Review: Ultralight & Watertight .5 First Aid Kit


Tester: Eric McKeegan
Price: $17

First aid kits are one of those things we all know we should carry, but rarely do. Even on backcountry trips, I almost never have anything besides a dirty bandana and some duct tape to patch myself up.

That has changed dramatically now that the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight & Watertight .5 now resides in the bottom of my pack. Besides local day trips, I’ve made sure this was with me anytime I travelled anywhere, including a week-long trip to Chile. It is light enough to just leave in a hydration pack or frame bag, because really, who is going to notice another 100 grams?


My good luck held out, but had I needed it, there are some very worthwhile items inside besides the standard adhesive bandages, butterfly closures and antiseptic wipes. High-quality, stainless-steel tweezers can pick out tiny splinters or remove ticks. Three decent-sized safety pins can hold up your shorts or keep a dressing in place over a wound. A sheet of anti-blister material could save your feet on a long ride. A few packs each of antihistamine, aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen could come in handy for both accidents and hangovers.

All of that (and more) is crammed into resealable plastic bag, which is placed inside a treated and seam-sealed nylon pouch with a waterproof zipper. I’m betting I can stuff a set of nitrile gloves and a small pressure dressing (to replace that dirty bandana) in the bag as well, which would make me the best equipped rider on most any trail.

Probably time to take another wilderness first responder class as well.

Adventure Medical sells a huge range of first aid and survival supplies that range from tiny kits for short solo trips to huge packs for large groups.



Review: five packable shell jackets

Words and photos: Adam Newman and Jon Pratt

Keeping one of these lightweight, packable layers handy can make the difference between a miserable experience and getting home comfortably.

Patagonia jacket

Patagonia Houdini

  • Price: $99
  • Weight: 108 grams
  • Fit and shape: Designed for all-purpose use, it has a horizontal hem and baggier fit.
  • Material: Nylon with DWR treatment
  • Packability: Packs into its chest pocket with zipper closure
  • Hits: Non-cycling style makes it more versatile
  • Misses: Non-cycling fit catches more wind as you ride
  • Best for: Bike to casual crossover
  • Also available for women

Sugoi jacket

Sugoi RS Jacket

  • Price: $80
  • Weight: 112 grams
  • Fit and shape: Slimmest fit. Designed for road cycling it is the least flappy in the breeze. No hood.
  • Material: 100 percent polyester
  • Packability: Packs into its own rear pocket, with zipper closure.
  • Hits: Extra straps allow the packed jacket to stow under your bike’s seat.
  • Misses: Slimmest fit might not be as practical for bike commuting or non-bike use.
  • Best for: Sporty road riding
  • Also available for women

Nau jacket

Nau Slight Pullover

  • Price: $135
  • Weight: 158 grams
  • Fit and shape: Pullover design saves weight and has no zipper to break. More generous fit, with hood.
  • Material: Recycled polyester with a crunchy feel and DWR treatment.
  • Packability: Packs into its chest pocket, with zipper closure.
  • Hits: Thickest fabric of the group seems more durable.
  • Misses: Lack of zipper means you have to remove your headgear to put it on or take it off.
  • Best for: Harder use
  • Available for women as a full-zip jacket

Novarra jacket

Novara Stowable Bike Jacket

  • Price: $70
  • Weight: 111 grams
  • Fit and shape: Slim cycling fit, but still big enough to wear over a sweater. Back vents allow access to jersey pockets. No hood.
  • Material: Nylon shell with glossy sheen.
  • Packability: Packs into its chest pocket, with zipper closure.
  • Hits: Sold through REI with its generous return and exchange policy.
  • Misses: Sold only through REI.
  • Best for: Road riding to commuting
  • Also available for women

Kitsbow jacket

Kitsbow King Ridge Windbreaker

  • Price: $179
  • Weight: 112 grams
  • Fit and shape: Mid-range fit keeps it from being baggy. Size down if you want a slim, road riding fit. No hood.
  • Material: Nylon with DWR treatment, sewn in America.
  • Packability: Will fit into its own chest pocket, but no zipper closure.
  • Hits: Off-center zipper is more comfortable than having a zipper in your throat.
  • Misses: Price is significantly higher than the competition.
  • Best for: Road riding to commuting with some luxury
  • Not available for women


Back to Top