I am a huge fan of creating your own First Aid kit. Mainly because you will know what is in it but also because it will be full of stuff you actually use. I’m a Mom and I would never put an alcohol prep pad on my little one’s scrape when I could use Hydrogen Peroxide that doesn’t hurt.
To start I used an insulated lunch bag but you can use any bag. I used a red bag and wrote “First Aid” on the top and sides with acrylic paint. Most of the time it resides on top of my fridge and fits nicely in the bathroom cabinet in the camper. I use it all the time instead of stocking a medicine cabinet. This keeps the supplies fresh and updated.
It is important to take a first aid and CPR class. They will give you general first aid information and increase your confidence if an emergency does happen. When I make my kit, I ask myself a few questions:
- What are the most common accidents or incidence that could happen that won’t need to go to hospital,
- What would I need to stabilize someone who would need to go to the hospital,
- What skills do I know and what supplies would I need to do them,
- What specific medical issues are common for my family.
Some common incidence when camping are:
- sunburns – burn cream with Lidocaine
- bug bites – tick key, anti-itch spray and possibly antihistamine or pain reliever
- scrapes – tweezers, gauze, tape, antibiotic cream, band aids, ice pack
- upset stomachs – antacids, antidiarrheal medicine, motion sickness medicine, Pepto Bismol or Quesy drops
- colds – cold medicine, fever reducer, cough drops
- allergies – antihistamine, in my family’s case we also carry an Epi pen
- hang overs – pain reliever and lots of water
If someone is experiencing symptom that could lead to a hospital visit I carry a stethoscope to take heart rate, pen light for pupil responsiveness and a thermometer. If I am not going to the hospital with the injured person, I will write what I administered and when, their temperature, their heart rate, tourniquet information and their pain scale on something durable that won’t get lost, like their t-shirt or the blanket they are wrapped in. Since I have triage training, I will clean and prep a wound and I carry supplies to do this as well. Your first aid class with show you how to prepare a splint so I include gauze rolls or you can include triangle bandages. Basically the kit should be a reflection of the kind of care that you can provide.
We travel with dogs so I also include a self adhering bandage roll and styptic pen for any cuts or scrapes. Often you can call your veterinarian if a problem occurs and they will give you instructions on what you can administer immediately while you are on the way to the animal hospital. Keep hydrogen peroxide, ibuprophen and Bendryl on hand but do not administer it unless the vet recommends it to stabilize your animal.
I keep a pair of reader eye glasses that you can buy at the drug store in the kit as well. For me, these work better than a magnifying glass and keeps my hands free. Some things I have are specifically for my family. We have dental work so I bring emergency dental kit. We have food allergies and bug allergies so I have an Epi Pen from my doctor and have Benadryl to administer before we head off to the hospital. I keep everything in Ziploc bags with the category on top so it is easy to look through with one hand in an emergency .
Below you can download the PDF of my camping first aid kit checklist. Please leave comments if you have any questions or have items that you keep in your first aid kit that could be a help to others.