NOLS: National Outdoor Leadership School Home


Fall 2006 Issue
    Cover Article
    Message from the Director
    Base Camp Campaign Enters the Homestretch
    Wild Side of Medicine: Lightweight First Aid Kits
    WMI at 2006 Primal Quest
    Issue Room: Light on the Western Horizon
    Creating a Climate for Change
    Internships at NOLS
    Diversity Matters: Q&A with Linda Lindsey and Flip Hagood
    A Tough Assignment: On the Fly in Patagonia
    Book Reviews
    Sailing with NOLS
    From Tent Groups to Yahoo! Groups
    (A)broad Perspective: NOLS Celebrates Diversity While Providing A Unifying Experience
    Recipe Box: The Delight
    Gear Room: The Top Five Items from the Past Ten Years
    No Need for First Impressions: Experience Says It All
    Branch Notes
    A Little NOLS Goes a Long Way
Leader Archives
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For this inaugural edition of the Gear Room, we asked a few long-time NOLS instructors how their backcountry equipment has changed over the years. “What’s the single piece of gear that stands out to you today that you didn’t carry into the backcountry a decade ago?”

These instructors may not be the highest-tech gear heads in the backcountry, but they are undeniably experienced outdoor professionals. Collectively they have a staggering 1725 weeks working in the field—that’s over 33 years in the backcountry with NOLS! If there is one thing experience has taught these old dogs, though, it is how to stay comfortable in the woods and on the water with some of technology’s newer tricks.

Sam “Two Fingers” Talucci
130 weeks in the field, instructor since 1993

Sam says the GPS he carries in Wyoming is different and notable. It’s a change in user-friendly and affordable technology that he uses every day, particularly to keep his field paperwork accurate.

Pip Coe
246 weeks in the field, instructor since 1992

Pip likes her new LED headlamp. It’s lighter, lasts longer, and is far smaller than previous flashlights or early headlamps (remember those big, odd-shaped batteries balanced on the back of your head?).

Marco Johnson
531 weeks in the field, instructor since 1985

Marco thinks the advent of really high-quality, compressible, synthetic “puffy” clothes has made a difference in his backpack weight and personal warmth.

Lloyd Stetson
459 weeks in the field, instructor since 1986.

Gore-Tex rain gear is what has changed in the last ten years for Lloyd. It’s lighter, tougher and more affordable now than it was when it was first widely available. It was hard for him to give up his waterproof cagoule, but Gore-Tex has found its way into Lloyd’s pack.

Shari Kearney
359 weeks in the field, instructor since 1981

Shari’s not sure if it’s a concession to her longevity, her bad shoulder, or the fact that she works so many horse courses these days, but a “big ol’ thick Thermarest” has found its place in her gear. Yep, Shari’s given up on horse blankets and switched to a bouncy air mattress.

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Calling all gear heads!

Curious about a particular piece of equipment and want to know if it’s worth the hype? Got a great new piece of gear that you’d like to tell other NOLS alumni about?

Write to and share your gear thoughts, questions and opinions. If it ends up in print, we’ll hook you up with a spiffy NOLS t-shirt or hat.

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