You should never go on a camping trip without a first aid kit. Whether you are thru-hiking or chilling by the campfire, you must bring appropriate medical supplies to deal with an emergency.
If you overlook this, you might seriously regret it. No one wants to feel completely helpless when someone they love is in pain—especially when their life could be at stake.
I don’t mean to be over the top, but I personally saved a stranger’s life before. If I hadn’t had my first aid kit or known how to respond, there was a very real chance that he would have died.
So having been in a situation in which my body went from super chilled-out to high adrenaline mode in less than five seconds, I know how quickly things can change when we are enjoying the great outdoors.
This article will suggest eight of the best first aid kits for camping on the market right now. I’ll also give you tips for putting together your own kit and how to know what equipment you need for your situation.
I hope you find it helpful!
In a Hurry? Here Are My Top 3 Picks
8 Best Camping First Aid Kits
Protect Life 100 Piece First Aid Kit
You don’t have to spend tons of money on your first aid kit, and it doesn’t make sense to fill your entire pack with splints and bandages if you’re going to be taking things fairly easy! This Protect Life offers a great balance between price, weight, and quality.
It would be a good choice for a solo camper because it contains just one emergency blanket. If I were camping with a buddy, I would make sure I had an extra foil blanket. I’d also pop a few more blister plasters in there. (There’s nothing worse than hiking with sore toes!)
This kit comes with all the basic supplies that you’ll need to pull out splinters and deal with small wounds. You also have a couple of bandages and a tourniquet for trauma.
Can I just point out that the current advice is to not attempt to use a tourniquet unless you’ve had some training, because you might do more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing!
This is a basic first aid kit that would be useful for backpackers or campers who aren’t climbing any crazy peaks. It contains the very minimum of what you would need, so this isn’t the best choice for more serious explorers.
But if you just want a few lightweight supplies to pop in a side pocket of your pack, this is a great value option.
Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Series
I’ve taken a fair amount of training in outdoor first aid over the years. After leading groups of young people on day hikes in the mountains, I learned how important it is to be well prepared.
The Adventure Medical kit is my top choice because it will have your back in any situation. From small scrapes and sprains to broken limbs and even major trauma, you have all the supplies that you need to administer first aid.
This kit is quite big and bulky, so I love that you can slip out the trauma kit pouch to bring along in your daysack. You can leave the rest of the equipment at base camp if you’re going on a hike.
The only thing that seems to be missing is an instant cold pack, which can be really helpful to reduce swelling if someone twists an ankle. I’d grab one of those separately and bring it along.
There is also a detailed map on the outside of the kit, so you know exactly where everything is located.
The equipment is organized into see-through pockets based on injury type, so you can reach what you need quickly and easily under pressure.
I’ve had first aid kits in which everything was shoved into one single pocket. I have to say, it is a nightmare when an injured person needs help and you’re desperately sifting through all the little pockets to find what you need.
This is a top-quality kit that I would want on hand if I got injured! But it’s also pricey and bulky, so you’ll have to decide whether you’re willing to invest that much.
Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit
The Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit would be your best choice for car camping. In fact, I would keep this in my vehicle at all times. You never know when you’ll run into an emergency situation, and you might be thankful that you kept this on hand.
I love that this first aid kit comes with built-in straps so that you can attach it to one of your car seats.
The first aid equipment is all clearly labeled and organized into mesh pockets, so you can grab what you need without wasting time.
The kit also comes with a bonus mini kit that you can keep with your backpack or stuff in a tent pocket.
This means you don’t have to lug all the equipment with you, but you know that it’s not far away if you need it.
You have plenty of supplies to cover pretty much any situation. This includes a splint and instant ice pack, as well as all of your normal emergency supplies.
Do bear in mind that it has only one emergency blanket. I’d advise bringing one blanket per person if you’ll be doing any hiking.
There is also a first aid booklet telling you what to do in an emergency. Make sure you read this before you go on your trip. If your best friend just broke their leg on a mountain ridge, I doubt they’ll be happy to wait while you study a pamphlet.
If you have no idea what you’re doing with a bandage, you might want to take a free first aid course online to get started.
Thrive First Aid 66 Piece Kit
Going back to something more compact, the Thrive First Aid Kit is lightweight and small.
As one of the reviewers succinctly put it, this is a “nice little boo-boo kit.” It’s not going to be what you want if you’ve broken a leg or gashed open your knee, but it’ll be helpful for minor injuries like burns, scrapes, and cuts.
If you aren’t planning any hiking on your camping trip, this may well be fine. It’s not going to take up much space, but you’re bound to be grateful for it once your trip has started.
