When you are moto traveling, it’s a good idea to have some resources on hand should an emergency arise. This is especially true if you are riding far from home or are riding solo. While some of us do carry emergency supplies, the majority of us likely don’t.
Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t is trying to decide what we need to put into an emergency kit. We also have to address things like how much space we should give up and how the items will be stored.
Everyone that travels to out of the way places should carry some sort of emergency first aid kit. But should we be taking more? Space is limited on bikes, so other than a few band-aids and gauze and the like, should we carry more emergency first aid and survival equipment?
While putting together an emergency kit isn’t rocket science, it’s something that can be somewhat complex depending on whether you are riding alone or with someone, how far away medical services are, and the types of riding we intend to do.
The things I think about in order are:
- Emergency first aid
- Survival tools
Necessary emergency supplies?
What equipment to take along is a personal one. From my perspective, the further away from civilization and help, along with the difficulty of anticipated terrain, the more necessary emergency supplies become. For example, let’s say you are riding solo on one of the Backcountry Discovery Routes, the Trans America Trail (TAT), the Trans Euro Trail (TET), or other similar “adventure” trails on day trips.
While riding solo, you fall off and damage both yourself and your machine. Your injuries could be minor or major, but your bike is no longer operable. It’s many miles to any medical or mechanical assistance. Now’s not the time to be wondering what you should have brought along to keep yourself alive until help arrives. Even if you have a satellite messenger, it could be a long wait. Since you were planning day trips, you didn’t bring along much in the line of survival equipment.
Could you have packed a survival kit? One that would have first aid supplies, shelter, and tools. All without taking up a large amount of space or adding lots of weight? I find that the answer to that question is yes.
Several companies provide thoughtful survival kits. And, they can be packaged pretty well to ensure that the contents stay dry and take up as little space as possible.
One of those companies is called Survive Outdoors Longer (yes, that’s SOL for short). They offered to send me some of their survival supplies for free to evaluate, and I gladly accepted. What arrived was a mixture of first aid, shelter and survival tools all packaged in an approximately 7″ X 8″ box. All of the pictures here are examples of what you can get in pre-made survival gear.
Here’s what they sent me:
- Their Sportsman 100 first aid kit with supplies rated by SOL to last two people, four days. The kit comes in a seam-sealed waterproof nylon zip bag with a waterproof zipper. Inside the kit are supplies for cuts and scrapes, wound care and blisters, a mixture of over the counter medications, first aid tools, a trauma pad for bleeding, nitrile gloves, and a first aid manual. All up, the kit measures approximately 6.75″ L X 5″ W X 2″ H and weighs 6.7 ounces.
- An SOL Emergency Shelter Kit. The kit contains an emergency lean-to shelter with four aluminum stakes, four reflective cord tensioners, and a 25 mil heavy duty 60″ X 90″ waterproof emergency cover. You can use the cover as a roof or blanket. It comes in a waterproof ziplock bag that measures approximately 6″ L X 4.5″ W X 2.25″ H and weighs 8.9 ounces.
- Their Emergency Bivvy, a windproof and waterproof one person enclosure (that you can get inside like a mummy bag) packaged in a waterproof and windproof round nylon bag. It measures approximately 3″ L X 3″ W X 3″ H and, according to my postal scale, weighs 3.7 ounces.
- Finally, they sent their Origin survival kit. The contents are enclosed in an ABS plastic case reinforced with 30% fiberglass. The case itself is waterproof. Inside the front of the case is a small signaling mirror with a sighting hole that measures approximately 3″ L X 2″ W. Inserted into the outside of the back of the case are some tools. Locked by a small switched are a folding knife with an integrated whistle, a Fire Lite™ sparker to start a fire, and a small compass. In addition to these tools, inside, you will find four Fire Lite™ briquets, four Tinder Quik, aluminum foil, 10 feet (3 meters) of braided nylon cord, 6 feet (1.8 meters) of stainless steel wire, and a fishing and sewing kit.
Taking up space and adding weight?
All of these supplies can be helpful in an emergency and could potentially save your life in survival situations. Do you have to have all of them on a day trip or an around the world ride? That’s up to you. But SOL’s kits showed me that you could get quite a bit of survival gear into a small package. And that you don’t need to take up a huge amount of space or add a lot of weight to your backpack or your panniers. And that’s the point of this article. To get you to think about taking along the kinds of emergency supplies that you think are appropriate for your kind of riding.
Be safe and have fun!