Wilderness Medicine Course Packing List
When you pack for a Train NEK wilderness medicine course, you are essentially preparing for two different learning environments:
Lecture-based portions where you’ll generally be sitting in a chair in front of a dry erase board.
Practical Sessions and Scenarios where you’ll be kneeling and rolling around on wet, muddy, rocky ground or floors in all but extreme weather conditions, pretending to be hurt and practicing your rescue skills. Expect some amount of sitting and standing outdoors, possibly in bright sun, strong winds and/or rain.
How to Dress for Class
Wear comfortable, seasonally appropriate non-cotton layers that you don’t mind getting stretched or dirty (a base “wicking” layer, an insulating mid-layer, and a warmer outer layer). For classroom sessions, any footwear is fine, but you’ll need sturdy, close-toed shoes or boots for outdoor sessions, as we’ll be kneeling and lifting patients on varied terrain.
What to Bring With You Each Day
First and foremost, each student is required to bring with them one or more non-socially-distanced family members, co-workers, friends or loved ones to serve as their patient. Your “patient” can audit for free. (Of course they are welcome to pay to get certified if they so choose before the end of the course, as long as they are age 14 or older and have successfully completed all the work. Registration will remain open through the last day of the course for this reason.)
Please bring the below items even in warm weather, as you will be using them to treat patients as well as using them for yourself. These items are meant to supplement the clothing you will be wearing! It’s more important than ever to bring these items, as we will not be sharing gear.
- Face Mask and Eye Protection for you and your patient
- Wristwatch for checking vital signs (your hands will be busy and unavailable to hold your phone). Even if you don’t already have a watch, you can get a cheap one at a pharmacy, and this is a great thing to keep in your first aid kit going forward.
- Paper and Pen or Pencil for taking notes (pencils work in the rain)
- Warm Socks and Hat
- Mittens or Gloves
- Long Underwear Top and Bottom
- Waterproof Top and Bottom
- Bag Lunch, Snacks, and Water
- Sleeping Pad
- Sleeping Bag or non-cotton blanket
- Tarp or plastic sheet (minimum 6′ x 6′)
- 6-10 (30″ or so long) Ties (cravats, p-cord, shoelaces, webbing, etc.)
- Headlamp with extra batteries (WFRs)
- Day Pack large enough to fit all of the above (you’ll be carrying your pack with you everywhere, and using it during scenarios).
Trust us, we don’t care what your dirty socks / chewed fingernails / hairy legs look like! But just as a heads up, you might like to know that you and your partner/s will be checking each others’ extremities (hands, feet, arms, legs) regularly as part of performing patient physical exams.
Optional But Useful Additional Items
Personal first aid kit, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, bug repellent, ball cap or visor, covered travel mug, and any gear you tend to have with you outdoors, such as a Crazy Creek chair®, so you can practice using it in scenarios for splinting, etc. If you’re spending nights away from home, you might want slippers and/or camp shoes and/or shower flip flops.
Note: There are no fashion points in our courses; we only care that you and your patients stay warm and dry. If there are items on the list that you don’t currently own and can’t access from loved ones, we encourage you to check out secondhand stores such as Salvation Army or Goodwill.
Another Note: Over the years a custom has begun of students sometimes sporting colorful and often bizarre pajama bottoms at some point during their course, and/or using said pajama bottoms as a soft collar for their patient. Such behavior is entirely encouraged.