Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: High-quality, well-organized, great first aid book, many supplies and tools
Cons: Bulky, only one pair of gloves
Manufacturer: Adventure Medical Kits
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the Mountain Series Explorer kit while on long-distance ski tours, overnight backpacking and car camping trips, and even on single-day hikes and climbing trips with a large group. We found it to inspire confidence when the potential for one large injury or many small injuries were present, which is why we awarded it our Top Pick for Large Groups.
Featuring the same quality brands of first aid supplies as other AMK branded kits, the Explorer is a notch above the rest when it comes to quality. The kit is durable and hearty, with great internal organization available to keep items separated by injury type.
Medical instruments include trauma-grade shears, small metal tweezers, an irrigation syringe, and safety pins. The athletic tape is the best we have seen in any kit, and enough quantity is supplied to do a full ankle wrap. A range of medications is included in a sealed pouch, which has a 1-year expiration date. There are plenty of Moleskin patches pre-cut in a variety of shapes and sizes, and we really like seeing the vial of benzoin tincture to ensure that they adhere. The booklet that is included in Adventure Medical Kits products, written by an MD with extensive experience in wilderness medicine, and adds even more quality to this product.
We might have preferred to see more waterproof packaging, such as resealable pouches that can keep the bandages and medications from spoiling as we have seen in other heavy-duty kits, and we would recommend doing this. An alternative would be to put the whole kit into a gallon-sized ziplock bag.
Adventure Medical Kits knows what backpackers, hikers, and adventurers need in their first aid kits, and creates them accordingly. We know that when we toss a pre-built first aid kit like the Explorer into our pack that we will be equipped to deal with most common medical emergencies. This kit is well-stocked to take care of usable injuries such as blister and wound care, creating a sling and swath, or taping a severely sprained ankle, and it also is provisioned with a great-than-average number of medications that might help to keep you in the field. Anti-diarrheal, cold and flu, and antihistamine medications are included in addition to ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain and fever relief.
Wound care supplies are of good quantity. We like seeing the CPR mask, and as found in other AMK kits, the 220-page Wilderness Medicine book that is included is a very useful resource. For short trips, we sometimes decided to leave this book behind, in order to save weight, but it is a very handy resource that can answer a lot of the medical questions that can trouble first responders.
A single pair of nitrile gloves are included, which will likely be used up the first time there is any injury or wound in order to maintain body substance isolation. We would like to have more pairs, and in using this kit opted to add in 3 extra pairs, as they are lightweight and make the kits much more useful on a longer trip when multiple treatments may be required.
We really like the Explorer's water-resistant coated nylon case - it keeps many of the elements at bay. Even when it is raining and your pack is getting wet, the contents of the kit stay relatively dry, and they are protected by additional plastic wrapping.
Interior organization makes this one of the most usable kits, as we can get directly into the supplies we need based on the type of injury we are treating so that we do not have to tear through the entire contents to find the wound closure strip we are seeking. First aid kits include many disposable items that have expiration dates, so be sure to check the dates by which you should replace these items. Adventure Medical Kits makes it easy by allowing you to register your kit and reorder supplies as you need them.
The AMK Explorer is designated as a group kit that can supply 4 people for up to 7 days, making this a versatile kit based on the included contents and quantities. It does not occupy a large space, though, so it could easily be thrown into a daypack if you are participating in a sport that might require some heavier trauma supplies on hand, like rock climbing or mountaineering.
Enough equipment is included that this kit can be utilized for everything from small cuts requiring brief treatment to more involved incidents. We appreciate the inclusion of a patient diagnosis form and a pencil to fill it in, which will aid in documenting and communicating your needs with outside rescuers or advanced care should the need arise.
While some first aid kits are more suited for laypersons with very little training, and only feature simple treatments such as small bandages, this kit is equipped with enough material to employ WFR skills such as making a sling and swath or pressure irrigating a wound before closing it.
The AMK Explorer weighs 21 ounces. This is certainly a reasonable weight for a kit of this size. Meant for a group backcountry trip, this is easily absorbed in group gear.
Even on day trips, this is a completely reasonable item to bring along with, although for most day hikers this will feel a bit like overkill if they are only going with one other person. Heavy and bulky items like the wilderness medicine book could be left behind to shave 5 ounces especially if you will not be traveling into a wilderness setting.
For the price, the AMK Explorer is a good value. It costs more than many other budget first aid kits, but has quality supplies, includes many medications and is well-equipped to tackle a weeklong backcountry trip.
We recommend the Adventure Medical Kit Mountain Series Explorer as one of our favorite first aid kits for group use on longer trips. There are plenty of supplies, the contents are quality, it has useful tools and is versatile enough to be used from day hiking and multi-day backpacking trips alike. It was such a favorite amongst the testers, who took it with them on personal trips as well as for testing purposes, that they decided to get one for themselves to use while guiding large groups of guests into remote mountainous areas.
— Ryan Huetter