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Camping First Aid Kit

Joe Kegley

Zippered First Aid Kit

Zippered First Aid Kit

Retail "camping first aid kits" come in all shapes and sizes, from small ones meant for backpacking to larger ones meant for marine or group camping. One should realize that just because the name "first aid" is attached to the product does not mean it includes everything one might need in an emergency. Nor does a first aid kit diminish the need for medical attention when more serious situations arise.

First aid kits may be purchased as a complete kit or manually assembled (homemade). For some, a combination of a purchased kit with additional items added will be the right kit.

If an individual has special medication needs for certain situations (such as bee stings or other allergies) they will want to include the necessary medication in their first aid kit. For some, this medication may need to be carried on their person for quicker response.

At the very least be sure to bring special medication with you and store it somewhere. It's a good idea to let others know you have the medication, where it is located, and in what situations you would need it.

Everyone in your group should know where the first aid kit is.

The Red Cross suggests the following items for a family of four. See the Red Cross First Aid Kit page.

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5x9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

The Red Cross Store sells first aid kits at a very reasonable price.

While one might think that the items listed above for a home first aid kit should be scaled down for camping, you need to remember that you will not be a home, there will be no familiar drawers or cabinets where these items might be found, the nearest supplies might be 10 - 50 miles away, as is the closest place to get medical attention. If anything, camping is where you would want these items available the most.

Other items you may wish to keep in your first aid kit (which are not listed in the Red Cross list) might include the following:

  • Burn ointment or spray - (Aloe Vera gel or cream) for minor burns

  • Antihistamine - (Benadryl or another Diphenhydramine product) for allergic reactions such as bee stings

  • Ibuprofen - (Motrin or Advil) for anti-inflammatory (relieves swelling) and as an analgesic

  • Hydrogen Peroxide - over the counter 3% concentration for use as an antiseptic

  • Baking Soda - a paste made with water to relieve swelling, itching, and stinging insect bites

  • Sewing Pin - for removing splinters, be sure to disinfect the wound and the pin

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