Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel Review
Cons: Carrying case is organized but not user-friendly, limited versatility
Manufacturer: Adventure Medical Kits
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Our Analysis and Test Results
While on a trip far from home, whether it is in the USA or abroad, you want to have the necessary tools to handle a minor injury or illness. At home, you have the luxury of a cabinet full of first aid supplies and a clinic or hospital that is readily accessible. On a long trip, however, you can't always assume that medical attention or pharmaceutical supplies will be close at hand, so carrying a small first aid kit is smart traveling. The AMK Smart Travel kit does a good job of keeping those necessary items close at hand, and gives you a few extra handy tools to keep you safe and healthy while on your trip.
Like all of the first aid kits in the Adventure Medical Kits series, we are impressed with the overall quality of the included supplies in the Smart Travel kit. AMK sources all of their first aid kit supplies from a reputable overseas supplier, and we have never been apprehensive about using them in all of the years we have been reviewing AMK kits. Over the counter medications are clearly labeled and individually packaged, and bandages and other wound care pads are sealed and sterile. We weren't disappointed with any of the included items during use.
The quality of the carrying case, however, is lesser than we expected. After reviewing other kits by AMK, we were let down slightly to find pouches that barely fit their intended supplies and a clasp-closure system that did not allow the kit to seal fully. There are also no scissors included. This exclusion is understandable, though, as these are frequently confiscated at airport security, and not all travelers decide to check a bag, especially if traveling light or for a short trip. If you do decide to travel with a checked bag, though, consider adding a pair of trauma scissors after-market.
While many of the small, lightweight first aid kits we reviewed for backpacking purposes would work adequately for a travel kit, the AMK Smart Travel kit includes many items useful for the international traveler that others lack. Illness while traveling is a source of despair; while stuck on a South American long-distance bus or a European train ride a bout of gastrointestinal distress could be challenging, so it is nice to see medications for dehydration and antidiarrheals included. The oral rehydration salts are especially helpful to have on hand as it can be tough when traveling in remote regions to find the resources to help you deal with the effects of traveler's sickness.
The 220-page medical handbook also gives information on injuries and ailments if you are not near an Internet connection. Another nice feature is a visual aid guide, which provides a means of communication with medical providers at clinics or hospitals if there is a language barrier present.
The carrying case provided to house the contents of the AMK Smart Travel kit is made of heavy-duty nylon denier fabric which will do a great job of resisting abrasion while on the go and living out of a backpack or luggage. As usual, the included supplies that Adventure Medical Kits uses are of good quality and while refillable, they should not be expected to degrade like other poor quality supplies we have found in other first aid kits.
The kit itself left a little bit to be desired. We felt that it did not have enough space, forcing us to cram the contents in a way that made them show wear even after our limited testing period. The lack of zippered exterior closure means that the contents are relatively exposed, so even a spilled bottle of water inside of your backpack may leak into the kit. We would recommend sealing each group of supplies in individual ziplock bags, and perhaps even placing the entire kit into a large ziplock for added protection.
This first aid kit is quite specifically designed for travelers but suits anyone who is looking for a top-shelf compact first aid for their car, boat or RV. While small, it offers some implements like a disposable thermometer, medications for an illness, and treatments for an injury that will prove effective for anyone needing to provide immediate medical care before reaching a medical facility if the issue is serious. We really like that it is able to be hung from a door in your hostel or hotel, even on the seatback while on a bus, train or plane ride.
This is one of the few first aid kits that we have tested that include a patient assessment form, which is a tool that is utilized in medical facilities, and an instruction on how to use it so that you can effectively relate the needs of you or your patient to the care provider. In this age of having ready-access to smartphones, translation may become easier, but having some additional tools to communicate with will make your experience receiving care at an overseas clinic or hospital much easier.
Weight is less of a concern while traveling than while backpacking, yet we still hope to have a compact and lightweight kit. After all, you'll need that space in your luggage for souvenirs from overseas trips. The AMK Smart Travel kit is slim thanks to its tri-fold design, and relatively lightweight at 17 ounces. The included medical book can be removed if not desired, which takes the overall weight of the kit down to 10 ounces, a noticeable difference in weight.
This kit is not inexpensive but it includes many quality supplies, tools, and an informative first aid booklet and communication aid. We feel that for the international traveler that this kit provides good value.
Travel is an exciting and enlightening pursuit, one that is meant to be enjoyable although the unexpected can always (and often does) happen. As you explore new places and try new foods, it is best to be prepared and feel ready for unexpected injuries or illnesses that could befall you or your travel partner. Having the Smart Travel kit in your luggage is a smart choice. Traveling with a first aid kit suited for the excursion helps you feel more confident and lets you focus on enjoying your trip.
— Ryan Huetter