Expedition Medical Chests

Over our years of adventure on land and sea, we have been through quite a few medical kits… and too often found the contents inadequate, confusing, or water-damaged when actually needed. In the process of outfitting Nomadness for global voyaging, we were surprised to find a shortage of ER-grade, environmentally sealed products anywhere within our price range. This led directly to the development of a new product line.

Our gasketed polycarbonate medical chests come in three sizes (details below)

The Expedition Medical Chest series was a collaborative effort between a sailor and a nurse… with the former thinking of ease of use at sea, and the latter focusing on the supplies and techniques familiar from years of dealing with emergency wound care. Packaged in a gasketed Lexan box, these kits can survive boarding waves, getting kicked around in a dinghy, or the abuse of being buried under a mountain of gear. The contents are generous, and are the kinds of items you’d discover by snooping in the supply cabinets of an emergency room. And this is not just for boats… it’s reassuring to have a sealed wound care kit post-disaster, or when your priorities have suddenly shifted from comfort to survival.

Solid packaging and robust supplies are just the start. A huge part of the process of handling a medical emergency is informational; most of us are not experts in the field, and start Googling or thumbing through field medical guides with one hand while trying to stop blood with the other. Encyclopedic fine-print, however accurate, doesn’t address the “yikes, what do I do now?” situation.

To address this, we have published a little lay-flat book that is included with each kit, clearly explaining the basic steps that are necessary in any wound-care situation:

  • Stop the bleeding
  • Cleaning and treatment
  • Closure
  • Dressing
  • Assessment and follow-up

Each phase is clearly explained with reference to the specific supplies in the kit (which are arranged in a logical sequence, and clustered in internal bags). Additional sections address the special considerations of abrasions, puncture wounds, and burns… followed by a simple description of each item in the kit, and why it is included. This helps you address situations that don’t lend themselves to a straightforward procedural approach.

There is also something that we feel should become a routine on every boat… keeping a medical logbook. We have one for our engines; why not our bodies? If a crew member is injured and handed off to a shore-side physician, the first question is going to be, “what treatment have you attempted so far?” A medical log answers this, while helping track the consumption of supplies. Our book includes a few blank pages intended to encourage such record-keeping, and suggests the later addition of a dedicated notebook for more space (though we hope you never need it!).

Our flagship kit is the Wounds & Burns module in a gasketed Lexan case, with pricing set at $109. Why? That’s almost exactly the retail price of box and contents… but from us you also get the selection, organization, a book keyed to the supplies, and so on… without the hassles of researching supplies, individually tracking down sources, and paying shipping/tax from multiple vendors. We also offer a scaled-down Mini Kit for smaller boats and day sailing… still packed with professional goodies in a gasketed Lexan box, but at half the price ($54). Smaller still is the Patch Kit at $27, suitable for kayaking or permanent stowage in the dinghy.

The following sections detail the three kits, which all share the same bombproof gasketed Lexan packaging but differ in scale. If you are buying multiple kits and we can combine shipping (hard to incorporate into the shopping cart system), we will refund any excess postage so you pay actual cost only. The server has a bad habit of treating every item as its own parcel, so please don’t worry if the final shipping amount is unreasonable on orders for more than one item… we’ll fix it! Orders for 2 large, one of each size, or a few other combinations have all been traveling in a single box.

(Also, if you’re local to the San Juan Islands and wish to pick up your order instead of having it shipped, please contact me.)

