Eurocarve on a Snowboard

OFF PISTE SAFETY ADVICE

Backcountry First Aid Kit

Quite often we look to other people to safeguard our wellbeing in the mountains. Pisteurs are only a short call away and we can forget that we're actually playing in some pretty harsh environments. 

As I move more off piste and with some lonely wilderness hiking often with no phone signal I need to be a little more prepared for looking after myself if the shit hits the fan. Plus I often find that it might not be myself in trouble, but it could be someone else in the hills that requires some assistance. 

During my last outdoor first aid course our tutor gave us a really useful list of items for a mini first aid kit. I've also supplimented that with some of my own items.

I'm also keen to keep things light and compact. Rather than having a heavy canvas first aid pouch I used a 1ltr Sea to Summit Ultrasil Nano Dry Sack. I find the Sea to Summit kit super reliable and light. Having just a 1ltr pack also means I don't carry more than I need and I can easily throw it in a pack for every adventure.

Save or stablise a life

First Aid Kit Choice

Waterproof pad and pencil - If an emergency does happen you may need to make some notes about the situation. 

Nitrile gloves - 3 pairs

Anticeptic wipes

Melanin pad

Triagular bandage

Whistle

Plasters - Hypoallergenic

Faceshield

Tough Cut Scissors

Micropore tape

No.2 Bandage

No.3 Bandage

300mg chewable aspirin

Ibuprofen 

Crepe Bandage

Safety Pins

Sam splint

No 3 Ambulance Dressing

4x heli straps

blanket or emergency shelter (shoudl be for size of group) 


Headtorch - Petzl E+Lite Torch - 30 lumens 

Tick card - For summer hiking 


Ease of Use

Just having a first aid kit is not enough. You need to understand how to use it. From my own experience when I punchtured a vein in my hand, you certainly want to know how to quickly utilse some of these tools. 

Ease of Cleaning & Maintenace

I've not been pushing the filter with really crappy water just to see how good it is. I want to prolong the life of the filter and therefore I've been drawing water from high mountain streams. These most likely have very little water bourne contaninamts, but it's nice to have that extra level of reassurance that a compact filter system can provide. I'm sure that given most of my hiking will occur in the UK, I'm sure to be testing the capabilities of it more in the future. Also it has a 2000ltr life span, so I think that gonna cover a whole lot of adevntures. 

The filter can be easily cleaned by filling the bulb around half full, closing the top spout, shaking the bulb for 20 seconds and squeezing the excess from the bottom once your've removed the suction tube. It's very straight forward. If I know I've going out again in a few days I complete that basic clean and then air dry the rest of the kit. All the filter system breaks down very easily for drying.

MSR do say to air dry the filter cartridge for 7 days prior to long term storage. That would be the only drawback, as you'd need to leave the filter out for a long time. 

All the kit seems very rugged. When I looked into the feedback on the Sawyer it did appear that the squeeze bags do not last very long and the filter would need an additonal syringe for backwashing for cleaning over time. Not ideal. So with the MSR it's all self contained. I can clean on the move and know that there only a small chance of the product failing in the field.  

Final Thoughts

I've long term tested various MSR products and they've always delivered to a very high standard and this one is no exception. They're certainly not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. Top notch build quality and durability that is bang on. 

I've found planning ahead is key to know if you have certain water sources on your hike. You don't want to leave yourself short of water in the hope that there is a source somewhere. 


The downsides are minimal. Yes, it can seem like it takes a lot of time to fill a bottle compared to turning on a tap, but actually it's a tiny inconvenience for having safer water to drink. 

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