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Camping First Aid Kit Essentials

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First aid kitA well-equipped first aid kit is an essential item to pack for any camping road trip. You can easily make-up your own, especially if you already have a lot of the basics, or you can buy pre-packaged ones that come with many of the essentials

Here is a list of items to consider including in your first aid kit:

Bandages and Dressings

  • Elastic bandages (Band-Aids; for everyday cuts and scratches)
  • Adhesive and butterfly bandages (effective for use in the closure of a deep cut or wound)
  • Roll bandages (when moderate compression is needed
  • Triangular bandages (for head or appendage, as a handy arm sling, or even as a tourniquet)
  • Sterile gauze pads/non-adhesive dressings (ideal for cleansing and covering larger cuts, scrapes and minor burns because they are highly absorbent)
  • Large wound dressings
  • Blister dressing (particularly useful if you plan to do a lot of walking)
  • Adhesive tape cloth-based (can be used to hold bandages and dressings in places)
  • An ice pack (to cool and reduce swelling)
  • Splinting materials (to provide support to an injured area to stop it moving)

Miscellaneous Essentials

  • Safety pins (to secure bandages)
  • Scissors (to trim bandages and other uses)
  • Tweezers and needles (to remove splinters or ticks)
  • Antiseptic wipes/alcohol pads (used to clean wounds, cuts and scrapes and help prevent infection)
  • Cotton swabs/cotton wool (used to apply ointments)
  • Thermometer (for taking your temperature, useful if you have a fever or are not felling well)
  • Non-latex gloves (help prevent the spread of infection into an open wound from the hand of someone cleaning / treating it)
  • Large plastic bag (for soiled bandages and other used medical items)


  • Topical antibiotic cream (such as Neosporin)
  • Oral antihistamine (such as Benadryl)
  • Medications for pain or fever (such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen)
  • Hydrocortisone cream (1%) (for insect bites)
  • Diarrhea /vomiting medication (such as Imodium or Compro)
  • Anti-acids (such as Tums or Rolaids)
  • Eye drops (sooth irritated eyes)
  • Travel / motion sickness medication (in the U.S. need a prescription for most medication)
  • Personal medications (if you or anyone in your group suffers from any illnesses)
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (such as Aleve)

Other medications to consider, depending on the time of year and where you're going:

  • Bee sting kit (such as Sawyer's Extractor)
  • Snake bit kit (such as Sawyer's Extractor)
  • Poison ivy cream/cleansers (such as Zanfel, TechNu or Band-Aid)
  • Aloe vera gel or other moisturizer (for sun burn)
  • Sinus medications (if it's allergy season and you know you suffer badly, such as Claritin)

Some final tips:

  • Replenish your first aid kit if any items are used and check medications for use by dates
  • Pack your first aid kit in a well-labeled waterproof container. Make sure everyone in your party knows where it is kept
  • Keep your kit as compact as possible, consider removing tubes of cream or ointments and strips of pills from their cardboard box and simply cut out the instructions. Keep them together with an elastic band
  • Know how to use the items in your first aid kit, familiarize yourself with everything that's in it, especially if it's a pre-packaged one
  • Tailor your first aid kit to the kind of trip you're taking, the time of year and your own or families' personal medical needs
  • Bring a first aid manual if you are unfamiliar with basic first aid
  • Consider taking a first aid class if you do not have any basic first aid knowledge, particularly if you have children. Classes can be arranged through the American Red Cross.

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