2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – September 2011

Saving Lives: Medical MacGyvers

Use what you have at any given moment to alleviate a medical emergency in the backcountry.

by: Steve Howe


Medical MacGyvers


stop bleeding

>> Apply direct, firm pressure with a bulky dressing and the heel of your gloved hand for 10 to 20 minutes.

>> Tie a wide, flat wrap around the wound to keep pressure. Knot it directly over the dressing.

>> If possible, elevate the wound above heart level.

>> Apply pressure to the nearest supply artery: the upper arm (brachial), leg (femoral), or knee (popliteal).

>> Promote clotting: Keep the victim still and leave wound-contacting padding in place.

>> Last resort: Tighten a wide-bandage tourniquet above the wound. Loosen hourly to check for clotting and limit application to six hours.


Close an open wound

>> Clean and dry the injury.

>> Use adhesive strips to pull skin together: Adhere two strips simultaneously to either side of the wound and pull them across the cut, closing the skin. Strips should be one half-inch apart.

>> Reinforce strips and cover the wound with antibiotic ointment and a clean, dry dressing.

>> Don’t close these wound types: gaping, infected, or open for 18 hours or more.


Soothe burns

>> Remove hot/burning material.

>> Flush with cool water for at least 10 minutes. Do not use ice.

>> Leave blisters intact; disinfect and treat wounded skin to prevent infection and fluid loss.

>> Hydrate the patient; dehydration is a complicating side effect.

>> Give anti-inflammatories.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Dec 28, 2011

invest in a first aid and cpr class.

Dec 21, 2011

I've led wilderness trips for years, and recently joined the marine corps reserve. What we do in the corps is always put a tourniquet on if in doubt, and write on their forehead "T time / date". Sharpie on the forehead will leave little doubt when the tourniquet is applied. Don't remove it, but get to a hospital ASAP.

Oct 09, 2011

If you know your going to be rescued, you can keep a tourniquet on for over 12hrs up to 18. Just make sure you remember the time applied. Toxins will build at the sight of the tourniquet and if you release it all at once, it can cause the heart to fail.

Combat medic
Sep 30, 2011

If you place a tourniquet on a patient, you can loosen it every two to four hours, but never remove it completely.

Combat medic
Sep 30, 2011

If you place a tourniquet on a patient, you can loosen it every two to four hours, but never remove it completely.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Now Maryland?!
Posted On: Apr 18, 2014
Submitted By: Old Frank
Back Up Stove
Posted On: Apr 18, 2014
Submitted By: Starbreaker

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions