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Gear Review: AMK World Travel First Aid

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While researching a story last year on international travelers, I interviewed Ed Mapes of McKinney, Texas, the owner of an offshore sailing school who leads oceangoing expeditions hundreds of miles into the blue. His company, Voyager Ocean Passages, has stocked its 46-foot craft with a satellite phone, a lightning static dissipater, a sextant, and other survival implements to stay self-sufficient on the big void out from shore.

But what most caught my attention was Mapes’ first-aid kit. Made by Adventure Medical Kits, the Marine 3000 is a 15-pound briefcase of emergency medical supplies that costs $795. It is stocked with dozens of components to treat maladies that may require a scalpel, suture, syringe, forceps — even a urinary catheter is included.

That’s some serious first aid.

The $70 World Travel package

This year, Adventure Medical Kits has released a new line of products for international travelers. The company’s Travel Series (www.adventuremedicalkits.com/travel) is significantly pared-down from the case Mapes takes out to sea. But the four kits — including the $10 Travel Medic on up to the $70 World Travel package — include most of the necessities the average Lonely-Planet-toting traveler will need.

Unlike first-aid kits developed for hikers and campers, the Travel Series banks on stomach medications, diarrhea meds, rehydration solutions, and extras like sterile needles to hand off to a doctor administering a shot in an iffy locale. You won’t find endless butterfly bandages in these kits, though blister supplies are included.

The $10 Travel Medic kit

The World Travel, the flagship kit in the series, was made for up to four people traveling together for multiple days. Trekking in Nepal or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are trips the company offers. In addition to medications to treat diarrhea, dehydration, and allergic reactions, there are unique items like a visual communication card that has illustrations to let travelers point to pictures to indicate illness or injury when a language barrier is present.

A small book, “A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine,” is included in the kit, which comes in a nylon case and weighs 1 pound 12 ounces. Another nice addition: The company includes a TSA-approved plastic bag with vials for your shampoos, lotions and gels. No more throwing away the Curel at the security gate.

The Smart Travel, the next largest kit, has basically the same supplies as its bigger brother, but it is made for one or two people (not three or four) travelling the globe. It costs $40.

For those looking to pack light, the $10 Travel Medic is a simple kit in a small case with meds and wound care items for one person on a long weekend or more in Mexico, the Caribbean or Europe.

“Cheap life insurance”: The Suture Syringe Medic needle kit

Finally, an ancillary kit, the Suture Syringe Medic, is a $22 package with rubber gloves, a sterile syringe, disposable needles, and antiseptic wipes. Adventure Medical Kits markets the Suture Syringe — which is made to eliminate the possibility of the re-use of needles in a hospital setting — as “the cheapest form of life insurance you can buy.”

—Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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