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Your First Aid Kit, what is in it?

Connor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Hey everyone, I am a new pilgrim and I am wondering what to put in my first aid kit. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
 

coldweather

Member
Hey everyone, I am a new pilgrim and I am wondering what to put in my first aid kit. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Welcome to the forum!

You will get many ideas but the 1 item I always take with me when I travel is an anti-itch crème like cortisone. If you are in the US you can pick this up at the Dollar Store.

I also suggest you take an infection preventer such as Neosporin.

Buen Camino!
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I took everything....but as there are more pharmacy's in Spain and France than anywhere else you can get what you need along the way. Immediate basics are good - plasters/animal wool - for hotspots/ anti-histamine/painkiller/plastic eyebath (who wants to wait till the next town if you have a seed jammed in your eye?! A zap-it for mosquito bites - I also take tea-tree oil and lavender oil as they cure most things between them! But then I can carry more on a bike! Earplugs - of course!
 

JudyInTexas

Big chairs are fun!
Camino(s) past & future
September (2016)
If you want individual packets of various items for your first aid kit and can't find them locally, check out www.minimus.biz. You can get single use packets of almost anything you will want/need for your first aid kit.
 

Alex Ngui

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to SdC (2015)
I had blisters galore, so I would pack foot cream, Compeed, needle, gauze dressing, Compeed, antiseptic cream and wipes, plasters, and did I say Compeed?
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
I had blisters galore, so I would pack foot cream, Compeed, needle, gauze dressing, Compeed, antiseptic cream and wipes, plasters, and did I say Compeed?
When you use Compeed don't use it on open blisters, Peter.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
My kit had a couple bandaids, a tube of anti-itch cream, a tube of anti-bacterial ointment, alcohol wipes, needle and thread, tape, compeed.
 

Cailin O Eire

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Sarria to Santiago Easter 2014
Hope to walk for 5 days from St Jean Pied De Port to wherever my feet bring me to first week of June 2016
Compeed - any time something feels like it's rubbing, or a hot spot put on a compeed, this should prevent an actual blister.
If you get a blister
Needle & Thread - personal choice is to thread the blister, so thread the needle, put needle in one side of blister and out the other leaving the thread hang out both sides and hopefully wake up in the morning blister will have drained and not refilled as can happen if you just prick it (not everyone will agree but this worked for us)
Anti - histamine tabs - I got a heat rash on my legs and I got an ant bite (I think it was an ant) these tabs kept the itch away.
Maybe motilium or tums just in case, or you could play charades with the pharmacist trying to describe the diarohhea ;-) ;-)
Few plasters
Hand sanitiser, handy when you need to use the great outdoors as a loo and need to eat after!!

Can I also suggest cut your toe nails short before you go, I think you could loose nails on account of the steep down hills that the constant banging of your toe nails against the top of your shoe would cause the nail to go black and eventually finish in Santiago with a few nails less than you started.

You can get all of the above and more in the pharmacies but I think it's handy to have the compeed as it's preventative, plus my friend who went to the chemist looking for a needle was sold an actual injecting needle!!

Best of luck
Rita
 

jbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC march-may 2015
Band-Aids, Neosporin, Motrin. I had medical tape wrapped on one of my walking poles. Also, I had a sewing kit with needle and thread, and considered using them on blisters. However, I went with my old standby and cut triangles in them with nail clippers. While there I also bought some anti-inflammatory gel. That was it.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
Well depending on what issues you have will determine your kit. After running out of old man stuff I found as others pointed out that you can get just about anything you need & you don't need a prescription. It was even cheap! I took about a half roll of moleskin & ended up doctoring people's feet. I would say concentrate on your feet if your going to pack a kit.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Busted my knee open on my first Camino. Used betadine, gauze, medical tape, band-aids and a topical antibiotic cream. Those were handy. Also brought some aspirin and a stronger anti-inflammatory (Aleve-Naproxen Sodium).
 

Oztrekker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I started in st jean and am currently in leon. My foot is blistered after my boots wore out.

