Mystery Mondays: First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a must-take for any outdoor adventure. Even if you RV camp and leave the medicine cabinet stocked, you still need to have a first aid kit for those minor emergencies that always seem to happen.

At the very least, you’ll need:

  • Band-Aids and gauze squares of various sizes
  • Antiseptic creams and ointments (Like Neosporin)
  • Sterile wipes and rinse solutions (think alcohol pads and a bottle of peroxide)
  • Pain medicine (bring the brands you normally use at home- camping is NOT the time to find out you’re allergic to aspirin!)
  • Tweezers, scissors, and knife
  • Sunburn relief spray
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine (Pepto-Bismol is a good all-round stomach settler. I always take some with me when I’m traveling.)
  • Antacid medicine
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug bite medicine
  • Lip balm like Chapstick
  • Fine tooth comb
  • Antihistamine cream and pills (like Benadryl)
  • Any prescription medicines
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety pins
  • Elastic bandage (like an ACE bandage, in case of a sprain)

These are just a few of the items in my first aid kit.

If you’re heading out with kids, be sure to also bring:

  • Children’s pain reliever (like Tylanol or Advil)
    Children’s Benadryl
  • Children’s version of any over the counter drugs (like anti-diarrhea meds!)

I also always take a healthy supply of my allergy medicine so I can breathe while I’m out.

Ladies, also remember to keep a stock of your, a-hem, girly items, just in case. Also, sanitary napkins make good bandages since they are sterile and highly absorbent.

What kind of accidents should you anticipate while on an outdoor adventure? I always manage to get a minor scrape, cut myself either cooking or cleaning fish, and get sunburned while fishing. I’ve also had an upset stomach from eating rich “camping” food, have been eaten alive by mosquitoes, gotten splinters in my hands, or twisted my ankle.

Cautionary Camping Tale

When I was about a year old, my parents went camping with another family. The three kids suddenly came running into camp yelling that Becky, the youngest daughter, had just eaten a toadstool.

Well, we all know that mushrooms and toadstools can be VERY poisonous so Becky’s parents were understandably freaked out. Unfortunately, they hadn’t brought anything to induce vomiting. Becky’s dad drove at top-speed, through a driving rainstorm, to have her stomach pumped at the nearest hospital.

(To this day, we still aren’t sure if she ACTUALLY ate the toadstool or not!)

It will be up to you, if you would also include something to induce vomiting, like syrup of ipecac. If your child ingests something he shouldn’t at home, poison control is just a phone call away. But out in the wild where cell phone signal might be spotty at best…

What I can say is: if you are going to induce vomiting, be sure to collect the contents of the stomach so it can be analyzed. After vomiting, drink some plain water. And, it would probably be best to head for a hospital as soon as possible.

In Arizona at least, there is cactus all over the state! That’s where the fine tooth comb comes in- you can use it to flick off large pieces of cactus (like cholla) or remove spines from yourself or your pet.

Don’t be afraid to dig into the first aid kit while you’re camping. When you get home from your trip, be sure to replace anything you used in the kit. Be sure that your alcohol pads are still juicy, the medicines haven’t expired and heat (or moisture) hasn’t ruined the sticky on the bandages.

If you need to buy a first aid kit, the Coleman Base Camp First Aid Kit is a good starter kit that will have enough supplies to get you started. I recommend a kit that is designed with outdoor recreation in mind!

The Coleman Base Camp First Aid Kit is a good place to start.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What do you keep in your first-aid kit?
  • What supply do you ALWAYS make sure to carry?
  • Have you ever needed a supply and not had it? What did you do?
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4 Responses to “Mystery Mondays: First Aid Kit”

  • I have a very small and basic first-aid kit that came prepacked with all kinds of goodies. For me, chapstick is always a necessity in the dry dry heat. Luckily that little first aid kit has some!

    I try not to keep to many meds IN my kit, but usually take a few with me each time I go out, I worry about temp exposure and expired meds too much 😉

  • I’ve always carried a tube of “super-glue” in my first-aid kit. It can be used to close up a fairly significant cut if you are hiking far away from civilization.

  • Don_J:

    I’m curious as to what Snake Bite Kit you are packing. This is probably one of the most controversial topic available to outdoors people. Luckily, I’ve never had to use it, but I have great confidence in the Sawyer suction syringe kit.

    I just recently bought a new small kit with basic items for my backpack. I had skinned a knuckle on a rock and tried to put on a bandage from my old kit, but the adhesive had degraded to where it was basically useless. I have found that heat basically degrades everything. I live in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. If you read that it is 98 in Downtown LA, it will be 110 here. Of course, it will probably 114 where you live.
    :)

    Don

  • Kim:

    Ollie — I had heard about super glue, but I’ve never used it. I think I’d be worried about the chemicals in the glue leeching into my system.

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