(Part 5 of 5 in Travel Gear)
I sometimes call this the “M’urgency” kit as it covers both emergency and urgency situations. After the small convenience bag, this is my most-used, ready-to-go item.
First off, you have to decide wether you need a full, commercial, medical kit. If, like me, your primary concern is the common items you need, then I recommend going the route described here. There’s an unavoidable trade-off between size/weight and preparedness which you have to evaluate for yourself.
Deciding what to include was difficult. I began by searching the internet for emergency kits, but all of them had way too much stuff. On the other hand, I could create two separate kits: A micro-sized kit of a few ounces, and a larger one for more serious traveling. In the end, I settled on the kit described here as the best of both worlds. It is worth its weight in gold. Any time I have a bag, this kit is inside.
I’m a huge believer in having things pre-packed. “Containerizing” everything does use some additional space and weight, but it’s worth it if you can find the perfect size containers. For this kit, you want a sturdy container that will resist crushing, since this kit is going to take tons of abuse; It will be thrown around, leaned on, jostled and stuffed in/out of bags countless times before that one day when you need it.
My kit began with a clear-plastic “art box” — unfortunately, I’m not sure where this box came from. In my first iterations, I used this box, held closed with some rubber bands. One day I realized that this box would fit inside a zippered-bag I had laying around. The bag was an ’80s cassette-tape case, which I literally had from the ’80s for storing cassettes. I tossed the cassettes and the internal hard plastic organizer, and the art box fits easily but cannot open once zipped inside.
Eventually, the already tired case came apart and I had to buy a new one off eBay. You might have trouble finding these now because I bought most of them off eBay when I realized they were becoming rare. Since they are different colors, they are easy to find when rummaging in a backpack. (Another one of these bags will appear in a subsequent post.)
- large, heavy-duty plastic bag for every time I wish I had a bag for trash, food… and emergency phone storage when getting soaked unexpectedly.
- safety pin; pinning, but also can eject SIM cards
- …and the plastic box; the really hard part is to pack the box so it does not rattle when you shake it :)
- facial towelettes are awesome; a bathroom sink, one of these used for more than “face”, and a clean shirt.
- I don’t normally use sunscreen; but the day you need it a swipe-on stick of facial sunscreen can save you and several friends
- next layer down (I’m a child of Tetris :)
- save some athletic tape rolls near their end and they fit. Useful for taping anything of course. Similar to wrapping some tape around your water bottle for random use
- there’s a space in the tape rolls!
- on the right is a tiny plastic bag with 3 nylon gloves. Yes three, because you always tear one.
- this tiny little pill holder is amazing. You can open it with one hand by pinching it anywhere around it’s middle and it *clicks* open immediately.
- packed in here are my preferred selection of drugs. A few standard pain killers and my preferred allergy drug.
- the cotton ball ensures things don’t rattle. Here, it’s important to keep the pills from jiggling into powder as well as to eliminate noise.
- top row…
- a small band-aid box I found somewhere. It was a standard pack of various band-aid sizes which I’ve repurposed.
- couple of small gauze pads and some alcohol wipes
- bottom row…
- a needle and a few yards of thread
- two safety pins
- disposable ear-plugs
- small and large butterfly “sutures” and band-aids
Clearly, this also requires some maintenance. What I usually do is any time I use something (say, I give someone some Advil) instead of refilling the pills, I toss ALL the pills and replace the stockpile to keep them fresh. Anything you keep in here can go out of date or dry up etc. and keeping this kit “fresh” is as important as creating it in the first place.
As I said at the top, I don’t expect you to build this exact kit. :) But I do hope that it has given you a few ideas for what you might want to keep on hand.