Wounds & Burns – Large – $109.00 → Add to Cart

The flagship of the Expedition Medical Chest series is focused specifically on wound care. The gasketed Lexan box contains the following items…

10 – non-latex gloves
1 – mask
25 – gauze (4” x 4”) sponges
2 – large (8” x 10”) abdominal (ABD) dressings
5 – fingertip bandaids
5 – knuckle bandaids
20 – 1” x 3” stretch fabric bandaids
1 – roll 1” micropore paper tape
2 – 100ml bottles of sterile saline
1 – 12ml syringe for wound flushing
10 – packets triple antibiotic ointment
1 – pack of 10 3M Steri-strips for wound closure
6 – Betadine iodine swabs
20 – alcohol wipes
5 – Telfa (3” x 4”) non-adherent dressings
2 – 2.25” x 3 yd roll Kerlix gauze
2 – eye pads
1 – roll 3” x 5 yd roll Coban wrap
3 – burn gel packets
1 – instant ice pack
1 – disposable razor
5 – food-grade 3-mil zip bags (write on) for your medications

Plus an informative instruction booklet (with log pages), explaining the key steps in wound treatment as well as elaborating on each of the items above and how they are used. This kit is 11 x 9 x 5 inches and weighs about 4 pounds.

Mini Module – Medium – $54.00 → Add to Cart

After introducing the large kit above, we began receiving inquiries from folks with smaller boats… or who were off on more local adventures. Do we have a scaled down version? The Mini Kit contains most of the elements of the large one, but with lower quantities. You can see the size difference in the photo at the top of this page… the Mini is sitting on top of the large Wounds & Burns kit. Here’s what’s inside:

10 – gloves
1 – mask
10 – gauze (4” x 4”) sponges
5 – Telfa (3” x 4”) non-adherent dressings
1 – pack Steri-strips
5 – packets of triple antibiotic ointment
1 – disposable razor
1 – bottle sterile saline
1 – 12ml syringe for wound flushing
1 – roll 1″ Micropore tape
10 – 1” x 3” stretch fabric bandaids
5 – fingertip bandaids
5 – knuckle bandaids
3 – Betadine swabs
10 – alcohol wipes
2 – burn gel packets
3 – food-grade 3-mil zip bags (write on) for your medications
1 – 2.25” x 3 yd roll Kerlix gauze
1 – roll 3” x 5 yd roll Coban wrap

Because of the smaller case, the 8″ X 5.5″ book does not fit inside. I find this a little less convenient, but then, I have a 44′ boat! If space is at a premium and you are not heading off across oceans, the Mini Kit (at half the price) may be for you. This kit is 8 x 6.5 x 4 inches.

Patch Kit – Small – $27.00 → Add to Cart

Cutting the price in half again (but keeping the robust packaging), we have a little “human patch kit” suitable for kayaks and dinghies. This one, on top in the comparison photo above, contains:

6 – gloves
1 – mask
1 – roll 3” x 5 yd roll Coban wrap
1 – 2.25” x 3 yd roll Kerlix gauze
1 – roll 1″ Micropore tape
1 – 12ml syringe for wound flushing
3 – Telfa (3” x 4”) non-adherent dressings
5 – gauze (4” x 4”) sponges
1 – pack Steri-strips
3 – Betadine swabs
6 – alcohol wipes
1 – burn gel packet
3 – fingertip bandaids
3 – knuckle bandaids
5 – 1” x 3” stretch fabric bandaids
3 – packets of triple antibiotic ointment

This kit is approximately 7 x 5 x 3.5 inches, and does not include the book.

Contents Only – Large – $70.00 → Add to Cart

Finally, in response to requests from folks who are interested in alternative packaging for tighter spaces (like tucking a medical pouch inside a survival backpack), we offer all the contents of the Wounds and Burns kit but without the gasketed polycarbonate box. The price is $39 less, and everything else is the same. For any harsh-environment application (which is what a calm domestic environment can become after a disaster), we really do recommend sealed packaging, however… I’ve had medical supplies get ruined by long-term exposure to humidity! The boxed kits above are most likely to keep the contents well-protected until you need them, but if you prefer another packaging method, the contents of our large kit are available separately for your convenience.

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All three kits were designed by Kirsten Hansen, a nurse with over 20 years of experience. Packaging and integration are by Steven Roberts, who lives aboard a 44′ steel sailboat named Nomadness and has spent 30 years building technomadic systems.

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One Response to Expedition Medical Chests

  1. Charlotte says:

    These are fantastic!! Will be grabbing a couple before we head to the South Pacific. Budgeting for it now!

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