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WMS Approves our Courses

WMS Approves our Courses

True North is proud to announce that the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) has recently accepted our Basic Wilderness Navigation and Basic Wilderness Survival as approved courses in its Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) program.  This former, then, provides 6-credits of “Land Navigation” (05-15), while the latter provides 11.5-credits through a mix of core and elective components as part of the FAWM Survival, Field Craft & Equipment topic area. The FAWM is geared towards those professionals, like physicians, nurses, paramedics, and other related outdoor educators, in any recognized medical discipline or vocation, or who are a current student or resident of such a program.  The fundamental purpose of the Academy is the support the mission of the WMS to advance healthcare, research, and education related to wilderness medicine. This addition to our programming is just another in True North’s ongoing efforts to provide superior outdoors training at fair and reasonable prices that meets the demands of […]

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The New Year Ahead

The New Year Ahead

I am sure that many of you, like me, take advantage of the slow and peaceful days between Christmas and the New Year, to quietly reflect on the preceding twelve months.  Doing so offers us an opportunity to consider what went well, and just as importantly — perhaps even more so — what didn’t, with the hope that we can make the most of our future. So, as I sit here planning the year ahead for True North, I cannot help but appreciate how terrific the current year has been, and be thankful for it.  This most especially since we were able to build upon what we had started in years past to bring some of the finest in outdoors education and programming to an expanding list of clients, friends, and partners.  Now I’m even more excited about what we can do in 2015! The Year in Review 2014 stands as a milestone for several reasons, but I […]

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The Real Survival Skill – Shelter Craft

The Real Survival Skill - Shelter Craft

I just read a news article this morning about how a Canadian father and his 14-year-old daughter found themselves in a wilderness survival situation this past weekend after getting lost while skiing in British Columbia.  I regularly read such accounts because I believe that they offer us good lessons about what to do in a such an emergency, but, just as importantly, what not to do.  In this situation, what caught my interest was this pair’s focus on making a shelter instead of making a fire as many of us may have been inclined to do. On Saturday during our most recent Wilderness Survival 101 course, I stressed to my clients that the most important survival skill that they should hone, at least in my personal view, is making an emergency shelter.  This is different from many other survival programs which stress making a fire. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I believe that fire […]

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Gift Certificates are Available!

Gift Certificates are Available!

True North is very pleased to announce that it is now making gift certificates available for you to give to your family or friends.  This offers an easy and convenient way to surprise the survivor in your life! We can customize your certificate in any number of formats that best serves your wishes.  One way is to purchase a certificate for a specific course, like Basic Wilderness Survival or Wilderness First Aid.  Another way is to purchase a certificate which reflects some dollar amount which your survivor can then redeem towards a course.  Or, if you have some specific idea in mind, just let us know and we’ll work with you to design a format.  In any case, once your survivor receives the certificate, we’ll work with him or her directly to register for a course. Better yet, our certificates are absolutely risk and worry free since your survivor can work with us […]

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Bugs, It’s What’s for Dinner

Bugs, It's What's for Dinner

As a wilderness survival instructor, every so often I have the sense that a client believes that I’ve let him down when I fail to cover wild edibles as a food source.  Such an expectation, though, is understandable since the general consensus certainly seems to be that a knowledge of wild edibles is vital to properly dealing with an emergency outdoors.  After all, consider the millions of television viewers who tune in each week to watch a wide mix of survival reality shows as their hosts and contestants busily forage for plants, berries, and mushrooms during their scripted emergency.  In turn, there are countless books, articles, and websites that vigorously promote the topic.  But the actual reality is that I truly would be letting down my clients if I continued to foster this notion. That’s because in a survival situation, wild edibles should not be your primary food source.  In fact, at the risk of further appearing […]

