There’s a reason we send a doctor on every one of our expeditions. Having a medical professional and an expedition first aid kit is hugely important. But while you don’t have to worry about the big things, there are also the tiny bugbears that can throw your day off. Little irritations can become a big nuisance on a multi-day trek. Blistered feet, altitude headaches, or a dodgy tummy can all build up and really hinder the enjoyment of an expedition.
Our doctors travel with a full expedition first aid kit, but there are a few bits it’s worth packing in your own bag, too. This list will come in handy for any trek you do, or any other holiday! So keep this kit stocked up and ready to throw in your pack…
How to Pack: Expedition First Aid Kit
This should go without saying, but it’s hugely important. Make sure you have a supply of any medications that you’ll need while you’re away, and pack them in your carry-on, just in case your luggage goes missing. Think about any illnesses you’re prone to, as well – if you’re prone to UTIs, ask your doctor for a ‘just in case’ supply of meds. You’ll certainly be grateful for them when you’re halfway up a mountain!
We all usually have a personal preference when it comes to painkillers, so bring a pack of whatever does the trick for you, be it paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. These can generally be bought wherever you are, but the prices can be expensive on a trail like the one to Everest Base Camp, so you’ll always be thankful to have them in your expedition first aid kit.
You can get a bit of a dry throat on certain treks (particularly if altitude is involved) so bring along some throat lozenges, nasal spray and a decongestant like Sudafed. If you’re prone to colds (particularly after long flights) then the First Defence style of nasal spray can be fantastic.
Whether you’re constipated or experiencing diarrhoea, poo can become a massive pain on a trek. Having a medicine that will stop or start whatever’s happening can be a lifesaver! Rehydration salts are also a good idea. They’ll come in handy after general exertions of the day, as well as in cases of diarrhoea.
You will never be sorry that you’ve thrown some plasters in your expedition first aid kit. Blisters and little scrapes can be an inevitable part of trekking, so come prepared. Compeed plasters and their stick are invaluable, too. The doctor will have some to hand but it’s better to have your own supply.
Ready to pack your bag and head off? Check out our full list of expeditions here.
Note: As with any big trip, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor beforehand. We offer advice based on our own experiences and are not medical professionals.