5 Essential Items To Include In Your Medevac Grab Bag

12 October 2022

In expedition & wilderness medicine, medevac happens when you least expect them.

At very short notice, you might be expected to travel with a sick patient to the nearest health facility that may even involve an international medevac, meaning you might be jumping on a plane and heading overseas.

Join a World Extreme Medicine training course to learn medevac essentials and more! 

It’s important that you’re ready. One way of doing this is to put together a grab bag.

Watch Medical Director, Dr Will Duffin, explain what essential items you should include in your grab bag.

What is Medevac?

Medevac (Medical Evacuation) is the safe transportation of patients who have been injured, to get them to a hospital where they can receive further medical treatment.

In expedition & wilderness medicine a ‘medevac’ will typically occur in a remote and austere environment.

Medevac Grab Bag Essential Items

Here’s Medical Director, Dr Will Duffin’s, essential grab bag list –


Have both bank cards AND plenty of local currency as a backup to cover transportation/accommodation/food costs. Prepared to be away from base for at least a few days.  


Make sure you have at least 6 months left on the expiry date. Keeping a photocopy of your passport in a separate place is always useful in case it ever gets lost. (This makes sourcing a replacement from your embassy much easier).

Notepad & pen

Keeping contemporaneous notes of vital signs, treatments given and the general sequence of events on any medevac is essential for medico-legal reasons. It will also be a useful reference point when you coming to handing your patient over. Consider a waterproof ‘Rite in the Rain’ notepad and pen if you’re likely to be exposed to the elements.

Snacks & bottled water

Look after yourself and not just the patient. Stay fuelled and hydrated. Being hungry and dehydrated is not a recipe for good decision making.

Portable charger & internet dongle

You’re likely to find yourself constantly relaying information with the wider team, including base camp and other assets. Try not to let your primary comms (if it’s a mobile phone) run out of juice!

Further suggestions from the World Extreme Medicine community –

  • Head torch
  • Zip ties
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Tampons
Having your ‘grab bag’ packed and ready to go will release vital bandwidth when you need it most in the event of a medevac. 

Learn more about how to prepare for medevac and expedition & wilderness medicine by joining an extreme medicine training course today.

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