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  • Writer's pictureGood Team at Switchbackr

Seven Things I learned NOT to do from NOLS

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), has many strengths. Its programs introduce all people of various abilities and ages to backpacking, climbing, sailing, kayaking, and mountaineering in some of the most beautiful places in the world while teaching them responsible wilderness practices.

However, no program is perfect, and Switchbackr recently sat down with some NOLS grads to hear about where NOLS may have led them astray.

1. Don’t believe the myth that eating raw eggs will make you a better climber [Elise G., Rocky Mountains Semester]

raw eggs in the rocky mountains

2. Don’t take off your hat because your hair looks terrible. Keep it on! Spare your friends! It's matted and nasty under there! [Elise G., Rocky Mountains Semester]

3. Don't sleep head to toe with a stranger who has not washed their feet in weeks. [Marissa C., Absarokas Month]


4. Don't leave your boots out overnight in 10ºF weather or they will freeze solid! [Andrew B. Rocky Mountains Semester]

winter backpacking

5. Don't under-pack food! We ended up eating almonds for the last two days of our trip. [George M., New Zealand Semester]

nols camp

6. Don’t sleep with your wet clothes on you--sleep is more valuable than next day’s comfort [George M., New Zealand Semester]

winter backpacking

7. Don't go backpacking with your two best friends when you're 13. Scratch that, just don't go backpacking. [Sasha L., Wyoming Adventure]

friends camping

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