The fact is that 9 times out of 10 it is not necessary to suture a wound. Most people think that you HAVE to get stitches to stop bleeding. This is simply not true in most cases. Bleeding can usually be controlled with direct pressure to the area for a length of time. Now we must consider also the depth and length of the wound. A 10 inch laceration extending deep into the muscle will most likely need some type of closure. But simple lacerations measuring only a few inches need not be closed. They should simply be irrigated with clean water and a sterile dressing applied. But each situation is different and must be treated as such. It might be helpful if people posed questions for specific scenarios they have in mind. I'd now like to address a few different points for taking care of wounds in the field. Irrigation: This is simply the most important thing you can do to prevent the catastrophic sequelae associated with infection, including gangrene or even death. Infection is your enemy and must be prevented. A wise man once said that the solution to pollution is dilution. Dilution can come in the form of any type of clean water available. You can get this through filtering or boiling, I really don't care as long as it's not straight from the river. Some will argue that plain water will cause tissue damage because it is not salt water like that found in your body. I disagree as I've seen plain old clean tap water used with no ill affects on wounds. If you want to get really fancy you can carry some salt to add to make a saline solution but don't ask me how much as I have no intention of doing it myself. Another irrigating solution can be made by adding liquid povidone-iodine to your water. I just like to make it look like iced tea, no need to measure. Again some critics will argue that this is toxic to tissues and should not be used. I have done this countless times with excellent results and tend to disagree as the benefit of its antiseptic ability far outweighs the microscopic damage to the cells. Yet a third possibility is to use something like peroxide as an irrigating solution. The drawback here is the weight of the solution itself as it's not something you can just whip up on the spot. The same warnings apply here concerning tissue damage but I will once again assure you that I've done it and it works, but I always irrigate with sterile water when finished to wash away excess peroxide. You should plan on irrigating with no less than 2 liters of water and preferably 3-5 for wounds and 9-12 for open fractures (a whole other topic). The more the better in my opinion, especially if the wound is grossly contaminated. Closure: If you absolutely positively must close the wound you need to consider a few things. First you must determine how deep the wound is. A wound extending down to muscle cannot be closed with staples alone, the deep layer of tissue needs to be closed first and in layers. I would not attempt this as it requires a high level of skill and specific sutures. More superficial wounds can be closed with staples, non-absorbable sutures, or steristrips. To be honest I'm a big fan of steri strips as long as you don't forget to use mastisol to glue them down. I say this because it's damn hard to do sutures in the first place if you are inexperienced and it's 10 times harder to do them on yourself especially if you only have one hand! If you do use suture I recommend a monofilament non-absorbable suture such as nylon. I say monofilament because if you use a braided suture the bacteria can set up shop deep in the braids and give you hell. 3-0 nylon should address most smaller wounds and 0 nylon should take care of most larger ones but there are always exceptions that might require as high a #2 nylon. Be careful to do this in a STERILE FASHION. If you do it while dirty then you are just adding to the problem. Another thing to consider is that closing a dirty wound will complicate matters. The infection becomes an abscess that gets walled off inside the body and your natural defenses or even antiobiotics become useless. So dirty wounds need to be left completely or partially open to drain. One more thing, stay away from skin glue in the field, there is absolutely no place for it whatsoever, trust me on this. Antibiotics: If going in the field for any length of time I recommend procuring a prescription of antibiotics prior to leaving. This way you can start treatment right away any hopefully bypass any infections. Most family docs should be reasonable and give you a script if you explain that you will be on a hiking trip or whatever. I recommend either Keflex or Augmentin but check with your doc to see if you have any allergies that would prevent you from taking these. I'm finding that many big stores with pharmacies are offering free generic antibiotics these days so call around to see if you can get them if finances are an issue. Just a draw to get you in the store so they can bleed you dry in other ways. That sure was alot of info but my take home point is that irrigation and proper sterile dressings (not a dirty bandana from your sweaty head) are infinitely more useful than any suture or staple. That said I would recommend steri strips and mastisol. Useful and add little weight to your pack. Please let me know if you have any questions or anything to add, I know I glanced over some things but I hope you find it helpful.