Ahhhh, the great Canadian outdoors… We sure are lucky here in Ontario to have access to some gorgeous wilderness, provincial parks, and campgrounds. If you’re planning a camping trip, here are 10 items we think are essentials for first aid and personal care. Whether you’ve got an intense backpacking canoe trip planned or a laid-back family campout, you’ll sure want to have these on hand.
Spray or cream, everyone needs a full spectrum, sweat and water resistant sunscreen all day, every day. If portability’s a thing, we love Badger Balm’s SPF 35 Sport Face Stick Sunscreen. It’s mess-free, gentle enough for kids’ skin, and fragrance-free, meaning it won’t attract bugs! Another plus? It’s small enough that everybody can carry a stick in their backpack (and it’s air-travel friendly in case you’re planning a far-flung camping adventure).
2. Bug Repellent
We all know that DEET is the chemical repellent found most effective at repelling bugs. Concentration matters here: for DEET a concentration of 15-30% seems to be best (lower than 15% doesn’t seem to do the trick and higher can be pretty darn toxic to humans).
But there are reasons you may want to stay away from chemical pesticide-based repellents including the fact they are not baby-safe and those more sensitive to chemicals don’t tolerate them well. Some people find spraying DEET-based repellents to clothing and the exterior of tents are a good option, while they leave natural repellents like those that are Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or Citronella based for their skin. Lots of our customers swear by Druide Citronella Insect Repellent Spray which you’ll find in our Body Care section.
3. Anti-Itch cream
Even if you’re diligent about keeping bugs away, you’re likely to get the odd bite. For this, we yell DAPIS! (We really do, we love this stuff!) Have you tried Dapis gel? It’s an amazing homeopathic remedy that helps soothe the itching and pain of bug bites and hives and it’s totally safe for kids. New to the Apothecary, we are pretty enthusiastic about this product and it’s a must-have for your camping first aid kit.
4. Calendula Cream
With natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, calendula cream is a staple for bathroom cabinets, diaper bags and first aid kits. Great for rashes and scrapes and slow-healing cuts, it’s soothing and safe for all ages and most skin types.
Like Gatorade without the grossness or Vitamin Water without the hype, stick these individual portion packets everywhere. Great for before, during and after exercise to support muscle function and rehydration, Ener-C Sport Electrolyte Drink Mix dissolves in water to create a sweet berry-flavoured drink that replenishes your body’s electrolytes. Super important to keep these on hand during a hiking excursion, because you never know when the heat and exhaution will pack that double whammy punch. These are available in our Apothecary!
6. Hand Sanitizer
If you’re put off by the ick factor of camping, that’s fair! Thank goodness for Prairie Naturals Germ Force hand sanitizer, our pick for clean hands on the go. It’s antibacterial, paraben free and the addition of aloe makes is soft on skin, unlike alcohol-based sanitizers.
7 & 8 Biodegradable Shampoo and Soap
Here’s something kinda controversial: those biodegradable shampoos and soaps that advertise themselves as lake-safe? We’re calling BS! If you adhere to environmentally conscious best-practices, in fact, no product is “lake-safe”
What we recommend are unscented, biodegradable soaps, shampoos, and body washes, but in the absence of a shower on a campground, you need to bring water for bathing to the shore and do your cleaning at least 200m from any body of water. While biodegradable products are awesome and most definitely more earth-friendly than their counterparts, some take up to 6 months to break down and that’s under ideal conditions.
Soap Works pure vegetable glycerin bar is one option we carry and recommend while camping.
This time of year, Druide Citronella Shampoo/Shower Gel flies off our shelves. It’s a multipurpose wash and great for the whole family. Plus the citronella scent won’t attract bugs.
9. Protein Bars and Protein Powders
How do you pack in protein and nutrients when both refrigeration and weight are an issue? Protein bars and individual protein powder sachets are one way! These may not be your tastiest option, as far as delicious meals go, but they are the perfect accompaniment on a hike for during an intense day of portaging.
If you’re planning an intensely physical two-week backpacking canoe trip or the like, obviously your food choices are going to be pretty limited. Food needs to be non-perishable, easy to cook and eat and weigh as little as possible. It’s fair to say you’ll be eating differently than at home. And that’s why we recommend a great multi to fill any dietary holes you might have while adventuring.
May the great outdoors welcome you, return you feeling at rejuvenated!