A few weeks ago I was running down a trail with a friend new to the amazing world of trail pounding. And then, they pounded. Caught a rock with their toe and landed with their ankle on another rock. Oof, and there goes a few ligaments.
We got back to the car and I chastised myself for having such a crap first aid kit. Lots of bandaids but nothing truly essential for trail runners or even ultrarunners. Then I started fantasizing about creating such a kit myself and selling it, even a Kickstarter, the whole shebang.
But…. no. Some Kickstarters are lame and mine was about to join them.
And then I got pragmatic. Instead, I’ll tell you what will be in my perfect Trail Aid Kit for your car, and you can craft your own based on mine. No commercial first aid kits tailor to the odd desires of trail and ultrarunners, so this kit might save your butt, or make your ride home far less unpleasant.
TRAIL/ULTRA AID KIT: FOR THE CAR
The reasoning behind each of these is usually self-explanatory, but I’ll elucidate when I have something to add.
START with a basic first aid kit with bandages and the usual. Most normal first aid kits have SOOOO many bandages and not enough of the ‘serious’ stuff. Keep the basic kit and get another sack for your ULTRA kit. 🙂
- Instant cold pack(s). For injuries, usually, but also can be used to bring down body temp if you are finishing your run on a wicked hot day (just wrap it in cloth so you don’t frostbite anything, then stick under armpit(s), alternating as needed).
- Stretchy compression bandage, any kind. Tons of uses. To hold an ice pack on or create stability.
- Technu. (Or IvyX) Ran through a patch of poison ivy or oak? These are pretty much your only option.
- Nut butter or other chafing relief stuff.
- Electrolytes. Tons of options these days. I have definitely finished runs low on electrolytes because I misinterpreted the heat or the weather.
- Space/thermal blanket.
- Water filtration. Can help in more ways than you think. If you get to the trailhead and realize you’ve forgotten bottles, take a LifeStraw to purify water on your route (if there’s a stream/spring/lake!). If you bring bottles and run out of water, fill your bottles at a water source and bring it BACK to the car to filter later if you know you’ll be dehydrated.
Not necessarily in your first aid kit, but in your car: WATER. (If you keep a plastic water jug in your car, change the water at least every month because that plastic will leach… ick.) Also, some dry clothes, possibly a towel, and some calories that are heat-tolerant. Nut butter packets are great. I like to keep some protein recovery powder and my shaker bottle to have something for my quivering muscles on the drive home (or directly to a grocery store for some FRUIT).
Further ideas? What else is something you would LOVE to know is waiting for you in the car as you stagger down the last bit of trail, hurt or dehydrated or (gawd forbid) bleeding? Let me know!
[NOTE: this post is full of Amazon links; buy your gear where you choose!]