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Recommended Primitive Survival Course?
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Tim Kropf
(tkoutdoor) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/23/2010 11:40:23 MST Print View

Hello all,

My cousin and I are looking for a primitive survival course to do this summer/fall and he has to decide on his vacation shedule very soon so I'm hoping to have some short term responses.

If you all are familiar with Tom Brown Jr. and his classes, that's the kind of class that would be interesting to me, but not his class exactly. I'd prefer to find something a bit less controversial than the class that Tom teaches that focuses on the skills rather than the philosophy.

We are game for up to a week. I live in WA, he lives in OR so the Pacific Northwest would be nice, but within 12 hrs travel time (by car) from Portland, OR would be just fine. I'm not ruling out plane travel, but that gets complicated with getting transportation out to the country and adding car rental expenses for a week.

As a minimum for course instruction I'd hope to find "flintknapping", making fire with bow/drill etc., making traps/snares, making shelters, ID'ing wild edibles (PNW varieties are a big bonus).

Any recommendations out there?


Edited by tkoutdoor on 02/23/2010 11:57:31 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/23/2010 13:54:18 MST Print View

I have no personal experience. I know a few people who did a course with BOSS

People I know thought it was valuable... the BOSS has it's detractors. I thought there was an article by Carol about her experiences doing the BOSS course... but a quick search doesn't find it.


Edited by verber on 02/23/2010 13:54:50 MST.

Tim Kropf
(tkoutdoor) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/23/2010 16:58:43 MST Print View

Looks like a great lead! I hope other leads come up that are similar to this one!

Jarrett Lambright
(jlamb) - F

Locale: Western PA
RAT Cutlery on 02/23/2010 17:47:03 MST Print View

Although I cannot speak first hand about the trips as I have never been, but Randalls Adventure Training (RAT)seems pretty reputable. Their main courses are offered in the peruvian jungle, but they also do a few in alabama. I own several RAT knives and they are bomber. Their website is click on the link for the training stuff. They work with special forces and narcotics units in south america. The 2 guys that own the company are die hard survivalists.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/23/2010 18:15:17 MST Print View

I've heard of Tom Brown and his course. I bet its awesome, but too expensive. Why is it controversial? Is it like 'how to slit a throat of a potential captor without making a sound', or something?

Since it says stuff about 'Grandfather' and being Native American' and all I figured it'd be "how to disappear in 15 seconds."

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/23/2010 18:45:20 MST Print View

A bit off topic, but glad I came across this thread. I had considered taking one of Brown's courses. After reading your post I did a bit o' googling. I think you saved me some money!

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Recommended Primitive Survival Course on 02/23/2010 18:47:04 MST Print View

Here's a link to Tom Brown's site: I read he can teach you how to track a mouse across a concrete drive. The standard course is $800.00.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course on 02/24/2010 00:05:35 MST Print View

Gee, the Air Force gave me one for free, plus my monthly pay. :)

A lot of the items you mentioned can be self taught with a little practice. If no one comes up with something that peaks your interest, you might look into one of BPLs Wilderness courses, and teach yourself the rest.

To be honest, I work hard to avoid the survival situations, but it is always good to be prepared.

Shawn Peyton
(alifeoutdoors) - F - MLife

Locale: Iron River, WI
Nick +1 on 02/24/2010 00:29:19 MST Print View

:) Right on, Nick.

I don't know it's 50/50 on the Tom Brown. A lot of those in the know say he talks a lot of sh*t. When I wanted to take some tracking courses I read both his works and Paul Rezendes. I will say you are obviously overwhelmed by Tom's ego. Personally I think a lot of it is made up. I found Paul Rezendes to be a lot more humble, and in person; an amazing individual. However this does not help as he retired and is on the east coast. Here's a link to one of his students, which is unfortunately on the east coast but it may have threads or contacts for others out west.

Walnut Hill Tracking


Locale: South West US
Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/24/2010 02:58:41 MST Print View

No experience but his books are quite good.

Tim Kropf
(tkoutdoor) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Update on 02/24/2010 11:51:06 MST Print View

Thanks everyone for the variety of responses.

The links have been great. The BOSS one looks really good. The last link with Cody Lundin I'd been looking for for some time, but didn't know where to start. I had that Backpacker magazine issue (didn't remember the source), I remembered his photo and the article, but that's all I had to go by. All the classes had something to offer I'd say. The BPL courses appear to offer none of what I outlined in my first post. I had already looked at them and determined that I pretty much do that stuff already. It's the extras that I'm looking to get schooled on. I wish the Walnut Hill courses were closer. At that price if it were close I'd spend some time there I'm sure and take the gamble on course quality.

I found some links from Doug Ritter's "Equipped to Survive" resources that fit the bill too.

I'll still follow up on whatever info may still arrive. I just wanted to say I appreciate the input so far. Keep it up if something else comes to mind... Also, bonus points if you've taken a course yourself and can recommend it. We're close to having our list of schools compiled. Now the time is here to attempt to evaluate their credibility and course quality. For some that appears to be easy, for others it might be a bit more of a gamble. (As I often find with backpacking trips... the planning is half the fun so no worries!)


Edited by tkoutdoor on 02/24/2010 11:54:06 MST.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/24/2010 12:20:34 MST Print View

Well, I see that the OP is talking about primitive survival. I found these books on urban survival. Havent read them but they look... well, interesting...

When All Hell Breaks Loose
Keeping Your Ass Alive (sorry, that's really the title)

by Cody Lundin

Yes, he looks like He-Man in Daisy Dukes (train wreck)
Avert your eyes!

Seems to be and interesting read though (let me know, Ha!)

One of his pics has him in a shirt that (I think) says Aboriginal Survival School- I bet THAT would be a fun course.

Don't holler at me, I'm just throwin this out there! :)

Tim Kropf
(tkoutdoor) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Recommended Primitive Survival Course? on 02/24/2010 18:30:03 MST Print View

Thanks, NP I won't holler. I'm looking for feedback even if it's a little off target. I'll process it accordingly, anything may spur a further chain of comments or input so it's all good.

FWIW Cody Lundin is who made me think I might actually want to think about paying for a survival/primitive skills course when I read the article in Backpacker when it was published way back when so he is noteworthy even though he's less about the "primitive" and more about the "survival".