Pocket First Aid and Wilderness Medicine

 Pocket First Aid and Wilderness Medicine is written for walkers, backpackers, travellers, climbers, mountaineers, guides and expedition leaders, aid agency workers and volunteers who journey into wilderness, mountain or remote areas worldwide.

12th edition 2017

£11.95 in the UK, and $22.95 in Australia  (plus postage)

Pocket First Aid and Wilderness Medicine covers prevention, planning and survival, and deals with most of the problems encountered in the wilderness ranging from altitude illness to tropical diseases, from accident and emergency response to venomous creatures of land and sea. As well as first aid it also explains how to continue to give care for hours or days after the event. There is a valuable chapter on how to make a diagnosis and a medication chart with the indications, dosage and side effects of the medications mentioned in the text.

It is written in plain English, avoiding medical jargon and, despite its comprehensive coverage and 250 pages, still manages to be pocketsize.

What the experts and reviewers say:

Paul Flint (12Ed)
If you are serious about wilderness travel, get a copy!

When I took part in an expedition to the Antarctic I could have done with a copy of Cicerone’s ‘Pocket First Aid and Wilderness Medicine’. We experienced teeth that required filling; frostnip; a broken knee; snow blindness; carbon monoxide poisoning; a seal bite that required 16 stitches; and a broken femur (same person who had the stitches). It was an eventful trip and we were accompanied by medics, but they were not always ‘in the right place’ when needed. 

This book covers all these eventualities, and a lot more (and is the 3rd edition, published in August 2017). The preface sums up well its relevance to wilderness travel: “Venturing into remote areas on land or water involves a degree of risk. Minimizing these risks, while feeling confident in your ability to deal with any potential injury or illness, is part of the challenge and satisfaction of wilderness travel."

Unlike First Aid, which is the immediate response to an accident or illness until timely medical help is available, wilderness medicine means providing First Aid, and THEN continued treatment without external help and with limited resources. This is where the pocket guide is really useful. It provides advice on specific and less obvious signs of illness, diagnosis, treatments, medications, pain management, disinfecting, dealing with immediate life-threatening situations, and useful checklists.

A lot of information is packed into 252 pages. I would advise familiarising yourself with the contents and reading relevant sections thoroughly before setting out. When the ‘chips are down’, it is probably worth more than its weight in gold. If you are serious about wilderness travel, get a copy!

Andrew Walsh, General Manager, Equip Wilderness First Aid Institute (Australia)

"This book (11th Ed) is simply the best Australian wilderness first aid book available. Equip refers to the contents of this book on all our
wilderness first aid courses and recommends this book to anyone responsible for the first aid of others in a wilderness environment. This pocket sized book is perfect for our course participants, in that, it is a resource that is compact enough to be taken into the wilderness." Oct 2010

Justin Finn, trekker and adventurer (Canada)

"I picked up a copy of this (11th Ed) book while I was in Nepal a few years back and have been so impressed by it that I have carried it in my first aid kit ever since. I have yet to come across a better book during my forays into the world of Wilderness Medicine". Oct 2010

Adventure First Aid (UK)

"As a company that train individuals and groups in remote first aid and wilderness medical intervention, we thoroughly recommend our delegates to carry it with them. We use it as a key text on our Overseas medical intervention course. It is small enough to pack and carry, yet packed with detailed information that other texts do not provide. Excellent."

Doug Scott, mountaineer (UK)

"Every trekker and expedition member should have this first aid manual on the top of their rucksack as there is no aspect of mountain medicine and general first aid omitted.”

Sir Chris Bonington, mountaineer (UK)

“Brilliant book - clear, compact, easy to follow - I'll take it with me all the way up the mountain on every trip!!!!” 

Tim MacCartney Snape, guide and mountaineer (Australia)

"This little book is more important than your first aid kit, its clear instructions give simple guidance to packing the right stuff in your first aid kit and inform you how to use it to best effect. The best book I've used for any serious outdoor activity."

Simon Yates, guide and mountaineer (UK)

"Clear,concise advice for any wilderness medical emergency. Simple and quick to use. The best book of its kind currently on the market."

