First aid for tents

This article is about what to put in your tent first aid kit for mishaps and emergencies, if you need a people first aid kit then you need to look elsewhere

Stuff to keep handy in case of a propblem while you are camping

It makes sense to keep all your repair bits in one place and check it every now and then

Repairs and maintainence

Tenacious tape (will do Canvas, groundsheet, sleeping bag and clothes)

Superglue/Araldite (never needed it for the tent yet but you never know)


Duck/Gaffa tape

Cable ties (Maplin do some great re-usable ones)

Airbed repair kit (if you have air bed obviously)

Strong thread and needle (for a seam repair)

Portaloo lubricant (comes in handy for a few other things too)

Safety pins and stick on Velcro (for zip problems and the like)


Spare batteries (to fit your stuff obviously)

Spare guy lines/cord and pegs

Spare elastics/rubbers (we take some ladder rubbers that caravaners use too)

Spare torch


Mini tool plier thingy

Hack saw


Sharp knife like a Stanley retractable blade


In an emergency - fire

Having a fire blanket, fire bucket or similar is very useful - do not put water on a fat fire or electrical fire. If you have an oil or electrical fire find the camp site fire extinguishers or wait for the Fire Brigade

Sharp knife somewhere in the back of the tent for emegency exits

Call Fire Brigade if their are any compressed gases in the tent - not just stoves and lanterns but hairspray etc too - NEED TO CHECK THIS WITH FIRE BRIGADE

Canvas actually burns much more slowly than plastic tents but in both cases you really dont want to be in a burning tent

In an emergency - butane / propane gas

Camping gases like butane and propane are odourless so the distinctive smell added to these gases is something people are very sensitive to, so if you can smell it a bit there are actually faily small amounts of gas in the air and an explosion is pretty unlikey - but the safest course of action is always assume there is a risk and act accordingly

If you smell gas then the obvious thing is to get all the kit using gas outside fast. In a confined space you have an explosion risk and poisoning risk. Once the kit is outside make sure no one goes back inside and ventilate the tent to get the gas to disperse. Outside the tent make sure no one is smoking and try to figure where the problem is

If you are using self sealing canisters disconnect them, they are just a likely to leak as the stove or lantern but once seperate you can tell which one is the issue. A leaking canister will need to be got somewhere safe (like the middle of the field) while you go find the campsite warden for advice

If the leak stops when the gas is disconnected then try a different canister to see where the issue might be. If you suspect the kit not the canister then you need it professionally assessed

Pierced canister devices are a bit more of a challenge, especially if they are still quite full. If the kit will not stop leaking then you should isolate the item (like in the middle of a field) and go find the warden

If you are using the large Butane or Propane bottles the process is similar but you have a few more components to cope with - and a much larger reserve of gas

In an emergency - Carbon Monoxide gas

Use of any gas, liquid fuel (or even charcoal) powered devices in a confined space (like a tent) runs the risk of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning and death. Unlike propane and butane, CO has no smell and can kill you without you even noticing, see this (thankfully rare) story of the tragedy of dad gassed on camping trip

If you have flu like symptoms and/or headache then these are the early warning signs of CO poisoning, but seriously - dont take these things in the tent

In an Emergency - who are you going to call?

Know where to find the emergency numbers on site. Know what numbers you need to call

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