My Essential First Aid Kit Supplies

One of the most important (and yet, least frequently used) pieces of My Master Camping Checklist is a thorough First Aid Kit stocked with the essential medical supplies I might need on a road trip or a camping excursion.

Contents of first aid kit for camping survival preparedness

My First Aid Kit is stored on the top of my Big Blue Camping Bin so it’s easy to access. Here is the list of essential First Aid Kit supplies I keep with my camping gear:

  • First Aid Manualessential first aid kit supplies for camping preparedness
  • Adhesive tape (waterproof)
  • Sanitary pads & tampons
  • Instant cold packs
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Elastic bandages
  • Call Police flag
  • Bug spray
  • Calamine lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Road flares
  • Hand warmers
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Epi pen
  • Eye drops
  • Cotton balls/pads, Q-tips
  • Waterproof matches
  • Razor blades
  • Whistle
  • Sewing kit (needle & thread)
  • CPR shield
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Water purification tablets
  • Ammonia inhalants
  • Plastic doggie bags
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Band-aids, butterfly bandages
  • Burn gel
  • Sterile eye pad
  • Ibuprofen
  • Plastic gloves (latex-free)
  • Compass

 What else do you keep in your First Aid Kit?

essential first aid kit supplies for camping

Read more about Fresh Domestic camping here.

What to Pack in a Camping Bin

When I decide to go camping, it’s usually a spontaneous, last-minute idea. To make it easier to take off on an outdoorsy trek as soon as nature calls – without forgetting any essentials – I keep a big plastic storage container packed with most of my camping supplies ready to grab and go.

What to pack in a camping bin? Here are the contents of my Big Blue Camping Bin:

Contents of my Big Blue Camping Bin packing to prepare for camping

Here is the list of supplies inside my Big Blue Camping Bin (starting in the upper left-hand corner and going clockwise):

  • Plastic tarp
  • Tools: ax, 10-inch folding saw, 6-inch survival knife, pocket knife
  • Rope: 100-foot paracord, extra rope, extra tent stakes
  • Light: lantern, flashlights, extra batteries, fireproof matches, flint, citronella candle
  • Cooking: aluminum foil, spatula, cooking spray, oven mitts, hot pads, cutting board, teapot, cast iron skillet (*utensils stored separately in small container – see below)
  • Eating: plates, cups (*utensils stored separately in small container – see below)
  • Washing: collapsible sink, eco-friendly dish soap, dish rag, hand sanitizer
  • Tape: electrical and duct tape
  • Toiletries: sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, towels, washcloths, lotion
    • TIP: Store bottles of liquid in Ziplock bags! I learned this the hard way after camping in higher altitudes.
      • I use a gallon-sized Ziplock bag to store the “liquid” half of my First Aid Kit (click to read my full list of First Aid supplies), and a sandwich bag for travel-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion for showering.
  • Entertainment: playing cards, Left Center Right dice game, books, crossword puzzles, trivia cards, drawstring backpack for hiking
  • Solar/battery/crank-powered portable radio with USB chargers
  • Air mattress pump

To keep smaller items easily accessible so they don’t get lost in the bottom of the bin, I added a small, plastic, shoe box-sized container that stays near the top of the big bin.

Here’s a better look at everything packed into the small bin:

contents of small camping preparedness bin

And a list of contents:

  • Coffee: ground coffee, filters, rubber bands, teabags, packets of sugar/cream/stirrers
    • TIP: How to make camping coffee: Spoon coffee grounds into a heap in the center of a coffee filter, then secure it shut with a rubber band. Throw the bag in teapot full of water, place on grill over fire until water boils, periodically stirring and squeezing the bag to assist brewing.
    • TIP: Hotels often have convenient single-serving packets of coffee, sugar, creamer, etc., often packaged together.
  • Cleaning: paper towels, dish rag, dish soap, hand sanitizer, plastic doggie bags
  • Utensils: can opener, tongs, spatula, chef’s knife
    • TIP: Store sharp kitchen knives inside a roll of paper towels.
  • Silverware: forks, spoons, knives (stored in Ziplock bag)
  • Light: small LED flashlight, fireproof matches
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, seasoned salt (I use Coleman’s set of two 2-sided spice containers)
  • Fun: water balloons, playing cards, glow sticks

Of course, the Big Blue Camping Bin is just one part of my packing list for camping preparedness. Here is the Master Camping Checklist I use to make sure I pack everything I need before I hit the road.

