When youíre out in the woods under natureís hood and camping, or camping in any place for that matter, itís really important to you bring with you a first aid kit and someone who knows how to use it.
No matter how simple or harmless a camping trip you might be planning, a first aid kit is necessary!
The kinds of accidents that occur in the wilderness as well as in car camping sites are numerous and of varying grades of seriousness, but in all cases a first aid kit and techniques are necessary for the general health of campers.
What should I do? Learn the basics.
The Red Cross is probably the best supplier of information regarding first aid and first aid products. You can look to them for further information.
When youíre packing the car, make sure that you throw in a candle, an emergency blanket and an empty coffee can. If thereís a storm and you end up spending the night in your car, especially if youíre venturing out in the winter, youíll be able to keep yourself warm by lighting the candle and keeping it in the empty coffee can. You could stay underneath the blanket until the rough weather breaks.
As for on trail first aid, youíll want band-aids, bandages, alcohol prep pads, iodine disinfectants, gauzes of various sizes and thicknesses, and if youíre a serious hiker or thinking about doing a longer hike, you might take with you products to handle blisters. If there are any asthmatics going along on the trip, youíll need to make sure that their inhalers are brought along, especially if the hike is of any significant altitude.
Itís never a good idea to run on the trail, especially if youíre carrying a heavy pack. Even though this sounds kind of crazy, many people get the urge to run or trot very fast on the trail, and this can easily lead to ankle injuries, probably the most common that there are in the woods. Itís a better idea to hike at a comfortable, brisk pace.
Going down hills, itís a good idea to slow up a bit so that everyone can get down with ease. If you have to go up or down a steeper section, especially crevasses or ravines, itís sometimes a good idea to take off your pack and have the person behind you pass it along to you. Then take turns so that no one has to cross with their pack.
Make sure that everyone eats well. Many accidents in the wilderness result from not keeping a proper diet or from dehydration; Hikers who try to go on nothing are usually found sleeping their days away in exhaustion.
At night, be sure to hang all of your food in a designated area (parks will usually tell you where these are) or in a tree, following the standards that are provided by the park in either manuals or books. Itís a good idea to find out about this before the trip. Bears can sometimes be quite a problem as has been seen in Yellowstone in Wyoming and the Adirondacks of New York. If youíre going to have to hang your own bear bag, be sure that you learn how to do it properly, and that when it actually comes time to do it, you donít take any short cuts.
Never hike alone. Only professionals and specialists are trained enough to go out into the wild alone, and this goes for longer expeditions as well as short hikes. Always go with someone. What seems familiar out under natureís hood is always deceiving. Hiking and camping are good times to spend with friends. Even if youíre trying to have a little alone time, bring someone along who wouldnít mind a few moments of silence either.
So remember, itís never worth it to not bring along a first aid kit. Caution on the trail is the best bet for being safe.Prevent accidents by taking precautions and by discussing the importance of safety in the wild with everyone in your party. Accidents in the wild are frightening and almost always preventable; with just a little bit of caution in advance.
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