If you’re the type of person who loves travel, adventure, and the great outdoors, then you should really be prepared for a few worst-case-scenario situations. Wilderness survival courses aren’t just for hardcore adrenaline junkies and wannabe reality stars; they’re essential tools for staying safe in common emergency situations. Wilderness survival schools typically teach outdoors lovers primitive skills, including flint knapping, fire starting, animal trapping, and foraging.
These are a few of the top survival courses that go far beyond a standard guidebook with hands-on instruction and real-life experience.
Boulder Outdoor Survival School
With beginnings as a youth leadership course, this is one of the oldest and largest wilderness schools in the world. It’s also known as BOSS and based in Boulder, Utah. Students can choose from programs that last three days or even a full month to learn how to survive with not much more than a knife, blanket, and a poncho.
One of the best wilderness schools on the East Coast is Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School, which is based in New Jersey. Many of the programs here last for a week, and the focus is on connecting with nature more than hardcore self-denial.
If you’re looking for a survival course that’s more about hands-on experience than classroom lecture, then Tony Nester’s Ancient Pathways School might be for you. Since 1989, this Flagstaff, Arizona-based school has offered a variety of primitive and survival skills courses that range from four to 14 days. One of the most popular courses is the “Knife Only” course, where students are taught to survive with just a knife.
At FunSherpa, we can set you up with some great deals on wilderness survival courses as well. These are a couple of our West Coast favorites.
1-Day Wilderness Skills Clinic – Near Marin and Santa Cruz, California
For a convenient and affordable taste of what these world-renown wilderness schools have to offer, check out this 1-day wilderness skills clinic. You’ll learn to build a shelter, start a fire, and appreciate nature in a whole new way. You’ll also learn how to forage for edible plants and make useful primitive traps. This hands-on clinic is appropriate for all ages, and even children under 12 can attend if accompanied by an adult. The class lasts for approximately five hours and is just a short drive from San Francisco.
Animal Tracking Class – Point Reyes, California
Another great wilderness course in California is this animal tracking class in Point Reyes. The Point Reyes National Seashore is a great place to learn about wild animals right in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this class, you’ll learn how to identify animal tracks, interpret animal behavioral patterns, and navigate landscape disturbance tracking. This hands-on workshop is great for both hardcore back-country hikers as well as casual city-dwellers who enjoy visiting an occasional park. For just $95, you’ll get five hours of expert wilderness tracking instruction.