Going camping? Here’s what you need in your first aid kit

It’s camping season! Time to throw your canoe on top of your car, hit the open road, and get in touch with your wilder side.

It’s also time to make sure your old tent and sleeping bags don’t need patching, that your portable BBQ isn’t a fire hazard (does it need a good cleaning?), and that you can still trust your trusty compass (still working properly?).

Most importantly, give your first aid kit a onceover to be sure it contains everything you need in case of emergency. Don’t forget that you’ll be far away from help and a hospital.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or a camping pro. You aren’t immune to the elements or getting injured. And depending on how far you’ve forayed into the wilderness, there’s a good chance your cell phone won’t have any reception.

So do yourself (and your concerned loved ones) a favor and be sure your first aid kit is good to go before you go. Because if you arrive at your destination, only to discover that you’re out of band-aids and your medications have expired, your kit won’t be able to give you the aid you need when you need it most.

Keep reading for 14 items you should include in your kit:

The essentials

1. Bandaids – Great for minor cuts, or to protect blisters that may appear after a long walk or hike.

2. Polysporin – An antibiotic ointment should be applied directly after cleaning an open wound, to prevent infection.

3. Gauze – Cover cuts, scrapes, or burns with gauze to keep the area clean and dry.

4. Tweezers – From splinters to ticks, these guys will come in handy if you need to remove an unwanted visitor from your skin.

5. Water – It is essential that you pack enough water for the duration of your trip, and beyond. How much is enough? According to Red Cross, you’ll need 4L per person per day. Before you go, make sure that the water you are bringing is properly sealed in durable containers.

Must-have medications

6. Benadryl – You might have seasonal allergies, or maybe you react more severely to bug bites than your friends. Whatever the case, allergies can sneak up when you least expect them, so it’s better to be prepared with the right medication to keep uncomfortable symptoms at bay.

7. Gravol – No one plans to get sick while camping, but when you’re cooking around the campfire, there’s always the chance that you might eat something that doesn’t sit well with you. Also consider that drinking alcohol while out in the sun for hours can result in a pretty bad hangover the next day. So be prepared with some anti-nausea meds!

8. Tylenol/Advil – Speaking of bad hangovers, you’ll want a painkiller for that throbbing headache. Not to mention some pain medications will come in handy if you end up with a painful injury – like a twisted ankle or a bad cut.

9. Nuun – If you aren’t drinking enough water, your electrolytes may become imbalanced, resulting in a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Having an electrolyte replacement can save the day.

10. Sunburn lotion or aloe gel – While we can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing sunscreen while camping, if you do end up getting a sunburn, you’ll definitely want to have a healing lotion or gel to help bring down the swelling and cool your overheated skin.

Safety supplies

11. Sling – A sling will come in handy for more than just an injury to your arm or shoulder. From an improvised tourniquet (to stop excessive bleeding) to an emergency hat (for cases of hypothermia), you won’t believe all of the sling’s many life-saving uses.

12. Scissors – If you end up needing to use gauze while you’re camping, you’ll need scissors for cutting it at just the right spot. In the event of a more serious injury, like a burn or a deep wound, scissors will be necessary to cut away clothing that may be stuck to the skin. Note that first aid scissors have a blunted blade to avoid further injury.

13. Water filter – A must-have in the event you run out of clean drinking water.

14. Swiss Army Knife – A super convenient way to have a number of your necessities in your pocket (literally). From a window breaker, to a magnifying glass, to a wrench, some versions of these knives come with so many survival features you may consider leaving your first aid kit behind (But don’t!)

There you have it. If you include the items listed above in your first aid kit, you will be more than prepared for an emergency or accident. Just be sure to keep your kit in a dry place once you’ve arrived at the campsite. Even better, keep it in a backpack in case you need to leave the area quickly.

A final note: Always let someone know where you are going, as well as your expected date of return. Let your camping companions know who your emergency contacts are in case they need to reach them in an emergency. It’s important that someone back home has all the necessary information in case something unexpected occurs

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