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By:    On: 2011-09-13

 Have you ever cut yourself while chopping veggies or burned your finger on the stove?  What did you do?  Most people reach for their first aid kit, right?  (If you don’t have a first aid kit in your house you really should get one.) The same is true for camping, hiking…any outdoor activity, really.  My family has 6 outdoor kits; one large kit which encompasses everything, and five personal kits, which can either hang around our necks or tuck into our hiking packs.  Today I will try to detail what is in both types of kits and I will also give you some basic instructions for making your own personal kits.

Our family kit contains the following and is encased in a waterproof plastic case:

·         Children’s Tylenol

·         Aspirin

·         Ibuprofen

·         2 tubes of antiseptic

·         Prepackaged alcohol pads

·         Antiseptic wipes

·         Large bandages

·         Kid/small-sized bandages

·         Knee/Elbow bandages

·         Butterfly bandages

·         Knuckle bandages

·         Fingertip bandages

·         Medical-grade gloves

·         Safety pins

·         Matches

·         Gauze

·         Ace bandage

·         All-weather reflective blanket

·         Reusable ice pack

·         Ipecac

·         2 large tongue depressors and 2 popsicle sticks (for a quick splint)

·         1 yard of paracord

·         Change for emergency calls

·         Small mirror

·         Tweezers

·         First aid guide and list of camper illnesses & medications

Some of these items may seem a bit extreme for your uses; my family seems to find new scrapes to get into every trip we take.  Feel free to add/subtract to these items in your own kit.

As I mentioned earlier, we each wear/carry a personal first aid kit. I know, it's not really part of camp kitchens, but it's important so I'm adding it here.  Although we follow the buddy system, things do have a way of happening, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Each kit is contained inside a canister about the size of a 35mm roll of film (we use the canister my glucose test strips come in). A medication bottle will work just as well; please be sure to clean it thoroughly before use.  The kits include:

·         A band aid

·         Gauze

·         Surgical tape

·         2 matches

·         Pocket change

·         A mirror (we use the little ones you get at craft stores)

·         Twine

·         Dental floss and a needle with an eye big enough to accommodate the floss.

·         Duct tape

Here’s how to make one kit:

Lay your gauze into a square on the table.  Push it down into the canister so that it forms something like a little cup inside.  Drop your mirror into the bottom and top that with your change.  Line the inside wall of the canister with the band aid and add a small amount of floss – I typically only put in about a foot of the stuff.  Add 2 wooden matches that have been dipped in melted wax (keeps them water-proof) and put the top on.  If you find your matches are too big for your container, use the paper matches from a book; don’t forget to dip them!

Take a strip of surgical tape and wrap it around the outside of your canister.  Do the same with the duct tape, making sure to tape the needle vertically between the surgical tape and the duct tape.  Using the twine, tie a length around the top part of the canister, when the lid meets the container, knot it and measure a comfortable hanging length for the wearer, adding about 2 inches for tying off.  Tie the end of the cord around the canister just like before and knot it.

Although most of the items in this kit are no-brainers, a couple of them might leave some readers wondering about their use.  For the sake of those folks, let me offer a couple of tips: the pocket change is for an emergency phone call.  (Cell phone batteries do die eventually.)  The little mirror isn’t for vanity purposes; it can be used to signal for help or for making a fire, should the matches fail to do the job. The canister will act as a cup.  The duct tape….c’mon, really?  J

I think that’s going to just about cover it.  Do you have any first tips, tricks or advice?  I would love to hear from you!

Until then, happy camping.


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