What Should Be Included in Camping First Aid Kits?

Camping first aid kits can help keep minor injuries sustained on the trail from becoming major disasters. When considering what to include in camping first aid kits, be sure to assess the needs of the campers and the hazards common to the camping destination. Some basic supplies for a first aid kit might include a first aid manual, wound-care items, medications, and emergency survival equipment.

Knowing the campers and the terrain can help establish the best selection of equipment and medications for camping first aid kits. If children will be camping, it may help to bring smaller band-aids and medicines that can be safely used by young people. For women, it may be a good idea to bring sanitary napkins and menstrual pain relievers. Considering the terrain and likely hazards can also help determine the right items; for instance, there's probably little need to bring a snake-bite kit on a trip to the snow. For information on possible hazards, consider reading guidebooks and hiking guides specific to the destination, or contact the owners of the campsite.


Including a first aid manual in an emergency medical kit can help ensure that the right treatments are applied to the right injuries. Consider looking for a manual that is specific to outdoor travel, as it may cover more applicable concerns than a more general manual. Even if some members of a camping team are trained in medical care, a manual will allow any camper to look up proper treatments in an emergency.

As bumps, bruises, and cuts are common occurrences in rugged terrain, wound-care items are often an essential part of camping first aid kits. Sterile bandages in assorted sizes, medical tape, and gauze are good basic items that should always be included. Consider adding antiseptic cream, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, and burn cream to help reduce the chance of infection and relieve pain from minor injuries. Elastic bandages can also be useful in the event of sprains or muscle strain, and tweezers can be very handy if any camper picks up a splinter.

Each camper should take care to ensure that any prescription medication is included in camping first aid kits. It may be worthwhile to bring enough medication for a few extra days, in case return is delayed for any reason. In addition to prescriptions, consider bringing a few over the counter medications, such as pain relievers, antihistamines, calamine lotion, and sunscreen. Be sure to check with campers about any allergies to ingredients before administering any medication while camping.

While most camping trips are fun and safe vacations, it never hurts to be prepared for an emergency. Good emergency items to bring in camping first aid kits include extra flashlights and batteries, a solar-powered GPS unit, and emergency food and water rations. Waterproof bags or cases can also be useful in the event of an unexpected flood, rain storm, or river crossing. While these items may never be needed, they can be endlessly useful should an emergency situation occur.



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