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First Aid Tips for Campers

Important considerations regarding first aid for camping are to be prepared, have a plan and be aware of your surroundings.

When it comes to first aid kits you can purchase ready-made ones and/or add to a kit or assemble your own. Make sure the kit itself is in or has a waterproof pack and note that most purchased kits in Canada do not come with pharmaceutical products.

Pack the kit accordingly for where you will be camping, how many campers will be on the trip, and if the kit will be in your backpack (thus a weight consideration). Invest in a first aid booklet and learn basic CPR. The Canadian Red Cross and St. John Ambulance offer a variety of emergency courses, including wilderness first aid.

Remember to include any current prescriptions, pain relievers, sunscreens and lip balms. These don’t have to be in the first aid kit, just know where they are. Find out the group’s allergies and should anyone in the camping party have a medical condition, note it on a card and what to do in case of an emergency. If pets are coming, pack their necessary care items too.

What To Pack In A First Aid Kit

  • Sterile dressings and assortment of waterproof bandages
  • Gauze bandage (tensor) and a few safety pins
  • Cotton pads and swabs
  • Antibiotic spray and ointment
  • Antihistamine and bug bite/anti-itch treatments (such as cortisone creams)
  • Aloe vera gel or sunburn cream (remember to pack and use suntan lotion)
  • Antacid and anti-diarrheal medicines
  • Eye drops (allergy or otherwise)
  • Tweezers and a tick-removal tool
  • Latex-free gloves and/or hand sanitizer (not for cleansing wounds!)
  • Thermometer
  • Whistle
  • Compact emergency blanket
  • Small flashlight
  • Resealable plastic bags (in case anything in the kit gets wet)

Additional items to consider:

  • Disposable masks/CPR mask
  • Closure strips for wounds
  • Surgical scissors
  • Moleskin (to help prevent chafing or blisters)
  • Eye wash cup
  • Emergency fire starter or fire stick
  • Pocket mirror (to shine in case you are lost)

Replace what you use along the way (if possible) or at the end of your trip and check expiration dates before each camping season. Discard anything that has been unused for too long as temperature fluctuations and moisture could affect some items.