As I’m writing this, Polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn are out on the Arctic ocean, struggling against the elements in what seems from the outside to be one of their hardest expeditions, yet. I am following the expedition with great interest. In a recent post, Børge explains how Mike broke off a chunk of a tooth on a frozen chocolate bar, which reminded me of my own experience with this issue and one of my favourite lifesavers.
When going on an adventure, we always put ourselves at risk. There are a thousand ways things can go south when you’re outside and you can only do your best to be prepared for them, never completely eliminate all risks. A good preparation also needs to take into account where you are going and what you are doing. There are different challenges for the human body in hot deserts, in high altitudes or in jungles. Of course, for us aspiring Polar explorers, knowing about the challenges of cold weather and snow is most important.
When I get new gear or learn a new set of skills, I am keen to try that out quickly and put my knowledge into practice. However, there is one notable exception, and that is first aid and emergencies. I sincerely hope I will never have to apply my skills in those areas for real. Unfortunately, hoping you’ll never need to know about it is not an excellent approach to the topic of personal safety. For any kind of adventure, you should put in the time and effort to train for emergencies and to prepare your gear.
A well-prepared first aid and emergency kit should be part of every single one of your trips. Seriously, never go out without one. Of course what exactly you take is not always the same, and needs to be adjusted to the nature of your adventure. If you do not have a first aid kit, yet, a good starting point is to look at ready-made kits, which are available from many brands. You should seek to get a kit tailored to your activity. If you are going hiking, get a hiking kit. Climbing? Get a climbing kit. You get the idea. Potential injuries and their respective treatments are particular to your activity, as are requirements for kit access and weight. If you can’t find one, get a general outdoors kit.