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Tips: Cold Weather Sleeping

Tips: Cold Weather Sleeping

I know that it may be hard to believe, but activities that involve Winter camping offer some of the best opportunities of the year to enjoy the Great Outdoors.  There tend to be far fewer people on the trail, and one can, quite literally, see, hear, feel, and smell a world completely different than the one that more commonly exists during the warmer months.  But to be perfectly honest, I often need to remind myself of theses wonders in order to overcome my inherent resistance to sleeping overnight in the cold.  After all, sleeping when one is cold to the point of suffering doesn’t help make for a fun, or, from a wilderness survival perspective, a safe trip. So here a few simple tips to consider: Keep your internal furnace burning all night.  Before going to bed, eat (unless you have some kind of medical restriction) a high-calorie snack that […]

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Concept Product: Rescue Me Balloon

Concept Product: Rescue Me Balloon

In a previous blog, Rescue Signaling, I wrote about the importance in case of an outdoors emergency of being prepared to signal for help.  Particularly, I wrote that it is your responsibility, not that of search and rescue crews, to be found.  That’s because even with hi-tech equipment, which, despite common belief, they don’t very often have or use (relying to a great deal on “ground pounders” and visual sightings), you still remain the proverbial needle in the haystack.  After all, the Great Outdoors is so very big while we are so very small.  Anything, then, that you can use or do to be seen will improve your chances of going home that much sooner. Thanks to True North instructor, J.C. McGreehan, I just learned about a new product that might be coming to the market soon that could better help you accomplish this survival priority.  It’s called the Rescue Me Balloon. […]

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“Cotton Kills” … Truth or Exaggeration?

"Cotton Kills" ... Truth or Exaggeration?

In any of the survival courses that I teach, very seldom do I make absolute statements to a client like “Definitely don’t do this,” or “Always do that.”  After all, if a client finds herself  in an emergency situation, it’s likely unique enough on some level that absolutes are not helpful, perhaps even detrimental.  And when it comes to buying clothing and gear, every client has his own guidelines based on various criteria including their particular outdoor activity and interests, perceived needs and wants, and size of pocketbook.  Instead, I generally try to offer recommendations, within a general range of possibilities and points to consider, supplemented with an explanation for context. Except in two cases.  One of them being … Don’t wear cotton. By this I mean, never, or at least be extremely reluctant to, wear cotton clothing during your outdoors adventures. This “absolute” is given with the best of recommendations as there is a very […]

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More About the Chris McCandless Story

More About the Chris McCandless Story

Amazingly, at least in my mind, it has been 22 years since Christopher McCandless slowly starved to death, all alone in an abandoned school bus, in the Alaskan wilderness.  Many of you may have read about his story in the Jon Krakauer book, Into the Wild, or saw the movie of the same title.  Amazingly, he still remains to this day the subject of active, even fervent, discussions amongst those in the outdoors community. There is just something about McCandless’ story that touches something so visceral in so many.  The debate generally falls into two main camps.  The first tends to argue that his death was almost inevitable due to his selfish personality and reckless lack of preparedness.  The second tends to praise him for his free spirit and trust in the bounty of Nature, and views his death as an unfortunate accident.  For what it’s worth, my opinion tends to reflect those of the […]

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True North on CNN

True North on CNN

After spending forty-eight days on the run after gunning down two Pennsylvania State Troopers, Eric Frein, an apparent “expert survivalist,” was finally arrested by U.S. Marshalls on October 30 at an abandoned airplane hanger in northeastern Pennsylvania.  Since then, law enforcement and media alike have been working hard to determine how Frein not only committed the crime, but how he was able to remain on the run for so long.  In as much, I continued to be interviewed this week by various journalists from such news organizations as The Morning Call, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and CNN who asked for some insight into Frein’s survival abilities. In fact, on Thursday, I was privileged to be interviewed live by CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin on her show Newsroom.  You can watch it for yourself as part of her report, “100+ Items Found at Frein’s Hideout.”  You can also read the transcript: BALDWIN: If you do not need a passport to access […]

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