Things you don’t realise people need

There’s a bandage commercially available that is really good to carry in a trail first aid kit as your snake bite bandage. It’s called Setopress, and is 10cm wide and 3.5 metres long. It stretches and through that applies compression to the wound or snake bite. I’m not going to give you the current advice on how to treat snake bites, because as time passes the advice changes, and I’m not going to update this post each year. But you can probably guarantee that there will be some sort of compression required.

What makes Setopress particularly good is that if you sprain an ankle or something similar, you’ll want to use compression on the injury site to provide support to the limb.

Setopress bandage with rectangles printed on the bandage to easily work out how much stretching is required to have the bandage applied correctly.

Setopress bandage

You would be concerned about how much pressure you’re applying, and whether you’re completely stopping blood flow to the extremities, and Setopress factor that in with little rectangles printed on the bandage, which, when stretched properly, become squares. Use the green squares if you want to apply 30mmHg of pressure, and the brown squares if you want to apply 40mmHg of pressure. Every other collection of trail runners would buy Setopress just as a cleverly designed compression bandage, but Australians first think of it as a snake bite bandage.

We’re on holiday in Vancouver, and on Sunday we went for a walk down East Broadway from Main Street, where there are loads of outdoor apparel shops. We went into one, and realised it was more of a hiking and mountaineering shop, rather than trail running, but there’s some crossover and we wanted a sticky beak.

That’s where I discovered clotting sponges.

Yesterday, we hiked up the Grouse Grind – I can’t claim I ran it, because 2.55km at 33% took me 1h40m. I hiked.

I spent most of that time almost bent double hoisting my sorry body up this bloody mountainside, occasionally grappling with my hands (hooray for running gloves) at sharp edged granite rocks that served as steps. Occasionally I’d stop and rest, and look around at this gorgeous forest surrounds, breathing hard and leaning on – sometimes clinging to – a tree. It was beautiful, but it was really bloody hard, and I have no great desire to repeat the exercise (there’s a good reason there’s a $15, seven minute gondola ride up Grouse Mountain).

The Grouse Grind was also educational, because I swear to god I nearly fell down the mountain three times, and after the first time I suddenly understood why Vancouver outdoorsy people pack clotting sponges.

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