The last thing you want when camping is to get caught without a first-aid kit. When you’re out in the wilderness, the first rule is to be prepared. Luckily, we’re here to help you take care of your sunburns, bruises, cuts and bug bites!
How about foregoing the chemical bath and making your own treatments? Simple, inexpensive and effective homemade remedies are the way to go. We’ll show you some easy ways to make your own, so you’re well prepared and have a little extra spending cash on your next outdoor adventure!
1. Make Your Own Sunscreen
First of all, some sun is good for us. Vitamin D is a natural byproduct of being in the sun, and its deficiency is a large reason some of us get the blues in the winter. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some natural sunlight, we just don’t want to see you burnt to a crisp. Avoiding being outside during the hottest part of the day, seeking shade, wearing big hats and clothing are all good ideas, but sometimes you’ll need sunscreen. Use this “recipe” to make your own natural and healthy sunscreen:
Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, [Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Oil or Sesame Oil (any of the three)], Eucalyptus Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Zinc Oxide
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide
Directions: Add coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil to a makeshift double boiler. (To make your own double boiler, place a Pyrex measuring cup containing ingredients inside a small pot filled with a few inches of water). Heat gently until shea butter is just melted. Remove from double boiler and allow to cool a little. Put on a mask that covers your nose and mouth (to avoid breathing in the fine particles of zinc oxide powder), and measure out your zinc oxide. Add zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the other ingredients. Stir well to combine. Store in a dark jar in the refrigerator (Read more here).
2. Make Your Own Bug Spray
Many bug sprays contain DEET, a chemical when used in excess has been shown to diffuse brain cells and cause behavioral changes (yikes!). You can avoid this chemical by making your own bug spray, which as you know is a must when camping (especially in the Midwest).
Ingredients: ½ cup Witch Hazel, ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 40 drops essential oils (eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella, tea tree or rosemary), 8 oz. spray bottle
Directions: Mix witch hazel, apple cider vinegar and essential oils in 8 ounce glass spray bottle.
Spray over all portions of the body but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth (read more here).
3. Make Your Own First-Aid Ointment
Using essential oils is a great way to heal your owies naturally. This homemade ointment is simple and natural, and will act as a balm for all the scrapes you get while enjoying the outdoors.
Ingredients: 4 tbsp beeswax pastilles, ½ cup coconut oil, 15 drops melaleuca essential oil, 10 drops lavender essential oil, 1 tbsp Witch Hazel
Directions: Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water, and place the pan on your stovetop to bring it to a simmer. Place the beeswax and coconut oil together in your metal bowl, and place the bowl over the top of your pan, creating a makeshift double boiler.
When the beeswax and coconut oil have melted together, remove the bowl from the stovetop. Lay a kitchen hand towel out on your countertop and place the bowl on top of it.
Add the essential oils to the beeswax and coconut oil mixture and stir with your hand mixer. Add the witch hazel to the bowl and stir again.
To obtain a smooth consistency, blend the mixture with your hand mixer on high speed for about 30 seconds or so. Spoon the finished ointment into an airtight glass jar or container to store (read more here).
Hopefully this gives you a start on making your homemade first-aid kit! These allow you to avoid harsh chemicals that can damage skin and cause irritation if used incorrectly. You have enough to worry about while camping, be prepared and you won’t need to worry about the nicks, cuts and bruises that inevitably come. Have a great summer, and as always, happy exploring!