For former park ranger Mark Kaufman, the NOLS Med Kit 4.0 makes the short list of recommended gifts for outdoorsy friends. Like wool socks, a good light, and water filtration devices, a NOLS med kit is a must-have for backcountry trips.
Backpacker magazine consults NOLS Wilderness Medicine Curriculum Director Tod Schimpelfenig on how to prevent and treat the 10 most common hiking injuries and illnesses. Based on years of data collected on NOLS courses, the top 10 medical incidents that occur in the backcountry range from blisters to abdominal pain and allergic reactions.
Outside Online looks to NOLS Wilderness Medicine for tips on how to build a well-stocked first aid kit. The first step? Making sure you know how to use all of the supplies you're planning to pack—consider taking a wilderness first aid course to prepare.
Andy Elsberg, NOLS grad and former instructor, originally came to Alaska to climb Denali, but taking wilderness medicine courses inspired him to ultimately pursue a medical degree. Today, he works in the emergency department at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, working to combat gun violence, a drug epidemic, and a struggling mental health care system.
Idaho Rescue Training recently hosted a two-day NOLS Wilderness First Aid course for Magic Valley residents. It’s a good way to prepare for outdoor recreation this summer, says senior instructor Paul Holle: “knowing what to do in an emergency, especially when you don’t have access to calling 911…is really important.”
With input from Shana Tarter, assistant director of NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Outside’s Gear Guy discusses the advantages of purchasing a premade first aid kit. The bottom line? It’s much more economical than trying to construct your own, plus you’ll be prepared for a range of situations without adding a lot of weight to your pack.