First aid kits are essential items to have regardless of where you are, but it is especially important to have a first aid kit on hand whenever you are camping or enjoying your favorite outdoor activities. The outdoors carry many more risks of injuries from insect or reptile bites, scrapes and scratches, blisters from extensive hiking, or even serious emergencies in the backcountry miles away from civilization. A well-stocked first aid kit could mean comfort from a nasty thorn or it could save your life.
The items kept in your camping first aid kit will vary depending on your activities, but there are some basic items that should always be included. Keep the following items in a common container, like a small duffle bag, a cosmetic case, or a rubber container with a lid. Fishing tackle boxes make nice containers for camping first aid kits that are kept at camp.
For a typical family camping first aid kit, include the following:
An assorted selection of adhesive bandages
At least 2 large compress bandages
5 small gauze pads
5 larger gauze pads
First aid tape
5 individual packets of antibiotic ointment or one tube
5 antiseptic wipes (or travel pack of wipes)
2 roller (ACE) bandages of different sizes
2 triangular bandages
3 hydrocortisone packets or a small tube
Aspirin (at least 2 doses or a small bottle)
An oral thermometer that contains no mercury or glass
2 pairs of medical gloves, preferably latex free
An instant cold compress
A breathing barrier for CPR
An emergency blanket or space blanket
These are the bare minimum first aid supplies you want to take on your camping trips. Most outdoor enthusiasts recommend including the following supplies in your camping first aid kit as well:
Water purifying tablets
Bug and insect repellant
Burn relief spray and aloe lotion
An eye patch
Eye drops or eye wash
Tooth repair kit and pain relief
A variety of medications to battle common ailments like upset stomachs, headaches, and coughs and colds
Your camping or outdoor first aid kit may need to include other supplies as well, depending on your activities. Many companies, including Coleman, offer convenient pre-made first aid kits designed for various activities. The Coleman survival kit is perfect for your base camp first aid kit. If you plan day hikes, bicycling outings, or other outdoor activities away from camp, you will want a smaller first aid kit with minimal supplies to carry in your daypack.
It is important to remember to maintain for your camping first aid kit just like you care for your other camping gear. Carrying an incomplete first aid kit is almost as bad as having no first aid kit at all. After each trip, check your supplies and restock anything that has been used. Remember to adjust the amount of items you carry based on the number of people who will be on your trip. Inspect your camping first aid kit at the beginning of each season for out of date or expired medications and supplies. Be sure to replace any items you throw out.