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Medical Kits & Training Needed for Camping

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It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. We’ve all heard this saying! The right skills and gear can be the difference between life or death when you’re in the backcountry.

Carriage Before The Horse

The market is flooded with a variety of medical kits in every shape, size and color. It’s easy to fall in love with a kit that matches your vehicle’s paint job, but you need to make sure you know how to use what’s in the kit first.

Although there are a range of YouTube videos that go over the basics, an accredited in-person First Aid training course is the best way to go. There are Wilderness First Aid courses, as well, that are great for those planning on venturing on the path less traveled. These courses will give you a base knowledge of how to handle emergency situations.

Practice makes perfect. Although you may have taken a First Aid training course in the past, these skills need to be practiced frequently. Refresher courses are a great way to make sure you don’t get rusty!

Medical Kit Must Have’s

Deciding what to add to your medical kit is tricky. If you overland, like us, then you’re restricted to a very finite space. Everything in our truck must serve a purpose. But how can you predict what medical items will be needed?

We may not have a crystal ball, but we can build a solid medical kit based off of experience – even if it’s not our own. Along with the advice you’ll receive from the instructors at your First Aid course, you can research what other campers have encountered. Social media and forums are a great way to connect with other individuals who adventure the way you do, and know what trials you may face.

Consider making multiple medical kits, each designed for different trip durations, terrains or climates.

Once you receive your First Aid training, you will have a better idea of what to pack in your medical kit. The gear you'll add will depend on your level of training. Assuming most will take a basic course, we've listed items below that should be in your medical kit.

  • Gloves

  • Gauze

  • Alcohol Wipes

  • Band-Aids (variety of sizes and shapes)

  • ACE Wrap

  • Tourniquet

  • Chest Seal

  • Athletic Tape

  • Medical Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Q-Tips

  • Large Syringe

  • Moleskin

  • Neosporin

  • Ibuprofen

  • Tylenol

  • Baby Aspirin

  • Benadryl

  • Tums

  • Eye Drops

  • Thermometer

  • Emergency Blanket

This is the medical kit we have for both our truck and our boat. We added some additional items to fit our needs, but this kit is a great starting point.

Emergency Response

First aid training and medical kits will only get you so far. If you find yourself in a life or death situation, you want something that can call in the professionals.

A tool we’ve been using for years on our backpacking trips is just as useful on our overlanding trips. The Garmin In Reach has been great peace of mind in the backcountry. The flexible subscription is great for anyone who only needs it a few months a year. The emergency call will cost you a pretty penny, but it's well worth it when you have no other choice.

Additional Skills and Tools For Success

There are some bush skills that can help keep you safe when a situation goes south.

A friend of mine got stuck on a mountain in Hawaii after a mudslide took out the hiking trail she was on. The group she was with was stuck in place for 2 days before a rescue team was able to safely extract them. Everyone had to survive off of what they packed in their small day-trip backpacks. Luckily, the guide had the skills and knowledge to keep everyone safe.

Researching the area you plan on traveling to is obvious, but take it a step further and look into survival skills for that specific location.

Is it hot and dry or cold and wet? Will there be water sources available? What kind of plants are edible? What weather patterns can be expected throughout a 24 hour period?

All of these questions will help you decide what to pack when you embark on your adventure. Even if you plan on hiking for a day, take a small pack with some basics that can get you through a night or two. Water, high calorie protein bars, emergency blanket, fire starters and a small medical kit should all make it in your pack.

Don't plan on packing everything in one pack for everyone in your group. Even if you have small children, they can carry snacks in a small pack or fanny pack. This isn't just to take the weight off one person, but makes sure everyone has the necessary gear required to survive. If someone in your group gets lost, the last thing they need is for someone else to be carrying their survival gear.

We hope all of this information helps you on your upcoming trip! If you have any questions, or you have any additional recommendations, please leave a comment below!

Happy camping!

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