What to Look for in a Snake Bite Kit


Public Domain Diamondback RattlesnakeThe thought of a venomous snake bite is a situation that most hunters, hikers, ranchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts always want to avoid. Even if the chance of death is small, a venomous snake bite is never something that you want to deal with. While most venomous snakes are relatively shy and not very aggressive, that doesn’t stop bites from happening.

Even with those things in mind, around 8,000 to 9,000 people a year find themselves in that situation in the United States alone. Around the world the number swells into the hundreds of thousands. While fatalities from a venomous snake bite in the United States aren’t very common at all, there are anywhere from 5-9 of these per year, usually on the lower end of that range.

That doesn’t keep track of the hundreds of people who have severe injuries, lose limbs, or have permanent nerve damage and that also doesn’t account for what often becomes tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills (assuming there aren’t complications). All of these which can, and do, often result from venomous snake bites. You do not want to deal with any of these side effects.

In other words, it still more than pays to be prepared.

UPDATE PLEASE READ: Based on a lot of tests and professional opinions, I’m no longer of the opinion that snake bite kits work. Because of that, you should forego this for snake proof gaiters or boots to protect yourself with things that actually work. Please check out this updated blog post on snake bite kits to learn more.

What to look for when purchasing a snake bite kit

There’s no question among many hunters, hikers, and other avid outdoorsmen that carrying around a high-quality snake bite treatment kit is an important part of being prepared when going out into the wilderness. This doesn’t come as a part of most first aid kits, and shouldn’t be taken in lieu of a normal first aid kit, but both are necessary if you really want to make sure a copperhead, rattlesnake, or water moccasin doesn’t completely ruin your day.

One of the first things you can look for are online reviews. What ratings does Amazon have for the particular snake bite treatment kit that you are looking for? Do you see a lot of four and five star ratings, or a lot of worrisome one and two star ratings? When you’re talking about an item specifically designed to help limit the damage of a snake bite and help stabilize you before you can get to a hospital or medical clinic. You don’t want a kit that skimps on the necessary parts to give you the treatment you need.

A good venomous snake bite treatment kit should have:

  • A venom extractor (suction based)
  • Rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes for afflicted area
  • Razor to shave hair out of the way (preferable but not always necessary)
  • Bandages for covering the wounded treatment area

If you’re looking at a kit missing any of these things, that needs to be an obvious red flag and it might be time to look elsewhere. There are many exceptional complete snake kits available both online and off, so why settle for an incomplete kit? That just wouldn’t make sense.

Who are the major players in the snake bite kit game?

Unpacked snake kitThis isn’t quite like snake proof boots where a few major company names dominate. While Sawyer is certainly well known, and Wal-Mart seems to really like the Coghlan’s snake bite kit. While these are both popular options with many hunters and other individuals who will spend a lot of time outdoors, it is critical to make sure you have something. There are plenty of non-big name snake bite first aid kits that are 100% completely effective. It’s up to you to find what is really going to work as opposed to what is not.

Just a short list of the major players in creating treatment kits for snake bites include:

  • Sawyer
  • Coghlan
  • The Extractor
  • Physician’s Care snake bit kit
  • Primacare extractor kit
  • Pac-Kit snake bite first aid kit

This is just a small sample of the different companies that offer quality types of snake kits available, although even a quick peruse of Amazon.com will show you just how many options actually are available.

Is a Snake Bite Kit Really That Important?

This is a question that brings some argument, and along with bear spray it’s one of those where the waters sometimes get muddied based on “in-theory” being in contradiction with “common sense” or “personal experience.” Personally when I’m dealing with a potentially lethal snake bite, I am definitely in the rather be safe than sorry crowd.

So is this man, who was told by his doctor (medical professional) that applying his kit at the site of a massive Diamondback rattlesnake bite saved his life. As a warning, the snake bite pictures of this man’s legs are pretty gnarly and if you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip it. The story gives a great example of why it’s important to always be prepared for the worst case scenario and in this particular case it gives a lot of support to carrying these bite kits around.

In conclusion

There are many people who firmly believe in being prepared for the worst case scenario, and for the outdoor hiker, hunter, or camper who worries about venomous snake bites, that means ┬áhaving one of these snake kits handy. Don’t take a chance with venomous snake bites. Just because they’re relatively rare doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. A little bit of caution and a good snake bite first aid kit can give you the protection and treatment you need to enjoy your outdoor activities with full peace of mind.

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