I am a big fan of the Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight/Waterproof and Mountain Series First Aid Kits. They are by far the “best bang for your buck” and contain all of the Essentials detailed in my previous post First Aid Kits for Wilderness Hiking and Backpacking. I highly recommend these kits.
However, they both have some a disadvantages when it comes to being watertight. The Mountain Series does not have a waterproof case, it is only water resistant. The Ultralight/Waterproof is advertised as waterproof and has two layers of protection, a water resistant outer bag and a 100% waterproof inner bag.
Waterproof to a Point
The AMK Ultralight/Waterproof has a good waterproofing system, but had two possible failures to be aware of:
- The bags are durable, but made of nylon and are susceptible to puncture.
- The inner waterproof bag uses a push together ziplock-type seal prone to human error.
I have had my cook kit tear a rainfly while in my pack. I have also forgotten to completely seal ziplock bags. Both failures can be attributed to the human, but could render what you think is waterproof, no longer waterproof.
There is an alternative way to pack your first aid kit. This is the method I use on most of my adventures. Enter the Nalgene Bottle.
Why A Nalgene Bottle?
The Nalgene bottle has two advantages over the “two bag method”:
- It is made of rigid plastic that has been proven to take a beating.
- It is 100% waterproof with a pretty reliable screw top mouth. It keeps water in, and thus keeps water out.
The Nalgene bottle is not perfect, it has a limited size and accessing the items in the bottom of the bottle require removing the top most items. Despite, these limitations, the Nalgene First Aid Kit is my “go to” for whitewater rafting, kayaking and backpacking adventures. I am confident that it will stay watertight and will not get crushed.
Contents of Nalgene First Aid Kit
- Gorilla Tape (around outside of bottle)
Bottom of Bottle
- (1) Steripad 4”x4”
- (1) Steripad 2”x3”
- (2) Steripads 2”x2”
- SPF 30+ sunscreen
- (1) Elastic Bandage (ACE)
- Eye Wash Solution
- (2) Antibacterial ointment
- (4) Antiseptic towelettes
- (6) Sterile alcohol prep pad
- (2) Aquatab water purification tablets
- (1) Medical Gloves
Stuffed in Open Areas
- (2) Tongue Depressor
- Nail file
- Nail Clippers
- Cotton Swabs
- (3) Safety pins
- Medical Tape (1/2”, small roll)
- Snack Bag 1
- Wet Ones
- Snack Bag 2
- Bandages (assorted sizes)
- Butterfly Skin Closures
- Roller Guaze
- Snack Bag 3