Whether you’re pitching a backyard tent, heading down the trail, taking a camping trip, or cycling with the kids, carrying a well-stocked outdoor first aid kit is essential. You can buy a premade kit, but I think it’s easier AND CHEAPER to create a DIY first aid kit specific for the types of activities or situations you’ll encounter outdoors. So here I am sharing my camping and hiking first aid kit, specific products I love, plus a handy checklist to help pack it all.
When in the great outdoors, especially with kids, a well stocked first aid kit is something you should always have on hand and know how to use. If everything goes well, you’ll never need it. But it’s always better to be prepared.
What to Put in a First Aid Kit For Camping?
Your outdoor/camping first aid kit should include remedies and supplies that provide relief for most minor situations that could arise; cuts, abrasions, sunburn, snake bites (haven’t had this happen and pray it never does), insect stings, sprained ankles, etc. At a minimum, that includes band aids and materials for wound care, sting and bite relief, allergic reactions, and pain relief.
DIY First Aid Kit
Below, this is what we pack when we go hiking and camping. We actually carry two sets of supplies. First, I have a campsite kit/box that has everything on the camping first aid checklist. This is kept at the campsite or in the car. Then a second, smaller waterproof bag contains the basics and goes in an adult’s hiking pack.
Note: As a general rule, I opt for homeopathic and naturally derived first aid products. I find them to be as effective, if not better, than more traditional options. I’ve listed the products I use in the list below. Some, like the Green Goo First Aid salve, do the job of multiple items so they take up less space in the kit/box.
Related: Will you be traveling with kids? See what I pack in my travel first-aid kit.
Basic First Aid Supplies
- First Aid Manual or Information Cards – UST Gear has a full set of Learn & Live outdoor skills cards including one specific to First Aid.
- Antihistamine for allergic reactions (Benadryl or Genexa’s Allergy Care for kids and Genexa’s Allergy Card for adults.
- Anti-itch (hydrocortisone) cream
- Antiseptic wipes (alcohol is okay but BZK wipes are preferred)
- Antiseptic or first-aid ointment – I use this Green Goo ointment
- Assorted adhesive bandages – The kids love the colors and fun designs in these Welly Bravery Badges aka band aids.
- Butterfly bandages (for wound closure)
- Hand sanitizer – I like this sanitizer from Green Goo.
- Insect sting treatment or tool – Love this Bug Bite Thing! It extracts the saliva or venom from the wound and immediately reduces itch. Also works great for extracting splinters and ticks that are only partially embedded. We also carry After Bite pens for instant bite relief.
- Knife/Scissors or Multi-tool with both – I use this Leatherman multi-tool
- Medical latex gloves
- Medical adhesive tape (1” width)
- Moleskin for blister relief kit
- Nonstick sterile pads
- Pain reliever – Advil, Aspirin, Mortin, Tylenol, etc.
- Safety pins
- Saline solution or eye drops
- Sterile gauze pads
- Tweezers (fine tip)
- Waterproof bag or container to hold all supplies
Abrasions, Sprains, and Wound Care
- Ace bandage
- Assorted adhesive bandages
- Butterfly bandages for wound closure
- Instant cold pack
- Liquid bandage or super glue
- Moleskin – I pack this blister relief kit from Adventure Medical Kit that have pre-cut sizes.
- Medical adhesive tape
- Nonstick sterile pads
- Sterile gauze pads
- Cotton tampon without application to stop wound blood loss. You can swap a quick clot or hemostatic agent for this. (Amazon || Backcountry)
- Wooden splint/craft stick
OTC Ointments, Sprays, and Treatments
- Arnica to relieve sore muscles – I use Boiron gel
- Burn relief – I use Calendula gel/cream or the Green Goo ointment for sunburns and other types)
- Diarrhea medication- I use these Diaralia Tablets from Boiron
- Heartburn/indigestion relief – I use Acidil by Boiron for anyone over 12 years old and Genexa Antacids
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Insect repellent – I like the DEET Free Buzz Away from Quantum Health and a Citronella oil bracelet/clip/roll on from Para’Kito
- Sunscreen – Currently I am using and loving Think, a mineral based sunscreen that goes on easily.)
- Prescription medications
- Cotton swabs
- Emergency blanket – This adult size blanket is just $5 at REI. We keep one for every member in the family and in our home emergency kit.
- Sugary item or throat lozenge for low blood sugar
- Ziplock bags for soiled items/trash
Camping First Aid Checklist
Ready Made First Aid Kits for Kids
For anyone that wants to skip the DIY and buy a pre-assembled camping first aid kit, there are some good purpose-specific options on the market. You’ll find high-quality kits specific to traveling with dogs, hiking, climbing, etc. These purpose-specific kits feature remedies and aid supplies for the most common injuries you’d experience doing a specific activity.
Adventure Medical Kits has complete kits for nearly every activity and situation. The Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/watertight (available at Backcountry) is a good option for a day hike or for a base kit that you can add onto.
For a complete multi-day hiking or family camping medical kit you can buy, the Explore Kit from Adventure Medical Kits is a great option. It includes enough supplies for 4 people for up to 7 days.
The More You Know
Having a camping first aid is important, but knowing how to use the items inside is equally beneficial. You can buy or check out an outdoor first-aid book specific to wilderness medicine from your local library or enroll in training aid courses near you.