Have completed many long distance treks longest is 1000 km, bibulmun track.
Valium
Tramidol
Sidegra
Condoms
Azrythromycin
Augmentin calvunate acid
Fixamol
Betadine swabs
Alcohol swabs
Iodine paint
Bandaids
Gauze bandage
Eye drops allergy
Azelastine
Pristique
 

Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
Camino(s) past & future
English Camino (2013)
Portuguese Camino (2014)
French Camino (2016)
Way of Saint Francis April 2017
Blister kit, mole skin, new skin, comped. Get a kit at REI or outdoor store. I carry a back packers roll of duck tape lots of medical uses and equipment repairs.
Band-Aids, 1" by 3" Half a dozen should do it.
Triple antibiotic ointment tube or single dose units.
Hydrocortizone cream tube or single dose units.
A few 2" or 3" gauze pads.
Use your soap and water to clean wounds.
Ibuprofen You can buy in Europe 600mg tablets. You can take 1 every 6 hours.
Small 3" ace wrap or Coban.
If you need more than this call a ambulance!
Cut some Q tips in two to apply ointments.
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
welcome to the forum and buen camino ---

here are a few items i remember:
'rescue remedy' (of the flower essences fame of dr edward bach) creme and drops
arnica montana when trauma/bruises etc present
ferrum phos when initial fevers, etc
arsenicum album and veratrum when food poisoned
and various other homeopathic remedies, for e.g. against indigestion, etc
band-aids (never used)
'after-bite' (used mucho)
voltaren creme and fisiocreme (bought in spain, against muscle ache)
pill for headaches/menstrual cramps/toothache, etc
a few small sachets of disinfection wipes

what i did not bring but would have really needed were drops to prep up the vascular system (Kreislauf). luckily i had camino angels near by who offered me their remedy which helped promptly. gosh, so often it's what you haven't packed what is needed. murphy's law anyone?

but really - pharmacies are usually a dozen within a mile radius in europe (if not more) - and you'll get what you need.

best wishes -
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
The number one first-aid item all pilgrims need to carry is a cell phone. A cell phone could be the difference between hearing, "You'll be okay in a few days," and your family hearing, "I'm sorry, maybe if we could have done something sooner..."

Having a cell phone on the Camino is not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's not up for debate, it's not negotiable. There is no valid reason not to have one. You must have a cell phone. If not for yourself, then for your fellow pilgrims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Compeed is great but I recommend against a needle. Popping blisters isn't the best way to go IMO

waveprof, I agree with you 100% about NOT popping blisters.
I would use the needle for taking out splinters or mending.

But herein lies a can of worms.
It is a matter of opinion and personal experience.
Some people have great success threading a blister.
Others warn against it (me included) due to the chance of infection any time the skin is broken.
The Camino is not always conducive to keeping a wound clean, imo.

I love Compeed, btw and think most of the bad press comes from people not understanding how to use it.
For the best results, I put it on BEFORE the blister forms, when I have a hot spot.
If the blister forms, the Compeed draws out the liquid.
And you never, EVER, NEVER pull it off.
You wait until it comes off of its own accord.
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
I love Compeed, btw and think most of the bad press comes from people not understanding how to use it.
For the best results, I put it on BEFORE the blister forms, when I have a hot spot.
If the blister forms, the Compeed draws out the liquid.
And you never, EVER, NEVER pull it off.
You wait until it comes off of its own accord.
This. Spot on.
And if you are confident it is turning into a blister, you can take it off before it is a full blown blister. But used correctly it can help prevent blisters from ever forming.
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
The number one first-aid item all pilgrims need to carry is a cell phone. A cell phone could be the difference between hearing, "You'll be okay in a few days," and your family hearing, "I'm sorry, maybe if we could have done something sooner..."

Having a cell phone on the Camino is not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's not up for debate, it's not negotiable. There is no valid reason not to have one. You must have a cell phone. If not for yourself, then for your fellow pilgrims.

"It's not up for debate, it's not negotiable. There is no valid reason not to have one. You must have a cell phone."
HUH???
:rolleyes::confused:
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
The number one first-aid item all pilgrims need to carry is a cell phone. A cell phone could be the difference between hearing, "You'll be okay in a few days," and your family hearing, "I'm sorry, maybe if we could have done something sooner..."

Having a cell phone on the Camino is not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's not up for debate, it's not negotiable. There is no valid reason not to have one. You must have a cell phone. If not for yourself, then for your fellow pilgrims.
I don't even take a cell phone on VACATION, so why would I take one on Camino?

It is not a necessity, it is a choice. Pilgrims walked without cell phones for centuries. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take one (I quite like not having to walk in medieval sandals and carry a gourd for water), but it does mean you don't "have" to.

Many of us feel that there is (far) too much technology in our daily lives, and one of the most important lessons of the Camino (maybe the most important?) is reminding us of that. Meanwhile, I don't personally feel there is any danger on the Camino prevelant enough to warrant a cell phone. That is a judgement call based on a sliding scale (as with anything in life) and depends on the person and their perspective, and I'd respect anyone else's decision on it. But it certainly is not "required."

We finally broke down and took a iPod touch on our Camino (which we could use Skype on if we had wifi) in order to call albuergues ahead, only because we had a little one. My next Camino I won't even take that.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
"It's not up for debate, it's not negotiable. There is no valid reason not to have one. You must have a cell phone."
HUH???
:rolleyes::confused:

I don't even take a cell phone on VACATION, so why would I take one on Camino?

It is not a necessity, it is a choice. Pilgrims walked without cell phones for centuries. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take one (I quite like not having to walk in medieval sandals and carry a gourd for water), but it does mean you don't "have" to.

Many of us feel that there is (far) too much technology in our daily lives, and one of the most important lessons of the Camino (maybe the most important?) is reminding us of that. Meanwhile, I don't personally feel there is any danger on the Camino prevelant enough to warrant a cell phone. That is a judgement call based on a sliding scale (as with anything in life) and depends on the person and their perspective, and I'd respect anyone else's decision on it. But it certainly is not "required."

We finally broke down and took a iPod touch on our Camino (which we could use Skype on if we had wifi) in order to call albuergues ahead, only because we had a little one. My next Camino I won't even take that.

Like I said, if you don't carry one for yourself, at least carry it for other pilgrims.

I've mentioned before about how I met a woman who had a nasty fall. It was bad enough to require a hospital stay. She was found by other pilgrims who were able to call for help. What if none of them had a phone? The only options would be to carry her to help, which is the last thing you want to do when someone might have a head injury, or send someone off to find help, and who knows how long that could take. But they were able to get an ambulance to her quickly and she got the help she needed and she was able to eventually continue on her Camino.

Let's say your walking a long on a perfectly flat piece of road. There's a tiny rock sticking out just half an inch. You don't see it and you roll your ankle, spraining it. You're 5 kilometers from the nearest town. Have fun walking and hopefully you don't aggravate your injury further.

Imagine your walking along with someone and they drop from a heart attack. You begin chest compressions, but then what? CPR in real life isn't like the movies. They aren't just going to suddenly be okay. What's your game plan? Just wait for someone to come by? Oh, but they're like you. Didn't want to rely on all that new-fangled technology! Well, I suppose this other pilgrim can take over compressions while you go get help. How fast can you run?

That's just two example of how a cell phone could be a Godsend to you and your fellow pilgrims. In this day and age it's just irresponsible not to bring one. What will you tell that injured pilgrim? "Gee, I'd love to call you an ambulance but I need to be disconnected. So just lay there in agony for a few more hours."
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
Like I said, if you don't carry one for yourself, at least carry it for other pilgrims.

I've mentioned before about how I met a woman who had a nasty fall. It was bad enough to require a hospital stay. She was found by other pilgrims who were able to call for help. What if none of them had a phone? The only options would be to carry her to help, which is the last thing you want to do when someone might have a head injury, or send someone off to find help, and who knows how long that could take. But they were able to get an ambulance to her quickly and she got the help she needed and she was able to eventually continue on her Camino.

Let's say your walking a long on a perfectly flat piece of road. There's a tiny rock sticking out just half an inch. You don't see it and you roll your ankle, spraining it. You're 5 kilometers from the nearest town. Have fun walking and hopefully you don't aggravate your injury further.

Imagine your walking along with someone and they drop from a heart attack. You begin chest compressions, but then what? CPR in real life isn't like the movies. They aren't just going to suddenly be okay. What's your game plan? Just wait for someone to come by? Oh, but they're like you. Didn't want to rely on all that new-fangled technology! Well, I suppose this other pilgrim can take over compressions while you go get help. How fast can you run?

That's just two example of how a cell phone could be a Godsend to you and your fellow pilgrims. In this day and age it's just irresponsible not to bring one. What will you tell that injured pilgrim? "Gee, I'd love to call you an ambulance but I need to be disconnected. So just lay there in agony for a few more hours."
There are a million what ifs in life. The only thing irresponsible in this is you assuming every person on earth must abide by your technological world view and telling other pilgrims which luxury items they "must" carry with them (and honestly anything more than their body and clothes is a luxury item in one way or another). No one is judging you for wanting to take one, even if I don't really understand why you would. But to assert that one must is about the oddest thing I've ever read in here

And btw all of your examples assume that the injured person also chose not to bring a cell phone. In which case I'd help best I could, but also in which case they'd be no worse off than the result of their own choices. One must accept the consequences of ones choices in life. I walk without a phone knowing I take a (very unlikely) risk it could negatively impact me. The people in your examples made the same decision. If I were injured without a cell phone I'd certainly "hope" the next pilgrim along carried a cell phone (much as if I'd also "hope" they were a medical doctor carrying a magical pill), but I wouldn't expect it, and I certainly wouldn't be upset at them or feel they were inappropriate for not having one.......
 
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Connor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Let's get back to the main focus of the thread, about packing a first aid kit; thanks all for your input on all of these issues, and I am looking forward to more people's ideas about first aid kits and what to bring.
 
I agree with those who indicate it depends on a person's particular situation. For example, I note that someone carried "2 ibuprofen". Honestly, 2 ibuprofen is about half of what I need for 4 hours relief from pain associated with regular women's cycles, thus it would be insufficient for me to carry, and I certainly wouldn't want to have to stop at a pharmacy in every town or village. Even those little "travel size" bottles with 10 tablets are insufficient. Likewise for migraines. While I do not intend to prepare for every foreseeable situation, I do intend to carry a minimum 'backpacking' style first aid kit, a blister kit, and plenty of ibuprofen and Tylenol for the inevitable menstrual period and frequent migraines. In making a determination between luxury and necessity, this is one area where, for me, the little extra weight is a necessity.
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
I agree with those who indicate it depends on a person's particular situation. For example, I note that someone carried "2 ibuprofen". Honestly, 2 ibuprofen is about half of what I need for 4 hours relief from pain associated with regular women's cycles, thus it would be insufficient for me to carry, and I certainly wouldn't want to have to stop at a pharmacy in every town or village. Even those little "travel size" bottles with 10 tablets are insufficient. Likewise for migraines. While I do not intend to prepare for every foreseeable situation, I do intend to carry a minimum 'backpacking' style first aid kit, a blister kit, and plenty of ibuprofen and Tylenol for the inevitable menstrual period and frequent migraines. In making a determination between luxury and necessity, this is one area where, for me, the little extra weight is a necessity.
Agree with all of this.

But it's also worth noting that European pharmicists are closer to the level of what the US thinks of as family practice doctors (or at least nurse practitioners).....and can often sell you much stronger/more effective medicine over the counter than you'd ever dream of finding in the States. So there's that :)

But I do agree with your basic point.
 
I would be open to 'more effective', but not necessarily stronger. My personal bias is towards natural healthcare whenever possible. At least traveling in Europe it will be easier than traveling in Uganda where I gave the nurse a list of about a dozen different names for the same three drugs in order to purchase ibuprofen. You can't just walk into a supermarket and buy it off the shelf there, you need to go to a clinic, dispensary, or pharmacy. :)
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
I would be open to 'more effective', but not necessarily stronger. My personal bias is towards natural healthcare whenever possible. At least traveling in Europe it will be easier than traveling in Uganda where I gave the nurse a list of about a dozen different names for the same three drugs in order to purchase ibuprofen. You can't just walk into a supermarket and buy it off the shelf there, you need to go to a clinic, dispensary, or pharmacy. :)
My tendency is usually toward natural healthcare as well. BUT I do like the way their pharmicists serve as the town family practice doctor. Coming from a society where that type of doctor is disappearing (and getting more expensive) it's really nice to have more medicinal options open to you without seeing a doctor.....but through someone (a European pharmicist) who is able to help in a very strong advisory capacity (and who can refuse you the meds)

And I'll add this, my tendency toward natural healthcare leads me to avoid taking medicine in a LOT of situations where others would/do. I really try to avoid it. But, for me, once something meets the threshold of taking such meds, I don't want to half-caboose it. I want the strongest thing that is going to work the quickest and get me to stop taking it the soonest.
 
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W

whariwharangi

Guest
The number one first-aid item all pilgrims need to carry is a cell phone. A cell phone could be the difference between hearing, "You'll be okay in a few days," and your family hearing, "I'm sorry, maybe if we could have done something sooner..."

Having a cell phone on the Camino is not a luxury, it's a necessity. It's not up for debate, it's not negotiable. There is no valid reason not to have one. You must have a cell phone. If not for yourself, then for your fellow pilgrims.

Much of the camino is in rural areas where there is not coverage.
Cell wikia - Coverage in Spain
http://cell.wikia.com/wiki/Coverage_in_Spain
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
A pair of foldup sissors

Needles and thread

Matches (to sterilize the needle prior to draining a blister)

A small pair of tweezers

Moleskin or Compeed

A bandage strip that can be cut into bandaids however wide.

Aspirin

Ibuprofin

A first aid manual - e book-

A bible - e book- In case the first aid - didn't.

It wasn't enough for the only first aid disaster I encountered. He was trimming branches from a tree to make a walking stick and sliced his thumb. The bandage I had merely slipped off due to the blood. Fortunately someone else had a proper bandage pad and gauze wrap to keep him from leaking red all over the place.

Fortunately we were a stone's throw (literally) from the Hospital Fuentes Nuevas and the first car that came by stopped when we frantically waved to ask directions.

A slow learner, after he got his stitches he had his knife out again, this time to clean it ... while walking. Absorbed in the task, he came within a hair (literally) of striking his head on a lamp post.

So along with your first aid kit - pack some 'common' dog sense. An ounce of prevention ... ad nauseum.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Little Swiss knife that includes scisors, a needle, thread anf matches, compeed in large and small sizes, toe tubes, tape, voltaren pills, a muscle relaxant like ciclobenzaprin, Proshield Plus to apply to feet and chaffing prone areas, St-John's Wart oil for my feet after shower, sunscreen, iodine pads.
 

John Briscoe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2014
Camino Portuguese 2016
Hey everyone, I am a new pilgrim and I am wondering what to put in my first aid kit. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Apart from the stuff you can buy along the way, my one suggestion is 3B cream or anti chaff cream. If you rub it on and between your toes it lessens the possibility of blisters. As an Australian we were also able to buy Tea Tree oil in a little pharmacy when walking out of Logrono.
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
My first aid kit on the Camino Portuguese:
1. FaceShield (in case of CPR)
2. Cortisone (in case of snake bite or other emergency)
3. Cell phone.

I did not need to use any of this - did not use any pills at all.

But after 20 minutes on the Camino I had to intervene when a quite young woman was lying unconscious bleeding from her mouth without a free airway with her group panicking around her. I told them how to keep free airway while I asked somebody to call and ambulance and took care of her pulse.
The ambulance came I continued my Camino.
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I have included most of the above plus:

* japanese mint oil; Physio-JHP, to remidy tummy aches, for some obscure reason it also repairs too much stomach acid. Two drops in a small amount of water in a small glass and down the hatch. A mere 5 - 10 seconds of south east Asia typhoon ensues and then all quiet on the western front...

* trace mineral drops when feeling depleted after exhaustion and extreme heat . Too much water washes out and destroys your Na / Ka balance. The bitter drops restores the electrolyte balance, but yeachhh...

* Echinamine in the unlikely event of the odd cold or flu attack that you want to curtail.....

* Mentholatum , the lighter version of Tiger Balm, but same result, relieves blocked noses and repairs cracks on hand and feet in spite of its fierce nature. If it fights off mosquitoes as well, then bless it...

Leaving, however, the above mentioned condoms. Have been gelded now for some years, and am sure many are in no state after the pilgrim´s dinner and the pint of red plonk !!
 
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