equ Pro 1 in my grab bag (a bag that contains my PLB, Sat Phone and other bits and bobs in case we have to abandon our vehicle in a hurry).

Why I have chosen the Equip gear is the way the pockets are laid out. Each contains equipment relevant to each aspect of first aid ie Wound cleaning, wound covering, personal medication, personal protection etc. Each of the pockets is labeled with an embroidered tag telling you what it is for. The soft nature and size of them also makes them more user friendly when storing them in your vehicle.

You can purchase some of the Equip products from the EO Shop. You can also purchase the bags only and put your own gear in them.

ExplorOz Shop link to Pro 1

Equip bags only

Equip First Aid Kits

Hope this helps


AnswerID: 542752

Reply By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 17:22

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 17:22
I bought a kit that cost around $250 about 10 years ago ….. and have hardly used it. When we did a big trip last year, I decided to have a look, and realised that much of the chemical stuff was well out of date. It's well worth doing the check before each trip, as it's something that could (and has been in my case) be easily overlooked.
Mine is in a soft zip up bag with the pockets and stuff, and as mentioned elsewhere, can be stuffed in where there is a space - in my case just inside the back door of the Cruiser.

AnswerID: 542756

Reply By: Tony F8 - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 18:33

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 18:33
I always carry the remote first aid kit (1to 9 persons). Soft bag kit with plenty of organised pockets, also contains the snake bite module, I realise at around the $260 mark it may seem expensive, but its piece of mind, specially when I was doing the tags into the Gulf and the Cape. Being a soft bag it fits in most places, you can't use it if you haven't got it.
AnswerID: 542758

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 18:43

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 18:43
The most important thing would be a manual on how to use the first aid kit & how to treat problems. No point having the tools if you don't know how to use them

I occasionally do some remote multi day walking with some Doctors (not quite CSR remote), including emergency specialists and GPs. Sometimes the only thing they have taken is a snake bite bandage or 2. Their attitude is that if you are injured that badly, use the EPIRB or Sat phone as there's not much you can do on the spot with a basic 1st aid kit.
Personally I always take some stiff pain killers.
AnswerID: 542760

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 09:53

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 09:53
Yeh but that is typical of the attitude of some in the medical business.

There is this very narrow view among some in the medical and first aid establishment.

A lot of what people like us, would use their personal medical kit for are less than critical injuries.

Sprains, strains small cuts and bites......many of those simple and otherwise inconsequential things can make life very uncomfortable, can be significantly debilitating or develop into somthing far more serious if you do not have the means to deal with it.

There are many injuries and health situations that if dealt with simply and promptly, the person may be able to comfortably walk out or continue.....if not dealt with they could be come nearly imobile and require "rescue".

particularly in the tropics, things as simple as a scratch can become infected develop into something a whole lot more serious in a matter of hours.

There is a great deal of difference in what is taught as "first aid", what is practiced as dressing technique in hospitals and what is required to strap a limb or dress a wound in a way that is durable, will last during activity and is comfortable.

so if some one had a moderately serious cut......would you punch the EPERB and wait for the helicppter.......or would you clean the wound, apply some adhesive closures, cover with a dressing and walk em out.

A lot of what we are talking about is not "first aid" as the establishment understand is short to medium term injury managment.

Remember some of the places we go, medical attention, particularly for non life threating injuries could be several hours we leave the injury unmanaged all this time.

It is well proven that in most cases the prospects of recovery, healing and a good outcome revolves arround geting even the most basic medical attention as soon as possible.


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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 21:47

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 21:47
Sorry Bantam as they are medicos who have spent a number of years in remote locations, I think I know who I will be taking my professional medical advice from.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 18:50

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 18:50
I have most certainly found that most pf the retail first aid kits are inadequate, often not having the esentials but having things that are pretty useless.

In addition much of the materials in retail first aid kits are just rubbish...and I include those from St John.

The other thing to think about is the difference between a " first aid kit" and a personal medical kit or a personal injury kit.

If you speak to people in the fisrt aid establishment, I carry a lot of things thay seem to think have no place in a first aid kit.

As a general rule there is an attitude that first aid does not involve any medication of any sort that is not life saving......not even aspirin or pacraetamol.

We have a fairly compreensive personal injury kits in every vehicle.

The first thing is to buy your firts aid supplies from the right place and that is a good specilist first aid wholesaler.

Where you would pay $3 for a simple gause bandage from the chemist, I would pay arround 30c from my firts aid supplier.
And a good first aid supplier will have all sorts of stuff that is generally not available to the the modern sergical dressings and the sporting grade strapping tapes.
My wife is a keen walker, we get some specilaist blister prevention stuff thru the firts aid supplier that generally only podiatrists stock AND sell by the square inch at an exorbident price.

For our bigger kits we use tackle can lay out everything in them pretty well.
I curretly use plastic lunch boxes for the boat, but will be going across to a sealed plastic breif case.
The wifes hiking kit is nothing more than a big zip lock baggie stuffed in one of the inside pockets of her pack.

