The essential backpacking and camping first aid kit

By Doug Williams
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The essential backpacking and camping first aid kit

Doug Williams
 
 
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For peace of mind, everyone should carry a first aid kit when hiking or camping. Most of the items you’ll need you probably already have in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet. You may want to pack extras of some of the items, depending on how many people will be in your group or whether you will have small children with you. A first aid kit needs to have the essentials, but it can be flexible depending on the needs and the environment you are heading into.

The size of your first aid kit also depends on where you are going and who you are going with. The types of activities you will be doing also need to be reflected in your kit. If you are rock climbing, for example, your kit will be larger due to extra stretch bandages in case of sprains and strains. Or if you are traveling with your family then it may be heavy in kiddie plasters and bite remedies.

First aid bag
First aid bag

The storage of your first aid kit depends on you and your pack. For some people ziplock bags work fine, with everything sealed in small individual bags sealed into a larger bag to stop things becoming scattered. Some people prefer a red canvas bag or even a solid container.  Scissors and tweezers can be bought in their own canvas covers which prevents them puncturing their way out of more fragile cases such as a plastic bag. No matter what you choose, pack it at the top of your backpack for ease of access.

Basic components to pack in your kit are the items generally found in standard kits bought in shops.

Extras you may want to pack include: duct tape, medical grade super glue, antacids, hydrocortisone cream, baby wipes, cotton buds, salt, a small mirror, and a clear plastic bag.

A pre-trip check is important to make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and everything is in date
A pre-trip check is important to make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and everything is in date

Before you go on every trip check over the contents, adding new items where needed and replacing expired medications and creams.  Make sure everyone knows where the kit is in case you are the one who has had the accident, and insist that everyone carries at least a small basic kit themselves in case they get separated from the group.

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