Bush Craft Courses Guide
Choosing the best bush craft courses for your particular situation can be quite challenging. All outdoor survival classes aren’t created equal, and the school may not be a good fit for you.
So, you need to do research to make sure the course that you enroll in will suit your needs. For example, does the class focus on primitive skills (surviving with little or no store bought wilderness survival gear) or does it teach you how to use standard bush craft tools?
Personally, I think it best first to focus on using common store-bought bushcraft survival equipment before attempting to master primitive survival skills. Don’t get me wrong, learning primitive survival skills is important and fun. However, nine times out ten, you’ll be able to carry survival equipment when you are hunting, fishing, hiking, etc. So, the outdoor survival training needs to balance primitive skills with learning how to use fundamental bushcraft survival gear.
Below is part one of a list of the top ten US wilderness survival schools and a description of their bush craft courses. The list is not a ranking.
Survival Training School of California
This is one of the better know survival schools. This school conducts outdoor survival training for the US Marines, Navy and of US Department of Defense. This school does not focus on a particular “Guru” instructor. In fact, it doesn’t even have a list of trainers. However, the website does show letters of recommendation from the US Marines, US Navy, and the Air Force.
I like the fact that the courses are a good mix of teaching primitive survival skills with instruction you how to use everyday bushcraft survival equipment. For example, their fire making instruction will show you not only how to build a fire using sticks but also how to use emergency fire-making equipment.
Mountain Scout Survival School (“MSS”)
This another non-guru bases survival schools where the instructors are not even listed. This school which is based in New York provides multiple varied courses ranging from building a fire to stalking for hunting game. Also, it has courses on urban survival.
The Mountain Scout School, as it is based in New York, does not have any overnight bush craft courses or from what I can see on their website even classes are not even in the wilderness. So, if you want an immersive survival experience, this is not the bushcraf school for you. However, it does have a variety of specific classes. (Fire making is one class) Also, it is priced reasonably with four hours of instruction costing $75.
Jack Mountain BushCraft School (“JMBS”)
This is an advanced school founded by Tim Smith. It was established in 1999 and claims to be college accredited and GI Bill Approved. It offers certification in fields, such as wilderness canoe expedition certification and also certification to teach the JMBS method of wilderness survival.
Like I said, this class is based on total immersion. All listed classes have an overnight component. The courses have an excellent blend of teaching you primitive and the proper use of emergency equipment. For example, in one class you’ll learn how to use a dutch oven and one match fires. Also, how to make a fire by using friction.
This school is pricey though with tuition approved classes ranging from $7.100 to $2,500. However, you can enroll in a nontuition based course for less than 1k.
Ancient Pathways, LLC (“AP”)
This company is run by Tony Nester and has been in business since 1989. This company specializes in Desert survival and primitive technology. Tony Nester states that he was a consultant for the movie “Into the Wild.” However, the website says that either Nestor or his staff will teach. So, if you want to be prepared by Nester, make sure to get confirmation from the school that he will be teaching the course.
AP offers both classroom and, immersion-based training. This instruction, according to the website focuses on how to use primitive survival gear. For example, one course you’ll only bring with you a knife, blanket, water bottle and individual food packets.
Boulder Outdoor Survival School
This school has been teaching survival skills since 1968. This school offers
immersion based bush craft courses ranging from three to 28 days.
The schooling is based upon primitive skills and modern survival methods. For example, you’ll learn how to start a friction fire, forage for edible plants and find out how to trap for wild game. Also, it teaches you how to make a proper poncho shelter and the correct use of a survival knife. The prices for these bush craft courses are high. But, considering the immersive experience that you get they are reasonable. The seven-day field course starts at $1,595.