Practical Backpacking™ Audio Downloads

PBP BONUS - Adventure Financing with Francis Tapon
This bonus audio production is associated with the Practical Backpacking™ Podcast episode 54, The Unseen Africa. It features a conversation that I, Bernie Wild, had with Francis Tapon on how he finances his backpacking and travel adventures.
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PBP Episode 1 - Brian Frankle of ULA Equipment
In this episode, you’ll hear a recent conversation that I had with Brian Frankle of ULA Equipment in Logan, Utah. Brian is an accomplished backpacker who, in recent years, has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Hayduke Trail, and the Arizona Trail. Brian shares what he carries in his pack, and will tell you all about the packs that he designs and manufactures, with the help of his talented staff, in his 1200 square foot garage.
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PBP Episode 10 – Trauma and Yoni – 10000 Miles
Today I met with Justin Lichter, also known by his trail-name Trauma, and his dog Yoni on the Eagle Creek Trail in Oregon. The Eagle Creek Trail is a PCT alternate route that thru-hikers often take because of its amazing scenery – including several spectacular waterfalls. Trauma and Yoni have been hiking the last 7 months or so as part of a 10,000 mile journey. Their entire trip consists of the Eastern Continental Trail (including the Appalachian Trail), the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. There are no phones in the wilderness, so I packed up and did the podcast on the trail. You’ll hear the constant flow of the water of Eagle Creek in the background and other occasional sounds. If you listen closely, you’ll even hear from Yoni.
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PBP Episode 11 – Jeff Knight – Granite Gear
In this episode I share the conversation that I had with Jeff Knight the CEO and Co-Founder of Granite Gear. Granite Gear is an innovative manufacturer of backpacks and other outdoor gear products. The focus of my talk with Jeff is on the company’s Ultralight pack series – including the popular Vapor Trail and Nimbus Ozone packs. [Note: This episode also includes a preview of the new Nimbus Meridian pack.]
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PBP Episode 12 – Laurent Gaudreau – Grand Canyon Hiker
In this episode you’ll hear my conversation with Laurent Gaudreau (aka Maverick). Maverick has hiked the Grand Canyon, from rim to rim, over 100 times, and is currently attempting to hike it 80 times this year – one complete rim to rim hike for each year of age. That’s right, Maverick is 80 years old and going strong. When he’s not hiking he’s lifting weights. How many 80 year olds do you know who hike the Grand Canyon and pump iron? Listen in and hear Maverick discuss his Grand Canyon adventures and the non-traditional gear that he uses.
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PBP Episode 13 – Barry Robertson – Sea to Summit
Today I spoke with Barry Robertson of Sea to Summit. Barry answers questions regarding several Sea to Summit products that feature various levels of protection, for both backpackers and their gear, from the sometimes unpredictable elements in the backcountry. Listen in and hear all about Sea to Summit’s pack liners, pack covers, dry sacks, tarp-ponchos, and more.
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PBP Episode 14 – Ron Bell – Mountain Laurel Designs
This episode features my conversation with Ron Bell. Ron is the owner of Mountain Laurel Designs located in Roanoke, Virgina. Mountain Laurel Designs manufactures super ultralight sleeping bags, bivy sacks, tarps, hammocks, shelters, and various backpacking accessories. Ron explains the array of fabrics that are used for his unique designs, and shares detailed information for each of his company’s products. Even if you’re not a gram or ounce counter, with regard to your gear, you’re likely to hear something that will be of use in making your backpacking experiences more enjoyable.
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PBP Episode 15 – Karen Berger – Hiking Light
In this episode I speak with author and hiker Karen Berger. Karen has hiked thousands of miles, including thu-hikes of the AT, CDT, and PCT, and has authored nearly a dozen helpful books on backpacking related topics. Karen tells us about her hikes across the USA and Europe, and shares tips on how those who carry heavy gear can reduce their overall pack weight.
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PBP Episode 16 – Demetri Coupounas – GoLite Now
This episode features a conversation that I had with Demetri Coupounas. Coup, as he’s casually known, is a co-founder and President of a lightweight clothing and gear manufacturing company known as GoLite. Coup explains the concept and benefits of going light, and brings us up-to-date on the new products that GoLite has to offer. You’ll also get to know more about Coup as a backpacker, including some details regarding his recent backpacking trips.
