sUrvivalMed Wilderness First Aid Certification Review

Knowing what to do in an emergency is really important for any backcountry adventure. 

Do you know what to do if you or someone else is injured on the trail? What if help is far away? What needs immediate medical attention? What doesn’t?

I want to be prepared for everything on my PCT 2023 thru-hike. Plus I want my significant other, friends, and family to know that I am safe out there. You never know what can happen!

That’s why I decided to get a Wilderness First Aid Certification. I randomly found SurvivalMed Wilderness First Aid Course through the Master Naturalist organization I volunteer with. This course was amazing. I feel confident that I am prepared in case of a backcountry emergency.

Thru-hiking prep: Survivalmed wilderness first aid
Survivalmed wilderness first aid cerification overview
Wilderness first aid hypothermia wrap

SurvivalMed Wilderness First Aid Certification Overview

You pay $35 for access to a self-paced online course with the following classes:

  • 2-hour general wilderness first aid
  • 2-hour region specific wilderness first aid
  • 1 hour of skills-based classes (i.e., how to create a neck brace out of your shirt)

You can choose to take the basic course or get the 16-hour wilderness first aid certification. The 16-hour certification requires you to submit photos of 6 skills and take a quiz. SurvivalMed folks will review your photos and provide helpful feedback.

Plus you get access to additional first aid resources.

  • Organization of Content
  • Helpfulness

Wilderness First Aid General Session

I was a little skeptical about what a first aid course could look like as an online course. But it worked really well.

During the 2-hour interactive general wilderness first aid session, Natalie presented the topics through a wilderness lens. There were scenario questions to get you thinking about how to handle the situation. I often got these wrong on the first go.

Natalie distinguished how things were different when in the backcountry and how to think through the situations. Natalie gave demonstrations of the basic skills on webcam. After watching, I was able to answer the scenario questions correctly and know why they were the right answer. 

Natalie is a good presenter and makes you feel confident about developing these skills. I watched the live sessions twice. The best part of these was the live Q&A. People were encouraged to share their stories and ask questions. A doctor working with SurvivalMed was present to answer questions. I learned a lot just through the Q&A!

Arm brace made with tent poles and hiking shirt to immoblize lower arm. Skill required in the wilderness first aid course.
Bleed stopper made with my hiking shirt.

SurvivalMed Wilderness First Aid Region-Specific

After the general session, there is an additional region specific session. I live in Arizona and picked the Southwest region. This is a good choice for the first 700 desert miles of the PCT. There was a lot of additional content on snakes and scorpions.

One interesting thing I learned was that the identity of the snake really doesn’t matter when it comes to snake bites. There is only one anti-venom that works for the majority of cases. 

My one gripe about the Southwest region content was that it focused a lot on things specific to Texas. But that is just being nit-picky. 

16-Hour Wilderness First Aid Certification

Because I am always extra, I did the 16-hour certification. This required watching additional skills videos and listening to podcasts 

The short skills videos were easy to follow and helped you develop different skills needed in wilderness first aid situations. 

For the certification, you had to submit photos of 6 different skills (see my photos in this post). It was fun to practice these on my significant other with his mom helping. Although he was being a total pain and trying to tell me how to do everything. LOL.

After practicing the skills, I did the quiz. This took me about an hour and had a lot of scenario-based questions. I really liked these because they made you think about what you would do in the situation.

I submitted my photos and heard back from SurvivalMed right away. I passed the certification. They also provided personalized feedback on my photos. It was really helpful! 

SurvivalMed Wilderness First Aid Certification

Is the SurvivalMed Wilderness First Aid Course Worth it?

Yes! This course is 100% recommended. I learned a ton and feel confident that I know what to do in case of an emergency in the backcountry. And it’s only $35!

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