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Adult/Teen Wilderness Skills


These advanced offerings cover wilderness and survival skills in technical depth and are delivered by our most experienced instructors or by guest instructors with expertise not easily found.  We cover 5-7 fundamental skills in a weekend workshop or a 5-week series of classes.  We occasionally offer camping trips where students participate in a field-based overnight course - immersing themselves in critical skills that expand resilience and opportunities for adventure.


For dates and registration look below.

Adult Class Content

Any of the content can be offered to private groups or individuals on a customized curriculum focus and schedule.

  • Knife use and Wilderness Tools - In this lesson we review and practice the anatomy and safe use of knives, hatchets, axes, mauls and saws.  We learn how to be effective and confident using these tools in a wilderness setting.  We learn how to maintain and preserve tools and talk about what kind of tools are most appropriate for which application and user.  All tools provided.  

  • Cordage, Knots, Lashings and Rope - This session introduces students to a skill set integral to applications from survival traps to shelters, rock climbing and primitive crafting.   Understanding basic knots has a big impact on elevating competence in wilderness settings and in general.  We cover how to make useful cordage from natural and synthetic material, how and when to use lashing or knots and various hitches that make life easy.

  • Survival Fire - We cover the fundamentals of fire and discuss the "Fire Triangle" components and process in depth.  All along students are challenged to discover, rather than learn, what makes fire happen in a cold and/or wet environment.  We use matches and lighters and progress to using strikers to ignite various materials students gather at different points through the day.  We look for various materials that can be found to start fire quickly and easily in a survival environment.  Participants learn how to manipulate and process natural and synthetic materials to make them more combustible and how to extend the life of a fire that needs to be left by itself but must not go out.

  • Friction/Primitive Fire - This advanced fire lesson introduces participants to the most ancient forms of fire making.  We go over the principles of fire by friction including material science and selection, mechanical advantage, technique and partnering.  All of these contribute to students creating their own friction fire by the day's end.  We use the bowdrill and hand drill primarily but may demonstrate some more exotic techniques not native to the PNW.  Students will leave with their own friction fire set to further practice and develop skills on.

  • Shelter - Participants review and practice several types of shelter including basic tent set up, simple tarp shelters, improvised survival shelters and primitive/natural shelters.  We spend the day talking about how to assess conditions to place and design an effective shelter as we practice building and improving each kind of shelter.  And then we test them!  Along the way students also learn a few critical knots that have universal applications beyond just shelter and we examine material selection and site selection in depth.  This course leaves students much more confident to tackle a spectrum of situations, everything from camping alone to camping in a storm with no tent.

  • Navigation and Orienteering - Learn how to stay found by not getting lost.  Learn how to identify the 4 cardinal directions regardless of weather or time of day.  We will look at how to use map and compass, take a bearing, leave a trail and follow a trail.  How to use landmarks, cairns, charcoal etc. to deal with being lost, finding rescue or providing rescue.

  • Foraging/Gathering - Season dependent, students roam various natural areas learning about edible and medicinal plants.  We will harvest edibles that are in-season and spend time processing and/or cooking them towards the end of the class.  We will spend time discussing the science and history of edibles/medicinals and look at utility uses for natural flora as well.

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