Rescue Diaries

Surviving Tasmania's Overland Track

Sam Debb 1.jpg__PID:4c330d2b-70d4-4108-999e-e96ec91ec8c6

Rescue Diaries

Surviving Tasmania's Overland Track

Sam Debb 1.jpg__PID:4c330d2b-70d4-4108-999e-e96ec91ec8c6

Bound by the wilderness

For Sam, a nurse with 13 years of experience and a dedicated volunteer with Saint John's Ambulance, the Overland Tasmania Track presented a new and exciting challenge. Despite her extensive experience in healthcare and emergency services, this 65-kilometre trek would test her resilience and preparedness in ways she had never imagined.

Accompanied by her close friend Debb, an experienced hiker, Sam's journey became a powerful testament to the importance of being well-prepared with a comprehensive first aid kit when venturing into remote areas.

You can never be too prepared for the Tasmanian wilderness

Sam and Debb's friendship began eight years prior through their work in the same department, and over the years, their bond grew stronger. Debb, who had previously completed the Overland Track and a 14-day hike along the Larapinta Trail, was eager to revisit the Tasmanian wilderness.

For Sam, this was her first overnight hiking experience and, at 21 weeks pregnant with her second child, embraced the adventure with a mix of excitement and nervousness. On the 17th of April 2023 they set out on their journey. The first day involved tackling Marion's Gap, a steep climb made more challenging by rain that had soaked them during a snack break.


At Marion's Lookout, Debb began feeling unwell, initially attributing her nausea to something she had eaten. However, as they continued, her condition worsened. As the harsh weather conditions persisted and Debb's symptoms intensified; she was confused, dizzy and unable to move forward or backward, indicating a more serious problem.

Drawing on her nursing instincts and a Facebook story she had read about a hypothermia case on the same hike, Sam took immediate action. Debb's hypothermia was caused by two main factors: she had changed from a cotton t-shirt to a polyester layer before the hike and forgot to change back, leaving her clothes wet and unbreathable. Additionally, the waterproof jacket they had hired turned out to be ineffective.


Fortunately, Sam had brought a first aid kit on the trek, the Adventurer Rescue Swag, which she had attached to her backpack for easy access. Once at the overnight hut, Sam quickly got Debb into dry clothes and used the Rescue Swag emergency thermal blanket to warm her up. Fellow hikers also offered support, boiling water for her to drink and aid her recovery. Sam's swift action resulted in Debb's condition improving and by morning they reassessed their situation, identified the errors from the first day, and adjusted their approach.

However, little did they know their Rescue Swag would be needed again just one day later.


On the third night, Sam and Debb reunited with the hikers who had offered assistance the day before. Among them was a honeymooning couple, one of whom was experiencing severe arm pain. After discussing his symptoms Sam and Debb requested to take a look at the affected area and soon identified a severe abcess under his arm which had started to become infected, making him unwell and at risk of developing sepsis. 

Fortunately the Rescue Swag was equipped with sterile medical gear which meant Sam and Debb could safely lance the abscess. Although apprehensive, they took necessary precautions, using gloves, alcohol swabs, splinter probes, gauze, and antiseptic cream all found in the first aid kit to treat the wound. The hiker felt significantly better after the procedure and was extremely grateful for the support of Sam and Debb as well as the first aid kit.

The Overland Tasmania Track was a transformative experience for Sam and Debb, strengthening their friendship and proving their ability to rely on one another. Not only was it a test of resilience, but also of preparedness. Sam had initially been hesitant to bring the Rescue Swag as they were trying to minimise excess weight.

 However, her decision proved crucial. Reflecting on the experience, she emphasised the necessity of carrying a comprehensive first aid kit, especially in unpredictable and rugged environments like the Overland Track.


The Rescue Swag's extensive supplies, including the emergency blanket, as well as their dry clothes, beanies, and gloves, enabled Sam to provide immediate and effective care for Debb and the hiker. This quick and decisive action likely saved both Debb and the hiker’s life, demonstrating the lifesaving importance of having a Rescue Swag on hand during such treks.

