February 14, 2007 GMT
First Aid and Survival

First Aid Kit

Another essential, there is only so much you can do to treat yourself, but remember you may be in a situation where the skill is available, but they do not have the equipment. Having said that, a motorcycle paramedic I ainít, nor do I wish to become one.

Sticking Plasters. For all those little nicks and cuts, may be used as butterfly stitches as well. I have 100 on board.
Bandages For bigger cuts, blisters boils and other such minor wounds. (Minor!!! Look I need all the blood I have inside of me at all times. OK. No exceptions. This is for the other guy. Ooh I feel faint, just going for a lie down.)
Sterile Dressings,Various. Just use your imagination, not mine, Iím already way past my pain threshold just thinking about it.
Micropore Tape. Another brilliant invention, developed originally for burns so I believe, but good for holding dressings in place as well, or use straight on a small burn or scald.. It allows air to a wound while protecting it from the environment. If used on its own, on a cut or small burn, you can put it on and forget about it, unless things start looking ugly that is, otherwise it will just wear away in its own good time.
Tweezers For removing splinters, the arse end of flying, stinging insects, ticks and South American Trucks from your skin. Preferably the only use they will ever receive is for reassembling small intricate motorcycle parts, or even more preferable, just along for the ride.
Antiseptic Cream. See all above
Pain Killers I truly hope that the Paracetamol and codeine tablets will more than cover any amount of pain that I will meet, but Iím told that stronger stuff is available over the counter in many countries if required. Make sure they donít make you drowsy though, otherwise more pain may be heading your way.
Re-hydration Salts. You loose more than water when you sweat, and if you (You? Ė most likely should be I but the more I distance myself the easier it is to type.), as I was saying, these get you back off your back and into the saddle more quickly if youíve got them.
Multivitamins. Now Iím sure vitamin BigMac#1 has everything you need to support life as we know it, but a few more wonít do any harm. Besides Ronald may not have made it yet to Adobe Huts, High Andes, S.America. Luckily citrus and other tasty fruits are really cheap.
Insect Repellent DEET is the preferred substance so I have read, but surprisingly this may be more necessary in the temperate zones than the hot ones. Just have to see.
Anti-Histamine Tablets. Allergic reactions can come from anything ranging from detergent to tree bark, insect stings to paint. These will help with the sneezing, swelling or that unsightly rash, no not that one, but most of the others, you need amoxalin for that!!!
Rubber Gloves. A multitude of uses, from keeping a barrier between you and the nasty stuff that you could be exposed to, or cutting the fingers off to keep your fags and matches dry in a monsoon. Remember if you are being treated, you may like to give several pairs to your carer and not rely on the traditional methods, like spitting on their hands and wiping them on once blue Levis. Also good when you do oil changes or mess around with your chain and stuff.
Alcohol Gel. Suggested by Sarah, and as a budding Paramedic, she should know. (I've asked her how you get the gin to mix with the jelly, and does the tonic go in first or last, but no reply yet)
Syringes. Not every medical facility can afford disposable syringes, and in some countries there are endemic diseases like AIDs or hepatitis, Sad but true, I wish it werenít. Taking a few disposables may save you the risk of being infected by dirty needles. On the other hand will border guards think you are a junky. I have not heard of such incidents, but that doesnít mean they wonít happen. With all the inoculations required you may have enough pinholes in you to raise suspicion, but Iíd rather talk my way through that than be without them. Perhaps itís the paranoia of unknown places creeping in.
Bear Repellant Spray. First Aid? Well I think prevention is better than cure, I am getting paranoid about bears, so please folks, no more emails with graphic photos of bear attacks, just sit quietly and enjoy them by yourself!!!

Well thatís about it with the possible exception of incontinence pads required due to the standard of driving in many of the countries I shall visit, but Iíll just sit tight on that one ;o) Oh and I must make sure that this kit is handy, not buried under mounds of stuff in the bottom of the pannier I canít get at because I canít lift the bike up.

Survival Gear.
I am not a doctor, SEAL or SAS expert. This stuff is what I will take and I give you the reasons why I am taking it. If you want to copy me, thatís your lookout.

Sounds dramatic, but a few bits and pieces in an old tin may save my life one day, I hope that once the lid is on this tin, I never have to take it off again.

Fishing Line and Hooks. Gotta eat and fish is good for you, especially if youíre stuck in the middle of nowhere. They donít work so good in the desert Iím told, but I wonder if you can bait up and hook a lizard or snake?
Waterproof Matches. Make your own, just smear some lard over some Swan Vesta matches (the sort that will strike on a stone) and place in a plastic bag, the resealable type.
Flint and Striker. Now you can buy spark strikers from camp shops, they will ignite petrol or gas stoves just as well as they ignite dried tinder, but there is a knack for using them. I prefer a storm lighter myself. (Tip: Thistle down or elder pith make excellent tinder, but you need something a bit more substantial, like dried grass, to keep the flame long enough for it to be of any use. While on fires, dead twigs still on the branch, or caught up, are usually drier than those on the floor.)
Iodine. For purifying water or using on cuts and scrapes. Water tastes foul, but at least it wonít infect you. Iodine will not purify water, it just kills the microscopic wildlife swimming about in it. If the water is dosed with letís say arsenic from mine spoilage, and you drink it, then you will die, iodine or no iodine. Just be aware that not all water is good for you.
Camp Knife As discussed earlier a good knife can help get you food, make you a dwelling, even start a fire if you can find some flinty rock.
Wire Saw. Possibly over the top, but can cut through metal or wood in an emergency situation, and will roll up quite small.
Survival Space Blanket Not just for the London Marathon, these silver things save people from hyperthermia and can be used to signal S&R teams from a long way off.
Metal Container to house it all in. Something like a tobacco tin is ideal, because you can polish up the inside of the lid and use it as a signal mirror. If I am in a wilderness situation, I will keep this on my person at all times, it is the bare amount of equipment that makes survival possible.
And of course a big bar of chocolate. (Since it is a well known fact that chocolate goes off quickly ;o) it is best, imho, to consume and replace it as often as possible.)

Posted by Derek Fairless at February 14, 2007 10:16 AM GMT

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