Happy Camping! What survival essentials do you keep in your camping bin?

what to pack in a camping bin

Read more about Fresh Domestic camping here.

My Master Camping Checklist

Here is my Master Camping Checklist I use when packing for a camping trip.


  • Tent
  • Tarp and rug
  • Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows
  • Air mattress and pump


  • I bring a Big Blue Camping Bin, which contains most of my survival gear (tools, rope, knives, cooking and eating supplies) already packed, ready to grab and go. Click here to see a full list of supplies in my Big Blue Camping Bin.
  • A First Aid Kit is essential! Click here to see a full list of supplies in my First Aid Kit.

Bathroom:Contents of my Big Blue Camping Bin packing to prepare for camping

  • Toilet paper
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Shower toiletries (shampoo, soap)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes


  • Collapsible “sink” for washing dishes
  • Eco-friendly dish soap and dish rag
  • Roasting sticks / Pudgie pie irons
  • Paper towels
  • Oven mitts and hot pads
  • Cooking utensils: tongs/spatulas/knives
  • Plates/cups/silverware
  • Cast iron skillet

    portable collapsible plastic kitchen sink for camping washing dishes

    A makeshift kitchen in the woods

  • Pot with lid
  • Coffee pot
  • Firewood
  • Matches
  • Trash bags


  • Picnic blanket
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Chairs
  • Flashlights/lanterns
  • Rope
  • Radio
  • Hammock
  • Playing cards, games, books


  • Food and treats
  • Dishes for food and water
  • Toys (bright colors that won’t get lost in the woods)
  • Leashes

What else is on your list of essential camping gear to pack?

dogs camping in the woods with a tent

 Read more about Fresh Domestic camping here.

The First Camping Trip of the Season

This weekend, the warm weather forecast won out over the writing deadlines that begged me to stay indoors. Nature called, so in response we started packing our supplies and invited friends to come out for the first camping trip of the year.

riding in cars with dogs

Headed on our first camping trip of the year with my backseat drivers

Suki dog sitting on a log in the woods campingOur camping trips are usually somewhat spontaneous; during the week we decide that the weekend weather looks nice enough, giving us a couple days to prepare. Because of this, I keep most of my camping supplies and First Aid Kit stored in a big Rubbermaid bin (dubbed The Big Blue Camping Bin), ready to grab and go. I make a separate Camp Cooking Prep List for groceries, food, and commonly used items to pack from the kitchen. Then I check it all against my Master Camping Checklist.

I start by taking inventory of the food on stock to see what I already have on hand, and what I still need to buy. It helps to plan a menu for the weekend, to make sure you have everything for each meal. We were leaving on Friday afternoon after lunch, so our camping menu looked like this:

Friday Night: brats & beans
Saturday Morning: eggs, bacon & berries
Saturday Noon: burgers
Saturday Night: pork chops & sweet corn
Sunday Morning: eggs & bacon

After we pack my car with the blue bin, cooler, dry food storage, chairs, tent and tarps, we layer sleeping bags, blankets and pillows on top of everything to make a soft, comfy layer of bedding for the dogs during the car trip – maximizing limited space and giving them booster seats to gaze out the window (or the windshield, as in the picture above.)

Phoebe and Suki dogs on logs in the woods campingOnce we arrive at Findley State Park in Wellington, Ohio, the dogs are ready to run around and explore. They secure the perimeter of our campsite, chasing critters and marking territories while we set up camp, pitch the tent and start a fire.

pup tent dogs camping in a tentBy the time the tent is up, mattress inflated, and bed made, these spoiled house dogs are ready to relax in the comforts of home – or rather, of a “Pup Tent.”

You can see that we lay a tarp underneath the tent, giving us a “doorstep” where we can kick off our shoes before entering. This is also where we set up the dog food and water.

Little did we know that the zipper on the tent would break later in the evening, leaving us without a way to close the tent. Fortunately, bugs haven’t come out yet for the season, the dogs didn’t sneak out, and no other critters sneaked in. A few safety pins, plus a couple of camping chairs propping the flap shut from the inside, were all that separated us from the great outdoors.

Settled in, now it’s my turn to explore the surroundings. Our site is set back off of the road, giving us plenty of peace and privacy from the few neighboring campers around us. Although camping season hasn’t officially started yet, the campgrounds start to fill up as more neighboring campers filter in throughout the afternoon.

