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Reviews > Health & Safety > First Aid Kits > Adventure Medical Kit Blister Medic Gel > Test Report by Rebecca Stacy

Adventure Medical Kits

GlacierGel Advanced Blister and Burn Dressing and Blister Medic Kits

Initial Report May 5, 2008

Long Term Report August 26 2008

Click here for GlacierGel Initial Report

Click here for GlacierGel Lang Term Report

GlacierGel Kit


Click here for Blister Medic Advanced Blister and Burn Dressing Initial Report

Click here for Blister Medic Advanced Blister and Burn Dressing Long Term Report

BlisterMedic Kit


Reviewer Information
Name: Becki Stacy
Age: 35
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 3" (1.6 m)
Weight: 150 lb (70 kg)
Email address: becki_s_19 at hotmail dot com
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA


Background:
I got bitten by the backpacking bug in 1994 when I was a volunteer at the Grand Canyon. My first backpacking trip was the same week I arrived, with gear borrowed from trail crew supplies. My husband and I enjoy car camping and backpacking, mostly in Michigan. We've pared down our pack weight a bit, switching to a tarptent and smaller/lighter backpacks as part of our effort to re-work our gear list to cut weight without giving up the luxury items we enjoy (such as food that involves more than boiling water).


Basic Product Information
Products: GlacierGel Advanced Blister and Burn Dressing and Blister Medic kits
Manufacturer: Adventure Medical Kits
Manufacturer website: www.adventuremedicalkits.com
Year: 2008
MSRP: GlacierGel $9.90 US, Blister Medic $10.00 US
Listed weight: n/a
Weight, total package: GlacierGel: 1.7 oz (48 g), Blister Medic : 2.35 oz (66 g)
Weight, Zip-top bag and kit contents: GlacierGel: 0.9 oz (25 g), Blister Medic: 1.5 oz (42 g)


GlacierGel Kit - Initial Report

GlacierGelKit


Note: Adventure Medical lists the dimensions in fractions for the Imperial measurements, I have switched it to decimal format for better legibility online).

The kit includes:
3 GlacierGel oval pads 1.75"x3" (44x76mm) [in a 4.13"x2.88" /105x73 m packet]
3 GlacierGel rectangular pads 1"x1.25" (25x32mm) [in a 3.38"x2.25" /86x57 mm packet]
6 Alcohol Wipes [each in a 1.75"x2"/44x50 mm packet]
1 Information/register your kit/emergency medical info card
1 Zip-top storage bag, 4"x6.75" (10.2x17.2 cm)

Weight:
Total Kit, including packaging: Glacier Gel: 1.7 oz (48 g)
Zip-top bag & contents: 0.9 oz (25 g)
GlacierGel oval pad: 0.1 oz (3 g), 0.4 oz (11 g) for all 3
GlacierGel rectangular pad: 0.07 oz (2 g), 0.2 oz (6 g) for all 3
Alcohol prep pad: (0.83 g) average, 0.2 oz (5 g) for all 6*
Info card: 0.03 oz (1 g)
Zip-top bag: 0.1 oz (3 g)
*Note: In this kit I only received five alcohol prep pads. When weighing, I added one pad from the other kit to get the total weight

The GlacierGel kit comes in a polypropylene (at least, that's what the material appears to be) display box that unfolds to show the instructions, a safety tip, and advertising for the S.O.L (Survive Outdoors Longer) Survival Pak, andother Adventure Medical product. The kit itself is about 0.25" (0.6 cm) thick, stuffed safely away in the ziptop bag. The packaging and GlacierGel dressings have instructions in both English and French, while the alcohol prep pads and the kit registration card have only English instructions. The expiration dates on the GlacierGel pads are all January 2011 (over two-and-a-half years from now) and the alcohol pads expire in August 2009 (in about a year and four months). As mentioned above, my kit was short one alcohol prep pad. The instructions on the box and the pads themselves note that I should consult my physician before using this product if I suffer from Diabetes (which I do not).

Initial Impressions:
This appears to be a nice, handy little kit. The size is about perfect for me to stash in an outside pocket of my backpack for easy access, or I could toss it inside my regular first aid kit which consists of a bunch of first-aid supplies organized in small ziptop bags tossed into a large freezer ziptop bag that I store in the top compartment of my pack. I really like the idea that the GlacierGel pads could be used for either blisters or burns. Although I have never burned myself in the backcountry, I always keep burn dressings on hand. The instructions are easy to follow, and are typical of many burn or blister type dressings.

