it’s a jungle out there! we need to be pro-active in learning to protect ourselves..

Ok. So this might be a bit extreme, but survival school is a great workout (I’m assuming) and you learn how to protect yourself and family. With the state of the world… I’m just saying.

Ancient Pathways/Flagstaff, Arizona
When a school is one of the military’s go-tos for desert survival training, you know it means business. Run by survival guru Tony Nester since 1989, Ancient Pathways offers classes in the art of bushcraft — “walking into the wilderness with a minimum of gear and relying on your skills while foraging and depending on nature’s resources,” as Nester puts it — ranging from four to 14 days. The school’s signature course, says Nester, is the “Knife Only Survival Course” ($295), which actor Emile Hirsch used to train for his role in Into the Wild.

Knife-Only Survival Skills

This our signature course and the one that we took actor Emile Hirsch out on to prepare for his role in the film “Into the Wild”.

If you have ever questioned your ability to live in the wilderness with a minimum of gear then join us for this intensive course in self-reliance and survival training. With guidance, you will learn the essential skills for handling the “Big 5” survival priorities of shelter, water, fire, signaling, and first-aid. We will also have in-depth discussions on survival kits, heat & cold-related injuries, edible plant uses, and what’s involved from the Search & Rescue perspective. Everyone will have the opportunity to sleep out in their own.

Land Navigation and GPS Course

Learn the basics of orienteering with a map and compass while boosting your confidence in traveling off the beaten path. We will cover compass use, declination, topographic map reading, pacing, walking a straight line, following a bearing, how to select and use a GPS unit, and barehanded navigation using celestial aids. This course is entirely field-based and involves plenty of hands-on practice and cross-country navigation exercises to make the skills come alive.

Women’s Outdoor Survival Basics Course

Ever wonder what to do if you became lost or stranded in the wilds with little or no gear? If so, then join us for this hands-on class designed for women and learn how to be prepared in the event of an wilderness emergency. Topics covered include: survival psychology, natural and improvised shelters, firemaking in wet weather, signaling for rescue, survival myths & misconceptions, water location methods, knife use & safety, survival kits, and preparing your vehicle for backcountry travel.The class is taught at an introductory level for women who are interested in gaining more confidence in the outdoors along with practical wilderness skills. All equipment is provided. Enrollment is limited 10 participants. Each student will need to provide a sack lunch and water bottle. A detailed gear list and directions will be sent out upon registering for the class. Held in Flagstaff from 10 am to 4 pm.

Other Schools:

Jack Mountain Bushcraft School
Masardis, Maine
If you’ve ever wondered if you can get college credit for spending a semester deep in the North Woods of Maine, look no further than Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. Few wilderness schools are as comprehensive as Jack Mountain. Courses range from single-day workshops in skills like axemanship ($125), to the weeklong “Woodsman” class ($800), to year-long immersion programs that combine bushcraft skills with winter survival and — Jack Mountain’s specialty — a wilderness canoe expedition.

Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School
Catawba, Va.
Who needs tents anyway? In Mountain Shepherd’s “most difficult, yet most popular course,” Humble Thunder ($550), students improvise their own shelters after making their way to their campsites with a topographic map and compass. This four-day, three-night class is taught by graduates of the U.S. Air Force’s prestigious SERE School — which stands for “Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape” — in the rolling mountain country of western Virginia. (It’s opening a second location in Tillamook, Ore.) Don’t be afraid of the weather: classes are held year-round, meaning you could be using flint and steel to build your campfire in snow or the pouring rain. Eating bugs is optional, though.

Survival Training School of California
Tehachapi, Calif.
Located where the Mojave Desert meets the Tehachapi mountain range north of Los Angeles, the Survival Training School of California is ideally placed for minimalist survival training in a variety of climates, all four seasons: A single seven-day course ($1050; discounts for groups) can take students from lush green valley to high alpine environment, and back down to the scorching desert. You’ll learn to locate and collect water from a man, Chief Instructor Thomas Coyne, who knows something about desert survival: Coyne has hiked across Death Valley in summer without bringing any food or water. Perhaps this is why the US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Center trusts him to train its instructors.

Mountain Scout Survival School
Garrison, N.Y. and New York City
Having trained under the legendary Tom Brown, Jr. (see the Tracker School below), Mountain Scout’s lead instructor Shane Hobel — who also goes by White Feather — offers a variety of single-day survival classes (from $60) within commuting distance of New York City. These courses teach trapping, tracking, fire by friction and other survival skills that could save your life if you get lost in the woods. But if you’re preparing for an urban disaster — say, catastrophic grid failure — Hobel also offers urban survival classes in New York’s Central Park.

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