Crashing is a part of life for any mountain biker. You can minimise the damage by wearing a helmet and any other protective gear you can get your hands on, but you always need to be prepared for accidents. Ideally, you’ll never have to use it, but a basic first aid kit is a must-have for every ride. Here’s our list of first aid essentials to throw in your kit:
The single most useful piece of first aid equipment you can carry is a phone. In a serious crash, any first aid kit you’re carrying simply may not be enough for adequate treatment, so it’s imperative to be able to call for emergency help if needed. Phone apps such as Emergency+ (for Australia) are great for providing you with essential information to give to emergency services, such as your exact location coordinates, to ensure they find you as quickly as possible.
Phone apps such as Emergency+ (for Australia) are great for providing you with essential information to give to emergency services, such as your exact location coordinates.
Trees, rocks and your bike are all things on the trail just waiting for a chance to lacerate you, and bandages can be versatile aids for cuts, bleeding control, snake bites, and sometimes even breaks or dislocations. Be sure to carry at least one roll on every ride.
If you’re treating someone with severe bleeding, gloves can prevent any blood to blood contact for the safety of both you and the injured person. They weigh next to nothing and take up very little space, so throw a pair of these in your kit.
(1) Preventing the transmission of blood born diseases, such as HIV, is vital
You can get small travel-sized packs or bottles of antibacterial solution, which are easy to squeeze into your pack and useful for cleaning out minor cuts and grazes before you bandage them up.
Whilst maybe not classifying as an emergency, splinters are annoying enough to ruin anyone’s ride, so carry some tweezers to pull those bad boys out.
Epinephrine injection (aka, Epipen or Anapen), for those with severe allergies
This one should go without saying if you have a history of severe allergic reactions. If you suspect an anaphylactic reaction and you’ve been prescribed an ‘Epipen’ or similar, you should be using this device as soon as possible. If you’re out on a trail you may not have time to race back to your car for it, and this can be a very serious, life-threatening situation, so carry it with you, at all times.
As you can tell, this whole kit will fit easily into a small zip lock bag that you can throw into your saddle bag or Camelbak – just put it in the bottom and hope you’ll never have to use it.
Beyond any equipment, it’s vital you tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back, so they can alert the authorities if anything happens and you don’t return when planned. Also, if you think you or your mate may have hit their head in their accident, even if they aren’t complaining of a headache, be sure to tell the doctor or medical officer, as this information can be useful to assist with their treatment.
Stay safe out there!
(1) By Werneuchen – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4029445