Your Camping First Aid Checklist
Are you looking forward to some time out this holiday season? If you’re heading off camping, or even if you’re off on a roadtrip – it’s worth the small amount of time it takes to pack a well-stocked first aid kit.
Then you really can sit back & relax.
You’ll know you’ve got your bases covered from a first aid perspective, without having to throw everyone into the car and hopefully find a pharmacy that’s open. (If you’re near one that is).
Because when you’re on a camping trip, you have to think of what if:
- Your child is like my daughter & gets smashed by mozzies, or
- Bike riding ends in a crash on gravel, or
- Someone finds a stinging plant, thorns or gets another skin irritation, or
- A simple trip leads to dirt in a cut, or
- You have a bit too much time in the sun.
And then there’s bee stings, sunburn, bruises…you name it!
Clearly the point of this isn’t to be paranoid or worried about what could happen. Just to be prepared so you can calmly deal with any first aid situation that arises.
So, what do you need to make the ultimate first aid kit for camping?
#1 Camping First Aid Essentials
Before we cover off what basics you need in your first aid kit, let’s talk about what specific items you want to bring for camping:
- Betadine or chlorhexidine – for any really dirty wounds
- One-Stop First Aid Cream – one that has an Antiseptic, Local Anaesthetic, Anti-Inflammatory and Soothing Agent (for example Medi-Quattro). I go through tons when we’re camping because we all react to bites!
- Suncream & Lip Balm for hot days
- Aloe Vera or other sunburn relief spray (just don’t apply to broken skin!)
- Magnoplasm to help draw out splinters
- Anti-histamine for bites & hayfever
- Paracetamol & Ibuprofen (the latter is better for sunburn)
- Mosquito Repellant
- Hand sanitiser
- Glad wrap for burn treatment once the initial cooling has been carried out. It is a kitchen staple that acts as a very effective second skin to seal off nerve endings (reduce pain), minimise the risk of infection and fluid loss. As a bonus it also doesn’t stick to a wound.
#2 Well-Stocked First Aid Kit
In addition to your camping saviours, here are my must-have items for a first aid kit:
Gloves: The first rule of First Aid is to protect yourself first. So, make sure you always wear gloves when providing first aid – especially if body fluids are present.
CPR Mask/Shield: Once again, you need to protect yourself first. If you do not have a mask then providing ‘Compression-Only CPR’ is better than nothing. I keep a mask in my kit and on my keyring.
Bandaids: Who doesn’t keep these in their glovebox? Bandaids will always come in handy when you’re away. But if you run out, or they’re not big enough – your non-stick dressing and hyperfix will do the same job.
Gauze: I am amazed at how many standard kits do not come with gauze! You can use gauze to stop bleeding and clean wounds.
Tape/Hyperfix: Hyperfix has to be one of my most used items. While most first aid kits come with micropore tape, I prefer hyperfix because it’s a very sticky tape. It comes in various sizes, can be cut to size to suit your purpose, and is fantastic with a non-stick dressing.
Non-stick dressing/pads: Keep a variety of sizes in your first aid kit, as they’re great for putting onto grazes and wounds, as well as covering burns while you go to seek medical help. Remember, unlike we were told as kids to give a wound air to dry up – wounds like to be kept covered so they can heal in a warm and moist environment.
Bandage: Bandages are so multi-purpose and you’ll quickly see why you want them camping – because they can be used for compression to stop bleeding, to support a limb injury, to hold a dressing in place, for snake bites, to splint a limb or as a tourniquet. Ideally, you want several different sizes and a good quality bandage (a crepe at a minimum). Rather than the lesser quality of bandages in many ready-made first aid kits, that make it hard to get a good compression and they fall to pieces easily.
Triangular bandage: Another great multipurpose item, which can be used in place of gauze to stop bleeding, to splint limbs together or as a sling.
Ice pack: While we always have ice in the esky, I love instant icepacks, as they’re a great way to start RICE treatment or for a bruise. They can also come in handy for bites and stings.
Scissors: To cut tape, dressings and bandages to size.
Tweezers: To remove splinters, gravel or even stings. Don’t forget to pack a Splinter Probe too.
Saline: To clean wounds and flush eyes.
Survival blanket: These help keep someone warm in case of shock.
Plastic bags: Another handy item, which can help clean up used items and the worst case store any amputated digits. They can even be used to store an adult tooth in the person’s saliva.
A notepad and pen: To make any notes about the situation or people involved.
Container: And quite obviously – you need to put your first aid kit in something! A commercial kit will have a nifty container, but have a good look at it first to make sure you can see everything when you open it. There’s nothing worse than having to tear through zips & compartments. You can use a plastic food container, or my favourite is a soft packing cell.
#3 Put These 3 Apps on Your Phone
Now while we all associate camping and holidays with switching off from technology, when you go away, I can’t recommend having these 3 Apps on your phone enough.
Australian Bites & Stings
I love this app, because it means you can go camping and hiking with confidence.
Download the Australian Bites and Stings first aid app and you can look up a potential ‘venomous creature’ to:
- Identify it,
- Discover the signs and symptoms of their bite/sting, and
- Follow the recommended first aid based on Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines.
The best part of this for me, is that if I couldn’t provide or direct the first aid for myself, this app could easily guide anyone through what to do.
Kids Health Info App
Rather than consulting Dr Google (at your peril!), go away knowing that you have more than 300 medical fact sheets put out by The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne if you need them.
In short – it’s information you can truly rely on.
Download the Kids Health Info first aid app as a fantastic resource on topics such as:
- And more.
This app is a must-have. If you need to call 000, it will use your phone’s GPS to give your co-ordinates and address to the 000 Operator, so they can send emergency services your way. It also provides a list of key emergency phone numbers.
Because when you’re off camping, you’ve taken the 4wd for a spin or you’re in a new place – you’re unlikely to know the actual address.
And imagine the stress if you needed to call 000 in an emergency, and you didn’t know where to send them!
Download the Emergency+ first aid app today.
And One Last Tip…
When you’re away (and this is if you are close to civilisation vs out in the bush), it pays to know what after-hours medical services you have access to, when the pharmacy is open and if the local doctor can come to you.
A last note on your camping first aid kit – don’t forget to check it before each trip to make sure all of your supplies are full and nothing is outdated.
Plus, if you want to feel even more confident that you’ll know what to do if a first aid situation arises, come and refresh your skills at one of our many upcoming first aid courses in 2020.
And now that you’ve got the ultimate camping first aid kit packed – it’s time to hit the road and enjoy your holiday!
I’d love to see you at a course in 2020!
:: Reserve your child’s place in our popular Children’s First Aid Course is on January 2013, which is perfect for 7-12 year olds.
:: Spaces are available for my next Community Parent First Aid courses – on 19 January in Holdfast Bay and 3 February in Morphett Vale.
:: Or, join us at our next certificated Community CPR and First Aid course on 20 January in Holdfast Bay.
Alternatively, contact me if you would love to learn First Aid with your family and friends or even with your child/ren, then I’d love to hear from you. I can come to your house and individualise a course to your family.
Click on the link below to book now! Or discover more here on my website or over on my Facebook page.
This article was written for information and education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.