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PBP Episode 17 – Petra Hilleberg – Hilleberg the Tentmaker
In this episode I interview Petra Hilleberg. Petra is the President and CEO of Hilleberg USA. Hilleberg The Tentmaker has been manufacturing all-season tents, by hand, for over 30 years. These tents are well-known for their brilliant attention to detail, durability, and all-season construction. Petra shares details about several tent designs that are well-suited for backpackers – regardless of the season or weather conditions. Tips on dealing with condensation and tent care are also discussed.
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PBP Episode 18 – Jacks R Better
This episode features an interview that I conducted with Jack Tier and Jack Myers. Jack and Jack are longtime friends and co-owners of the Virginia-based manufacturing company: Jacks ‘R’ Better. The company specializes in lightweight down quilts for weight-conscious backpackers. Listen in to learn about the down, fabric, and thoughtful ingenuity that is used to make their versatile backcountry sleep systems.
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PBP Episode 19 – AT Wish Hikers
In this episode I talk with Joe White and Bryan Wolf. Bryan and Joe are in the midst of a Fall and Winter southbound Appalachian Trail thruhike. These young men are carrying traditional, durable gear with pack weights that have been as high as 65 pounds. They’ve managed to cut the weight in half along the way, as they’ve become more familiar with their needs and comfort requirements. It didn’t take them long, for example, to send a 12 pound tent home. Joe and Bryan’s AT thru-hike is also raising awareness and support for the Make a Wish Foundation. I’m sure you’ll find both of these hikers and what they have to say about their gear and journey both interesting and inspiring.
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PBP Episode 2 - Matt Hazley - Endurance Hiker
In this episode, you’ll hear the conversation that I had with endurance hiker, Matt Hazley – also known by his trailname: Squeeky. Matt got his start in backpacking just a few years ago, and has already thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (in 2003) and the Pacific Crest Trail (in 2004). In 2005, Matt completed a straight-through (end-to-end), hike of the AT, CDT, and PCT ( otherwise known as a Triple Crown) in a single calendar year.* In June 2006, Matt will set out to speed hike the Appalachian Trail in 40 days or less. He will do so with the help of a talented team that has been assembled to help ensure his success. He’s also sporting some great gear from a few generous sponsors, and will be followed by a documentary crew (which Matt shares will help to motivate him to do his best). You’ll also get a sneak-peak at some of the other challenges that Matt is setting for himself, including a future 21,000 mile hike with two of his friends. Matt seems to be more concerned with shattering limitations than breaking records. He’s both inspirational and amazing. He’s certainly made his Mum proud.
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PBP Episode 20 – Buck Tilton – Winter Backpacking
This episode features my talk with Buck Tilton. Buck is the co-founder of the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI). He has authored 24 books, including NOLS Winter Camping, and written more than 1,000 magazine articles. Buck has also been awarded the Paul Petzoldt Award for excellence in wilderness education and the Warren Bowman Award for contributions to wilderness medicine. Listen in and pick up some of Buck’s useful tips for winter backpacking gear and safety.
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PBP Episode 21 - Snowshoeing with MSR
In this episode I talk with Jon Almquist and Lee Getzewich of Mountain Safety Research (MSR). MSR designs, manufactures, and markets innovative adventure gear for outdoor enthusiasts. My conversation with Jon and Lee is focused on snowshoeing and the MSR line of snowshoes. Jon is a MSR Global Brand Manager and Lee is a Product Manager who specializes in MSR’s winter gear. Both are experienced snowshoers and full of helpful information about snowshoeing as it relates to winter backpacking. Want to know more about snowshoeing and the MSR line of snowshoes? Listen in. This episode features a thorough introduction to setting out on a winter backpacking trip – equipped with the traction and advice you’ll need to float (hike) safely on the snow.
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PBP Episode 22 – Six Moon Designs
This episode features a conversation that I had with Ron Moak. Ron is a long-time lightweight backpacker who’s taken his passion for hiking and gear and invested it into an ultralight packs and shelter manufacturing business: Six Moon Designs. Ron shares some of his personal hiking experience on popular national trails, and gives detailed information for his company’s unique gear designs. There are some time-tested tips to be learned from Ron. He’s been backpacking and making gear for decades and has gained a wealth of practical insight from trial and error along the way.
