First Aid is how you take care of yourself. Second Aid is how you take care of others.
Our First and Second Aid Pouches are zippered, clamshell-style organizer pouches. Both feature two interior zippered pockets: a flat one of clear urethane, and a 3D-pleated one that’s made of mesh and divided down the center into two sub-pouches. Two elastic bands along the spine can accommodate an extra pen, pencil or similar item.
Inside, both pouches are the same; outside is a different story: the First Aid Pouch is red; the Second Aid Pouch is blue. Both feature an embroidered white icon for instant recognition as to their mission.
But what matters even more than the pouches themselves is what you carry in them. First Aid is important; being prepared enables you to take care of yourself. And making sure you can take care of yourself means you can then focus on taking care of others, and that's what Second Aid is all about.
The inspiration for the Second Aid pouch came from a climb Tom went on with his good buddy Mark, a doctor. At the trailhead, Tom was considering whether to bring an extra jacket or not; Mark tucked the jacket back into Tom’s pack, noting that even if Tom didn't need the extra jacket, someone they ran into might. “The life you save”, said Mark, “may not be your own”.
After that hike, Tom gradually compiled a kit that now includes, among other things, an extra headlamp, extra energy bars, and an extra pair of warm gloves and a hat—items that, while perhaps not life-saving, could mean the difference between a crummy hike and a comfortable descent to safety.
Discussing the idea of Second Aid further with people here at the factory and our friends and family, we realized we could create Second Aid kits for travel, conferences, and just everyday life: into our Second Aid pouches went painkillers, extra pens, mints, chocolate bars, tea, instant coffee, cash, a small notepad, hand sanitizer. Anything, really, that we could think of that we could offer to a friend or stranger to make their day a little better.
Here's some suggestions for what to pack in your Second Aid pouch:
- Inexpensive headlamp and/or flashlight: getting un-lost, providing first aid, searching for lost car keys or companions—they’re all harder (and even dangerous) in the dark. Don't cheap out too much on the headlamp—thinking you have one and finding it doesn't work is a big drag. Check the batteries regularly. If you can find one with a flashing red safety mode, so much the better. Remember that a headlamp can be held in one's hand, but a flashlight is hard to attach to one's head. Just saying.
- Thin glove liners: cold hands are no fun, but the diminished dexterity that comes along with icy digits can be incapacitating, turning an otherwise helpful person into a useless bystander.
- A very light-weight fleece cap can slow heat loss from one's head and can make a big difference in comfort and safety. A bicycle helmet liner (AKA "skull cap") works great.
Note: while we are all about having the very best of any piece of gear we own, we tend to buy cheap versions of the the above items, on sale when possible. You're likely to never see them again, and they might very well provide their utility in a one-time use.
Also, don't buy black stuff: drop your black gloves in the dark, on a windy mountain top, or on the floor of a parking garage, and they're gone; they’re also harder to find inside your pack or pouch. Bright colors are good, ok?
- Clif Bar or simulacra: some extra, easy-to-digest calories are always good to have, and can turn around a cranky, complaining child (of any age).
- Ibuprofen and/or aspirin: the ability to relieve pain can turn you into an angel, and that's pretty cool.
- Foil-wrapped towelettes: not everyone will agree with this one, but getting cleaned up a bit can be a big attitude changer. And when the chips are down, attitude can be everything.
- $5.00 - $20.00 or the equivalent in your local currency, because sometimes money can solve a problem.
- Tampons. Need we say more?
- A spork.
- Hydration tablets.
- A chocolate bar and/or chocolate-covered espresso beans!
- Notepad and pencil: good to be able to leave a note under a rock at a trail junction, or under a windshield wiper at the trailhead.
- Portable phone charger.
- Duct tape.
- Herbal and homeopathic remedies.
Whatever you carry in your Second Aid kit, we want to see it. Share your photos of Second Aid on Twitter and Instagram #secondaid
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
― Rabindranath Tagore