Jim Allen’s Guide to Essential Medical Kit and Equipment on Race Across The World

Jim Allen was one of the 1st Option team of paramedics and safety advisers who supported Studio Lambert on ‘Race Across the World’. We asked him what items of kit he never leaves the home without.

On finishing my career with the British military I worked as an Overland Expedition Leader roaming around the world, driving from London to Beijing and beyond! Sometimes I was away for up to 52 weeks and I definitely saw and experienced a lot. In more recent years I have united my travel, medical and military experience into my current position as a Medic/Security at 1st Option – a job that I love!

I am often asked, “What equipment do you take with you?” Well, it always depends on the job but there are certain items that I personally take with me that also travel with me on the Race Across The World programme. Here is a list of all my essentials:

Practical and Medical essentials:

I carry vital safety items with me such as my emergency ‘cut-anything’ shears. As a medic it’s all about practicality, the shears allow me to cut through any types of clothing, including leather in seconds which is vital in life threatening situations. There is also the ‘ResQme’, which can be used to cut seat belts and smash windows.

Garmin InReach

The InReach is a vital and practical tool when travelling across the world. It is a small mobile device that allows travellers to share their journey, send text messages and trigger an SOS, to get emergency help from a 24/7 global monitoring centre via the global Iridium satellite network.

Garmin Inreach is available to hire and purchase at the 1st Option Safety shop, call now on: 0845 500 8484

Rehydration Tablets IV

When travelling, it was important to carry rehydration tablets which prevented and treated dehydration and diarrhoea. The tablets replace lost fluids and essential salts and electrolytes that the body needs to function. On long journeys through varied environments it is very likely that the resilience of people will diminish and as a result they are more likely to get sick or ill. This is key equipment, for keeping the teams going.

Gage Needles – Chest Decompression

These needles are used to treat tension pneumothorax, it can be caused by an injury to the lungs which causes a constant leakage of air into the pleural space. This collapses the lung as the air cannot escape. The needles allow the trapped air to be released. One of the key risks on Race Across the World was a car accident – having this equipment could have helped me save a life if this had happened.

Bag Mask Valve

BMV’s are used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a contestant who is not able to breathe adequately or in respiratory or cardiac arrest. Having this equipment means I could keep the oxygen flowing to a casualty if a worst case scenario had occurred.


Various currencies are essential, especially US dollars. Credit cards, identification and insurance cards all go into my wallet. When all else fails a credit card can really save the day.

Comfort Essentials

Energy and comfort

With so many modes of travel employed and long distances covered, I make sure to carry energy bars, ear plugs, an eye mask and a neck support to make my travel more comfortable. I have found that these items can make even the bumpiest, longest and noisiest trips bearable.

Boots and Sandals

Hot, cold and long days call for boots! Boots are my preferred footwear to protect my feet from whatever comes their way. A pair of sandals are welcomed to help my feet breathe and relax at the end of the day – they can also be useful for crossing water obstacles.

Travel mug, kettle and electronics

You would be surprised at how many places do not supply kettles or get the concept. There nothing like a good ‘cuppa’ at the end of a hard working day, I have learnt that not all teas are equal so I take my own, Green and Lemon Tea.I also take my extension cord and electrical adapter with bespoke USB ports, which is used for my kettle, computer, electrical goods and to charge my phone, an essential item with its own additional power pack.

General tools

A torch, multi-functional tools, toothbrush, hand gel, fire lighter, tissues and a spoon as well as a fork combo utensil “The Spork” always go with me and fit into my pouch.

So there we have it, perhaps what one would not expect in the bag but the combination of small home comforts and essential medic / security related gear means that I am ready for action and recharge at the end of the day.

Share this Article