So you’re going on a hiking, camping, or exploration trip? It’s important to always be prepared for emergencies. This is where a personal first aid kit comes in handy!
No matter how long or short your trip may be, it’s important that you have basic life saving supplies with you. Be mindful of the sorts of climates and conditions that exist at the location of your destination. You’ll need to pack up accordingly and should bring some different items depending on whether it will be hot , cold , rainy , dry etc…
What to Bring
Here are the basic items to be included in your first aid kit. The list holds importance of priority from left to right. Note: The contents vary slightly based on gender and the age group of the individual. Children, for example, will have different first aid needs than adults or senior citizens.
Starting with the first row:
- Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer, 1-2 ounces (1-2 TSA approved sized bottles) A must! You should always have some kind of hand sanitizer on you when you’re out and about. It’s important to keep your hands clean and use these in case of cuts, scrapes, burns, wound infections etc… Plus they’re super cute!
- Ace Bandages* (4-6) I personally like the type that comes in a roll. It makes it easier to carry around. ACE bandages are super strong and can safely handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
- Cotton Gauze Pads (3) I prefer these because they’re easy to take with you when you go hiking or camping which is where most of my first aid needs arise from.
- Safety Pins (2) These can be used to splint broken limbs. You can even use them as splints on just about anything!
- Blister Kit (2) Blisters are nasty. Here’s a great video on how to make your own blister kit!
- Sunscreen/Bug Spray (1) Sunscreen is the safest way to protect against harmful sun rays. If you’re going to be in a sunny climate, always bring along some sunscreen with you. Some people may find it annoying, but it’s good for your skin because it prevents pigment from accumulating under the skin that causes cancer and other skin diseases.
- Redness Relief (1-2) These are great for reducing the inflammation caused by the sun and other factors.
- Away We Go Travel Medicine Kit* (1) This is a pretty fancy first aid kit, but hey, it’s nice to have even if you’re not going far. It contains 3 easy to use and economical first aid cures that can be applied within minutes.
- Adhesive Dressings (3-4) You may think of these as Band-Aids, Antiseptic Pads, or even super glue? No matter what it’s called they are important to have with you when traveling. I generally bring a box of them with me just in case.
- Instant Cold Packs (3-4) These are perfect for keeping the exact temperature you need in the cooler months.
- Tweezers (2) Tweezers are useful for picking up small things that may be stuck on the body like splinters, insect bits, or even thorns to prevent injury. They can also be used to apply a wound bandage once it’s ready, and sometimes that’s all it takes.
- Plastic Bags/ Ziploc Bags/ Plastic Wrap (10-15) You’ll want to have bags for storing some medicines or anything else that needs to be kept clean and dry when traveling. Sometimes I use ziploc bags or even plastic wrap to make sure that my medicines stay cool and clean. You may need plastic bags depending on the contents of the first aid kit you’re gathering.
- Thermometer* This is essential for figuring out if you have a fever and should take additional medicine. The thermometer should be waterproof, so it can also be used as a probe to locate injuries under clothing.
- Hand Sanitizer (1-2) Hand sanitizer is also useful in that it can be used to clean any of your other supplies should they carry germs. It’s a good idea to have 2 so you can keep one handy while the other is being used.
- Safety Whistle (1) This will help draw attention in case of an emergency. Someone might find it useful if you get lost hiking or something like that. I even carry one with me when I go camping or hiking, just in case!
- Witch Hazel (2-3) Witch Hazel can be used to treat rashes, cool burns, and reduce inflammation of certain parts of the body. I keep witch hazel with me just in case!
- Bottled Water (2-3) With all the heat and sweat we can accumulate while traveling, having at least 2 or 3 bottles of water is a must.
- Concentrated Multi-Purpose Liquid (1) I’ve also heard people refer to this as ‘Nasty’ stuff. This stuff is like water, but it’s more concentrated. You add 7 drops of this to one cup of water. That’s it! You can use this to treat bites, burns, cuts etc… You’ll need to add 7 drops to one cup of water for the treatment. You can also use this stuff for washing wounds, cleaning off dirt, etc… I’ve also heard of people using it in situations where they’re allergic to water.
