A lot of money is spent on modifications and accessories for 4WD’s every year, and there’s one bit of gear that everyone should have in their 4WD that is often forgotten; a first aid kit.
These are not very expensive, and should be one of the first bits of gear that you purchase for your 4WD. You can buy pre-made ones from St John of God, or just build your own out of a huge assortment of bits and pieces like we did.
Having a first aid in your 4WD can be the difference between a minor incident and a major one, especially when you are remote.
What should you have in your 4WD first aid kit?
First aid kits should be tailored to your situation. The more people in your crew, the more remote and the more risky activities that are being done the better your first aid kit should be. However, here’s the basics:
Bite and burn cream
You will get bitten when you travel Australia. There’s no doubt about it. Whether its a mosquito, sand fly or something more sinister, having the ability to put some cream on a bite to take away the pain and make it more enjoyable is hugely appreciated.
We use generic burn and bite cream on our kids all the time, and wouldn’t go anywhere without it.
Most first aid kits come with Bandages, and if you need to use them something has generally gone pretty badly wrong.
Make sure you know how to tie a sling up, or deal with a snake bite as all the gear with no idea isn’t much help either. On that note, here’s our experiences with Snakes when travelling Australia.
Panadol or Nurofen
We don’t use this very often, but there are times where you’ll get a headache, or injure yourself to the point where you need some pain relief. Sarah takes dissolvable tablets, the kids have a syringe arrangement for the mouth and I take normal Panadol tablets.
One of the major first aid incidents in the outdoors is dehydration, and having a couple of tablets that you can put into water to replenish the lost electrolytes are always appreciated. We have had instances where people have been violently ill to the point that they are badly dehydrated, and these are super important.
If you are allergic to anything, you should have your medicine easily accessible. Sarah is allergic to Bee’s, and carries her Phenergan around in her handbag and our first aid kit.
If you are badly allergic, you need an epi pen available, and these should be kept at a suitable temperature and ready to go. They aren’t a fix, but it will buy you some time.
Band aids are used all the time. Our kids are forever scratching or grazing themselves, and while they can help to keep the wounds clean they are often a great comfort for the kids too.
If you’ve never had anything get stuck in your eye, I promise its one of the worst feelings you’ll have. A couple of tubes of saline solution are hugely important for when a bit of dust or dirt blows into your eye and you can’t get it out.
I’ve used these more times than I care to remember to squirt into my eye and wash the dirt out. You can use them for cleaning wounds as needed too.
Its worth having a thermal blanket with you, in case you come across someone who’s been exposed to freezing cold temperatures. It’s not something you’d commonly use, but they take up hardly any room and do a great job.
A first aid book or app
You need to know how to perform first aid. We’d always recommend you do a senior first aid course, but at the very least have a book or app with you that you can get advice from. If you get bitten by a snake, you need to know how to react, and your gear is only useful if you can use it correctly.
We use tweezers all the time for picking splinters and bits of dirt out as needed. It’s generally the kids or myself that get something stuck in our fingers or feet, but its quite hard to dig something out without them! You can also get splinter probes, which provide a higher level of sanitisation.
Any good first aid kit will come with dressings, used for bad wounds. You should have a variety of sizes and shapes, to help with any situation you need it for.
We always take a digital thermometer with us, so we can monitor the kids temperatures if they are unwell. You might not need this, but we find it useful.
Instant Ice Pack
The number of times people will roll an ankle, or sprain a wrist is huge, and being able to put ice on in a hurry is hugely important. These instant ice packs are generally set up so you can bend/puncture a portion and it releases the chemicals together, creating instant ice.
The first rule of first aid is to protect yourself, and having some disposable gloves in your first aid kit is hugely important. The last thing you want to be doing is poking around someone else’s body and putting yourself at risk
Tape, scissors, bags and safety pins
Most first aid kits will come with a couple of rolls of tape, scissors, empty bags for disposals and safety pins to hold bandages together. These are all important consumables.
Antiseptic swaps and cream
One of the most commonly used items in our first aid kit is antiseptic swaps and cream. If you get a bad cut or graze, knowing you can clean it properly with antiseptic and then put cream on as needed is a huge benefit.
I’ve had golden staph infection before, and if I’m not really careful things get infected very badly, and very fast. We tend to use the Detol antiseptic cream, which has worked well.
First aid kits are cheap insurance
No one wants to think about getting hurt when they are out and about, enjoying themselves.
Unfortunately though, accidents happen and having a basic first aid kit with you, and the knowledge of what to do is the ultimate insurance.
It really doesn’t cost much in the scheme of things either, and I know I’ve been very grateful to have one with us on multiple occasions.
What do you carry with you?