Our First Shot at a DIY First Aid Kit

We have some amazing camping gear. Over the years we’ve tried new things, learned what doesn’t work for us, improved what we have and got rid of things we thought we needed but really didn’t. While we are still experimenting, we’ve narrowed it down to almost our perfect set of gear, that is until I noticed we were overlooking an important piece of equipment; the First Aid Kit.

In the past we’ve purchased camping First Aid Kits at a store. You know, one of those cases that has everything in it you’d need in case of an emergency but fits in your pocket. Looking back we’ve always left these at home or never opened them.  So why do I think making one at home will be any different?


I’ve been looking at lists trying to determine what needs to be in a First Aid Kit.  I realized pretty quickly that I had no clue what some of the items were or how to use them. What’s the difference between antiseptic wipes and anti-bacterial ointment? When should I use one instead of the other? Why safety pins? What’s the difference between a dressing and a gauze pad? Do I really need all of this?

Looking at each item helped me understand how I am supposed to use it, how it works and what it works with. I would have never guessed that safety pins can be used for blister treatment, creating a make-shift sling, or poking a small hole in a zip-lock bag to create a “syringe” to help flush out any open wounds.


Do I really need all of this? The answer is no. Every person and every trip is different. There are a lot of factors that can determine what you take, including you, location, activities, number of people and weather. We have additional needs that an out-of-the-store First Aid Kit won’t include. We also carry different gear with us which might make some of the items redundant to have. There are somethings, however, that are universal and should be kept in every kit.  Those items, at least to me, seemed to be pretty obvious when you’ve understood what they’re for.

First Shot

I still have a lot of tweaking to do but here’s what I’ve put together for my First Aid Kit and some practical reasons as to why I’m including them.


  • Wound Closure Strips – Butterfly bandages are excellent for large cuts and as a temporary solution when stitches are needed.
  • Nonstick sterile pads (3″x4″) – These are used to cover blisters, burns, lacerations, stop bleeding etc. Most lists recommended 2×2 but I couldn’t find that size.
  • 4 inch wide roller bandage – Holds dressing in place
  • Variety sized adhesive bandages  – The red cross recommends keeping 25 in your kit. I keep more larger sizes than smaller because I can always cut down the large bandages if I need more smaller ones.
  • Mole Skins – For blisters

Creams, Gels, ointments, etc

  • Aloe Vera Gel Packets – Excellent for burns and skin aberrations
  • Hydrocortisone Cream Packets – Good for bug bites, itchiness, etc.
  • Antiseptic Towelettes – For cleaning small wounds.
  • Vaseline – Can be used to dress a wound, keeps bacteria out and helps keep the wound from sticking to the dressing. Also an excellent fire-starter.


  • Alka-Seltzer – upset stomach, heart burn and helps with my chronic migraines
  • Melatonin – Helps promote sleep and help with my chronic migraines
  • Antihistamines– in case of an allergic reaction as well as for stuffy nose, sneezing, etc.
  • Ibuprofen or Aspirin – Pain reliever, reduces fever, helps reduce inflammation


  • Duct Tape – I won’t list all of miracles of duct tape.
  • Medical Adhesive Tape – 1″ x 10 yard. Helps keep the dressing in place and is easy to tear for quick application, without the need of scissors
  • Non-Latext Gloves – Protection from bodily fluids
  • Zip Lock Baggies – Can be made into make-shift irrigation syringes and has many other practically uses outside of a First Aid Kit


  • Instant Cold Press – These have multiple applications (sprains, headaches, etc), however, if we are camping or hiking in winter it might not make sense to have one as we can create one with snow.
  • Oral Rehydration Salts – Excellent at preventing or helping with dehydration, including dehydration caused from sever vomiting and diarrhea.

So why do I think a homemade First Aid Kit better? Because I understand every item in it and how it can be used in an emergency situation and because everything in it is for us.

Do you have a First Aid Kit? What’s included in yours that varies from mine?

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