Included below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If you don’t find an answer to your question, however, or you need more clarification, simply contact us and we’ll be glad to help you.

1. Why should I consider enrolling in a True North course?

Wilderness training courses are not just for mountaineers or military personnel, they are geared for anyone who spends time in the outdoors either because they simply want to be better prepared for emergencies (after all, how often do we read in the news about a “day hiker” who ends up being forced to spend an unpleasant overnight or two?), or who wants to learn the skills necessary to take on some new adventure or challenge.

2. What kind of people enroll in your courses?

Our students truly come from all backgrounds and represent a wide variety of interests.

In a class of ten people, it is common that the youngest is 16 and the oldest 70, with a broad mix of ages in between, the average being around 40. Also, our courses are fairly consistently comprised of 50% women.

Certainly many hikers and backpackers register, but we also get many rock climbers, hunters, scout leaders, outdoor educators, adventure racers, and forest rangers.

3. Is wilderness experience required?

No experience whatsoever is required for any of our courses, basic or advanced … Just so long as you bring your sense of adventure and positive mental attitude!

Whether you have only car-camped or hiked the Appalachian Trail, we are confident that you will find our courses a terrific learning experience. No matter what, we are all remain students … including our instructors!

4. How tough are the courses?

Our courses aren’t meant to be easy, and that’s the point. But while you need not be training for the Olympics, you should be in good enough physical condition such that you can hike through the woods with a great attitude … even if you are sweating and huffing! Trust us, we take a lot of breaks, and we have never had a student not be able to physically complete a course.

If you have any questions or concerns, we recommend that you contact us.  We’ll be happy to talk!

5. Where is the training location?

Our primary training location is located in Quebec Run Wild Area, a 7,441 acre portion of Forbes State Forest, with easy access from all parts of the Western Pennsylvania region.  We also teach at a variety of other state and county parks, as well as private lands, depending on the nature of the course or needs of our clients.

6. 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.

7. What equipment do I need to bring?

When you register for a course, we will send you a complete equipment list. Some items will be “required” and others will be “suggested.”

However, don’t think that you need to break your piggy-bank to buy new and untested gear. We like to think of our courses as a great way to learn about and “test drive” equipment that will be suit your needs, chosen outdoor activity, and your budget.

8. What if I don’t have gear, or enough of it?

Since one of the course goals is to teach you about gear and offer you a chance to “test drive” it before you buy it, if you don’t have an item, don’t feel compelled to buy it right away (especially if it’s expensive).  Instead, either contact Erik to see if he can loan or share an item; make a suggestion for purchase; or consider these rental options that previous clients have happily used:          

9. Okay, how do I now register for a course?

Simply find the course on the applicable page in which you are interested, or via our Schedule, and on click on the necessary link.

10. What forms of payment are accepted?

We accept check and money orders, plus debit and credit card (including Pay Pal, Visa, Master Card, and American Express).

11. What is your payment policy?

To reserve placement in a True North program, participant must return a deposit payment representing at least 50% of the total course fee, along with all completed and signed forms, to True North. To guarantee placement in the program, True North must receive final payment no less than (30) days before the program start date.

12. What is your refund policy?

In the event that a participant withdraws from this course within fifteen (15) to thirty (30) days of the program start date, course payments will not be refunded, but instead will be applied to a future course within six (6) months of the original course date. In the event that a participant withdraws from this course within fourteen (14) days or less of the program start date, course payments will not be refunded.  In the event that True North must cancel this course due to instructor illness or injury, a death or sickness in the instructor’s immediate family, unsafe conditions in the training area, or in response to a government issued quarantine order, all payments will be refunded in full; or upon request by participant, any payments made may be applied to a future scheduled course date.

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