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PBP Episode 23 – PCT Thru-Hike Planning
Are you considering a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike or wondering what it takes to accomplish this 2,650 mile journey? If so, you’ll want to listen in to Robert Francisco answering important questions regarding this hike through the beautiful and challenging wilderness areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. Robert is an active volunteer advocate for the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). And he frequently speaks on topics related to and in benefit of the Pacific Crest Trail. Robert also serves as a mentor – helping others succeed in their goal of hiking this spectacular National Scenic Trail. The focus of this episode is on the detail-packed planning that is necessary to complete a PCT thru-hike.
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PBP Episode 24 – Gear Mix 1
In this Gear Mix episode, I’ve included concise interviews with 4 cottage industry gear manufacturers: Brian Frankle of Ultralight Adventure Equipment, Ron Bell of Mountain Laurel Designs, Joe Valesko of Zpacks, and Henry Shires of TarpTent. Gear Mix 1 features: the new ULA Amp pack, the recently released SUL products of Mountain Laurel Designs, the newly updated Zpacks Z1 pack, and the latest edition to the TarpTent shelter lineup – the TarpTent Contrail.
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PBP Episode 25 – Andrew Skurka – Great Western Loop
In this episode Andrew Skurka answers questions about his long distance hikes and wilderness experiences. Andy became widely known in the backpacking community after the completion of his 11-month, 7,778-mile Sea-to-Sea hiking journey in 2005. This spring (2007), Andy will begin a 7,000 mile Great Western Loop hike comprised of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT), Grand Enchantment Trail (GET), Arizona Trail (AZT), and a self-made route across the Mohave and Sonoran deserts of Arizona and California. Andy put this hike together so that he could set out to see some of the best that the West has to offer. He will journey though 12 national parks and over 75 wilderness areas along the way. Someone who hikes this many miles certainly has something to say about backpacking gear, experience, and technique. Listen in to hear about Andy’s extraordinary adventures.
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PBP Episode 26 - Pacific Outdoor Equipment
This episode features the Pacific Outdoor Equipment line of sleeping mats. Greg Garrigues is the company’s General Manager who is directly involved in product design and development. Greg is quite knowledgeable about the materials and technology that goes into making comfortable sleeping mats. And he explains the season, gender, size, and genre-of-user specific features that are available in the Pacific Outdoor Equipment line of sleeping mats. Whether in need of a new backcountry mattress or not, you’re sure to gain some helpful insight and tips from this episode.
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PBP Episode 27 – Gossamer Gear
In this episode I had the pleasure of interviewing Glen Van Peski, Founder and Chairman, of Gossamer Gear. For more than a decade, Glen and his ultralight manufacturing company has been helping an ever-growing number of weight-conscious backpackers move closer to the “light.” Gossamer Gear is headquarted in Austin, Texas, and produces innovative and affordable ultralight packs, shelters, sleeping gear, and backpacking accessories. Listen in to pick up some of Glen’s useful tips and lightweight backpacking knowledge, and to learn the finer details of Gossamer Gear. [This episode features an extended testimonial section that immediately follows the interview.]
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PBP Episode 28 - Western Mountaineering
This episode features the Western Mountaineering line of sleeping bags. I recently interviewed Gary Peterson, the company’s knowledgeable (and very busy) production manager. Gary wears many hats. He’s directly involved in Western Mountaineering’s sourcing of raw materials and research and development – among other things such as sales and human resources management. Gary answered an hour’s worth of questions regarding the down, fabric, sleeping bag models, care and cleaning, and even repairs and warranty issues. If you’re interested in the company’s history (over 35 years), you’ll have to visit their website or contact them directly. This podcast is about sleeping bags – excellent ones – and all that goes into making a comfortable, feature-rich bag for people of all shape, sizes, and needs.
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PBP Episode 29 - Sierra Designs
In this episode I “talk gear” with Kristine Carey – Brand Manager for Sierra Designs. For over 4 decades the Colorado based company has been enabling backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts to venture into the wild equipped with innovative and reliable clothing and gear. Kristine answers a variety of questions regarding a selection of outerwear, sleeping bags, and tents from the Sierra Designs product catalog. Listen in to see which of these durable and feature-rich products may be right for you.
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PBP Episode 3 – Sarah Svien – Freezer Bag Cooking
In this episode, Sarah Svien shares some of her backpacking experiences, tells us what she carries on the trail, and offers her expertise on cooking in the backcountry. Sarah is the author of a book titled Freezer Bag Cooking: Trail Food Made Simple, and she lives and hikes in Washington State.
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PBP Episode 30 - Clark Jungle Hammock
This episode features an informative conversation with Spencer Clark of Clark Outdoor Products. The company manufactures full-featured camping hammocks in the USA from its Utah-based facilities. Spencer is the Director of Public Relations for the family run operation, and he is intimately familiar with the details and use of the Clark Jungle Hammock models. Listen in to hear how hammocking made its way into backpacking, and to discover if the practical and weight-saving advantages of a Clark Jungle Hammock are right for you.
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PBP Episode 31 – CDT Yo-Yo
In this episode, Francis Tapon shares the exciting details of his extraordinary Yo-Yo of the Continental Divide Trail. Francis hiked north on the CDT from Mexico to Canada and immediately turned around at the Canadian border and hiked southbound back to Mexico. This first-ever trek covered nearly 6,000 miles and took over 6 months to complete. Listen in to hear Francis tell his inspiring story, and to learn how he accomplished such an amazing journey. Why did he do it? How did he manage the cold, bears, loneliness, and seemingly endless miles? Which gear worked for him and which didn’t? What life-lessons did he bring back? This episode is packed with candid answers to these and many other questions.
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PBP Episode 32 – New Hilleberg All-Season Tents
This episode features my conversation with Petra Hilleberg, President and CEO of Hilleberg (USA), about the company’s new Soulo, Allak, and Kaitum 3 shelters. Petra shares details regarding the construction and features for each of these new models. Listen in to learn about Hilleberg’s light and durable Kerlon fabric, their spacious tunnel and sturdy dome designs, and other real-world-tested features that go into every Hilleberg tent.
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PBP Episode 33 – New at Gossamer Gear
This episode is a double-feature in which I interview the executives of Gossamer Gear. First up, I talk with Grant Sible, the company’s President, about new products and those that are soon to be released. Grant shares the details regarding new ultralight backpacking accessories and the changes and upcoming additions to their pack lineup. Also featured is a detailed introduction to Gossamer Gear’s new solo 1-pound shelter, The One, by Founder and Chairman Glen Van Peski.
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PBP Episode 34 – GoLite Ultra 20
In this episode, I interview Andy Burgess, the Vice President of Development for GoLite, regarding the Ultra 20° down sleep system. Andy shares all the details regarding the Ultra 20′s design, materials, sizing, weight, and more. Listen in to discover the advantages of using this lightweight quilt for your outdoor adventures.
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PBP Episode 35 – Tarps 101
This episode is all about tarps. I’ve asked Ron Bell of Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD) to help me address concerns that some may have about using a tarp as their primary backpacking shelter. Ron and I also discuss the many benefits that tarps provide as well as helpful tips on selection and pitching.
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PBP Episode 36 – Big Agnes
In this episode I talk with Len Zanni, one of the co-owners of Big Agnes – a manufacturer of outdoor equipment that prides itself in being “The Mother of Comfort.” Our conversation specifically focuses on the new Copper Spur tent line. However, I ask Len to share a concise overview of the other tents, bags, pads, and accessories that the Colorado-based company has to offer. Listen in to learn about Big Agnes gear – including recent product changes and a few hints on what’s to come.
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PBP Episode 37 – Wilderness Cooking
This episode features my conversation with author and wilderness cooking enthusiast Laurie March. Laurie talks with me about her recently published book A Fork in the Trail, and shares some of her wisdom and tips for making backpacking meals more enjoyable. If your questions aren’t answered in this episode or if you’re just hungry for more, Laurie’s an active member in the Practical Backpacking Forums and is excited about discussing wilderness cooking with you.
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PBP Episode 38 – SPOT Satellite Messenger
In this episode I talk with Derek Moore of SPOT LLC about the SPOT Satellite Messenger. Derek is the Public Relations Manager for SPOT, and he’s enthusiastic about sharing the wonders of the company’s proven, life-saving device. If you travel into the wilderness, you may want to consider taking a SPOT Satellite Messenger along to send Check-In (I’m OK), Help, or 911 messages out via satellite to others. Listen in to learn about the SPOT’s lightweight design, easy-to-use features, and communications functions.
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PBP Episode 39 – AMK Emergency Blankets and Bivvies
This episode features my discussion with the President of Adventure Medical Kits, Chris Gubera. Chris answers my questions that are focused on the company’s Heetsheets Blankets and Bivvy and the Thermo-Lite 2 Bivvy Sack. These increasingly popular products are lightweight, durable, and quiet – and may just be what keeps you alive in an wilderness emergency. Also in this episode is a little AMK company history and a few interesting stories regarding these survival products in use.
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PBP Episode 4 – Henry Shires – Tarptent
Today I spoke with Henry Shires owner of Tarptent – a manufacturing company specializing in ultralight shelters. Henry has enjoyed backpacking since his pre-teen years. Some of his recent trips include a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail and section hikes along the Colorado Trail. In this episode, you’ll discover the gear that Henry carries on his back, and you will hear a detailed description of each of the tarptent shelters that he manufactures.
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PBP Episode 40 – Backpacks 101
This episode is all about backpacks! Those with questions such as “Which pack should I get?” or “Is this pack big enough?” will be provided a wealth of information to help them with their decision making process. Brian Frankle of Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) in on board with me to talk about a full-range of topics related to backpacks. Listen in for a generous overview of pack attributes, usage tips, and problem solving. Whether you’re planning a dayhike or a trek across country, this episode is likely to touch on something that will be of interest and practical application.
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PBP Episode 5 – Cody Lundin – Survival Expert
In this episode, I speak with survival and outdoor skills expert Cody Lundin. Cody has been featured on national and international media programs such as The Today Show, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Dateline NBC, and CBC Radio One in Canada. Cody has been a consultant and/or instructor for various organizations including (but not limited to) FEMA, The Travel Channel, Men’s Health Magazine, REI, the Boy Scouts of America, the United States Forest Service, National Geographic Television, National Geographic Adventure Magazine, The Discovery Channel, and Damascus Trail Days. He is the author of the book 98.6 Degrees – The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, and the founder and director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona.
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PBP Episode 6 – Dusty Allison – Leave No Trace
In this episode, I speak with Dusty Allison. Dusty and his wife, Amy, are traveling trainers for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics organization. Dusty and Amy provide hands-on educational workshops and training to help others minimize any adverse impact on natural areas. Their presentations range from an hour-long workshop to a two-day Leave No Trace Trainer Course. They work with a wide range of audiences such as youth and scouting organizations, college students, outdoor guides, land management employees, and various outdoor companies. During this interview Dusty shares the 7 Leave No Trace principles that form the framework of the Leave No Trace message.
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PBP Episode 7 - Victoria Seher - Black Bear Expert
In this episode, I had the pleasure of talking with Victoria (Tori) Seher. Tori has worked in Yosemite National Park for thirteen years and has worked for the Wildlife Management Branch for the last nine years. As a Wildlife Biologist, Tori oversees the park’s Human-Bear Management Program. Tori discusses such topics as the importance of proper food storage and what to do when confronted by a black bear.
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PBP Episode 8 – Francis Tapon – Hike Your Own Hike
In this episode I talk with author, thru-hiker, and world-traveler Francis Tapon on the eve of his PCT southbound thru-hike. Francis has traveled to over 60 countries and has thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. You’ll hear some of his urban and rural backpacking experiences he’s had around the world, his close call with death in the Olympic National Park in Washington state, and details regarding his gear choices for his Pacific Crest Trail journey. Francis is also the author of the book Hike Your Own Hike – 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America. He shares an overview of this unique book that merges the lessons he’s learned on his AT thru-hike with practical wisdom for successful living. You may even learn a secret or two on how to budget and manage an extended backpacking trip of your own. His book is offered at a special price on the Practical Backpacking™ Podcast site.
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PBP Episode 9 – Shana Tarter – Wilderness Medicine
In this episode you’ll hear the conversation that I had with Shana Tarter. In over 10 years with the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Shana has trained thousands of students and instructors in the prevention, recognition, and treatment of wilderness injuries and illnesses. In her current role as the Assistant Director of WMI, Shana consults for outdoor programs developing medical and evacuation protocols unique to remote environments. Listen in and hear Shana’s answers to question on topics such as Blister Prevention and Care, Hydration, Personal Hygiene, Snake Bites, Altitude Sickness, and the minimum first aid supplies that should be carried in the backcountry.
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