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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So today i crashed, washed out going too fast on loose rock over hard on an unfamiliar trail. I was about 3 miles from the nearest trailhead and 6 miles from my truck. It was not a fun ride out but i made it. 5 stitches in knee, 3 in elbow. It was almost a lot worse so i am taking stock to be more thoroughly prepared in the future. Here are my thoughts:

1. need new knee pads asap.My old worn ones slid down during the crash.

2. Might be time to start riding with elbow protection. Maybe something i can strap to the bike and wear for the fast decents (i get too hot very easily)

3. Damn good thing i had 2 small gauze rolls or blood loss would have been a concern. But should bring a more in the future (almost didn’t have enough). I stashed them in my crank axle which i thought was clever but it was a little tricky to remove, especially while injured.

4. Bring sat texter on every ride. Even the short ones on “busy” days (I skipped carrying it today since most of the mtn has cell service. I didn’t have service where i crashed but luckily was able to self extract

5. really gotta remember to ride gnar trails I don’t know well a little slower.

6. other years I relied on my fishing license for rescue insurance but didn’t buy one this year. Need to compare what it covers with other forms of rescue insurance

7. also really gotta get back out there (albeit a bit more prepared) in 8+ days when yhe stitches are out.

Anyone else have emergency kit or general strategies to share?
 

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So today i crashed, washed out going too fast on loose rock over hard on an unfamiliar trail. I was about 3 miles from the nearest trailhead and 6 miles from my truck. It was not a fun ride out but i made it. 5 stitches in knee, 3 in elbow. It was almost a lot worse so i am taking stock to be more thoroughly prepared in the future. Here are my thoughts:

1. need new knee pads asap.My old worn ones slid down during the crash.

2. Might be time to start riding with elbow protection. Maybe something i can strap to the bike and wear for the fast decents (i get too hot very easily)

3. Damn good thing i had 2 small gauze rolls or blood loss would have been a concern. But should bring a more in the future (almost didn't have enough). I stashed them in my crank axle which i thought was clever but it was a little tricky to remove, especially while injured.

4. Bring sat texter on every ride. Even the short ones on "busy" days (I skipped carrying it today since most of the mtn has cell service. I didn't have service where i crashed but luckily was able to self extract

5. really gotta remember to ride gnar trails I don't know well a little slower.

6. other years I relied on my fishing license for rescue insurance but didn't buy one this year. Need to compare what it covers with other forms of rescue insurance

7. also really gotta get back out there (albeit a bit more prepared) in 8+ days when yhe stitches are out.

Anyone else have emergency kit or general strategies to share?
I skipped knee pads completely until recently. Had a crash where it was pure blind luck it was only moderate bruising... could have easily been a break or stitches. I also knew better and just never did it. You've reminded me to get a first aid kit. I do take a Garmin InReach with me (and usually have it on and tracking), and usually take bear spray (likely unnecessary). I have a bell hanging on my pack just in case, mostly so hikers get a heads up (though I always offer them the trail, up or down if they haven't already stepped off)

I think you're better than most. Navigation stuff would help... you mentioned a satellite device already though. If I'm hung somewhere new I might take a compass in case the Garmin dies. If it gets cold where you ride I'd recommend a space blanket and maybe waterproof matches/firestarter depending on how far out you get. If you're in a hunting area in season wear orange and maybe avoid the busiest hunting days. Maybe a Clif bar or something in case you're stuck or walking for a long time.

Depends on how you pack too though and how far out you are (sounds far enough it's a major consideration though). I'm a die hard camelbak user (technically now an Osprey) so I have room, and can go a few miles or more without seeing another trail user, sometimes without cell reception.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I skipped knee pads completely until recently. Had a crash where it was pure blind luck it was only moderate bruising... could have easily been a break or stitches. I also knew better and just never did it. You've reminded me to get a first aid kit. I do take a Garmin InReach with me (and usually have it on and tracking), and usually take bear spray (likely unnecessary). I have a bell hanging on my pack just in case, mostly so hikers get a heads up (though I always offer them the trail, up or down if they haven't already stepped off)

I think you're better than most. Navigation stuff would help... you mentioned a satellite device already though. If I'm hung somewhere new I might take a compass in case the Garmin dies. If it gets cold where you ride I'd recommend a space blanket and maybe waterproof matches/firestarter depending on how far out you get. If you're in a hunting area in season wear orange and maybe avoid the busiest hunting days. Maybe a Clif bar or something in case you're stuck or walking for a long time.

Depends on how you pack too though and how far out you are (sounds far enough it's a major consideration though). I'm a die hard camelbak user (technically now an Osprey) so I have room, and can go a few miles or more without seeing another trail user, sometimes without cell reception.

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Great thoughts, thanks. I am loving ditching the pack after 20+ years wearing one (again, i sweat too much in all weather conditions) so i need to get creative with mounting a few more 1st aid items. Probably will go under the seat. For winter riding, I usually mount a handlebar pack for extra layers. Space blanket is a good suggestion I'll take on as well.
 

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Damn good thing i had 2 small gauze rolls or blood loss would have been a concern.
If 2 small gauze rolls stopped the bleeding, you would not have suffered terrible deficits from the blood loss. But yes, it's good to have something with which to apply pressure.

I have a personal locator beacon (ResQLink) for when I do long solo hikes. Biking, I usually just take my phone, but longer days I carry the PLB.

I carry a very minimal first aid kit, and it's only for life-threatening instances. It packs small and includes just a tourniquet, latex gloves, a bit of hemostatic gauze, and a pressure bandage. I figure anything less serious than that is either going to be a walk-out (albeit unpleasant) or a broken bone requiring extrication. In that case, there's not much I could carry that would be helpful anyway.

I don't mean to sound like Ron Swanson, it's just that if you're out mountain biking you should expect scrapes and bruises sometimes, so I don't carry band-aids and stuff like that, just in the interest of keeping pack bulk and weight minimal. (Nothing wrong with carrying band-aids, though! Whatever keeps you comfortable and you're willing to carry is exactly what you should carry).

Our local volunteer fire department does on-mountain rescues on our trails, and they don't charge for them, so I guess I'm lucky not to have to consider insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If 2 small gauze rolls stopped the bleeding, you would not have suffered terrible deficits from the blood loss. But yes, it's good to have something with which to apply pressure.

I have a personal locator beacon (ResQLink) for when I do long solo hikes. Biking, I usually just take my phone, but longer days I carry the PLB.

I carry a very minimal first aid kit, and it's only for life-threatening instances. It packs small and includes just a tourniquet, latex gloves, a bit of hemostatic gauze, and a pressure bandage. I figure anything less serious than that is either going to be a walk-out (albeit unpleasant) or a broken bone requiring extrication. In that case, there's not much I could carry that would be helpful anyway.

I don't mean to sound like Ron Swanson, it's just that if you're out mountain biking you should expect scrapes and bruises sometimes, so I don't carry band-aids and stuff like that, just in the interest of keeping pack bulk and weight minimal. (Nothing wrong with carrying band-aids, though! Whatever keeps you comfortable and you're willing to carry is exactly what you should carry).

Our local volunteer fire department does on-mountain rescues on our trails, and they don't charge for them, so I guess I'm lucky not to have to consider insurance.
Yeah bandaids are certainly pointless (unless they give peace of mind.) i started riding back without the gauzeat first and the level of bleeding was scaring me,especially knowing i had an hour ride back (my glove was getting drenched in blood ). I've never dealt with actual significant blood loss but it was a good wake up call. For anyone who says just tear off part of your shirt, sure it is an emergency tactic but i would have definitely struggled to do that effectively, especially while injured, plus id rather carry a wrap than destroy my beloved riding jersey!
 

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Definitely good to have guase/wrap etc and a decent first aid kit. Not only to hopefully stop bleeding, but to keep it somewhat clean as you get back to vehicle to go get stitches.

