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has anyone taken the map & compass reading and the gps courses at REI?
My wife is taking the wilderness first aid by Wilderness Medical at the REI in Atlanta next weekend (a Christmas present she asked for). I'll check and ask about it, but I do know they have different levels and some focused more on using your GPS or just using a compass and topo map. Have you asked about the curriculum? That would help asses which course you would most benefit from.

ROCK6
 

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I have taken a number of the free classes at REI and find them to be very 101 type classes. If you know nothing about a subject, then it is a great way to get some basic starter knowledge. Instructors are also hit or miss. The Wilderness First Aid class is different ... if I recall right it is really "hosted" by REI but taught by WMI. I've never taken a WMI class but I've heard from those who have that they are terrific and that the instructors typically have years and years of SAR experience in the wild. Contrast that to the Red Cross wilderness first aid class that I took which was horrible ... and I'm pretty sure that the instructors were simply taught to teach the class and never spent a day in the outdoors themselves ... total waste of money :(

But back to the Q ... if the class if free and you don't already know much about the subject, REI classes are a great way to bootstrap yourself and the price is right :)
 

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The Wilderness First Aid class is different ... if I recall right it is really "hosted" by REI but taught by WMI. I've never taken a WMI class but I've heard from those who have that they are terrific and that the instructors typically have years and years of SAR experience in the wild.
This was what I heard and glad to hear. My wife has been working to start an outdoors club at her middle school (very much supported by the Admin) but she would like more professional wilderness first aid; successful attendance includes a two-year certification. Looking at the curriculum this is more in-depth than your basic first aid stuff...

ROCK6
 

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OP, I think lewadia summed it up very nicely. Great introductory course, if you're an introductory level. Otherwise, you may be bored (but could still learn 1 or 2 tricks!).

This was what I heard and glad to hear. My wife has been working to start an outdoors club at her middle school (very much supported by the Admin) but she would like more professional wilderness first aid; successful attendance includes a two-year certification. Looking at the curriculum this is more in-depth than your basic first aid stuff...

ROCK6
That is an accurate description.

Many actual outdoor stores will pair up for a hosting event with WMI (NOLS), SOLO, etc which offer a true WFA course. My Local Friendly Hiking Shop, BlueRidge Mountain Sports, offers classes through a SOLO instructor that is a certified Geo-Medic, Cave Rescue team member, and Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group (our WSAR team) team leader. He is also front country EMT certified and holds ALS certs as well, and is a founding member of our local outdoors club. This is the type of instructor you should recieve training from through any of the true wilderness medicine orginizations. I highly recommend everyone that goes into the woods regularly at least gets a WFA cert once in their life - it is incredibly valuable information without a massive time commitment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I do know they have different levels and some focused more on using your GPS or just using a compass and topo map. Have you asked about the curriculum? That would help asses which course you would most benefit from.

ROCK6
I'm thinking about taking the basic compass and topo map course and see how it goes from there.
 

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I got my REI member card in 1969. We used to spend the night in line for the annual sale at the old main store in Seattle. Since about 1990, REI has moved towards a mass audience and their marketing reflects that. Their classes are fine, but mostly for people that are new to a subject. Their employees are often young, or have experience with only one way of doing things. I was amazed to visit the main store recently, and find a wall with 90 internal frame packs, but not one external frame. That is an example of what is wrong with their merchandising now.
 
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