Safety First! 15 First Aid Kit Must Haves to Keep All Campers Prepared
In our ultimate camping checklist, we mentioned that you should always have a first aid kit stocked with some essential items. Now, we’re going to show you exactly what those first aid kit must haves are so you know exactly how to build your safety kit.
A few tips on first aid kit best practices before we begin:
- Once you’ve built your kit or safety box, store it in an easy-to-reach spot. Make sure everyone who is going to be camping with you knows exactly where it’s located.
- Always check your supplies before you head out on the road. No matter how recently you used your first aid kit, it’s always worth checking again.
- Pay attention to expiry dates, especially for medicines and ointments. Replace when it’s necessary.
- Keep emergency phone numbers in the first aid kit. If something happens to you, others will know who to call.
- Use a waterproof bag or box to store your kit. This ensures that all of your supplies stay dry, because once some of these items get wet they are almost useless.
Now that you know the best practices for making your first aid box, it’s time to take a look at the essential items that go in it.
Here are the most important first aid kit must haves every camper needs, no matter if you’re RV camping, tent camping, hiking for the first time, or backpacking in the wilderness.
1. A Variety of Bandages
The American Red Cross recommends that, for a family of four, you should have at least 25 assorted bandages and 2 triangular bandages. You should also have 2 roller bandages at least 3 inches wide.
Different bandages are used for different types of injuries. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you know what these uses are so you can be best prepared to help in an emergency.
2. Antiseptic Wipes
It’s important to include antiseptic wipes in your kit because they will keep any wounds or problem areas clean. Keeping those areas clean is the number one step in preventing infections that could make the injury worse.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is another way you can clean off any bacteria or dirt that might get in the wound. It’s also useful for sterilizing your tools, such as tweezers and scissors, before they make any contact with the skin.
Keeping a variety of ointments in your first aid kit will help you be more prepared for wounds that need specific treatment to heal. For example, it’s a good idea to have some burn ointment on hand, as well as antibiotic ointments for healing wounds.
Unfortunately, tweezers are one of those tools that often get overlooked and become a commonly forgotten camping item. However, tweezers are essential in removing splinters, foreign debris from cuts or scrapes, and bee stingers.
6. Calamine Lotion or Hydrocortisone Cream
If you encounter a poisonous plant, like poison ivy or poison oak, the urushiol on the leaves will form a rash on your skin. You can ease this rash by applying calamine lotion or a hydrocortisone cream, like Polysporin, as soon as possible.
You can also use the hydrocortisone cream to ease itchy bug bites.
You should have multiple whistles– one for each family member incase you get separated. These are used to signal for help, but they’re also useful to signal to one another in an emergency situation.
Just like tweezers, scissors are an essential part of any first aid kit because they have many different uses. You can use them to trim bandages, cut off pieces of clothing in an emergency, and shorten pieces of tape.
9. Latex Gloves
It’s important to keep latex gloves in your kit, for the protection of both the injured and the person administering first aid. This keeps everyone’s hygiene in check and keeps out any unwanted bacteria that could be transferred via skin-to-skin contact.
If you or one of your regular camping companions are allergic to latex, include a non-latex gloves to ensure that there are no issues.
You should have some of the basic over-the-counter medicines in your kit, including aspirin, antacids, gravol, and benadryl. If you’ve got children accompanying you, make sure you include the children’s versions for them.
The first aid kit should also include back-up supplies of any medications you or your family members need to take, like an extra inhaler. You never know when you’ll end up stranded or lost without access to it.
11. At Least One Flashlight
As far as camping rules go, the more flashlights you have, the better. It’s easy to lose track of time, and when you do, getting stuck in the dark is the last thing you want.
Make sure you’ve got enough extra batteries as well. If you don’t have batteries, you may as well not have a flashlight at all.
12. A Space Blanket
If someone in your group is seriously injured, a space blanket is used to keep them warm by reflecting their body heat back onto them. This is especially important in situations where hypothermia is a big concern, or if it’s late at night and you need to make camp somewhere but don’t have anything to keep you warm.
13. Water Purifying Tablets
These are important to include, especially if you’re going hiking or taking a canoe portaging trip. You never know when you’re going to run out of your water supply, and water purifying tablets allow you to transform most fresh water sources into drinkable water.
Medical tape and cloth tape are both important items in a first aid kit. For obvious reasons. Use it to hold bandages together, make makeshift splints, and much more. Every first aid kit absolutely needs to have some form of medical tape included.
15. Matches or a Lighter
You’ll need something you can make a fire with if you find yourself lost or stranded, especially if night time is setting in. Our list of 13 pocket-sized gadgets recommends the perfect fire starter tool that fits right on your keychain!
Other Useful Items in a First Aid Kit
We’ve gone through the bare necessities, but there are a few other items you might want to purchase to make sure you’re more fully prepared.
Keeping a first aid guide in your kit is extremely useful. This way, everyone is able to check the reference if they aren’t sure about a certain situation.
However, don’t rely solely on this, because you never know how much time you really have in an emergency. It never hurts to take a first aid course or a training course to make sure you know how to use all of the items in your kit.
Scarves or pieces of cloth come in handy to create a makeshift sling if you have room for them.
If you’re boondocking or backpacking in the wilderness, you’ll also want to include a satellite phone. This could really come in handy if you’re in an emergency and you don’t have any cell phone reception.
Book Your Next Campsite in the Perfect Spot
Now that you’ve got your first aid kit prepared and you know how to use these essential items, it’s time to get camping!
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