I took a branch to the arm at speed(hard enough to put me OTB. 6 stichers iirc, didn't bleed much but was a huge chunk of skin hanging open. Was glad I could wrap it up(well my friends got me wrapped up)

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Might be a few takeaways in here:


Note that sat texting capability is coming to the iPhone 13, to be unveiled this week. I say capability because while the hardware may be there, the software may not be until next year:
  • Satellite features: The most significant addition to the iPhone 13 might be one that won't be ready until next year: the ability to connect to satellite networks. While the hardware for such functionality could be technically present inside the new devices, don't expect software support to arrive until at least next year. These won't be true satellite phones, either, to be clear. You'll gain the ability to send emergency texts and SOS distress signals, not call your best friend from the top of a mountain.

Apart from sat texting, I enrolled my daughter and I in a wilderness first aid training course.
 

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It sounds as if the OP would have initiated a rescue if able.

Is that correct?
I didn't necessarily read it that way; sounded more like it was a wake-up call to be prepared in case something more serious happened.

Calling for a rescue when you can perfectly well walk or ride out and aren't in any danger of life threats (severe bleeding, anaphylaxis, cardiac event, eg.) is the kind of thing that prompts rescue agencies to start charging money and taking legal action against "victims."

But there's another, more important consideration; it can cut way down on the number of people willing to give their time to be part of the agencies that conduct rescues.

I'm a member of the local volunteer fire department that handles most rescues on the mountain in our town where people hike, mtb, backcountry ski, etc. If you call 911 to be helped off the mountain, a lot of people are going to leave work, get out of bed, leave their families, and put down other obligations to make a tremendous effort to help you. In our town, all of those people are volunteers. We are happy to do it and we are good at it; it's what we give up our time to train for and we all have a strong sense of service to our community. And if you were injured because you hiked a summit trail in flip-flops with no water, we won't judge or resent you, we'll try to educate you.

But if you call us and mobilize 18 people to drop everything, gear up, and move up the mountain to help you, you had better need help. We don't see a high volume of rescues in a given year, maybe half a dozen of varying severity. But it just takes one or two fakers or hypochondriacs to really damage morale. If we get to you and find that you were just tired and didn't "feel" like getting down the trail on your own, or you had some bad cuts and suddenly didn't want to mountain bike any more, that's the kind of stuff that makes people stop coming to training, stop giving their time willingly and gladly to rescues, and diminishes the resources available when people actually do need help.

I know I'm 100% preaching to the choir on this site, but maybe the volunteer aspect is something we could talk about more, instead of/in addition to the monetary expense of rescues.
 

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the heat thing is a big part of the reason I haven't been wearing armor. under no circumstances will I be climbing with armor. should I get some that I can put on for the descent? probably. especially if I'm solo.

yeah, my first aid kit mostly consists of gauze and wraps and such for more significant bleeding, immobilizing something like you might need after a broken collarbone, or just wrapping up something that's exposed to help keep it clean-ish. I do keep a bit of moleskin in there, because that stuff can make a huge difference in comfort level if there's some odd rubbing somewhere that's causing problems. benadryl for allergic reactions. it's not really potent enough for anaphylactic reactions, but it could reduce severity just enough to buy a little time. Mostly, though, that's another comfort thing in the event of a painful bee sting.

I definitely do take it easier on rowdy trails when I'm solo. there are a couple trails out my way that I won't ride at all if I'm solo. and a bunch of features that I'll walk or take the easy line if I'm solo. riding things more slowly when solo is a little more difficult. really, it's more of a go/no go decision for me.

I put some of my other thoughts in the other thread that I won't bother repeating here regarding training and sat messengers and such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It sounds as if the OP would have initiated a rescue if able.
No, I wouldn't have in this case. I managed to get out. Could have done 3 miles to the nearest trailhead to seek help but opted to do an additional 3 (easy) miles to get to my truck since i could do it and also figured it would be the quickest and easiest way to resolve the injury. That was however the closest i have come to needing a rescue ao taking it as a wakeup call to be even better prepared in the future.