- First Aid Manual (1-2) This is the book that contains all of the instructions and details discussed above. You may also want a plastic bag or something similar that you can put in your first aid kit.
- *I have sometimes found it useful to have a small ziploc bag with my medicines and supplies separate from the rest of my first aid kit to keep them clean as well as prevent them from absorbing any germs or accidents that happen while I’m out on my travels.
How much does a small first aid kit cost?
First Aid Kits are not very expensive, but you do want to make sure that the kit is stocked with all the necessities. Some items like gauze, bandages, medical tape and things like that can be bought at the dollar store. You can also find cheap supplies at this link .
Timers are important for a few reasons, one of them being able to know when to take your medicine. You’ll want to know exactly what time your medicines are due in order for that dosage to work properly. You’ll also want to set the timer while cooking your food in order to avoid getting sick from foodborne illnesses. For instance, if you are taking a fever medicine that needs to be taken every 4 hours for 6 days, you want to take it at the same times every day.
One of the reasons I chose a small egg timer is because I could also use it to time my cooking. You will also want to make sure that this egg timer is waterproof or can handle being submerged in water up to a certain point because there are times when you might need to set it while washing dishes or preparing food.
Timers are not expensive; you can find them anywhere from $3-$10.
You will want to have a thermometer in your kit so that you are able to determine whether or not you have a fever or other sickness. A Thermometer will help with the following things: Help you know when to take your temperature Taking the temperature of sick friends and family members Knowing the proper temperature of cooking food You should get a small, digital thermometer since they’re easy to use and carry around. I chose this one because it is waterproof which is important because I can use it for taking my own temperature, but also important if someone else in my family needs to take their temperature. It can be used orally, rectally, and through the armpit. You will also want to make sure that you have extra batteries on hand since they are not included. A thermometer is one of the more expensive items you will purchase for your kit costing anywhere from $10 – $25.
You will want to have wipes or paper towels in your kit so that you have something to clean up messes with. I chose baby wipes because they don’t take up a lot of space and I can use it for anything from cleaning hands, faces, cleaning up messes, etc. I used to use a cheap, plastic scrubby on my kit but it was difficult to clean and not very durable. I switched to baby wipes when I realized I didn’t want a scrubby in my kit.
Bonus items when kids are around. Not exactly “first aid” material but can be helpful to keep occupied and entertained:
Activity & Play Cards
These are a great way to add some visual interest to a boring play space and are also great for calming or entertaining babies.
Various types of rattles/toys: ring rattle, soft toys, interactive toys, etc. You will want these around the play space so that your little one has something enjoyable during diaper changes, playtime, or even nighttime when your little one is fussy or tired.
You will want to make sure that the toys that you include in your play kits are safe. You don’t want to include choking hazards or items with small parts such as small balls, coins, and buttons. You can also put a label on any of the toys stating their age group so that you know what your child can play with.
You will find a lot of different art supplies in first aid kits from crayons to paintbrushes, glue sticks, markers, and much more. I have found this art pen set in my pack before and it’s a great way to keep little ones occupied while out camping or shaking off some cabin fever.
Girls & Boys Pouches
You will want to include a pouch in your first aid kit so that the supplies inside are neatly organized and easy to access. You can use these pouches for both boys and girls. This particular pouch is great because it’s waterproof and also anti-microbial which is great since I’ll likely be putting all of my first aid supplies in here. You will want to purchase a few of these in different sizes so that you can fit your items comfortably inside.
A small plastic bag will work well too; however, they typically aren’t as durable as the anti-microbial pouches such as this one and they’re typically not waterproof.
When it comes to throwing in some extra items that you may not need in your first aid kit, I would recommend keeping the following items in your pack just for the fun of it.