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
- 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)
If you’re heading out with kids, be sure to also bring:
- Children’s pain reliever (like Tylanol or Advil)
- 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!
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?