2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November 2009

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Environmental Threats

As much as we try to protect ourselves from extreme elements, sometimes the elements hedge even our greatest efforts. Here's what to do when Mother Nature wins.

by: Buck Tilton, Illustrations by Jackie McCaffrey

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual
Wilderness Medicine Institute cofounder Buck Tilton boils down a lifetime's worth of experience into 62 tips

Photo Tutorials: First Aid Center
From splinting a broken leg to duct taping a bloody wound, the BACKPACKER First Aid Center is an invaluable resource for backcountry first aid.

Recognize Redness, tearing, and a sandpapery pain when opening or moving the eye are signs of sunburned corneas.

Treat First, don't let the patient rub his eyes; it could further damage the corneas. Give ibuprofen for the pain, apply a cold compress, and cover eyes with gauze. Wear sunglasses and stay in a dark environment until vision returns to normal (usually in about 18 hours).

Recognize The person complains of feeling cold and shivers. More advanced hypothermia patients exhibit "the umbles:" stumbling, fumbling, mumbling, and grumbling.

Treat Get the patient into warm, dry clothes and place him in a sheltered area–such as in a sleeping bag, inside of a tent. (Don't have a tent? Protect him from the elements by wrapping the sleeping bag in a tarp, plastic sheet, or garbage bags.) Give water and simple sugars, such as hot chocolate or candy, to generate quick body heat. For more advanced cases, build a fire nearby and put the patient in a "hypothermia wrap:" Start with a sleeping pad, put a zipped sleeping bag on top, then lay the patient (in a second sleeping bag) on that. Give him a hot-water bottle wrapped in clothing to hold in his hands. Put another sleeping bag on top, then wrap it all, burrito-style, in a tarp or plastic sheet.

VIDEO: Preventing & Treating Hypothermia
Prevent the deep chill by learning how to spot and treat hypothermia in the backcountry.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Burger King moving headquarters to Canada
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World
Trailhead Register
Knee Defender Caused Airline to Divert Flight
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: retired reddog

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions