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nanoTRAINO: Outdoor emergency stretcher sled gets lighter

Swatches | October 1, 2023 | By:

When you’re backpacking or cross-country skiing, every ounce counts. Nano Adventure’s latest version of the nanoTRAINO portable stretcher and sled is lighter, more compact and, at the same time, more durable than the first iteration, due to a change in its fabric. It weighs about a pound and rolls up to the size of a water bottle—likely well worth it if there’s an accident among a group of adventurers far away from any roads. 

Two people pulling the stretcher in snow in the mountains.
The developers tested different fabrics to find “the perfect balance between durability, resistance and weight. This resulted in a 40% smaller product,” says company co-founder Alexandre Byette. The nanoTRAINO product name is a bit of a play on words, as “traineu” is “sleigh” in French, so the nanoTRAINO is a very small sled. Woods photos: Nano Adventure/Roger St. Laurent; Mountaineering photo: Nano Adventure/Marie-Laurence Blanchard

The stretcher handles allow four to six people to carry an accident victim, and the traction set enables fewer to pull someone out when it’s used as a sled. No knowledge of intricate knot-tying is needed; the product shows where to line up a person’s feet. The connections can be worked even with thick mittens on, making it true four-season gear.

The stretcher rolls up and attaches to a hiking backpack.

“So far, most of the cases in which our stretchers were used were traumatic incidents,” says Alexandre Byette, co-founder of the company. “That includes someone caught by an avalanche, someone who crashed into a tree, a student who busted his knee cross-country skiing and a sprained ankle. It could be used to bring any non-ambulant person to a motorized vehicle.”

Beyond serving as adventurers’ safety gear, it could assist anyone who works in remote areas, such as loggers, firefighters, ski patrols, search and rescue teams, and maple syrup producers.

Strapping a person into the stretcher.

The product was originally designed for the techniques in adventure tourism degree program at the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles school in Gaspé, Que., Canada, but it became clear to the designers, who are teachers at the school, that it had broader potential.

Byette and Sebastien Simard, the other company co-founder, have decades of experience as adventure guides and first-aid instructors or responders in isolated regions, with Byette even leading an expedition to an uncharted part of Antarctica and making some first ascents. 

Four people carrying someone out of the woods using the nanoTRAINO stretcher.

The stretcher is certified as a class 1 medical device by Health Canada and is produced in Canada of ripstop nylon. The nanoTRAINO is not a spinal immobilizer nor is it designed for vertical rescue by a helicopter. It can be used with a backboard, and its max load is 300 pounds. Development and testing occurred in the Chic-Choc Mountains. 

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