First aid kits are something everyone should have when they go camping, boating, or even just on a day hike. Many drivers keep them in their car and every smart homeowner has one in the house somewhere, too.
A first aid kit is a tool you hope to not need, but you’re glad to have in the event that things go wrong. This is what helps you treat a wound in the great outdoors, what makes you well-prepared for handling car trouble on a road trip, and what keeps all your wellness essentials organized while at home.
But, you have to make sure everything you need is stored in this box.
Here are ten things you should always keep in your first aid kit.
1. Gauze and Bandages
Most of the time, you need a first aid kit for a minor cut or scrape, which is what a bandage is for. If you have to treat a larger wound, though, you’re going to need gauze and bandage tape.
Gauze helps stop your bleeding and keeps infectious material from entering the wound. You apply it to the affected area after cleaning the wound, then keep it in place with bandage tape.
2. Antibiotics and Antiseptic
Antibiotics and antiseptics are what you clean your wound with. An antibiotic can be applied in small doses to help fend off any bacteria trying to enter your system through an open wound. Apply the antiseptic first, though, to clean the wound from anything it may have collected before you started treating it.
Most antibiotics come in creams, while antiseptics are liquids like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. If you’re reaching for these in your first aid kit, do so with care. Take the time to mindfully treat your wound or that of another.
3. Essential Medications
Sometimes, you need a first aid kit for issues happening within the body, not external cuts or scrapes. Keep a handful of essential medications in your kit, just in case. These include:
- allergy medicine
- pain relief medication
Note, it’s best to buy these items in pill form, not as liquids.
You may keep tweezers around the house to help you maintain body and facial hair, but, these turn into a powerful first aid kit tool when you’re out and about.
Tweezers help you get small items out of an open wound. Think about it: if you’re on a hike and you trip over something on the ground, you’re likely going to get small sticks or chunks of dirt in the wound, if it’s a big one. Your tweezers can help you get everything out in addition to applying antiseptics and antibiotics.
5. A Survival Knife
Another great tool to have around is a survival knife.
In your car, this will allow you to cut through a seatbelt and get out of the vehicle in case of an accident. In the outdoors, a strong knife can help you do anything from cutting open a piece of fruit to create survival tools like splints or makeshift tents.
6. A Flashlight
Ever get stuck in a rainstorm on your hike? Had car trouble in the middle of the night? If so, you know how valuable a flashlight can be.
Keep a small, powerful flashlight in your first aid kit at all times. You never know when it may be your key to survival, or when it will come in handy for something as minor as a midnight bathroom trip while you’re out camping.
7. Non-Perishable Snacks
If you do need a flashlight for something more serious than a bathroom trip, chances are, you’re going to need snacks, too. You may get hungry while you’re waiting for rescue or for the weather to clear up. Snacks will help you maintain proper levels of energy and alertness.
The easiest snacks to keep in your first aid kit are granola bars and trail mix. Just make sure these aren’t covered in chocolate or other sweets that melt easily and get messy.
Make sure your survival kit has a few packs of matches, too. Opt for the waterproof ones if you can find them. This ensures you can still make a fire even if it’s raining and a little water got into your kit, or if the kit falls into the water while boating.
Always practice fire safety when lighting a match. Fires make a great signal while you’re on a hike or on a backroad, but you don’t want it to spread out of your control in such conditions.
Sunscreen is more of a basic first aid kit item, but it’s still a great one to have around. Keep it with the rest of the essentials mentioned above as a backup. This ensures your skin stays safe and healthy no matter where you are or what kind of outdoor activity you’re doing.
Also, if you’re spending time outdoors during the winter, you still need this! Don’t make the mistake of associating a sunburn with heat alone. You can just as easily get a little red while skiing, snowboarding, or snow hiking.
10. Insect Repellant
While sunburns can happen all year round, insects tend to be more active in the summer than the winter. During this time of year, you absolutely need insect repellant in your first aid kit.
This is going to be a lifesaver while you’re doing any kind of outdoor activity. From spending a weekend at the lake house to going camping for a night or just for a nightly run, a little bit of insect repellant can have a significant impact on how well you enjoy yourself.
Create the Ultimate First Aid Kit
Now that you know what kind of essentials you need for your first aid kit, it’s time to build one for your home, car, and/or upcoming outings. It’s not always enough to buy a standard kit alone. Make your own first aid kit in order to ensure you have everything you need.