James StanburySee other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury
A good first aid kit is a touring essential, but which should you pack for your caravan holidays? We check out eight to see which is the best
Shop around and you’ll find motoring first aid kits, typical holiday packages and even domestic-based sets.
And, in truth, a caravan holiday kit should be a mix of all of them.
But while a comprehensive kit is great, make sure it remains compact enough to be stashed in a glovebox or door pocket – in some European countries it’s mandatory.
What we look for in a first aid kit
The most commonly used first aid item is the humble plaster, so we check how many each kit has and check that there’s a good selection of sizes and shapes.
For more serious wounds we see what’s provided in terms of dressings and gauzes. We make sure that dressings are backed up by adequate sundries such as tapes, plain bandages, safety pins and the incredibly useful conforming bandage.
Naturally, you should never cover up a dirty wound, so sensible quantities of disposable gloves and antiseptic wipes are other must-haves.
Moving on from puncture wounds, we appraise how well each kit potentially helps with other common problems such as burns, eye injuries, sprains and broken bones, people going into shock, or even having to administer the kiss of life.
The humble triangular bandage will temporarily bolster sprained or broken limbs, and a thin foil cape is all that’s needed to prevent a shock victim becoming dangerously cold.
Finally we look at the case itself. A clearly laid-out first aid kit with compartments is far better than a plain bag full of bits.
Wallace Cameron Mezzo Small First Aid Kit – four stars
- Price: £27.99*
Wallace Cameron’s professional first aid kits have been highly respected for years. So how do their smaller kits fare?
Well, as with Sealey’s SFA01S, what’s classed as small, commercially, is absolutely bumper for a household, car or caravan kit, and these bigger kits work out much better value.
In terms of contents, this kit covers exactly the same basics and scope of injuries as the Sealey and Draper models.
The Mezzo’s slightly higher cost seems justified by its nicely laid out case. Being able to find what you want is a huge bonus in an emergency.
Sealey SFA01S – five stars
Practical Caravan Editor's Choice
- Price: £38.34*
Meeting the BS 8599-1 standard, Sealey’s SFA01S is classed as suitable as a workplace emergency kit for up to 25 people in a low-risk environment.
Predictably, then, for a couple or family it’s absolutely bursting at the seams.
As well as covering the basics incredibly well (there are 40 plasters, 20 saline wipes, 12 gloves and seven dressings) the kit is pretty versatile.
A specialist dressing will take the heat out of any burns, two triangular bandages may make all the difference with broken limbs, and other extras cater well for shock victims, eye injuries and resuscitation.
Ring RCT8 – four stars
- Price: £8.44*
Ring calls this a mini first aid kit, but we’d say a cuts and bruises first aid kit is a more accurate description.
This kit seems to have been put together solely to deal with punctured skin wounds. But in this role, the kit and its contents are very well thought out.
More than 20 plasters will immediately solve countless minor injuries and, for more serious wounds, there’s dressing and gauze, a stretchy conforming bandage, 12 safety pins, plus the obligatory roll of tape.
We’d prefer a few more gloves and wipes, but don’t really expect them at this price.
Draper 81288 – four stars
- Price: £36.24*
Another first aid kit packed to the gunwales, thanks to compliance with the BS 8599-1 standard.
And, once again, we find a kit big enough to serve up to 25 people in a commercial setting goes way beyond what most of us would ever need in the car or on our caravan holidays.
Highlights include 60 plasters and a super-long 5m roll of adhesive tape. A large thermal blanket, for keeping shock victims warm, is better than a foil version.
The winning Sealey just pips this one because it, usefully, has a few more disposable gloves.
Halfords 35 Piece Motorists First Aid Kit – three stars
- Price: £14.99*
This is something of a mixed bag from Halfords, but on the whole this first aid kit covers a lot of bases well.
Like the dearer products here, this caters for much more than cuts and bruises.
Two well-sized cooling dressings are perfect for nasty burns, a resuscitation sheet removes the risks of carrying out mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, a foil blanket is always useful for keeping anyone suffering shock warm, and a triangular bandage is crucial for initially dealing with sprains and the like.
But nothing is included to deal with eye injuries. And if a wound needs more than a plaster, there’s little included to hold the dressings supplied in place: no tape or conforming bandages.
Ring RCT9 – three stars
- Price: £13.22*
The plaster count in Ring’s bigger kit drops down to 10, but significantly more dressings – 14 in all, covering a plethora of shapes and sizes – redress the balance.
Better still, five conforming bandages, which are the easiest method of applying pressure to dressings covering larger wounds, are included, which means you probably won’t have to resort to the small roll of tape also supplied.
A foil blanket and special burns dressings take care of shock and burns victims respectively.
But there’s nothing here for eye injuries or helping with resuscitation.
And for a reasonably comprehensive kit, we were shocked to find just two wipes and two pairs of gloves.
Wallace Cameron Piccolo First Aid Kit – three stars
- Price: £9.99*
Wallace Cameron’s second entry is aimed at the budget end of the market, like Ring’s RCT8.
In fact, both kits are similar because they predominantly deal with punctured skin injuries rather than much else.
Having said that, we were pleasantly surprised to find four saline eye pods and two eye pads.
No fewer than 20 plasters are supplied for minor cuts and injuries, and six dressings cater for more serious wounds.
You’ll have to work to keep those dressings in place using the tape and safety pins.
The aprons and tissues included are a nice touch, but we would have liked more gloves and wipes.
Halfords First Aid and Torch kit – two stars
- Price: £12*
This kit’s hard carry case has an integral torch on the front, which sounds appealing but makes the kit unnecessarily bulky, often to the extent that it won’t quite fit in the pocket you’d like to store it in.
Looking inside, it soon becomes obvious this is another kit mainly aimed at skin puncture wounds.
A single eyewash pod has been thrown in and there’s a triangular support bandage, but nothing has been included for victims of burns, shock, or respiratory failure.
Considering 10 plasters have been included, it seems mean that there’s just one pair of gloves and two wipes.
*All prices correct at the time of writing