REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) has teamed with NOLS and the Wilderness Medicine Institute to offer wilderness first aid courses at its stores next month.


The courses are made possible through collaboration with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and its Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI), a nonprofit organization that has defined the standards of wilderness medicine training for nearly two decades. The Wilderness First Aid courses will be led by WMI instructors and REI Outdoor School instructors that have been qualified by WMI.


“REI is extremely pleased to offer a robust wilderness medicine course to our communities,” said Rebecca Bear, REI Outdoor School Manager. “From outdoor enthusiasts, parents, teachers, or troop leaders, these courses are excellent preparation for anyone who recreates in the outdoors.”


Beginning in June, the two-day Wilderness First Aid courses will teach participants the wilderness medicine skills needed to recreate with confidence in the backcountry. Courses include basics from patient assessment to traumatic, medical and environmental emergencies.


Participants will also learn and practice how to respond to a wide variety of incidents to help prepare them to act in case of an accident outdoors.


Wilderness First Aid courses are $200 for REI members and $220 for non-members, and include books for each participant. Through both classroom presentations and hands-on practice scenarios, participants will learn:


  • How to prepare for and administer first aid in a wilderness context
  • The Patient Assessment System which includes patient exams, vital signs, history and documentation
  • How to handle common medical issues such as hypothermia and athletic injuries
  • How to address major trauma such as spinal cord and head injuries, and shock and wound management


“We are proud to team up with REI to share our proven training courses with outdoor adventure enthusiasts across the country,” said John Gans, executive director of NOLS. “It is imperative that anyone who recreates in the outdoors understand how to assess and treat injuries, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to share this knowledge on such a broad scale through REI’s Outdoor School.”