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  • Writer's pictureAimeé

10 Essentials and First Aid Kit: Trail Safety in a Bag

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Never head out on an adventure without these 10 useful and life-saving items.


Think of it this way: Remember the scene in Hunger Games when Haymitch is talking to Katniss about how to stay alive in the games? He says that if they’re starving or freezing a knife or matches can make the difference between life and death. In their case, those things only come from sponsors. In our case, as responsible adventurers, those things come from our bag of 10 essential items.

I first heard about them in UNAM’s basic mountaineering course. Since then, I’ve read about them in outdoor literature. While the items may change a little depending on who is writing, here are the items we now always carry in our precious little bag:

1. Emergency thermal blanket

2. Swiss army knife

3. Spare headlamp

4. Spare batteries for headlamp in a sealable plastic bag

5. 3 meters of cordino (3mm) or two strings of 2-meter shoelaces

6. Matches and lighter

7. Tea light candle (a DIY version)

8. Energy gel and protein bar

9. Whistle without inner ball additional to the one in your hiking backpack

10. Paper clips

We were also told to carry the following extra items in the same bag:

- A bit of cash wrapped in a sealable plastic bag (a few 20 and 50 MXN bills)

- Small bits of wire (like the one in sliced bread)

- Pencil and paper in a sealable plastic bag

- Emergency contact information

What to Pack in an Individual First Aid Kit

Since this isn’t Hunger Games and we don’t have magic creams that heal wounds in a matter of hours, we all have to carry our own first aid kit. This is a topic of much debate because the type of trip you take will dictate your needs and the weight you can carry. There are many ready-to-go kits in pharmacies and those do work well

We attended a talk in Séptimo Grado (2018) about emergency care on the trail. Our first aid kit combines what we learned in that talk and at UNAM’s mountaineering course, plus items that we have needed in the past:

A pair of latex gloves

Face mask

1 bandage (5cm)

1 bandage (10 cm)

Pencil and paper

6 gauzes (10x10 cm)

20 ml of surgical soap or iodine solution

Foldable scissors

1 roll of micropore

1 roll of adhesive tape

Band aids, different sizes

1 triangular bandage

Insurance information

Prescription medicines

Non-prescription medicines

Electrolytes (envelopes, gels or powder)

Long cable ties

If you’re lucky, you’ll never need to test the effectiveness of these items, but if you do end up in a survival situation worthy of the show “I shouldn’t be alive,” you’ll be thanking me. By the way, if you don’t know that show, be kind and don't tell me because it will make me feel ancient!

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