Findley State Park Wellington Ohio campgrounds campsite camping

This is my quiet time, before the rest of our friends arrive at the campgrounds. I slip into the woods with my trusty watchdogs, looking for interesting plants, flowers, trees and treasures. I find a fern uncurling like a waking plant stretching her spring limbs after spending the winter tucked up tight. I find two yellow, plastic Easter eggs left over from a family’s celebration a few weeks ago – one still hiding a Tootsie Roll inside – which, my boyfriend feels the need to remind me, I should not eat.

fern unfurling in the woods nature green plants

canopy of trees nature woods

















As our friends start to arrive and set up camp, we kick back and relax. Our work is done for now, so it’s time to lounge in the hammock and meditate, with nothing but tree-filtered sunlight, chirping birds and nature surrounding me.

bare feet on hammock in the woods summer relaxation

 Oh, and this guy, too. He’s great camping company, not to mention a smart, skilled survivalist.

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sunset in the woods through the screen window of a tent camping in natureAs the sun starts to set behind the trees, we shift into dinner mode. We stoke up the fire then let it burn to cooking strength.

Brats and beans go on the grill, and after a few rotations and a lot of ravenous looks, the first night’s camping dinner is served. As simple as the meal is, the smokey campfire flavor and the woodsy setting make it taste like a well-earned forest feast.

And then, of course, it’s followed by the best part about camping: the gooey, sticky, gluttonously sweet s’mores. If summer itself had a signature flavor, it would be that glorious trifecta of roasted marshmallow, crumbly graham cracker and melted milk chocolate.

With daylight dying, we huddle closer together around the fire, entertained merely by the dancing flames casting their orange glow across our faces. The dogs, done exploring for the day, are collapsed in sleepy, cuddly heaps on our laps, basking in the warmth of the fire. A few friends who couldn’t camp for the night swing by to share a few drinks and laughs – neither of which are entirely kid-friendly. (But to the park rangers reading, I will go on record that we drank only lemonade, coke and juice, of course.)

canopy of trees silhouetted in dusk sky

campfire flames dancing on logs

Fell asleep gazing up through the tent ceiling to the view of a canopy of trees silhouetted by the nearly full moon. Woke early to birds singing and sunlight streaming through the windows.

Suki dog sunning on a tree stump in the woods

Nacho dog in the woods with his toy

















J starts up the fire while I take the dogs on a morning walk, before most of the other campsites around us have risen. With the fire blazing and coffee brewing, we impatiently urge our friends back to life so we can start making breakfast. Breakfast is usually my favorite meal of the day anyway, and campfire food is preferentially better than home-cooked food, which makes camping breakfast the best meal of the weekend. Between J’s legendary scrambled eggs, heaps of bacon and fresh blueberries, it was quite a way to start the day.

camping breakfast scrambled eggs bacon blackberries and coffee on a picnic table20150502_094728 (1)

















Suki is back to her watchdog log, where she has good perspective on all approaching squirrels. In the background behind her, you can see my makeshift kitchen sink – a collapsible plastic bin where I wash our dishes from breakfast while J lounges on the hammock with his Nacho dog and a cup of camping coffee mocha. (To our campfire-brewed coffee, we added cream and sugar and chocolate.)

lounging on a hammock by a tent camping


It’s already turning into a beautiful day. I explore around the campsite one more time, in full daylight, and snap a few more nature-inspired pictures before my phone battery dies.

tree blossoms against blue sky
dogs camping in the woods with a tent

trees silhouetted against cloudy blue sky

woods forest campsite camping nature trees

Fueled by our fantastic breakfast, we headed out for a game on the campground’s disc golf course. Starving by the time we get back to our campsite, we fix a late lunch of burgers and sweet corn on the cob on the grill. Our friends take off, leaving us alone for night two of camping. We lounge around for a while, placing a blanket in a shady spot where we can relax. Later in the afternoon, we take a nice hike around the lake. Still stuffed from lunch and exhausted from walking, we opt for a “light” dinner of s’mores instead of cooking up more food. We retreat to bed a little earlier this time; wake up and repeat another yummy camping breakfast before we break down camp and head back home – where it will take me several days of gazing out my office window, wishing I could be lounging in a hammock, gazing up at the trees instead of being confined to my desk, before I adjust to the real world again.

 Read more about Fresh Domestic camping here.