There are 3 types of people in the world when it comes to first aid kits and camping, in my opinion.
Type 1- Doesn’t give it a second thought and therefore doesn’t own one.
Type 2- The person that buys a kit online and then doesn’t give it a second thought.
Type 3- Homemade and well prepared, just in case, regularly checks expiry dates.
I’m type 3.
Maybe it’s my healthcare background, or the fact that my husband is the biggest accident prone out there, but I do love to be prepared.
Currently we are working on the bathroom of our camper, which includes a restock of our first aid kit. I thought I’d share our basics with you, just in case you were wondering what medical supplies to pack for your van life adventure.
To start with, basic meds. Pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen need to be in there for any injuries, sprains and aches. If you have pain that requires stronger pain relief, you might need to be thinking about consulting a doctor. I often suffer with migraines and find this aspirin/ paracetamol/ caffeine combination helps so I have that in our kit to, (remember not to mix paracetamol containing products).
Next up is allergy medications, an antihistamine for any hay fever symptoms or allergic reactions, and also some bite cream. Camping and insect bites and stings go hand in hand, so it definitely pays to have something to relieve the itching and irritation that comes from being the dinner of our insect friends.
Constipation and diarrhoea relief. Gastric troubles can really take the fun out of camping, especially if you don’t have access to a decent toilet. Consider packing something to ease symptoms, and keep an eye on your condition in case you need medical attention. Don’t forget something for indigestion if you’re prone to that to.
Saline solution. I love this stuff, handy for eyes if you’re suffering from hay fever, also handy for eyes if you get any chemicals or foreign bodies in them. Essential for cleaning nasty wounds.
Always remember to follow the instructions on the packet, and get medical advice from NHS/ 111 if required.
Bandages and Dressings
Waterproof plasters, obviously, good for wounds and blisters. If you are prone to blisters on your feet then be sure to pack something more specialised such as Compeed. Steristrips are also brilliant, thin plasters or ‘paper stitches’ for wounds that are not too deep but need something extra, and also for skin tears.
A variety of bandages, small, medium and large and also some gauze. Perfect for larger wounds, if on route to a hospital or minor injury unit try and put wet gauze on the wound and keep it on with a bandage, the wet gauze will be better for the skin prior to closure.
Finger dressings are great for finger wounds, obviously. My husband is always cutting his fingers and these are a god send.
A sling and some safety pins, to support limbs but also useful for raising limbs and reducing swelling.
Eye pads, because if you need one, you’ll be thankful you packed one, and they don’t take up a lot of room.
Special dressings for burns and bleeding. I’m cautious, but for me, if we’re in the middle of no where, cooking dinner and someone gets burnt, I want the best dressing possible. First aid would say cool the wound and cover with cling film, so if you don’t have a special dressing it’s ok, but I put a couple of Burnshield dressings in our kit, just in case. Also a TraumaFix dressing for major bleeding, again, I’m cautious, but if you’re doing a lot of driving it doesn’t do any harm to have something for all eventualities.
The speciality dressings are all available from St Johns Ambulance, but most can be bought from any store that sells basic medications and dressings, or any pharmacy.
Trauma shears, double up as scissors for bandages, but also cutting off clothes in an emergency. Tweezers for splinters and a tick remover for ticks.
Antiseptic wipes to keep things clean, and some gloves to stop your hands getting messy.
Finally, face masks, because we live in an infectious world these days and you should always be prepared.
So there we go, our first aid kit.
I should add, I have some medical knowledge so am comfortable with first aid, but if you aren’t, please consider buying a basic first aid book to put on your bookshelf. It won’t take up a lot of room but it could literally save a life or limb if you’re in an isolated space and waiting help, (also download the What Three Words app, great for directing the emergency services).
Let me know what you think, is there anything you would leave out? What have I missed that you would definitely include?