Wild magazine (Australia)

"Remarkably comprehensive - easy to understand and to follow - good value for money."

Margot Hurell, consultant in outdoor safety (Australia)

"It is a great little book and everyone comments on how useful it is."

Traveller magazine (UK)

"Wild and remote places are wonderful - until you need a doctor. If there isn't one around, a copy of Pocket First Aid and Wilderness Medicine is the next best thing. It's a small guide, but bursting at the seams with sound advice on travel problems from mountain sickness to tropical diseases. Filled with first-aid tips, and comprehensive enough to cope with almost anything, this book is easy to follow and easy to carry."

Dr J Rayner-Klein, consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine (UK)

"A fantastic little booklet!" 

BushcraftUK.com (UK) 

"I've never seen (a first aid book) that suits bushcraft and outdoor pursuits so well. (…) I think this is the only first aid book I have seen that goes on to deal with aftercare and longer-term treatment where necessary.

(…) Other sections not usually found in first aid manuals, but very useful in a wilderness context, include hot and cold weather problems, altitude sickness, water purification, venomous bites, evacuation and even a section on child birth. Highly recommended."

Dylan, Blue Mountains guide (Australia)

"Fantastic little text. I am a guide in the Blue Mountains and nearly all my friends up here have a copy of the book in the first aid kit." 

Spinal injury, Indian Himalayas Helicopter evacuation

The authors

Dr Jim Duff (UK/Australia) has more than 30 years experience of climbing, trekking and teaching wilderness medicine. He was doctor on many Himalayan expeditions and is a keen sailor.

Dr Ross Anderson is a GP and Medical Consultant for expedition and adventure travel companies. He holds the UIAA Diploma in Mountain Medicine and is a keen outdoor enthusiast with interests including trekking, ski touring and trail running.

Cost & ordering

Pocket First Aid and Wilderness Medicine can be ordered from anywhere in the world and as an e-book


UK and Europe


US, Canada and other countries

Per Book

£11.95 (plus P&P if outside the UK)

AUS $19.95

(PLUS $5 P&P)

US$23.50 (PLUS P&P)

BUlk Orders

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Order From


Cicerone Press


ph. 01539 562069





Cicerone Press


ph. 01539 562069














Accident and illness protocol
Acronyms and abbreviations
Conversion tables

Part 1:    The fundamentals
1.    Prevention
2.    Positioning and moving a victim
3.    Medications – what you need to know
4.    Pain management

Part 2:    Accident and illness protocol
5.    Accident and illness protocol in a wilderness setting
6.    Primary survey – dealing with life-threatening emergencies
7.    Primary survey for specific situations
8.    Shock prevention and stabilization
9.    Secondary survey – working out what the problem is
10.    Evacuation

Part 3:    Problems and their treatment
11.    Spinal and head injuries
12.    Burns
13.    Broken bones, dislocations, sprains and strains
14.    Wounds
15.    Bites, stings and nasty plants
16.    Cold weather problems
17.    Hot weather problems
18.    Dehydration
19.    Diarrhoea and food poisoning
20.    Abdominal (belly) problems
21.    Respiratory problems
22.    Altitude illness – AMS, HACE and HAPE
23.    Drowning and diving problems
24.    Infectious diseases
25.    Eyes, ears and mouth
26.    Skin problems
27.    Gender-specific problems and STIs
28.    Other problems

Appendix 1    Chart of medications
Appendix 2    Antibiotics
Appendix 3    Rescue request form
Appendix 4    Marine envenomation
Appendix 5    Altitude illness flowchart
Appendix 6    Lake Louise Score (LLS)
Appendix 7    Avalanche rescue flow chart
Appendix 8    The skeleton and internal organs
Appendix 9    First aid kits
Appendix 10    Useful contacts and sources of information

Index of diagrams
Basic life support (BLS) in the wilderness

Adventure Medical Training Courses

First aid courses

Whilst we provide accredited outdoor and expedition first aid courses, the majority of our courses are combined with advanced training for remote overseas locations

more details

Advanced courses

We will take time to discuss your requirements and provide you with bespoke advanced training. This is intended for use overseas where medical help is more than approximately 3 hours away.

more details