You must remember that just about everything in a first aid kit appart from bandages goes off....some has a shelf life as short as 12 months.
bandaids my remain sterile but the adhesive goes off and the backing wont peel.

these days I try to avoid bottles and tubes.
Another thing available from the good first aid suppliers is stuff in individual sachets......burn aid ( more later about this), betadine cream or wipes, alcahol wipes and other stuff.
The one thing I can not get in individual sachets is stingoes.
But the sachets dont leak or break like bottles or tubes and there are no issues with contamination and resealing. fabulous is a dressing specifically designed and proven to soothe and assist healing of burns......I can tell you it works.....if you are a bloke who welds or works on cars you should have this stuff arround.
The other thing is it is a good general purpose dressing ointment...a few weeks ago it proved great for seals them up and stops them stinging as well as having antiseptic properties.
It works even better on burns if it comes out of the fridge....there is always some in the dorr of our fridge.

Of course the centre of any good first aid kit has to be three (3) 4 inch compression babdages.......a lot of the elastic compression bandages arround these days are just can still get the good stuff from a good first aid supplier.

These 3 bandages are life savers.....literally in a number of situations..and are what you need to deal with a number of serious injuries.

Remember much first aid material and training these days revolves arround the idea of professional help being less than 20 minutes away and having the patient in hospital in well under the hour...even for a relativly minor injury

That idea is not always helpfull.

Help for many of us may be much further away than that.
Or the unjury may simply not be that serious.
Much of the retail firts aid gear is not going to be durable enough to stay on till you get to help ot till it is not required any more.

Oh one more thing on rubbish firts aid materials
Recuss protective masks.
I have tried several on a recuss dummy......and I have tried fitting them to my own face.......there is only one I considered worked reasonabley well.
That is the one with the rectangualr plastic valve block in the in the centre.
This valve block is put in the patients mouth between their teeth if they have em, it locates the mask well, keeps the mouth open and I could get enough air thru it.
The others where just a joke.
It is hard enough to continue sucessfull recuss without some piece of rubbish making it very much harder.

AnswerID: 542761

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 23:59

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 23:59
Mine fits into an old cosmetic case and goes in the caravan with us at night, and back into the car during the day. I choose what to purchase and to keep an eye on things that can go out of date. A small first aid book sits at the top. The larger instant hot and cold packs stay in the car. A re-usable cold pack stays in the caravan freezer.

I also have rolls of bandage suitable for snakebite compression or a helping a sprained ankle in my back pack for walks, together with safety pins to secure the bandages.

However the most important item is having at least one of your group, and preferably all, with up to date first aid training.


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Reply By: Lachie - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 09:04

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 09:04
Thank you all for your comments. Quite interesting.
A lot of first aid kits do have a lot of things you don't need as you have all mentioned and this is what a lot of chemist have told me as well
Why doesn't someone design one that is more useful and personal . May be there could be an app for things you put in that lets you know when things expire.

The Bantam mentioned about bandaids going off after 12 months, I'm finding they seem to be pretty useless from the start. Once upon a time they used to be so sticky they would nearly rib your skin off when you took them off. Now they are lucky to last a few hours. Maybe its because my skin is so old and weathered now !?

AnswerID: 542778

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 09:24

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 09:24
There are a lot of cheap nasty adhesive dressings arround...the retail packs generally come with cheap sticking plasters.

My first aid supplier has some very funky ones in a brand that wont be seen retail.
BUT, I stick with the bandaid brand and they seem pretty good and come in a good variety.

THE important thing will all the adhesives is applying them to clean dry skin and not handling the sticky part at all.

There is a real problem with what we put on our skin.
Women and particularly those of a certain age have an obsession with hand cream, moisturisers, hydration and moisturising soaps....there is oil and other stuff in sunscreens regardless of claims of greesieness.....even insect repellants contain a lot of oil....all of these thing interfeer with the function of adhesives.

I carry isopropyl alchhol and or alcahol well as for other purposes these can be used to clean areas around wounds to help with adhesive adhesion.....wipe the area and allow to dry a few minutes.

Be aware that some people react to different adhesives, particularly those with "compromised skin function".

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Reply By: Member - outbackjack 1 - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:52

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:52
Lachie I use the St Johns big first aid kit. It has a lot more in it than the rest. I up date it every 12 months, I also add a few extra items, like a good snake bite kit, sodium chloride injection BP 0.9% ( used for body fluid loss and salt) same as salt or table salt. Ideal for sterilizing, and open cuts. I also carry disposable scalpels, just in case. You need a really good kit if you are travelling in real remote areas. I carry other items as well, depending whom I with, and if they have any medical conditions, I carry extra spares in the kit as well, in case they run out or lose their medication. Can't be to safe when dealing with peoples lives.
AnswerID: 542883

Reply By: KOR - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 15:33

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 15:33
I'm just wondering if it might be useful to ask people how they have used their first aid kits, ie what sort of injuries have they assisted with?
AnswerID: 542898

Follow Up By: Member - outbackjack 1 - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 16:25

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 16:25
A twig in leg approx 6 inches. treated as best we could and took person to hospital and had it treated. only 20km from town.
treated a few sprains. A couple of burns, snake bites, 2 venomous, had to call RFDS to assist. Touch and go both times. and 3 non venomous treated at camp, still called RFDS for medical assist over radio. Assisted in motorbike accident in the Simpson Desert. First there, needed RFDS. lots of cuts and bruises, First Aid kit is always well used when needed.
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