Camping First Aid Kit
The type of camp vacation planned will to some degree dictate the first aid kit essentials. The potential hazards and possible removal from convenient medical assistance will be more of an issue when wilderness camping so first aid kits for these experiences may be a little more involved and require more careful planning. However, when camping at a designated campsite although it is useful to have a basic first aid kit incorporating certain essentials it is less critical as site owners will often have both medical facilities and trained first aiders. It is perhaps most prudent to assume these facilities are not available and plan accordingly.
Insect repellent and insect bite/sting relief
Although insect repellent isn’t strictly speaking a first aid item it may help to satisfy the ‘prevention is better than cure’ school of thought. Insects which bite and sting are a common camping hazard, particularly in the summer months when they are at their most active.
Hydro-cortisone cream and antihistamine cream will deal with inflammation and itching respectively. Calamine lotion is also a good anti-itch remedy. If you prefer natural remedies then Manuka honey cream is a great addition to a camping first-aid kit as it brings fast relief to inflamed and irritated areas on the skin and is highly effective for sunburn relief.
Even the smallest of pains when they are persistent can be debilitating and exhausting and impact negatively on a vacation. A good supply of preferred painkillers can quickly and easily deal with this.
Many people are prone to upset stomachs while camping and although this is often temporary it can cause great inconvenience and discomfort especially in a camping situation where toilets may not be close to hand.
The very nature of constantly outdoors meaning that cleanliness can be more of an issue. Half the fun of camping is getting back to basics but to prevent small problems becoming big ones and ruining the holiday it is a good idea to keep plenty of sterile and anti-bacterial wipes close at hand for thoroughly cleansing any cuts and scrapes.
Bumps, bruises and other mishaps are a part of any camping adventure. Carrying an instant ice pack or two ensures that you are prepared for whatever might “fall” your way. These are packs that, when snapped, become instantly cold to relieve any swelling or pain caused by bruising.
As previously mentioned, outdoor pursuits and natural playgrounds of branches, stones, trees and so forth may bring about a few more small bruises and cuts that might otherwise occur. Have a supply of assorted size plasters for all the little accidents to keep wounds protected and sterile. See also ‘duct tape’.
This simple solution is an absolute necessity. Camping is fun, but it can be a dirty proposition. Keeping minor cuts and wounds clean and disinfected keep them from turning into major problems. These medicines come in convenient tubes that can tuck in a first aid box, glove compartment or other storage, and are always ready for whatever injury comes their way.
As strange as it may sound duct tape is not only a great first aid kit addition but it is the camper’s best friend for a variety of uses. As duct tape is water resistant it can be put over normal band-aids or bandages to keep the wound dry. It can also be used in place of a band-aid when combined with gauze and cut to any size required. Additionally, the strength of duct tape makes it a very effective ‘bandage’ for treating and supporting sprains and it can also make a great blister cushion.
Wood splinters from playing outdoors or building campfires are common while camping as are thorns. Tweezers can easily remove these objects and help prevent infection.
Even though scissors may be elsewhere in the camping kit or included on a multi-purpose tool it is always a good idea to keep a small pair with the first aid kit for convenience and to ensure they are close at hand when needed.
Sun protection/ sunburn relief
The risk of sunburn will perhaps be one of the biggest hazards on a camping trip and young children are especially vulnerable so ensuring a first aid kit contains sunscreen is one of the highest priorities. Sunburn can be soothed with hydro-cortisone cream although this isn’t advisable for children under five. Other alternatives are calamine lotion, over the counter remedies, tea-tree oil, Aloe Vera and Manuka honey cream as previously mentioned.
Personal medication/ prescription medication
According to survey statistics, this is one of the most commonly left behind items when going on vacation. Most first aid items can easily be bought at the vacation destination if they have been forgotten but leaving behind prescription medication can potentially ruin the holiday and have serious health implications.
A medicine spoon
How terrible to be looking through your well-packed first aid kit only to realize that you forgot a way to properly measure medicine! Packing a graduated medicine spoon ensures proper dosing for you and your family. Avoid over or under medication, and throw one of these in your kit.
Hopefully, a camping first-aid kit will remain unused from beginning to the end of the camping trip but ensuring the most likely to be needed items are close at hand will bring peace of mind in knowing that everything is available if the need for it should arise. What to include in a first aid kit is to some degree dictated by personal preference and circumstances but the items listed here, although not exhaustive, cover all of the most likely first-aid scenarios.