Survival Essentials – Family Course


Any parent navigating parenthood will probably admit that the family unit can feel like a wilderness at times! While numerous parenting books attempt to help parents navigate this foreign land, many find that their children do not fit the simple molds found in such books. If you are looking for a unique way to bond with your children, and in turn strengthen your family, enroll your family today in this two day and one night camping experience. Over the course of your family wilderness adventure, you and your family will develop better camping skills through hands-on experiences. The seven priorities of survival will serve as the foundation upon which your adventure will rest, so you will explore positive mental attitude, wilderness first aid, shelter, fire craft, signaling, water, and food. Enroll today to begin to create a memory your children will keep close to their hearts.

What to Expect

Mountain Shepherd’s gorgeous 100-acre campus provides an immersive wilderness experience, with comfort close at hand if needed. Starting with a brisk uphill walk to our first hands-on lesson, the course cycles among covered outdoor training camps so families can learn and practice the seven priorities of survival in a variety of settings. Home base is the Mountain Shepherd lodge, with ample indoor and outdoor space for meals and downtime. While you should be prepared to spend both days outdoors, Mountain Shepherd’s well-appointed classroom is available if the weather becomes extreme.

Families can choose to overnight in a tent, hammock, or improvised survival shelter. Loaner gear such as tents, hammocks, and sleeping bags are available, so this is a great opportunity to try something new or test out your own family sleep system.


Adventure Highlights

  •       2 days/1 night
  •       Survival training
  •       Hiking with Kids prep
  •       All meals included
  •       Memories to last a lifetime
  •       Family friendly 
  •       Hands-on learning
  •       Small group environment (5 families max)
Who chooses this adventure?

Outdoor experience levels do not matter. We have families with no experience, to occasional weekend hikers, to families that spend a lot of time outside. Everyone learns valuable information in this course. You will leave prepared to help yourself and others while on any adventure.

Course content is geared for kids 8 and up.

What's Included?


The only required items are weather appropriate clothing and comfortable tennis/walking/hiking shoes or boots. You don’t need to buy a thing. The equipment list includes gear you should always have with you on an outdoor adventure. Bring what you have or borrow from us. We have everything you’ll need. It’s best to borrow before you buy. Part of the training includes gear recommendations for your personal survival kit.


All meals and snacks are provided, with plenty of options and dietary accommodations available.

Overnight accommodations

This is your adventure! You may choose to fully embrace the experience by spending the night in an improvised survival shelter. It’s also totally fine to sleep in a tent, a hammock, or a bunk in the lodge. The choice is yours.

Travel Arrangements

Your adventure begins and ends at the Mountain Shepherd Lodge in Catawba, VA.The nearest airport is Roanoke (ROA), which is approximately a 30 minute drive time.

Arrival time is by 9:30 Saturday morning. The course concludes by 1:00 on Sunday. If you prefer to travel on Friday, you can stay at the lodge. $50 includes a bunk and breakfast. $25 for each additional person in your group. Group, semi-private and private rooms are available. Contact us for reservations. Payment due before you leave.

Activity Level

Easy to Moderate

After meeting at the Mountain Shepherd Lodge on Saturday morning, you’ll do some introductions and pack lunch for a day spent in the woods. There will be a 1/4 mile, 10-minute hike to the teaching campsite (this does begin with a short, steep climb). At the end of the day, the group will walk back to the Lodge for dinner, and the option to pack-up for an evening out under the storms back at the campsite.

Day 2 will also involve a short hike to the campsite to continue the survival training, with the option to do a little hiking on the property on the way back to the Lodge before the course wraps up.

What to Pack
  • Seasonally appropriate clothes:
    • Good fitting hiking boots or tennis shoes
    • 1-2 pairs of socks
    • 1-2 sets of undergarments
    • Active T-shirt (synthetic or merino wool is great if you have them)
    • Lightweight insulating top layer (a light, long-sleeve synthetic fleece or wool shirt, sweater, or jacket)
    • Second insulating top layer (an additional synthetic, wool, or fleece shirt, jacket, or vest)
    • Consider a third, heavier insulating layer such as a puffy jacket or thicker fleece (not needed in summer)
    • Rain jacket (hood recommended)
    • Pants (durable, quick drying synthetic pants are ideal)
    • Pajamas or long johns/base layers to sleep in
    • Warm hat and gloves or mittens (not needed in summer)
  • Personal toiletries and medications.
  • Water Bottle (1 Liter per person)
  • Optional Gear List:
    • Backpack
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Sleeping Pad
    • Pillow
    • Flashlight or headlamp
    • Knife – fixed and/or folding blade
    • Whistle
    • Notepad/pen
    • Optional: one luxury item to camp with (slim book, deck of cards, small games, etc)



NOTE: Once you purchase your course, you should automatically receive our registration form in your email. If you don’t see it right away, please check your junk folder.