Survival Essentials

A course for adults to learn important life-saving wilderness skills, acquire confidence, eliminate wilderness fears, and to gain wilderness experience.

2-days, 1-night, Co-ed, 16+. Students will learn a solid foundation of wilderness survival skills and knowledge. Instruction will include our seven priorities of survival: positive mental attitude, wilderness first aid, shelter, fire craft, signaling, water, and food. Proper knots and lashings will be taught.  Students will become very proficient in fire craft, being able to start and maintain a knee-high fire in the pouring rain using a variety of tools, tinders and techniques. Wilderness safety, preparedness, and camping skills are included in the curriculum. Students overnight in tents, hammocks or improvised shelters. This course is a “modern” survival course.  We encourage proper equipment, preparedness, and practice so you always prevail should your adventure take an unexpected turn into a survival situation.

  • January 23-24, 2021
  • February 27-28, 2021
  • March 27-28, 2021
  • April 17-18, 2021
  • June 5-6, 2021
  • July 17-18, 2021
  • September 25-26, 2021
  • November 6-7, 2021
  • December 4-5, 2021



What else should I know?

What experience do I need to attend this course?
Outdoor experience levels do not matter. We have students with no experience to weekend hikers to warriors of the wilderness. Everyone learns valuable information in this course. You will leave prepared to help yourself and others while on any adventure.>/p>

What is the age requirement of this course?
This is a course for adults. 18 year olds may come alone. Mature 16 & 17 year olds may come with a responsible partner over the age of 18. What time does the course start and end? 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.

Do I need to bring a friend?
If you come alone, you are guaranteed to leave with new friends! Of course, your friends are always welcome – sign them up too!

Is the course taught outside?
The training camps are set up outside held under parachute canopies. The Virginia location courses are held on Mountain Shepherd’s gorgeous 100 acre property bordering the Jefferson National Forest.

Do I sleep under the stars?
This is your adventure! You can sleep in a tent, a hammock, a shelter you improvise or stay in the lodge. The choice is yours.

What is the weather like?
Local weather is so hard to predict. Best to watch the forecast for zip code 24070. You can store extra clothes and gear at the lodge.

Do I get to eat bugs?
You will learn which bugs are edible and how to find them. Eating them is optional! For lunch/dinner we recommend dehydrated meals that require boiling water. Pack some jerky and trail mix for snacking and you’re all set. Or shop when you arrive. Our store stocks a large variety of Mountain House meals along with Honey Stinger energy bars, chews, gels and waffles.

Do I need to buy a lot of gear?
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. No need to buy any new gear prior to coming to a course. 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.

What should I leave at home?
Hatchets, machetes, firearms, drugs and alcohol.

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