Portable ER: 17 Items to Keep You Prepared

Traveling around the world has great benefits to the soul, but it can have potentially dangerous effects on the body.  As I boated down the Amazon River in 2007, I thought about the potential for escalating danger.  Floating through thick jungles, days away from civilization was thrilling.   Sleeping in tents, eating local fare, no running water, baths in the river… these are the moments every adventurer dreams about.

But these are also moments to start thinking about simple injuries that could lead to a fatal outcome.  An open wound, with just the wrong bacterial infection, could lead to the loss of a limb under these extreme circumstances.  An undercooked meal has the possibility of weeks of miserable stomach and bowel issues.  And the lack of a simple tetanus shot can be fatal.  Yet these types of injuries can easily happen in the good ol’ U.S of A.

Our guides are required to be CPR/ First Aid certified and to carry a simple portable ER kit that can save a lot of future pain in the life of a traveler.  If you are hitting the road this summer to a location that may leave you in the boondocks (whether a foreign country or a hike in the Grand Tetons), think about packing your own portable ER. Here are the essentials:

  1. Ziploc bags– for dry storage and wound irrigation
  2. Moleskin- for chafe and blister protection
  3. Gauze- for padding and absorption
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Non-Antibacterial Soap
  6. Butterfly bandages
  7. Water Purification tablets- only in locations where you don’t drink the tap water
  8. Imodium A-D- antidiarrheal medication
  9. Ibuprofen– for anti-inflammatory and pain relief
  10. Duct tape– for splinting and casting
  11. Iodine- antiseptic
  12. Multitool
  13. Tweezers– for splinters and ticks
  14. Safety pins
  15. ACE bandage- limb stabilization and support
  16. Krazy Glue– gear repair and wound enclosure
  17. Latex gloves– protection while dealing with any open wound

Taking 5 minutes to pack a simple kit like this can be the difference between a comfortable trip with a great story, and a miserable experience you don’t want to relive.

Are there any items not listed that you would add to your own portable ER kit?

After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.

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