What Kind of Medical Kit Should I Carry in My Defender?

Land Rover Defender 110

Built For Purpose

At Heritage Driven all of our trucks are truly built for purpose. These aren’t just cool rigs for kicking around town (although many of our customers do), but instead they’re designed to take you on your own global adventure and get you back safely. That said, you never know what’s going to happen. Our founder's dog once locked himself (and the car keys) inside a D110 which made for an interesting story of how he got the dog and keys out! We encourage all of our adventure customers to always be prepared, especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere. That’s why we like to share some of our favorite tips about overland gear, including our newest entry about medical kits. FYI: We have no relationship with the company mentioned below—we just love their gear.

Medical Kits

We are all familiar with the saying “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and don’t be surprised by anything in between.” It’s a motto we live by when out adventuring in our trucks and it’s served us well. 

To prepare for the worst we’ve done everything from dial in our recovery kits to purchase global GPS units with “oh shit” buttons we can press to call in the cavalry. We’ve also paid close attention to our medical kits so that we’re prepared if there’s an injury, large or small. 

A brand we trust and have relied on for years is Adventure Medical Kits. They’re one of the most well-known and comprehensive medical kit providers and you’ll find their products in many of our personal vehicles. To help you figure out what medical kit to carry, we called up Sarah Kreter, their Senior Brand Manager and asked her for advice. Here’s what she said:

  1. If space isn’t a concern, Sarah recommends the Sportsman 400 that comes with everything you need to treat most common injuries, as well as supplies you’ll need if there’s major trauma (tourniquet, C-Splint, and trauma dressing). She also recommends adding on a pack of QuikClot, which is a hemostatic gauze that works on contact to stop bleeding by accelerating your body's natural clotting process, clotting blood five times faster. 
  2. If space is a concern, the Mountain Guide Medical Kit is smaller but nearly as robust and comes with QuikClot included. AMK has spent lots of time organizing their kits, and you’ll see that both the Sportsman 400 and Mountain Guide come with clearly labeled pockets so you can find exactly what you’re looking for under pressure. 

If you’ll be adventuring away from your rig, Sarah suggests the MOLLE Bag Trauma Kit 1.0 that holds everything you need and easily straps to your backpack via the MOLLE system. Also keep your eyes out for the MOLLE 2.0 bag that’s launching soon and has an even more robust supply list.

Training 
Medical supplies are no good unless you know how to use them. That’s why AMK includes a comprehensive First Aid book in every kitl. The book is written by Dr. Eric A. Weiss and is easy to read and use. 

However, Sarah also recommends that anyone going on an overland adventure also get basic medical training. The American Red Cross offers both online and in-person CPR trainings on a regular basis. Wilderness First Aid is also a highly useful course and NOLS offers classes all year and all across the country. If none of the NOLS classes are in your area, check with your favorite outdoor store to see if a local organization or guiding service offers classes.

Check Your Kit Before You Go
AMK kits are carefully designed, but you’ll still want to review everything inside to make sure you’re not allergic to any of the medications. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the expiration dates so that you can swap any expired materials before you head out. Many of us store our AMK kits in our cars and they’re designed to handle temperature swings. But if possible, store your kit in your house so that it’s not getting roasted in the summer and frozen in the winter.

*Heritage Driven does not receive compensation for promoting products featured on our social media channels or newsletters.

Other Resources 
We don’t have space to go into all the other gear you’ll need to take when overlanding, but there are tons of great resources online. If you want to dial in your recovery gear and other emergency supplies (including water purification) check out this extremely comprehensive post from Overland Journal.  We will, of course, continue to highlight gear we love and use in our monthly Field Journal so stay tuned.

Finally, we highly recommend carrying a satellite communicator like the inReach Mini 2 that allows you to text from nearly anywhere on the planet. You can also use it to leave a digital breadcrumb trail so your friends and family can see where you are at all times. As a final resort, it has a button that immediately calls in an emergency response team to your location.