One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to go hiking and camping. I love being outdoors, but I know that there are very real problems that can happen out in the wilderness that I need to be prepared for. I'm not qualified to handle a rattlesnake bite or fend off a bear on my own, but minor problems like cuts, sprains, bugs, and bruises are definitely problems that I can tackle with an herbal first aid kit.
The items in my first aid kit depends on where I’m going, and how long the trip will be. Things everyone should always carry are:
- a small selection of bandages and gauze of different sizes
- a small water filtration device
- something to start a fire with
- a multi-tool
Unless you're camping in an RV, all this stuff has to fit into your backpack, so be prepared and also, be smart.
I try very hard to follow a leave-no-trace ethic when I'm out in the wilderness, so I only bring herbal products that won't be toxic or hazardous to wildlife if they get lost or spilled.
The essential herbal kit contains items that fall under these categories:
- a sanitizing solution to clean hands and disinfect minor wounds
- an insect repellant
- something to soothe insect bites or stings
- something to relieve pain, soreness, or bruising
- something to soothe digestion
- if you're a restless sleeper, something to settle your nerves
For an easy disinfectant, I typically carry a small 1 - 2 ounce spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol, along with 20 to 40 drops of 4 Thieves pure essential oil blend. You can punch up the effectiveness of this by adding 4 droppers of Mean Old Auntie Microbial tincture. You can also use Mean Old Auntie Microbial tincture as a stand-alone disinfectant, as it is made of potent antibacterial herbs.
If I am going somewhere that mosquitoes or other biting insects might be a problem, I put a bottle of Bite Me Oil in my backpack. Bite Me Oil is neem-based. Neem leaves come from India, and are used in agricultural sprays as a natural, non-harmful (to humans) insecticide. If you prefer using a spray instead of an oil, use essential oils such as citronella and geranium mixed with rubbing alcohol and water in a small spray bottle.
I thankfully have never had to use it, but I have read several sources that recommend Echinacea tincture topically as well as internally, for spider bites, scorpion stings, and even snake bites. Bring a bottle, just in case.
If you are one of the unfortunate people that mosquitoes love to dine on you, might want to pack a small bottle of lavender essential oil. If you apply it undiluted to bites, it helps to relieve the itch.
For longer trips, especially when I am covering a lot of miles, topical products such as Muscle & Joint Oil combined with a few drops of Pain Relief essential oil blend can make the later parts of a trip go by easier. I'm in pretty good shape, and don't get sore very often, but if you're not used to a long day of physical exertion, this oil combo really helps relieve pain and stiffness at the end of the day.
When I’m camping, I like to carry a few different teas for some common issues that may arise. Plus, I really enjoy the experience of brewing tea over a campfire. For example, I don’t always get the best night’s sleep, I find that a relaxing cup of tea such as Nitey Nite helps me fall asleep faster and get a better night’s sleep. Some other teas in my kit are Cranium Comfort for headaches, and Stomach Soothing Tea for the occasional upset stomach. Both issues are fairly common, and can easily ruin a trip.
Hopefully you find this information useful. If you are planning to do some hiking or camping this summer and have any questions, please feel free to leave one in the comments below. I'd love to hear about your favorite hiking and camping spots!