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How to pack a first-aid kit for traveling- The doctors’ orders

Matt Snyman

So here is the first of many packing lists still to come. Lots of people have been requesting these, so we thought we would start with our “first-aid” kit – as two doctors, what we made is not really a first-aid kit, its slightly more, sort of a Frankensteiny resus kit.

Important stuff to remember:

  1. You must take a script for all medications and include it in it’s associated zip-lock bag just in case.
  2. Very important, is how to package pills for a motorcycle trip, especially an off-road one. With all the moving and shaking all your tablets will turn to dust in 30min if you don’t package them tight. We put them into pill bottles and then filled the rest of the bottles tightly with foam, so nothing can move around, then sealed the top with insulation tape to prevent anything getting wet. This was a lesson learned through experience

But anyhow, here you go, this is what two doctors think you should take on an extended motorcycle trip.

Let us know if you have any questions or recommendations, maybe we forgot something – a medical kit is a constantly evolving thing: no medical kit is ever complete!


Hospital in a bag

  1. Doxycycline 100mg dly (script needed but you can get one from any travel clinic if they know you are traveling to a malaria area) – Malaria prophylaxis – the cheapest, easiest way to prevent malaria, we are going to spending a lot of time near malaria, so we have a 3 month course each inside that little bottle. Luckily, its also the treatment for tick-bite fever, and if you’re that way inclined… STDs
  2. Adrenaline – 2 x 1ml vials: For dire emergencies involving anaphylaxis (allergic reactions) or shock. As a non-medical professional, you can get an epi-pen prescribed for you, its just crazy-expensive: an epi-pen is ±R1000 and a vial of adrenaline, which is exactly the same thing, is R1..
  3. Probiotics (interflora – can buy over the counter): Essential when taking antibiotics to replace the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut to prevent associated diarrhoea and general crappyness – also good for normal diarrhoea
  4. Flagyl (Metronidazole – script needed) (4 courses): An antibiotic for bacteria that causes traveler’s diarrhoea
  5. Also flagyl (traveler’s diarrhoea is no joke people!)
  6. Alzam (20 tablets) (Xanax – definitely need a script): An anti-anxiety medication, for Meg’s fear of flying and any trouble falling asleep
  7. Inderal (6 tablets): Beta-blocker also used for anxiety (not essential for every medical kit and script needed)
  8. Prednisone 20 x 5mg tablets: For allergic reactions – (script needed)
  9. Augmentin 1g (4 courses) (amoxicillin + cluvanic acid – script needed): A broad spectrum antibiotic for a broad spectrum (duh) of infections and sicknesses
  10. Augmentin
  11. Augmentin
  12. Even more Augmentin
  13. Tweezers
  14. Mosquito forceps: Can be used to grasp and clamp off bleeding vessels in a bad injury, grab small foreign objects, and can even be used as a tool when working on the motorcycle engine with small parts
  15. Artery forceps: Can be used for the above, as well as for stitching to hold a needle
  16. Scissors: Cut stitches, clothes, bandages, etc etc.
  17. Thermometer: Used to diagnose a fever as well as monitor it’s response to antibiotics
  18. Gelofusin: An intra-venous fluid that is given via a drip to replace large volumes of blood loss. This might seem a little drastic, but as doctors on a motorcycle trip, we just don’t want to be without it. Not worth taking if you don’t know how to use it – can be dangerous if given incorrectly
  19. Lignocaine: local anaesthetic for sutures or any other owie that requires it – script needed
  20. Iliadin nasal spray: a bocked nose can be a real bitch (any decongestant spary can be bought over the counter)
  21. Tears natural: For dry or irritated eyes, or if your in a weed-legal state icon_wink.gif?zoom=1.5&w=676
  22. Swimmer’s ear drops: Clear water out of your ears
  23. Variety of pain killers, from mild to just below horse-tranquilizer – includes:

    1. Stilpayne (Codeine and paracetamol – script needed)
    2. Panado (Paracetamol – over the counter)
    3. Tramacet (Codeine and Paracetamol – script needed)
    4. Oxycontin (codeine – scedule 6-7, definitely needs script)
    5. NB: We haven’t included any Aspirin or anti-inflammatories here as I (Matthew) am severely allergic, otherwise a really good idea and can be purchased over the counter

[*]Gaviscon tablets: For heartburn. Its bound to happen

[*]Canestin cream (cotrimoxazole – over the counter): For a cookie-itch (thrush)

[*]Burnshield 100×100 dressing: for all sorts of burns, with a hot exhaust around you can’t be without this!

