You may have asked yourself “is a first aid kit necessary for my RV or motorhome?” The answer is YES! It absolutely is. The question then becomes “what do I need in my first aid kit”. What you include depends on if you’re living full-time in your RV or if you just take off for weekend adventures. But the fact is: if you’re boondocking or out in a remote area, you may be far from first responders. On top of that, you can’t always hop in the RV and speed away to your nearest hospital. For minor emergencies, you’ll want to be able to take care of the bumps and bruises wherever you are. This article will explain what you should consider when assembling your own first aid kit for your RV or motorhome.
What to look for in your RV first aid kit
An RV first aid kit is a unique combination of what you should include in your vehicle FAK and what you should include in your home FAK since the RV is serving as both. But RVs have limited space which adds to the challenge of putting together the best first aid kit for your situation.
Where will you store it?
Take some time to consider where you will store your first aid kit. Will it fit under the sink? Will you place it in a cabinet up high where your kids might not be able to get to it? It should be easily accessible and easy to identify. It’s also not very useful if it’s kept in a locked storage area only accessible from the outside.
The container: size and organization
Once you have some ideas of where you want to store your first aid kit, you can consider what type of container you want to keep it in. Using something like a plastic bin, tackle box, or toolbox are good options to keep everything organized and in one place. Tackle or toolboxes can get large, but you can find plastic bins of any size to fit in just about any space. You can also use several bins to organize the contents however you see fit.
Assess your risk
You should take some time to consider your risk level while traveling in your motorhome. If you’re someone who brings along their mountain bike and is always out on adventures, you may be more susceptible to injury than someone who only plans to read and sit by the fire. You should also consider where you’re using your RV and how far away you will be from help or the nearest hospital. If you’re out boondocking, you may have to fend for yourself for a long period of time, which could be the difference between life or death.
What to include in an RV first aid kit
Your motorhome first aid kit should include all your typical first aid items and medications that you typically keep in your home and vehicle. Although many of these items can be found in a pre-made first aid kit, you’ll surely need to supplement it with more items.
- Adhesive bandages – The go-to first aid kit item! Keep a variety of sizes and styles stocked at all times.
- Antiseptic wash – Keep something on hand to sanitize a wound. Also consider a saline solution to rinse out an eye or a cut.
- Gauze – For bleeding that a Band-Aid can’t handle. Keep a few sizes of pre-cut gauze pads on hand as well as a gauze roll.
- Medical tape – To keep gauze and bandages in place.
- Antibiotic ointment – Apply this to a dressing or Band Aid before putting on a wound to keep it free from germs and from sticking to the bandage.
- Triangular bandages – Great multi-purpose bandage.
- Tourniquet – We don’t want to think about it, but for life threatening bleeding you may need one or two of these on hand to save a life. The CAT tourniquets are the most recommended style.
- Prescription medications / Epi-Pen – Bring along enough for your trip and at least 72 hours extra.
- Ibuprofen / NSAIDS
- Motion sickness medication
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Hydrocortisone cream / Calamine lotion
- Burn gel / Aloe Vera
- Medical grade disposable gloves
- ACE or elastic bandage – Great for supporting injured limbs or wrapping larger wounds.
- Tweezers – For splinters, ticks, etc.
- Scissors – Either bandage or trauma shears will work.
- Instant cold packs – In case you don’t have ice readily available.
- First aid manual
- SAM splint – If you don’t want to have to improvise a splint, this is a great lightweight and cut-able option.
- Finger splints – You can buy these our DIY them pretty easily.
- CPR Mouthpiece – You never know when you may have to help someone outside of your family.
- Portable AED – This may seem like overkill, but if you are far away from help this could save a life, especially if you or your family has a history of heart problems.
- Dental first aid kit
- Duct tape
- Important contact list / allergy list / blood types
- Sun block
- Moleskin or blister tape
- Gloves – For chopping wood or protection your hands when working with a fire.
- Bug spray
- Lip balm
- Hand sanitizer
Best first aid kits for your RV
Overwhelmed by all of the items you need to put gather? Or do you just want some help deciding on a first aid kit for your RV or motor home? I’ve done the research for you!
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 Hardcase First Aid Kit (348 Piece) + Bonus Mini Kit (32 Piece)
This kit comes in an easy-to-carry hard case that is well organized.
- The case is great
- least expensive option
- bonus “mini-kit” might be useful to some
- Some reviewers state that the bandages are low quality and don’t stick well
- doesn’t include any medications
Surviveware Comprehensive First Aid Kit (200 Piece Set)
Impressive soft-sided kit with some cool features and great organization.
- Fairly comprehenive and includes a SAM splint
- Unique “tear-away” velco mounting option for quick grab and go use
- Includes a mini travel kit
- No medications
- Limited “boo-boo” supplies so might not be great for kids
First Aid Only Response Kit (260 Piece)
The most comprehensive (and expensive) option on the list.
- Tackle box style case
- Comes with items that other don’t like OTC medications, a thermometer, and eyewash
- First Aid Only is a reputable brand
- The most comprehesive = the most expensive
Don’t forget about your pets!
If you’re bringing your pet along for the adventure, don’t forget about their needs. Since our pets bleed the same as we do, many items can be used for both us and them. Here are some unique items that you should take along to provide better first aid for your pet.
- Antiseptic Wash – Chlorhexidine or povidone iodine products are recommended for pets.
- Self Adhering Bandages or “Vet Wrap” – One of the best things to add to your home first aid kit to make it pet friendly. It’s similar to an ACE bandage, but sticks to itself so it won’t pull your pet’s fur.
- Styptic Powder – Quickly stops small cuts from bleeding, but it does sting.
- Surgical Glue – Useful in certain situations for smaller wounds and can be much easier than a bandage.
- Calming Chews/Treats
- Hydrogen Peroxide / Activated Charcoal – Used to promote vomitting, but only use these at the direction of a veterinarian or poison control.
- Deskunking kit
- Care and grooming kit – brush, nail clippers, etc.
- Records and paperwork
See my other article about dog first aid kits if you want to know more.
Best tool: Knowledge
What really matters more than anything is whether or not you know how to perform first aid should the need arise. You should bring along a guidebook and get to know it before you need to use it. There’s no better bang for your buck than taking a CPR class. It’s truly one of the most important life-saving skills you can acquire. In addition, taking some additional first aid courses can be extremely helpful and will build your confidence should the need arise.
What do you use for a first aid kit in your RV or motorhome? Did you build one yourself or buy one off the shelf? Let us know below!