Likes:
Compact, easy to store
GlacierGel pads can be used for either blisters or burns

Dislikes:
Missing 1one alcohol prep pad
BlisterMedic Advanced Blister and Burn Dressing Kit - Initial Report


BlisterMedic Kit

Note: Adventure Medical lists the dimensions in fractions for the Imperial measurements, I have switched it to decimal format for better legibility online.

The kit includes:
1 GlacierGel oval dressing: 1.75"x3" (44x76 mm) [in a 4.13"x2.88" /105x73 mm packet]
1 GlacierGel rectangular dressing: 1"x1.25" (25x32 mm) [in a 3.38"x2.25" /86x57 mm packet]
2 Moleskin Large Ovals 1.75"x3" (44x7 6mm) with a removable center oval [measured: 2.88"x1.63"/73x41 mm, inner oval: 1.44"x0.88"/37x22 mm]
4 Moleskin Ovals 1"x2" (25x50 mm) with a removable center oval [measured: 1.88"x.88"/48x22 mm, inner oval: 0.94"x0.5"/24x13 mm]
4 Moleskin Medium Toe 1"x1.38" (25x34 mm) [measured: same as stated size]
6 Moleskin Small Toe 0.75"x1" (19x25 mm) [measured: same as stated size]
6 Moleskin Small Strip 0.5"x1.38" (13x34 mm) [measured: 0.5"x1.31"/13x33 mm]
6 BZK (Benzalkonuim Chloride) Antiseptic Towelettes [each in a 2"x2.25" /51x57 mm packet]
6 Alcohol Wipes [each in a 1.75"x2"/45x51 mm packet]
1 Zip-top storage bag, 4"x6.75" (10.2x17.2 cm)

Weight:
Total Kit, including packaging: 2.35 oz (66 g)
Zip-top bag & contents: 1.5 oz (42 g)
1 sheet Moleskin: 0.2 oz (6 g), 0.4 oz (12 g) for both
GlacierGel oval dressing: 0.1 oz (3 g)
GlacierGel rectangular dressing: 0.05 oz (1 g)
Alcohol prep pad: (0.83 g) average, 0.2 oz (5 g) for all 6
BZK Antiseptic Towelette: 0.1 oz (3 g) each, 0.6 oz (17 g) for all 6
Zip-top bag: 0.1 oz (3 g)

The Blister Medic kit comes in a polypropylene (at least, that's what the material appears to be) display box that unfolds to show the instructions, a safety tip, and advertising for the S.O.L (Survive Outdoors Longer) Survival Pak, andother Adventure Medical product. The kit itself is about 0.5" (13 mm) thick, stuffed safely away in the ziptop bag. The Moleskin comes on two pads [4.5x3.75" /11.4x9.5 cm each] that are pre-cut with not much wasted space, and the material itself feels somewhat like felt on the side that does not have the adhesive on it. Directions for the BZK (Benzalkonium Chloride) antiseptic towlette, Alcohol prep pads, and GlacierGel pads are printed on the back of their respective packets. The GlacierGel pads have instructions in English and French, while the both the BZK and alcohol pads only have directions in English. Further instructions (in English and French) for the prevention and treatment of blisters are included on the packaging.

The expiration date for the GlacierGel dressings is January 2011 (approximately two-and-a-half years from now), the Alcohol pads expire in August 2009 (about a year and 4 months), and I can't determine the expiration date of the BZK towelettes. The date is printed on the GlacierGel and Alcohol prep pads, but appears to be stamped onto the BZK pads, though on all six pads the imprint is indistinct enough that I can't even determine the year they expire.

Initial Impressions:
This appears to be a handy little blister kit, and like the GlacierGel kit, is the perfect size to stash either inside my regular medical kit or in an easy-to-reach pocket of my pack for easy access. I've used Moleskin before, although the last time I did I had to cut my own dressings. Having pre-cut pieces should come in handy when I start to get a hot spot, though it's not really until I hit the trail that I could tell if the shapes and sizes are a good fit for me.

