If you're going on a camping, backpacking, or hiking outing, it's a good idea to take along a well-stocked fanny pack first aid kit. You can purchase a kit already put together, or assemble one yourself that is stocked with items you select individually.
Finding the Right Kit
Retailers specializing in safety and outdoor products often carry pre-packed first aid kits in fanny packs. Choosing a pre-assembled kit is a great way to make sure that you start out with everything you need to prepare for staying safe during your outdoor adventures.
KnifeCenter.com carries a Hiker's First Aid Kit designed with the needs of hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in mind. The kit costs just under $15 and is assembled in a nylon fanny pack that is approximately nine inches long. The pack itself is divided into three compartments so you can easily sort and organize the supplies.
- Liquid ingredients include hand sanitizer and peroxide
- Several sizes of bandages and gauze pads and wraps are included
- Reusable supplies include tweezers, scissors and an ice pack
- Creams and ointments include triple antibiotic and first aid solutions
- Cleansing products include antiseptic, iodine and alcohol wipes
- Additional items include a burn kit, latex gloves and first-aid instructions
Because this kit is fairly lightweight, it is a great option to use when hiking or engaged in backcountry camping, though it can certainly be used for other purposes as well.
Home Emergency USA
Home Emergency USA carries a more comprehensive Emergency First Aid Fanny Pack that sells for $36.50. It contains most of what is in the Hiker's First Aid Kit described above, as well as several additional items. The nylon pack is about nine inches long, though it is deeper than the Hiker's pack, and is also divided into compartments. This set includes:
- CPR mouthpiece
- Eye wash
- Wet wipes
- Bio-hazard waste bag
- Greater quantities of other items
It is heavier than the Hiker's First Aid Kit, so it may not be ideal for those planning backcountry camping trips. However, for those traveling with children and staying in campgrounds where vehicle, tent or RV storage is easily accessible, this may be a good option.
If you' like to shop for your kit locally rather than looking online, look for outdoor outfitters and safety supply stores in your area. If you are not able to find one that way, ask your local pharmacist for suggestions of places where you may be able to find this type of pre-assembled kit. If that does not work, you can always opt for the do-it-yourself route.
Making Your Own First Aid Pack
It's not necessary to purchase a pre-assembled kit for your outdoor first aid needs. You can also make your own first aid kit with an empty fanny pack and supplies from your medicine cabinet or your local drugstore, or you can place a first aid supply order with Drugstore.com.
Choosing a Fanny Pack
When you purchase a pre-assembled first aid kit in a fanny pack, the bag itself is likely very basic, designed only to hold the included items and possibly a few additions. When you assemble your own kit, you can opt for the same type of bag or choose a larger, more heavy-duty bag that can serve multiple purposes. After all, when you are camping or hiking, it makes sense to consolidate the items you need to carry as much as possible.
- eBags: This specialty bag online retailer carries a wide selection of fanny packs from recognized outdoor brands including High Sierra, Mountainsmith and The North Face. Options range from those that can be used just for first aid kits to choices that can hold a few bottles of water, small snacks, and even an extra pair of socks or other small apparel item. Prices range from about $17 to $40, depending on the specific model and brand selection.
- LLBean: There are several fanny packs designed for outdoor enthusiasts in the LL Bean collection. The company carries packs under its own brand names, as well as selections from Mountainsmith. Prices range from approximately $20 to $90, with the most expensive styles having the added feature of being waterproof.
When selecting your pack, think about the kinds of activities you will be engaging in. If you plan to go canoeing or fly-fishing, paying a bit extra for a waterproof kit to hold your first aid supplies may be well worth the cost. If, however, you plan to only take brief hiking trips on improved trails, a less expensive, more lightweight option might be right for you.
Items to Include
Items you'll want to include in your first aid kit include:
- ACE bandage
- Adhesive bandages (several sizes ranging from small to extra large)
- Antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin or the generic equivalent)
- Cleansing towelettes
- Cold pack (instant)
- Gauze rolls
- Hand sanitizer
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Latex gloves
- Pain medication (acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen)
- Porous tape
- Sting relief wipes
- Wound pads
- First aid reference book
- Other items based on the type of adventure you are going on and your family's needs
Keep Your Kit Stocked and Current
Every time you use your outdoor activity first aid kit, make sure that you restock the necessary supplies before putting it away. If you get in the habit of refilling your kit in between camping trips, you won't find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing something only to find out there is none left. It's also important to periodically check the expiration dates on items in your kit so you are sure you have access to effective, in-date supplies any time you might need them.
Staying Safe in the Great Outdoors
Nothing can spoil an outdoor trip faster than an injury, especially if you don't have easy access to the supplies necessary to administer first aid right away. No one plans to be injured when enjoying camping, backpacking, or hiking, but it's a fact that injuries can and do occur. The key to keeping minor injuries from becoming serious problems is to make sure you always have the supplies you need at hand to quickly treat the injury.