You have some antiseptic wipes, plasters, and tweezers to deal with splinters or grazes. There’s a little extra space inside, so I would add some after-bite cream for sure.
I personally wouldn’t go for this kit because I need something far more equipped for mountain climbs. But for everyday use, it’ll do the trick.
AOKIWO Emergency Survival Kit
If you might find yourself dealing with something more serious than splinters, you’d be better off with a survival kit like this.
You will find essential first aid supplies like bandages, wound pads, and antiseptic wipes but there are also emergency survival tools like a fishing line, a torch, a compass, and a fire starter.
I have to say, the tweezers look like they’re made of rubbishy plastic, so I would replace them with something more effective straight away. The gloves are not sealed in a sterile bag either, which completely defeats the purpose.
These couple of oversights aside, there is a lot to like about this kit. It’s not too expensive and it’s nice and compact. It will be useful in a wide range of scenarios, including first aid emergencies.
For the price, I doubt that the quality of the tools is the best. If you are genuinely concerned about your survival, you might want to bring a really good knife that you can trust rather than rely on the one provided in this kit.
But I would rather have this than nothing if I were stuck on the hills!
AMK Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit
The AMK Mountain Series Hiker is a good choice for backpackers and thru-hikers.
It offers a good balance between size and useful supplies, and the soft case makes it easier to stuff the kit into a side pocket for easy access. (You don’t want your first aid kit sitting at the bottom of your pack where you can’t get to it!)
This kit is designed for one or two people who are camping for a couple of days. It’s nicely organized with labeled mesh pockets, telling you which section to open in which situation.
You have equipment for many cuts and scrapes, as well as a trauma kit for bleeding and a few helpful medications like after-bite and pain killers.
This kit is water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about bad weather ruining it. The supplies are sterile and sealed, and you have most of what you’d want in an emergency. You don’t have a splint or emergency blanket, so you might want to get those separately.
The kit does come with a wilderness medicine book, which would be a great read leading up to your trip, but it would probably be dead weight once you’re already camping!
178 Piece Contractor's First Aid Kit
Let’s be honest: This first aid kit is not the sleekest or the prettiest one on the market. But when it comes to functionality, it has pretty much everything you could want. It’s designed for use on worksites, but it would be a good choice for a car camping trip, too.
You have all the basic supplies that you would need, plus bonuses like a cold pack and burn cream. It doesn’t come with an emergency blanket or pain relief, which you might want to pack separately.
This is a basic but functional first aid kit that would be very useful in the trunk of your vehicle.
Some of the recent reviews were negative because people were expecting it to come with extra medications that were photographed. It looks like the manufacturer has sorted this out now, so you can see exactly what you get for your money on the contents list.
It does come with plastic tweezers, which I normally can’t stand. But the quality of these seems pretty decent, so you might get along with them just fine.
YIDERBO Small-Waterproof Emergency Kit
This Yiberbo emergency kit is a great value. The medical supplies are all good-quality compared to similarly priced kits, though the pouch itself is light-duty. You could always pop the whole kit in a dry bag for extra protection if bad weather is forecast on your camping trip.
I love that it includes an instant cold pack for strains as well as a flashlight, compass, multi-tool, and fire starter. That’s on top of the good range of medical supplies, with plenty of alcohol wipes and sterile swabs to dress wounds safely.
This doesn’t include any medications and it has only one emergency blanket. You might want to look into that, but otherwise, I highly recommend this kit. User reviews are overwhelmingly positive, as people clearly feel that they got their money’s worth.
I particularly like the cotton buds which are injected with a wound cleaning solution. These are really neat and I haven’t seen them before. They would be useful on a camping trip when you don’t want to take up too much space with larger bottles of betadine.
Camping First Aid Kits Buying Guide
To be honest, I think you should have already found the right first aid kit for camping in this article. But if you’re struggling to make a choice, this buying guide will give you some pointers.
The size and weight of your first aid kit will depend on your camping plans. If you’re car camping with a large group, you can take a much bigger and heavier first aid kit than if you’re thru-hiking by yourself.
Ironically, you’ll be relying more seriously on your first aid kit the farther you are venturing with your backpack. So even though you need to keep things reasonably light, you shouldn’t try to summit mountains with only a few Band-Aids.
As an absolute minimum, you should have a trauma kit for heavy bleeding and an emergency blanket. Both of these are lightweight and could easily save your life.
Bear in mind that soft shell first aid kits can be stuffed into smaller pockets, whereas plastic or metal cases tend to take up more room in your pack.