[*]Dressing pack:

  1. Plasters – variety, important for blister prevention / relief
  2. Sterile blades – variety of uses including cutting loose skin from wounds, draining abscesses, shaving hair around wounds etc.
  3. Steri-strips – stitchless wound closure for small wounds, or for those who can not suture wounds
  4. Variety of sutures – for those who can
  5. Opsite – basically medical clingwrap: to cover exposed wounds to keep them clean or to secure an iv line etc etc

[*]Jagermeister: Why WOULDN’T you carry Jagermeister!? – no script needed

[*]Burnshield gel tube and lamisil:

  1. Burnshield once again, this time in a gel form, so you can apply to wound and cover with a different bandage
  2. Lamisil (Terbinafine ointment) in case of any athlete’s foot picked up in dodgy bathrooms

[*]Variety pack:

  1. Burnshield 25×50 dressing
  2. 2 x sachets of vital protection (washed in with clothes to offer 3 months of mosquito-repellant clothing)
  3. Rehydrate – important to combat dehydration, drink when experiencing diarrhoea or vomiting,
  4. Condoms (variety of uses apart from the obvious very important use)

[*]Syringe and needle pack:

  1. 1 x 10ml syringe (for diluting adrenaline)
  2. 2 x 2ml syringes (for administering lignocaine)
  3. Various needles (also useful for removing splinters etc.
  4. Gelcos in various sizes (for inserting iv lines)

[*]Vital protection spray – mosquito repellant, also lasts for 3 months after applied to clothes and tent

[*]Variety pack 2:

  1. Chloromycetin eye ointment (chloramphenicol – script needed): for eye infections
  2. Vermox 500mg stat (Mebendazole – over the counter): for, you guessed it… worms (and other parasites)
  3. Augmentin 375mg – milder course of Augmentin
  4. Ciprobay (3 courses) (ciprofloxacin – script needed)- antibiotic for urinary tract infections, and travelers diarrhoea

[*]Anusol: For haemorrhoids. It happens, and its even less fun when you have to ride a motorcycle for days on end

[*]Savlon: General antiseptic solution

[*]Variety pack 3:

  1. Tampon: also a variety of uses, including stopping severe nose bleeds, whilst inducing hysterical laughter in those around at the time. Can also be used to plug a large, bleeding puncture wound
  2. Dental floss: Used as floss, emergency suture material, or as thread to sew on loos buttons etc – very strong
  3. Ear buds: Remove foreign objects from eyes and wounds and for applying ointments
  4. Toothpick – because it doesn’t take up any space and Megan wanted it – use pending…
  5. Bandage clips x 6
  6. Safety pins x 10

[*]Plastic zip-lock bags: the uses for these are infinite, a vital thing to take

[*]IVI line – for putting up a drip

[*]Variety pack:

  • Betadine antiseptic ointment
  • Water for injection x 2 – to dilute adrenaline
  • Alcohol swabs – also infinite uses, including cleaning a site before injection or lancing, cleaning a small wound, cleaning skin before applying a plaster etc etc etc.
  • Primapore : Wound dressing
  • Gelonet: wound dressing for wounds where there is a danger of the gauze of the dressing sticking to the wound (burns, grazes)

[*]Malaria kit :

  • 2 x rapid test kits (can be bought at a travel clinic)
  • Instructions
  • Co-artem tablets 200mg (artemether/lumefantrine – script needed) for malaria treatment before you get to a hospital

[*]CPR barrier device: For giving CPR to a stranger

[*]Rubber gloves: For working on people and bikes, keeps off blood as well as grease

[*]Crepe bandages

[*]Variety pack : The tummy stuff:

  • Immodium (Loperamide – over the counter) x 24 tablets: Diarrhoea + motorcycles = not cool
  • Buscopan (Butylscopolamine – over the counter) x 20 tablets: Stomach cramps
  • Desolex x 20: Antihistamine with no side-effects of drowsiness
  • Valoid (cyclizine – over the counter) x 10: Vomiting, nausea, and motion sickness
  • Maxalon (Metoclopramide – over the counter) x 20: Vomiting and nausea
  • Motilium (Domperidone – over the counter) x 10: Also for nausea, vomiting or bloating

[*]Sterile gauze: for dressing wounds


[*]Compression dressing (self-adherent): for strapping sprained joints and sore muscles, stopping bleeding, and securing bandages

[*]Corenza Para C (I’m allergic to aspirin remember): For colds and flu

[*]Space blanket: For hypothermia and shock

[*]Sanitary pads: highly absorbent wound dressing for bleeding wounds

[*]Movicol (Macrogol – over the counter): Because constipation is arguably worse than diarrhoea

[*]Dettol wet wipes: For general hygiene and cleaning your dirty paws

[*]Another crepe bandage (75mm)

Not included in the picture (but also important):

  1. Antihistamine ointment
  2. Citrus soda sachets (for urinary tract infections or heartburn)
  3. Flammazine ointment (for continued treatment of burns ie. from 24 hours and after burnshield has been used in the immediate treatment)

Although the above seems like a lot, its really really important, and only packs up to:


So it all packs up pretty small

Once again: let us know in the comments if you have any questions, recommendations or advice


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