According to the instructions on the box, the Moleskin is primarily for use on hot spots (areas on my foot where I notice rubbing but a blister has not yet developed) or small, intact blisters. The kit recommends using the GlacierGel for large/ruptured blisters (draining the blister and cutting away loose skin before applying the GlacierGel pad is recommended), but offers an option for using the oval-doughnut Moleskin pieces (more than one layer may be needed to properly protect my foot) to create a protected area around the blister. According to these instructions, I should apply an aloe gel or antibiotic on the blistered area, cover the blister with a non-adherent dressing in the cut-out center, and secure that with adhesive tape. Since the kit does not include the mentioned gels, non-adherent dressing or adhesive tape, I would have to make sure I have those items (or something workable for the situation) in my regular kit if I had to resort to this method of treatment. From looking at the pieces provided, a possible work-around using the kit contents could consist of reversing one of the inner portions of the oval-doughnut pieces (so the felt side is facing the blister) and securing it with another piece of Moleskin. The only additional equipment I would need is the ointment, and I always have a tube of antibiotic ointment in my kit anyway.

I'm not much on the medical end of things, so I am a bit confused why there are both alcohol pads and BZK towelettes in the kit. To my basic understanding, either should work well enough to remove any grunge on my foot and to properly sanitize the area before applying a dressing. The instructions on the box do not mention either pad, so I am wondering if what I use is to be left to my preference.

Likes:
Compact, easy to store
Precut Moleskin
Can be used to prevent and treat blisters
GlacierGel pads can be used for either blisters or burns

Dislikes:
Confusion about why there are two different types of cleansing pads
I can't tell when the BZK pads expire.
The kit does not seem truly complete since the instructions mention adhesive tape and to use either aloe gel or antibiotic ointment for treating large/popped blisters with Moleskin, but the kit does not supply any of these items.



This concludes my Initial Reports.
GlacierGel Kit - Long Term Report



GlacierHeel (23K)

I have used the GlacierGel pads on the last 3 days of a 4-night rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon in early June, on a short trek (about 2-2.5 miles/3.2-4 km) in the Zion Canyon Narrows of Zion National Park, and on a small burn that I received from baking at home. On my rim-to-rim hike, the fourth day I backpacked 4.7 miles (7.6 km) with an elevation gain of 1350 feet (411 m), and a final hike out of 4.6 miles (7.4 km) with 3040 feet (927 m) of elevation gain on day five.

GlacierToe (21K)

Fortunately for me, though somewhat unfortunately for this product, I only encountered one actual blister on my trip to the Grand Canyon. This occurred on my third day of the hike, and I noticed it after a dayhike up Phantom Creek a little, about 5 miles (8 m) round trip with an elevation gain/loss of about 300 feet (91 m). I wore Teva sandals (I think Olowahu is the model I have), and a small blister formed on the top of my toe, where two of the straps crossed. When I returned to camp, I applied one of the rectangular pads to my toe. It stayed in place nicely for the remaining two days of my hike (see picture above for the effects of the two days of backpacking wear), two days of touristy activities on the South and North Rim, and into a third day when we hiked the Zion Narrows in the afternoon. The Zion Narrows finally did the GlacierGel pad in. Sometime during the hike in the Virgin River, the pad disintegrated (see picture below). The gel on the pads looks similar in appearance to the gel crystals used in some headbands that absorb water and slowly release it to provide cooling in hot weather. There was quite a mess of little pieces of gel in my sock when I took it off after that hike.

GlacierFailure (31K)

I had also applied an oval pad to my left heel before starting the fourth day of my Grand Canyon trip, to determine how well the pad wore on a part of my foot that received more friction than my toe. It survived nicely for a day and a half, up to 3 Mile Resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail. At that point, I had taken off my boots and socks to let my feet cool when a tourist asked me to take a picture of his family. Being lazy and not wanting to put on my socks and shoes just to take it all off again, I slipped my feet directly into my boots. After I hobbled back to my gear, I found that the pad on my heel had fallen apart. I feel that this is from the pad being in direct and unrestrained contact with my boot, and from the condition the pad was in before I took the tourist's picture I think it would have stood a very good chance of making it those last 3 miles (4.8 km) to the top of the Rim, and probably beyond that.

At home, I bumped into a cookie sheet when I was baking, and got a small burn on my left arm. I dug out the GlacierGel pads to see how well they work as burn dressings, and found that it worked rather nicely, and actually did help soothe my burn. I don't know if it helped speed up healing time, since I don't burn myself often at all.

