By Chris Engle, contributor
Hey there, “Out, See, Go” readers!
Earlier this month I talked about 12 ways to be a better outdoorsperson. Among my suggestions was to construct an extremely compact first-aid kit.
The idea of making such a kit as small as possible is to make you more likely to bring it along.
Take this example: My wife and I have one child. The iconic object which comes with a first child is a diaper bag bulging with every baby-care product under the sun: Diapers, lotion, butt wipes, face wipes, hand wipes, pacifier wipes, pacifiers, toys, medicine, fingernail clippers, milk bottles, water bottles (later replaced with sippy cups), stale snacks (replaced by fresh snacks with every outing), and extra diapers in case the first half-dozen are soiled or otherwise spontaneously combust.
After two years of toting this unwieldy sack of baby stuff we stopped bringing it on short trips. For that we paid dearly — no spare diapers, no hand/face/butt wipes, no snacks when we needed them most.
In other words, NO FUN.
In time we found a happy medium of grabbing a diaper or two, a snack and some hand sanitizer on the way out the door. This is my current m.o. as a stay-at-home dad and it works.
Same goes for a first-aid kit. Cramming too much stuff into a kit makes it hard to pack or carry, thus making it a good candidate to be left behind. A first-aid kit that can fit into a pocket is much better than not having one at all, even if it doesn’t have everything under the sun.
And this is where I have to include a correction to this month’s blog. My recommended kit left out a few small but quite important things. A reader named Dave called me out:
“Add super glue to your first-aid kit to hold together bad cuts. They do in the (emergency room). Also emergency kit for bird dogs.”
A warning for anyone about to close a cut with super glue: It burns like the devil. But Dave’s right — it works, it’s waterproof, and as someone whose dad was an ER nurse for 13 years, they do use it there.
His other point about bird dogs is also valid. If you bring along a dog for hunting or companionship, make sure they’re taken care of. This means being able to treat cuts, especially on the pads of their feet. Most pet stores have the proper ointment for that.
One more note about dogs and first-aid kits, again based on personal experience: Bring tweezers or surgical pliers. This was my biggest oversight in my first-aid suggestions.
These utensils would’ve come in handy when Miley got into a porcupine a few years ago. Initially I couldn’t do much more than put her in the car and drive her home. The next two weeks were spent pulling deeply embedded quills from her front legs with tweezers.
There’s all sorts of outdoor hazards which warrant having tweezers or pliers on hand, the most likely of which are splinters from firewood or impromptu piercings from fish hooks.
So there, I think that covers it. I’d be happy to hear any more of your suggestions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.