REI and Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS Team to Offer New Wilderness First Aid Courses at REI Stores

Outdoor retailer offers first aid skill courses to build confidence in the backcountry

May 18, 2010

To help prepare hikers, campers and others for outdoor adventures, REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), today announced new Wilderness First Aid courses, available in REI stores. 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."

For more information on the courses, including schedules and locations, visit the REI store locator.

About National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is a non-profit school that teaches wilderness skills, leadership and environmental ethics to nearly 14,000 students each year. NOLS runs courses as long as a full academic year to students ages 14 and up in the most remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountain West, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Alaska, the Yukon, Mexico, Patagonia, India, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Scandinavia. Through NOLS Professional Training and the Wilderness Medicine Institute, NOLS also offers customized courses in wilderness medicine, organizational leadership, and technical skills. College credit and scholarships are available. For more information, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 184 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.