On the 4 hour drive up from Boston to Orono, Maine, I thought I had a pretty good sense of what was in store for my upcoming Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class. I’d be staying in a motel down the road, and car pooling in to class with some new friends every day.
I figured we’d talk about injuries and illnesses, common treatments and wilderness considerations. We’d practice things a few times and then head home, ready to practice some basic medicine in the backcountry.
And while we did learn a ton about the body, what can go wrong and how to fix it, there were some arguably much more important lessons that I took away from my experience becoming a WFR.
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Winter adds a whole new set of risks and challenges for backcountry campers and hikers to manage. Heading out into icy cold, howling winds and deep snow can be scary for someone who isn’t used to living and surviving in that sort of environment without the creature comforts of home.
That’s why I put together this guide that lays out all of the essential winter survival tips for hikers and backpackers – and the science to back it up. If you’re thinking about heading into the outdoors this winter, make sure you know everything in this article.Continue Reading →
To the utter disbelief of his friends and family, local hiker John Wilson came up with yet another reason to make the trip to his local REI store this week.
“What could he possibly need? He already has one of those puffy jackets in every single color of the rainbow!” his worried mother lamented.
Sources say Wilson has spent many years practicing the skill of finding new camping gear that he might possibly, potentially use one day, maybe.
“Many people stop shopping for gear once they’ve picked up a backpack, tent and sleeping bag,” Wilson said. “But what if I need a paracord bracelet, camouflage binoculars or thermometer+compass combo on my keychain? I need to be ready for anything out there.”
Worried neighbors and friends tried to show Wilson that he already has boxes and bins overflowing with gear and equipment for every imaginable season and climate. “I don’t know where he think we’re going to fit this stuff in the apartment,” said his anxious girlfriend.Continue Reading →
The difference between a great backpacking trip and a bad one often comes down to tiny details. There’s a ton of things to remember to pack and look up before you set out. Forgetting one little thing can have big consequences in the backcountry.
After making dozens of different lists over the years, I’ve compiled them all together to create the ultimate backpacking checklist. Use it to make sure you don’t forget to pack the stove, or check the latest weather forecast before you head out.
There are over 100 pieces of gear listed and dozens of different things to research and double check. Note that I’ve erred on the side of including more gear on the list so I don’t leave anything out, but you may choose to omit some things depending on the specifics of your trip.Continue Reading →
Whether you’re travelling to a new area, or just looking for new trails in your own backyard, knowing how to find and plan hikes is a crucial skill for anyone looking to get outside more.
For new people hoping to go on more backcountry adventures, choosing a suitable route is often one of the biggest obstacles. It can be scary to be the one coming up with all the logistics – what if the trail is too long or too hard? How should we choose where to setup camp? Will we need permits?
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps to keep in mind that will help you answer most of the big questions and guide your planning and selection process.Continue Reading →
If you love spending time outdoors, New England is a great place to be. There’s beautiful scenery across the region and terrain to challenge anyone, regardless of your hiking level.
While there are tons of opportunities for short, local hikes within a 30 minute drive of most communities, there are also some world-class adventures right here in our own backyard. People travel from far and wide to check out some of these outdoor opportunities.
I’ve put together my own “bucket list” of hikes for New Englanders. Some are much more challenging than others, but they’re all super rewarding in their own way.
I tried to organize the trips from easiest to hardest, so be sure to scroll to the bottom if you’re more experienced. Make sure you do some research before you set out on any of these hikes. If you feel like I left something out, let me know in the comments!Continue Reading →
This is my first interview on my Adventure Blog and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
Dan Human is a hardcore backpacker, mountaineer and writer living outside Buffalo, New York. His backcountry accomplishments include an Appalachian Trail thru hike in 1998 and successfully summiting all 46 of the High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. He’s also been an active member of Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue (SAR) team for eight years.
I wanted to talk to Dan about something I’ve always been curious about – what is it like to join a search and rescue team? And what are the lessons that an experienced SAR team member takes with them when they go out on their own backcountry trips?
Dan shares a bunch of awesome stories and this is a can’t-miss interview for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to join a rescue squad.Continue Reading →
A year ago, I had never left North America or hiked more than 10 miles in a day. This past year, a lot has changed and I’ve accomplished quite a few big milestones and gone on lots of awesome adventures.
I recap some of my favorites as I take a look back at what has been my most adventurous year yet!
2015 started off with a New Year’s Day hike at Tucker Preserve. I got to practice some of the bushcraft skills I learned in 2014 and built a small “lunch” fire.
Midway through January, the startup I had been working for had to lay everyone off, so I found myself with lots of free time and a bit of money in savings.
Before the layoff, my girlfriend and I had already planned our third annual winter getaway. This year, we spent a week lounging on the beaches and exploring the rivers in Montego Bay, Jamaica – all while Boston was getting hit with record-breaking snow.
In February, I cashed in on a Groupon deal for some ice climbing up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It wasn’t my first time ice climbing, but it was definitely a fun trip.
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Wilderness First Aid Essentials: The 6 Most Common Medical Issues That Every Hiker Should Know How to Treat
Any hobby that has a degree of excitement comes with risk, and travelling in the wilderness is no exception. As a smart hiker, you’re probably already taking steps to mitigate some of the risks, like bringing warm clothes to protect yourself from the cold, or flashlights to protect from the risks associated with darkness.
Any time you’re more than a few hours from advanced medical aid, you should also be thinking about the risk from simple, common backcountry injuries that have the potential to ruin a trip, or worse.
If a medical emergency happens in the backcountry, anyone who is on-scene immediately becomes a “first responder,” whether the injured person is in your group, or just someone you encountered along the trail. In order to be a safe, responsible hiker, you should know what to do if someone needs basic medical assistance.
I’ve compiled a list of the skills and treatments that I’d consider “essential” for anyone who goes deep in the backcountry, based on my own experience in the outdoors.
The specific instructions are pulled from widely-regarded sources including:
- My NOLS Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training
- The NOLS Wilderness First Responder (WFR) handbook
- Wilderness Medical Associates’ field protocols for Wilderness First Aid certified professionals
This article is obviously not a substitute for proper medical training, and you shouldn’t be used in place of good judgment. If you’re interested in leaning more I’d highly suggest taking a full Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class.Continue Reading →
Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Affordable Stocking Stuffers to Impress the Wilderness Adventurer on Your List
If you have an outdoor adventurer on your list this year, it can be hard to get them an impressive gift – without breaking the bank.
That’s because a lot of us adventurers are gear junkies. In order to outfit our pursuits, we need gear that’s lightweight but durable, high-performance and cutting edge. We also tend to get attached to the things we already have that fit our needs well. We like to do our own research, sometimes weighing dozens of options before selecting the right piece of gear for ourselves.
All of these factors make us incredibly hard to shop for, if you’re not already familiar with the details of our pursuits. You don’t want to end up giving a $10 Walmart flashlight to someone who already has spent years acquiring the perfect set of flashlights for their needs. You also don’t want to do a ton of research into the ideal backpack only to find out they already have one that they love.
But fear not! In order to make it easier for those out there who have a backcountry adventurer on their list, I made a true gear-lover’s wish list. These items are all great value, relatively cheap ($5-$45) and would make a welcomed addition to anyone’s kit. They’re the kind of thing a person can never have too many of.Continue Reading →