The offseason: Time to check your medical kit

No matter how mellow or intense your river trips are it’s not a matter of if you’ll need a full medical kit but when.

Our family of four and many of our river friends begin planning our overnight river trips in the early spring and we don’t conclude the fun until well after Labor Day. Often the trips are catered to a younger, more family-oriented crew with nothing above a class III rapid at any point in the trip. But that doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong.

In the fall many of us tend to pack things away for the winter and are too excited in the spring to check wear and tear on our gear. Consider a medical kit an important and necessary part of your gear and while you’re at it let this be a reminder to use this winter to go over what you have and to double check that everything works properly in your medical kit.

Typically, I keep bandages close. You know, the ones with a cartoon character on them or some funky bright color. It’s rare that think about needing a complete medical kit let alone check the one I do have in the boat to make sure that nothing is expired or no longer functioning from our dry desert air.

The San Juan River from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, Utah.

Often, I’ll stock up on extra bandages and since I often travel with a pack of young children, I’ll throw in extra liquid ibuprofen along with children’s allergy medicine as well.

Medical kits for river boaters come in all shapes and sizes. You can certainly construct a do-it-yourself version to save some money, or you can purchase one like I have from our friends at NRS. It comes equipped with most of what you’ll need tucked away in a little packable dry bag.

Whatever you end up doing use this off season to stay on top of your safety. You’ll thank yourself next year.

By Josh Duplechian.