Knowing what first-aid essentials to bring to the backcountry is just as important as knowing what to do in an emergency. Here are the nation’s best wilderness first-aid courses for learning what to do in nearly any situation or environment, as recommend by Paul Auerbach*.
National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness Medicine
NOLS has been introducing people to the outdoors since 1965, and today they offer one of the best series of courses on wilderness first aid—from introductory classes to advanced certification for professionals. Search for classes here
Wilderness Medical Associates International
WMA trains some 8,000 students per year on everything from travel medicine to wilderness first-responder issues. Classes are offered across the United States and around the globe. Prices vary according to class and location. Search for classes here
Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities Wilderness First Aid
Started by a husband and wife team in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in the 1970s, SOLO first ran courses for organizations like the Appalachian Mountain Club and Outward Bound. Later they began producing the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter and wrote the book Medicine for the Backcountry. Now they have a campus in New Hampshire and offer classes there, as well as throughout the greater New England region. Search for classes here
Advanced Wilderness Life Support
Originally developed at the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1997, AWLS now offers certification to everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and expedition participants to U.S. military medical personnel. Courses are offered throughout the year at various locations across the Rocky Mountain region. Search for classes here
Paul Auerbach, M.D., is co-founder and former president of the Wilderness Medical Society, editor of the seminal textbook Wilderness Medicine, and author the of the informative and endlessly instructive reference book Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to Emergency Medical Procedures and First Aid.