I put some of my other thoughts in the other thread that I won't bother repeating here regarding training and sat messengers and such.
I appreciate your input and agree on getting too hot to climb in a bunch of armor. Will probably strap the elbow guards to the bike for the climbs. And yeah, didn't want to rehash that sat thread but wanted to dive deeper on med kit etc… I purchased a few seatbags last night and will be filling each with coban or gauze wraps, gauze pads, benadryl, some kind of sling…
 

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wanted to dive deeper on med kit etc… I purchased a few seatbags last night and will be filling each with coban or gauze wraps, gauze pads, benadryl, some kind of sling…
I even have a packet of quick clot that I'll carry. it looks like they make gauze pads impregnated with the stuff now. I've talked to some guides who used to avoid it as being overkill, but after a particularly nasty trauma response (where they didn't have any), decided it was worthwhile later on. so I decided to carry some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I even have a packet of quick clot that I'll carry. it looks like they make gauze pads impregnated with the stuff now. I've talked to some guides who used to avoid it as being overkill, but after a particularly nasty trauma response (where they didn't have any), decided it was worthwhile later on. so I decided to carry some.
Awesome tip thanks. I was very surprised the gash in my knee (a few inches long, exposed but didnt damage muscle according to the NP) didnt bleed a lot worse. The possibility of a worse event definitely makes me want to carry that. It used to be easy to carry a robust med kit in an old nalgene in my kayak. Definitely want up the bike safety game. Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What works remarkably well with a wound is duct tape. It is available in small travel size rolls and I know first hand how well it works.
I used to wrap some around my handlebar but it got nasty looking, then went around the mini pump. Went so long without using it i stopped carrying it but duct tape could definitely save you ass in an emergency.
 

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Regarding your point about pads.

As a fellow “exceptionally warm” person, I’d say check out the Leatt Airflex elbow pads.

I’ve ridden with them on (including the climbs) on rides up to ~103f. And honestly, once I put them on, I literally don’t think about them until I take them off at the end of the ride.

Also, I’ve got a pair of their armored chamois. It’s got a light set of pads right over the hip socket, and again, they are not noticeable until you hit the deck.

Just throwing those out there in case you’re still looking for some unobtrusive armor to wear on every ride.
 

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Most of the trails I ride I know, so I don't need any navigation. For new areas, I study the map before hand, to understand the landscape and be able to orient myself and get out if necessary. An old habit from navigating pre smartphone era.

I also make sure I start every ride with the phone at 100% charge, unless it's a short fitness ride. And a phone model with good battery life. Some google phones could barely finish a day of riding with just strava and nothing else running.

Realistically, if you have a charged phone and a map app (best is trailforks) there is little justification for a dedicated GPS or a paper map, except that they are less fragile than a phone. Which I take care of by putting the phone in a frame bag, so it's pretty difficult to get hit. Never in a pocket.

Always have the map of the ride area downloaded at home, which apps like trailforks do by default anyways. But say google maps, you have to do it yourself.
 

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So today i crashed, washed out going too fast on loose rock over hard on an unfamiliar trail. I was about 3 miles from the nearest trailhead and 6 miles from my truck. It was not a fun ride out but i made it. 5 stitches in knee, 3 in elbow. It was almost a lot worse so i am taking stock to be more thoroughly prepared in the future. Here are my thoughts:

1. need new knee pads asap.My old worn ones slid down during the crash.

2. Might be time to start riding with elbow protection. Maybe something i can strap to the bike and wear for the fast decents (i get too hot very easily)

3. Damn good thing i had 2 small gauze rolls or blood loss would have been a concern. But should bring a more in the future (almost didn’t have enough). I stashed them in my crank axle which i thought was clever but it was a little tricky to remove, especially while injured.

4. Bring sat texter on every ride. Even the short ones on “busy” days (I skipped carrying it today since most of the mtn has cell service. I didn’t have service where i crashed but luckily was able to self extract

5. really gotta remember to ride gnar trails I don’t know well a little slower.

6. other years I relied on my fishing license for rescue insurance but didn’t buy one this year. Need to compare what it covers with other forms of rescue insurance

7. also really gotta get back out there (albeit a bit more prepared) in 8+ days when yhe stitches are out.

Anyone else have emergency kit or general strategies to share?
BleedStop is a great item to have since I typically can't carry enough gauze for a serious wound. I keep a small packet in my steerer tube with some disinfectant and gauze. I recently had a bad hand injury that wouldn't stop gushing blood until I used the BleedStop, and would have made it almost impossible to ride out the remaining 3 miles if I hadn't had it. I think this is an essential item.
 
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