If your first aid supplies are all stuffed into one little sack, you’ll have trouble finding what you need in an emergency. So try to find a kit that is well organized, with separate pockets for your equipment. It’s even better if they’re labeled by injury type.
Things like tweezers would be much easier to use if they are made of metal rather than plastic.
Also, store your kit at the top of your backpack, where you can easily reach it in an emergency.
Your first aid supplies should be sealed in sterile bags. As much as I try to limit my use of plastic, this is one area where you need to prioritize sterility. You don’t want a first aid kit whose bandages or gloves are loose in the bag.
You may notice that most first aid supplies have use-by dates. Out-of-date bandages would definitely be better than no bandage at all, but you want to regularly check the expiration date of your equipment to make sure your dressings are safe to use.
What Should Be in Your First Aid Kit for Camping?
It’s up to you as to whether you bring a basic trauma kit or equip yourself with all the emergency gear that you can think of.
Here is a list of things that I consider essential and nonessential in a first aid kit.
- Sterile wound dressings
- Antiseptic wipes or liquids
- An emergency blanket (for extreme cold or heat)
- Band-Aids and blister plasters
- After-bite cream
- Rehydration sachets
If your first aid kit doesn’t include any of the above things, you should add them.
Rehydration sachets are mixed with water and provide essential electrolytes. They can be life-saving in many situations, including extreme heat and diarrhea.
The following things are nice to have along for the ride, but you can get away without them. I have some personal favorites, but you’ll probably end up developing your own ideal first aid kit over time.
- Arnica cream (amazing for reducing bruising and aiding in recovery after an injury)
- Flexible splint
- Tourniquet (but use it only if you’re sure you won’t do more harm than good)
- CPR mask (to protect yourself from harmful bacteria or viruses when giving CPR)
- Instant cold pack (great for sprains)
- Extra bandages (for example, the triangular type, which you can use as a sling)
- Water purification tablets
- Emergency whistle
- Safety pins
- Basic medications (pain killers, anti-diarrhea, hay fever tablets)
- Medical gloves
- Deep heat cream for aches and pains (not to be used on swellings, as that would make things worse!)
- Tick remover (more effective than tweezers and less chance of spreading disease)
- A sling to carry your dog to safety (If you have a big pup like mine and he breaks his leg, you’ll need to get him off the mountain somehow!)
- Safety pins (and a lighter to sterilize them)
- Sterile eye drops
You might also want to integrate some survival equipment into your first aid supplies.
These would include:
- A compass
- A good, sharp knife
- A backup flashlight
- Fishing hooks and line
- A fire starter
Don’t forget to keep the number for search and rescue close at hand, just in case it’s needed.
Making Your Own First Aid Kit for Camping
You can always make your own first kit using some of the suggestions above. In some cases, this can help you save money while still getting everything you need. But it can actually be more expensive to buy equipment by the piece in some places.
For example, here in France, you can buy medical supplies only from the pharmacy. Even painkillers cost 10 times more than they do in the UK.
So making your first aid kit is possible, but it makes sense only in some situations.
A Note on First Aid Training
I want to say a few words on first aid training. Even the best first aid kit in the world won’t be any good if you don’t know how to deal with a situation when it arises.
Therefore, I highly recommend that you take some basic training, which could be in person or online.
Here are some examples of what you need to know:
- How to assess your safety before going to help someone (If you jump off the cliff after them, you aren’t going to be of much use!)
- How to perform CPR
- How to respond to heavy bleeding
- What to do in the case of broken bones
- How to react after a burn injury
- When and how to administer an EpiPen
You don’t want to be Googling this stuff when your buddy is already turning blue, and you just might end up saving someone’s life one day.
Reacting badly can actually make the situation worse. For example, if someone has just experienced a hard fall, you don’t want to rush to “help them up.” It’s important to keep them still to give them a better chance of a full recovery.
So be sure to brush up on basic skills before you think you need them!
I hope this article has motivated you to learn more about first aid rather than totally freaked you out.
Honestly, it takes only a few hours of research to be in a position to save someone’s life. And until you start learning, you don’t even know what you don’t know!
Having the right equipment is just as important as knowing what to do with it. If you’re working on a budget, you probably want to pick up the Protect Life 100 Piece First Aid Kit.
However, that’s a pretty bare-bones setup, so I’d personally go for something much bigger, like the Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Series.
You’d be equally well off with the Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit if you are car camping. It might be bulky, but you can slip out the mini first aid kit to take with you on hikes.
I hope you found this article on the best camping first aid kits helpful, and I wish you many safe and happy adventures in the great outdoors!
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Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.