As Sam and Debb continue their hiking adventures, their bond has grown stronger, and their commitment to being prepared remains unwavering. Their experience is a valuable lesson for all hikers: always carry a complete first aid kit and ensure you know how to use it. This small but crucial step can turn a potentially dangerous situation into a manageable one, ensuring that every adventure ends safely and successfully

Be pepared for anything

Large First Aid Kit
Royal Flying Doctor Service Medical Kit
Rescue Swag Adventurer First Aid Kit
Water Resistant First Aid Kit
Large First Aid Kit
Royal Flying Doctor Service Medical Kit
Rescue Swag Adventurer First Aid Kit
Water Resistant First Aid Kit

Adventurer Rescue Swag


The Adventurer kit is your perfect companion for multi-day hikes, camping trips or even keeping in the car.

Designed specifically for lovers of the great outdoors, the kit is lightweight yet durable enough to be taken to the harshest environments.

Fitted with a comprehensive selection of high-quality medical items, the Adventurer kit has you covered for minor cuts and scrapes, snake bites, sprains and even emergency siutations.

The water-resistant and dustproof outer also includes additional storage space to customise your first aid kit with your medications or items tailored to your activities.

Click here to learn more about the Adventurer Rescue Swag.

Planning your next adventure?

Here's three tips and tricks to ensure you are prepared

1. Carry a comprehensive first aid kit and know how to use it:

Sam's decision to bring the Rescue Swag first aid kit was a critical factor in managing the emergencies they encountered during the hike. The comprehensive supplies allowed Sam to treat Debb's hypothermia and lance the abscess on a fellow hiker. Without this well-equipped kit, this could have been a very different story.

So, next time you are planning an adventure, ensure your first aid kit includes essential items such as sterile gloves, bandages, antiseptic wipes, a thermal blanket, and any personal medications. Consider taking a first aid course to familiarise yourself with using these supplies and regularly check and update your kit to ensure all items are in good condition and not expired.


2. Prepare for unpredictable weather and pack accordingly:

Debb's hypothermia was worsened by wearing a polyester layer that remained wet under a rented waterproof jacket that failed to keep her dry. These clothing choices, combined with the harsh weather, contributed to her condition. It’s essential that you always pack appropriate clothing for various weather conditions.

 We recommend investing in high-quality, breathable, and waterproof layers, and avoid cotton as it retains moisture and can lead to hypothermia. Ensure you bring extra dry clothes in a waterproof bag to change into if you get wet and regularly check weather forecasts before your trip and be prepared for sudden changes.


3. Stay informed and learn from others’ experiences:

Sam's awareness of a hypothermia case on the same hike helped her recognise Debb's symptoms and take swift action. This prior knowledge was crucial in ensuring Debb received the necessary care quickly.

 Consider joining hiking groups and following relevant social media pages where fellow hikers share their experiences and advice. Learning from others' stories can provide valuable insights into potential challenges and how to address them. Additionally, research your chosen trail thoroughly, understand the risks involved, and plan your hike accordingly.

Carry a personal locator beacon (PLB) or emergency communication device and know how to use it. By following these tips and learning from Sam and Debb's experience, you can ensure you're well-prepared for any adventure. Carrying a comprehensive first aid kit, dressing appropriately for the weather, and staying informed can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Have a story you'd like to share?

Have you ever found yourself in a pinch where your Rescue Swag kit turned into a hero?

Maybe it was a sprained ankle during a rugged hike, a sudden scrape while camping, or a close call with Australia’s diverse wildlife? We’re eager to hear all about it! Sharing your experiences not only inspires others to stay prepared, but also helps us improve and understand how our kits perform in real-life situations.

When you share your story, you become part of a larger community committed to safety and readiness. Plus, your adventure could be featured on our platforms, spreading your tale of resilience and quick thinking to fellow outdoor enthusiasts! So, don’t be shy— click the button below and tell us how your Rescue Swag kit came to the rescue.

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