› First aid kit

Your camping first aid kit: what to put in it?

Think of your camping first aid kit as an extension of your home kit. Stock it with the same items, plus extras you might need while on your trip.

You may not have access to clean water or sterile conditions while camping, so your first aid kit needs to include items that will help in these situations. At times, you will be in remote areas a long way from a chemist, so always stock basic medicines your family might need in a hurry.

We keep a comprehensive camping first aid kit in our camper trailer, plus a travel kit in the car, and a small first aid kit in our hiking backpack. We transfer perishable items, like medicines, between the kits as we need them. Otherwise, we keep duplicate items in each kit.

Here are the basics I keep.

Our camping first aid kitWe used this old toiletry case for our camping first aid kit. It kept the dust out and made it easy to stand medicines and liquids upright.

Camping first aid kit supplies

Bandages / Dressings

  • Band-aids
  • Micropore tape - Great sticking power and is gentle on skin. Use instead of a pin on bandages.
  • Sports strapping tape - Holds dressings in place in awkward/grotty spots, where band aids won’t stick.
  • Thin dressing pads (low-adherent, absorbent) - 10x10cm is a good size. Cut to size as required.
  • Thick dressing pads (non-woven combine) - Good for wounds that need extra absorbency.
  • Leukostrips - Help hold small gaping wounds together, e.g. across an eyebrow.
  • Elastic gauze bandages – a few different sizes
  • Triangle bandages
  • Eye pads

General items

  • Latex gloves
  • Cotton wool balls / make-up wipes
  • Instant cold and hot packs
  • Cleansing swabs
  • Splinter probes
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Sharp scissors
  • Thermal blanket
  • Tape measure

Creams/Lotions/Liquids

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Betadine antiseptic ointment - You may find wounds get easily infected when you’re camping!
  • Itch-relief cream, e.g. Eurax or Soov
  • Water purification tablets / Iodine tincture
  • Saline tubes - Saves on waste, as you are likely to use only a small amount each time.
  • Vicks Vapour Rub
  • Paw Paw cream - Good for dry or cracked skin, grazes, rashes etc.
  • Tea tree oil - Great for relief from mozzie bites, and as a general antiseptic.
  • Oral rehydration sachets

Buy small quantities of anything that will expire, unless you know you’ll use it up. You only need enough to get by in an emergency and any expired leftover will end up in the bin.

Basic medicines

  • Paracetamol / Ibuprofen - Good to have both in case you need layered pain relief.
  • Anti-histamine - For hayfever, itching, and allergic reactions.
  • Travel sick / anti-nausea tablets

You can buy first aid supplies individually from a good chemist. Or you could buy a ready-made kit from a first aid kit supplier. Often this is a cheaper way to put a basic camping first aid kit together, although it generally doesn’t include creams or liquids. You can supplement the basic kit with medicines and extra items you need.

Check your kits regularly in case anything has expired or become spoiled, especially before heading into remote areas. As you use up your supplies (or they expire) make sure you replenish them as soon as you can. Murphy’s law says that if you don’t, that’s when you’ll need them!

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