Conclusions

From using the GlacierGel pads, I have come up with several comments about their use. The size of the gel pad works nicely for blisters and conforms nicely to my typical hot spots, though as a burn dressing is really only effective for small areas. I would still carry one or two of the larger burn dressings I typically have in my first aid kit, even if I had the GlacierGel pads with me. Although they are as comfortable for me to wear as the rubbery-like blister bandages manufactured by major bandage companies and drug stores, the mess factor when they give out is a lot worse, and it would probably be harder for me to make sure I got all the miscellaneous gel pieces when I'm in the backcountry.

The adhesive film that keeps the pads on is very thin, and I have to take great care when positioning it. Once I put the pad on, I can't reposition it, since after the first application the adhesive won't stick anymore. The gel portion of the pad is non-adhesive. Also, due to the nature of the setup, the pad needs to have peel-to-use tabs on both the top and bottom. Although the top of the pad has writing and blue stop signs to warn me not to peel that side first (I need to peel the bottom side first to expose the adhesive, apply the bandage, then peel off the top), I found myself peeling off the wrong side first twice.

Overall, I like the GlacierGel pads and they do work as they are intended to, but due to the issues mentioned above, they would not be my first choice of blister protection.

BlisterMedic Advanced Blister and Burn Dressing Kit - Long Term Report


MoleskinHeelBefore (22K)

I have used the Blister Medic Kit on a four-night rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon in early June. On my rim-to-rim hike, I traveled 6.9 miles(11.1 km) with an elevation loss of 4200 feet (1280 m) the first day, and 7.6 miles (12.2 km) with an elevation loss of 1550 feet (472 m) the second day. The third day I day hiked part of the Clear Creek Trail in the morning, over 6 miles (9.7 km) round trip with an elevation gain and loss of 1520 feet (463 m). The evening of the third day I day hiked up Phantom Creek a little, about 5 miles (8 m) round trip with an elevation gain/loss of about 300 feet (91 m). The fourth day I backpacked 4.7 miles (7.6 km) with an elevation gain of 1350 feet (411 m), and a final hike out of 4.6 miles (7.4 km) with 3040 feet (927 m) of elevation gain on day five.

For the Blister Medic Kit, I will concentrate on the Moleskin pads, since the GlacierGel pads included in this kit are identical to those provided in the GlacierGel kit. The alcohol prep pads and the antiseptic towelettes did a proper job of cleaning my foot before I applied the pads.

Before the first day of hiking, I applied an oval Moleskin pad to my right heel and a comma-shaped pad to the side of my right pinky toe, to see if they would help prevent blisters from forming. I left my left foot untreated for two days as a control. I did not get blisters on either foot (except for the one on the top of my big toe that I treated with a GlacierGel pad). The Moleskin pads are comfortable, and from my previous experience with the cut-to-shape variety, in the past it did help me with existing blisters and help prevent new ones before I found my current boots that are much nicer to my feet. I really like the pre-cut forms included in the Blister Medic kit.

On my second day of the Grand Canyon hike, I took a side trip to see Ribbon Falls. On the way back to the main trail from the falls I had to cross Bright Angel Creek. I took off my boots and donned my flip-flops for the crossing. Sometime during that crossing, the comma-shaped pad decided to take a swim down the creek. The oval on my heel didn't look to be in very great shape after the crossing either, and since I didn't want to get my sock wet I removed the wet Moleskin and put new pads on my right foot. After the remainder of the second day and all the day hiking on the third day, I replaced the pads on my heel and toe, and applied the small rectangle Moleskin pads to the bottom of my two smallest toes on both feet. These toes were starting to get sore/develop hotspots, and when this happens they will sometimes blister underneath the calloused "ridges" that have formed on them. The resulting wear of my last two days, 9.3 miles (15 km) of hiking and 4390 feet (1338 m) of elevation gain can be seen in the photos below.

MoleskinHeelAfter (26K)

MoleskinAfter (23K)


Conclusions


Overall, the Blister Medic kit was a handy addition to my first aid kit, and I will probably buy another one the next time I plan a particularly demanding hike or when my current boots are no longer serviceable and I have to move on to another pair. The GlacierGels are nice to have on hand in case I do get a blister since the center pad is non-adhesive, or in case I get a small burn. The pre-cut Moleskin is always handy to have around for me to help them from being formed in the first place.

This concludes my Long Term Reports. I would like to thank Adventure Medical Kits and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these items.



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