How do you handle emergency medical situations while camping in less accessible areas of the UK?

Engaging in the wild pleasure of camping can be an exhilarating adventure. The thrill of being in close contact with nature, experiencing the vast wilderness, or camping in less accessible areas can be very enticing. Yet, this adventurous quest can also put people in unanticipated medical emergencies. Hence, it becomes crucial to plan for these eventualities ahead of time.

In this article, we will explore how to handle emergency medical situations while camping in the less accessible areas of the UK. We will delve into five key areas: preparing a medical aid kit, understanding health risks, best practices for food and water safety, handling medical emergencies, and finding the nearest medical assistance.

Preparing a Medical Aid Kit

Before you embark on your camping journey, you will need to pack a comprehensive medical aid kit. This kit should include basic medical supplies and specific gear to handle common health issues that might occur during a camping trip.

Your kit should contain items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, pain relievers, and allergy medication. It is also useful to carry specific medications for situations like insect bites, sunburn, diarrhea, and high altitude sickness.

Additionally, it would be wise to include survival tools like a multi-tool, a whistle, a compass, waterproof matches, and a space blanket in your medical aid kit. Remember, thorough preparation can make a significant difference in managing a medical emergency effectively.

Understanding Health Risks

Next, you need to understand the potential health risks associated with camping. Studying the area you plan to camp in can help you become aware of the specific health risks associated with that region.

For instance, if you are camping in an area known for ticks or mosquitoes, you should carry insect repellent and gear to prevent bites. If the region is known for its cold climate, ensure you have suitable clothing and gear to prevent hypothermia.

Take time to learn basic first aid techniques and emergency procedures. Understanding how to perform CPR, treat burns, fractures, and respond to allergic reactions can be life-saving skills in the wild.

Best Practices for Food and Water Safety

Food and water safety is a critical aspect of health during camping. Contaminated food or water can lead to illnesses, which can be particularly challenging to handle in remote camping locations.

Always ensure you have a sufficient supply of clean water for drinking and cooking. If you are dependent on natural water sources, carry water purification tablets or water filters.

Pack food that doesn't spoil easily, and ensure you store it properly. Keep your food in sealed containers and store them in a cool and dark place.

Handling Medical Emergencies

Despite your best efforts, medical emergencies can happen. In such cases, your response time and actions can make a significant difference.

Firstly, stay calm and assess the situation. Call for emergency help if you have a signal. If you don't, use your whistle or any other signal device you have.

Start by applying first aid. If the person is unconscious, perform CPR. For serious injuries, try to stop bleeding by applying pressure to the wound. If a person is in shock, lay them down and elevate their legs if possible.

Finding the Nearest Medical Assistance

Being able to find the nearest medical assistance is crucial in a camping emergency. Therefore, research the area you plan to camp and note the locations of the nearest medical facilities.

If you are camping at a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) site, they usually have information about the closest medical facilities. Also, consider using travel apps that can help you locate the nearest hospital or clinic.

Remember, your best bet in an emergency is to reach out for professional medical help as soon as possible. However, in less accessible areas, being prepared, understanding health risks, ensuring food and water safety, knowing how to handle emergencies, and finding the nearest medical assistance can make a world of difference.

Emergency Plan for Wild Camping

Wild camping involves setting up camp outside of designated camping sites, often in isolated, less accessible areas. This offers an opportunity to truly experience nature and solitude. However, the remoteness also means fewer facilities and increased risks, especially medical emergencies. Hence, a well-prepared emergency plan is critical.

Before your camping trip, ensure you have a detailed map of the area you'll be camping in and mark out the potential hazards, such as cliff edges, water bodies, or dense forest patches. Also, familiarise yourself with the emergency exits and safer areas to move towards in case of an emergency.

Next, share your planned route and timeline with someone trustworthy back home. This way, if you do not check-in as planned, they can alert the authorities, providing them with valuable information to locate you.

Moreover, consider bringing a reliable communications device. Mobile phones may not have network coverage in remote areas. Satellite phones or Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are a good alternative. They provide global coverage, allow you to send distress signals, and can make the difference between life and death in an emergency.

Lastly, be prepared for the mental health aspect of emergencies. Stress, anxiety, and shock are common, so having a basic understanding of mental health first aid is valuable. A calm mind will help you make better decisions and provide comfort to those in distress.

Packing Essential Gear

While packing for a wild camp, it is not only important to plan for the basic necessities but also prepare for potential emergencies. Here, your sleeping bag and bivvy bag are essential for warmth and protection from the elements, but they also have medical uses. A sleeping bag can be used for warmth in case of hypothermia, and a bivvy bag can serve as an emergency shelter.

Apart from the aid kit, other useful gear includes a reliable torch with extra batteries, a fire-starting kit for warmth and signalling, a sturdy rope for various uses, and a knife or multi-tool for preparing food or making emergency repairs.

Investing in good-quality, waterproof gear and keeping them within easy reach can greatly enhance your ability to handle medical emergencies in the wild. Remember to pack light but smart, prioritizing items with multiple uses.


Dealing with a medical emergency during a wild camping trip in less accessible areas of the United Kingdom can indeed be challenging. However, remember that preparation is key. Having a comprehensive medical aid kit, understanding health risks, ensuring food and water safety, knowing how to handle emergencies, and finding the nearest medical assistance are all crucial.

An emergency plan and the right gear can supplement these, making you better equipped to face any adversity. Research your camping area thoroughly, learn basic first aid, and inform someone about your plans.

While it's important to focus on enjoying your camping trip, adopting these best practices will ensure your adventure in the great outdoors remains a safe and memorable experience. With everything in place, you can truly leave no trace and enjoy the wild beauty of the United Kingdom.