Basic Wilderness Survival

This 2-day / 1-night course is designed to teach hands-on the fundamentals of wilderness survival so that you can learn to explore, protect, and lead others with confidence, expedite your rescue, and return home with pride.

The goal of Basic Wilderness Survival is to provide you the skills, knowledge, and confidence to prevent or respond to emergencies in remote or austere environments.  We will accomplish this by teaching you the same “modern” approach to wilderness survival that is taught in the U.S. military to bring home its valuable Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen by emphasizing basic preparedness, like tools and supplies, adaptability, and a realistic approach to improvisation.  We will also help you to make better decisions by teaching the Seven Priorities of any wilderness emergency: Survivor Psychology, Medical, Shelter, Fire, Signal, Water, and Food.  At True North, we want to provide you the same high-quality and proven approach to wilderness survival because we believe that you are equally valuable.

Shelter Lesson

You will learn in an active and hands-on way.  Your training will begin with a hike to our base camp, located a little over a mile from the trail head.  Among other skills that you’ll learn: to tie basic knots and lashings; the basics of first-aid and prevention; how to procure potable water; what tools and supplies to best bring or improvise; and to confidently build a “knee-high fire in five minutes in the pouring rain” … Trust us, it can be done!

And don’t worry, you’ll get the best of military survival training without the hardships!  You will sleep in your own tent, use a sleeping bag, and may bring plenty of food and snacks.  You can cook using your stove, or, if you are feeling adventurous, learn to cook over open coals with your instructor.  All while having some fun while learning.

From our anonymous course evaluation.

This course is geared towards participants of all skill levels and backgrounds so no particular experience, prerequisites, or athletic ability is necessary. We only require that you bring the necessary equipment, your sense of adventure, and your Positive Mental Attitude. From there, we will work together to take care of the rest.  Please check out the “Level of Physical Difficulty” description down below for this course so that you can get the most out of the it.

Here is an overview of the program:

  • Course Duration: 2-Days / 1- Night
  • Tuition: $250
  • Maximum Group Size: 8
  • Minimum Group Size: 4
  • Minimum Age: See below for details.
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. Day One / 12:00 p.m. Day Two
  • Location: Quebec Run Wild Area (see below for more detail).
  • FAWM

    Accredited provider for the Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine

    FAWM Credits:  This course is approved by the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) for 11 credits hours in the Survival, Field Craft & Equipment subject area of its Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) program, but please note the WMS credit policy for all its accredited programs: “This course offers FAWM core and elective credits. Actual credits awarded depend on personal credit needs and history as determined by the Wilderness Medical Society.” For more information or clarification contact us, or the WMS directly. For a detailed course breakdown, please visit their Activities Eligible for Fellowship Credit and click on the course listed in the schedule, or contact the WMS directly.

  • Description of the Level of Physical Difficulty – Moderate:  This course involves hiking with laden backpacks, walking, and other activities over varying distances at a steady pace over varying terrain that will include off-trail sections, rough spots, unexpected obstacles, and low to steep inclines and declines.  This course is conducted in varying weather conditions, including hot, cold, humid, rain,  wind, and snow, or a mixed combination.  This course is best suited for those in good physical condition.

Check Out these Answers to Commonly Asked Questions:

What happens when I register?   One of our instructors will personally follow up with you regarding your contact information, basic medical information (for safety purposes), and our waiver.  Then we will send you a detailed course information sheet which will contain all of the applicable details, like required and recommended gear, exact gathering point, general driving directions.  For an overview of the gear list now, check it out further down.

Quebec Run Wild Area – Click to enlarge.

Where is Quebec Run Wild Area located?  Quebec Run Wild Area is a 7,441 acre reserve within Forbes State Forest, located roughly 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, along the West Virginia border.

Are bathroom facilities available during the course? Since Quebec Run is a designated “wilderness area” there is no infrastructure whatsoever, including toilets.  Relax, though, before we set out into the wild woods, we’ll teach you what’s needed to feel just like you are at home.  Almost.

What is the minimum age required for our courses?  In our open registration courses, children 15-17 years old are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian.  In our private courses, however, there is no set age requirement as it depends on the specific group’s needs and goals.

What about the Novel Coronavirus?  As part of our continuing effort at True North to protect our clients (and to help you protect those around you, whether at home, at work, or in your community), we will be following Center for Disease Control recommended guidelines to minimize the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.  So, among other steps, we will provide hand sanitizer and we will be using face coverings during those times when we are within six (6) feet of each other.  In turn, our wilderness survival classes have always been small (less than 10 clients) and are run entirely outdoors.  We will discuss protocols at the trailhead before your training begins.  If your class needs to be cancelled due to a government mandated stay-at-home order, then your payment will be fully refunded.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us, if you have any health concerns or questions.

BWS Gear List

Course Equipment List – Click to enlarge.

What kind of gear do I need to bring?  If you would like a better sense of what gear you need to bring on the course, or optional gear to consider, then check out the equipment list that will be included with the course information sheet.

However, since one of our course goals is to teach you about survival and camping gear, plus offer you a chance to “test drive” it before you buy it, if you don’t have an item, don’t necessarily feel compelled to buy it right away … especially if it’s expensive.  Instead, contact us to see if we can loan you an item or make a recommendation for purchase.   Or you can even consider these rental options that previous clients have used with much satisfaction: