Having a Good First Aid or Medicine Kit Can Make (or Break) Your Trip
I’ve found that there’s a common thread among those of us who adventure out to do this van living (or even just van camping): The desire for a reasonable amount of independence and self-sufficiency.
Safety’s always something that’s been important to me. Not that you don’t take risks, but that you take calculated risks and are prepared for emergencies. In other words, don’t hide from life, but be as prepared as you can be in case the unexpected happens.
Even before taking up this gypsy lifestyle, we’ve nearly always chosen to live in fairly remote areas. Places where, if you needed cough syrup in the middle of the night, you were just out of luck. So, keeping a supply of the most common medicinal items and first aid items on hand has always been important to me. Rarely do we need them, but it gives me peace of mind knowing that I do have them available.
Fast forward to gypsy living in a van. Some folks choose to stay around habituated areas. For those, this wouldn’t be such a crucial requirement. These days, if you’re in a populated area, you can almost always find a pharmacy that’s open. But, hubby and I are happiest out in the wilderness, far away from the things of man. So that means that even minor medical issues can be a big inconvenience. It also means that the first aid and medicine kits are even more important than usual.
For some of you, this independence idea (as it relates to medical occurrences) might be new. You may be used to running to the doctor for everything. If so, you’re among the vast majority of people in our mainstream culture today. But, for those in my age-group, or older… that’s a modern mindset. We grew up dealing with most of our minor illnesses or emergencies ourselves. We saved the doctor’s or Emergency Room visits for things that were true emergencies, couldn’t be treated at home, or that could have bigger and more dangerous health implications.
You will have to decide what you’re comfortable with, and stock accordingly. At a bare minimum, I’d highly recommend finding and keeping a good first aid reference book on hand in your van. (It wouldn’t hurt to give it a quick glance over from time to time, so that you have a general knowledge of first aid practices. You never know when you’ll need them… even in modern life.)
There are a plethora of pre-packaged first aid kits that you can purchase. Alas, they’re not generally robust enough for my tastes. However, if having a first aid kit is new to you, they’re a good place to start. You can always add to them, as needed.
When planning your Van Camping First Aid Kit, think ahead about:
- What kind of medical attention does your family commonly require?
- What kinds of places do you tend to visit… what would you expect there in terms of medical needs? bug bites? poison ivy? blisters? cuts? sunburn? fishhooks in the fingers? etc.
- What do you need in case of a bigger emergency?
- Do you have any age-related concerns that should be planned for? (We’re middle aged, but I like to keep Aspirin and Cayenne oil in case of a heart-attack.. Hopefully our lifestyle will avoid such a thing, but it’s not unknown for people our age to have them.)
Note: Of course, the idea is that for major medical issues, your goal would be to stabilize the condition until you can get to professional medical help.
Yes, I suppose I’m a bit of a worry-wart. But the good news is that even worriers can get out and enjoy this lifestyle, with a little careful planning ahead of time. Hopefully I’ll never need to use the kit for anything significant. But, if I have a properly stocked first aid kit (and medicine kit), I have comfort and peace with adventuring in remote places.
Plus, this life of ours isn’t always about us. It’s good to think about others, and I like the idea that I’m also prepared to help others we may come across in their hour of need.
Stay tuned… I’ll work up a list of items I’ve found to be invaluable. (Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments!! We’d also love to hear about any experiences you had that we can learn from!)
Beyond the Regular First Aid Kit Items: