When I was a Boy Scout, a first aid kit was something you never left home without. I remember building my own small first aid kit (FAK) and packed the contents into a Sucrets tin. By the way, Sucrets have returned to using their famous tin as of last year. This is great news as these little containers have numerous uses.
Today, there are many discussions centered around preparedness and terms such as every day carry, get home bags, bug out bags etc. are very commonplace. However, in relation to SOTA and Summits On The Air…much of the discussion is centered around what radio, what antenna, what battery etc. In the scheme of things, a first aid kit or FAK should be the very first thing we pack.
There are many “off the shelf” first aid kits available from just about any retailer. In other words, you don’t have to go to an outdoor sporting goods store to purchase a pre-made FAK. Your local grocery store will probably have at least one small kit which will include some of the more common items found in pre-packaged FAK’s. You can start off with one of these kits and add additional items as necessary.
Places like REI, Gander Mountain and Cabela’s (just to name a few) will have small kits packaged in either a nylon pouch or some type of waterproof container. Prices will range anywhere from under $10.00 up to $25.00. These smaller kits are intended for individual use and for a single day trip.
Larger kits from these same type of outdoor retailers will cost anywhere from $25.00 up to over $100.00 and are designed to treat multiple individuals for a couple of days.
You can also BYOK (Build Your Own Kit) from items you already have around the house and add other items as necessary. Items including antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, assorted adhesive bandages, medical adhesive tape, blister treatment, pain relief medication, insect-sting relief, antihistamine medication along with a quick reference first-aid manual are considered just a few of the required basic items. A comprehensive First-Aid Checklist is available from the REI website.
Another alternative (which I like very much) is the iFAK or individual first-aid kits from Amp-3. Amp-3 is the Austere Medical & Practical Preparedness Project. Amp-3 is operated by fellow ham, David Pruett – KF7ETX and his wife Beth. David knows a thing or two about emergency first-aid. David is a residency trained board certified emergency physician practicing in the Pacific Northwest. David spent 11 years as an emergency physician with the US Navy. He designs his various kits with outdoor adventure and preparedness in mind.
Amp-3 offers a selection of kits which I feel are perfect to include in a SOTA activation pack. The Amp-3 EDC (Every Day Carry), Amp-3 Scout and Amp-3 iFAK. All include the basic first-aid items you would expect to find in a first-aid kit in three different sizes and all packaged inside a LokSak re-sealable and element proof storage bag. All first-aid items are grouped and packaged individually in modules to make it easier to locate just what you need.
On the surface, the Amp-3 kits may look expensive. However, when you factor in the the quality of the supplies provided, the experience in putting these kits together and the LokSak packaging to help protect the contents from moisture, dirt and just about anything else which could shorten the life of the supplies…it’s pretty clear the Amp-3 kits are the way to go.
I carry the Amp-3 iFAK in my SOTA pack. This kit weighs in just under 11 ounces and provides a nice mixture of wound care, medications and tools I might need out on the trail. The items are grouped together and packaged into individual zip lock bags.
All the individual zip lock bags are packaged inside the LokSak bag. These LokSak bags provide a leak-proof and airtight seal to help protect the items from moisture and dirt contamination.
The LokSak package then fits into a 4×6 “Molle” bag. I keep this bag in one of my outside/external pockets on my pack.
In summary, in addition to the radio, the antenna and power supply for your SOTA activation pack….please make sure you are just as prepared and protected by a first-aid kit. First-Aid Kits are available in multiple sizes and varieties. Leaving home without a FAK is just simply foolish.
Until next time…
73 de KD0BIK