Accidents do happen, and having the correct emergency gear in your kit will give you the best chance to continue on your adventure, or get help when needed. From blister prevention to an emergency evacuation it’s important to take our safety seriously in the outdoors. At Paddy Pallin we stock a huge range of emergency and survival gear - whether you’re out for a day trip and need a hiking first aid kit, thermal blanket or a blister prevention kit, or if your adventuring further into the wild and need water purification, a GPS, crampons or a PLB - we stock everything from a flint to emergency whistles to extensive first aid kits.
What sort of first aid kit do I need for my adventure?
The main two points to keep in mind are: how many people may need to use the first aid kit (number of people on your adventure), and how long will an injured person have to wait for medical assistance. Then consider what outdoor activity you’re planning and the risks specific to that activity - for example hiking and trail running can have similar injuries depending on your enthusiasm and the terrain, whereas rock climbing and bouldering inherently have a fall risk every time. It’s also important to consider the climate you are adventuring in; cold, hot and humid environments all put extra stress on our body, and having an emergency first aid kit to help counteract those effects when someone is struggling is important to our health and safety in the outdoors.
If you are travelling in a group you may choose to carry multiple smaller hiking first aid kits, or designate a team member to carry the main larger first aid kit and be the go-to person. It’s smart to know who is carrying the first aid kit before you set out. Our Paddy Pallin staff can assist you in-store with what is prudent to include for your adventure.
Is the price of a GPS or PLB worth it?
Yes, if your adventure takes you beyond mobile network coverage, then absolutely! You cannot always rely on there being other people around, or if they are, that they will have a first aid kit and be able to help you. A GPS (Global Positioning System) gives you an accurate reading of exactly where you are. You can also use a map and compass to navigate as you go, however a GPS will help if you get turned-around or lost, by giving you your exact position and taking guesswork and terrain-reading out of the equation. A GPS is essential if you are heading off-trail and not proficient in orienteering. All GPS units that Paddy Pallin sells offer a “bread crumb” feature, which tracks your movements for you, so if the weather changes quickly and your visibility is reduced, you can follow your path back to safety, as the GPS prompts you. GPS units come as both a handheld device and built into outdoors watches.
A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is really your last port of call, when you are either physically unable to get back to safety, or you need to be evacuated for a medical emergency. Both a GPS and a PLB are an investment in you enjoying the great outdoors to the fullest.
What should I pack for just a short walk?
If you’re staying within mobile network coverage or taking a PLB, the basics to get you through discomfort are wise: a blister prevention kit, a basic hiking first aid kit, an emergency blanket, head torch and an extra snack or meal will assist you in treating any minor medical issues such as sprains, cuts, stings, allergies; and keep you reasonably comfortable if you have to wait for help to arrive. It’s a good idea to pack anything you know you might need, even if it’s not on a basic first aid kit list - for example: a pre-existing injury that may flare up, or if you’re susceptible to hay-fever. Also making sure your phone or GPS battery are fully charged before setting out. If you’re parking in a car park that has a gate that locks overnight, you can leave a note on your dashboard with the time you expect to be back and the path you are hiking, this way if your car is still there at closing, someone will know you’re not back.
What is the difference between an emergency kit and a survival kit?
An emergency kit is for an immediate response to a medical issue, whereas a survival kit is designed to keep you alive when exposed to nature’s elements for longer than expected. Emergency kits can include: hiking first aid kits, snake bite kits, fast energy such as GU Energy Gels, hand warmers, blister prevention kits, a mobile phone, GPS or PLB, a whistle and water purification. It’s important to consider where you’re adventuring and what you might need. Survival kits are made up of gear that will keep you alive when stranded in the wild. These can include: an emergency blanket also called a thermal blanket, a flint or waterproof matches, head torch, low release energy such as Clif bars, an ultralight emergency shelter kit, a ultralight spade or trowel, water purification and multitools. We don’t want safety to take up our whole pack, the ideal emergency and survival kits are lightweight and tailored to you and the environment you’re adventuring into.
What kinds of water purification does Paddy Pallin stock?
We stock a range of water purifying options including filtration, UV sterilisers, and tablets. For an ultralight hiking first aid kit, tablets such as Katadyn Micropur Forte are the minimalist way to go. These take about 30 minutes to purify one litre of water for drinking, great while you’re on the move. If you’re looking for a faster option, UV water purifiers will give you one litre of safe drinking water in 90 seconds. These are handheld devices with an ultraviolet lamp that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa making water safe to drink, cook with or wash in, preventing a situation that a first aid kit won’t help. UV purifiers are the most popular option for travel and multi-day adventures, and come with battery or USB charging options. Both of the above are only effective with clear water; cloudy or particulate water will need to be filtered first. The UV Steripen Classic comes with a pre-filter to keep your kit lightweight, or for larger quantities of water a carbon or ceramic handheld pump filter such as the Katadyn Vario filter will save time, filtering up to one litre in 30 seconds, and filtering thousands of litres per single, replaceable filter. For base camps or overnight camps the Katadyn Gravity Camp will filter 6 litres of even extremely dirty water, at a rate of 2 litres per minute, using gravity instead of your arm, so you can enjoy the outdoors or get camp set-up.
Is it really that dangerous going for a hike?
Safety is about preparedness. It’s dangerous crossing the street, but it’s an environment we are familiar with. The same goes for the outdoors, if you are aware of your surroundings and prepared with a hiking first aid kit for the simple fact that it takes longer to get to help in the bush, there is very minimal risk in enjoying the great outdoors. The more time we spend in the outdoors, the more we understand the nuances of different environments and climates. If you’re heading somewhere that is new to you, pick up a book about the area, or chat to someone you know has experience - our staff at Paddy Pallin are avid outdoors people and have years of experience and knowledge to share, next time you pop in-store ask us any specifics you have in mind, there are no silly questions! We’d love to share our experience and get you prepared for your next adventure.
What brands of emergency and survival gear does Paddy Pallin stock?