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Went to a wilderness survival class

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by mac66, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Spent a very snowy Saturday at a survival class. Instructor is a former marine who has been to all the military survival schools and has been in bad places all over the world. I am a former boy scout scoutmaster who taught survival to boy scouts, and am avid hunter, backpacker etc.

    He asked me to observe the class and take notes since he hasn't done a class in a few years. He then asked me to teach a couple of the modules i.e., fire making, knot tying, direction finding, knife safety, compass use so we could split up the class into a small group. One of the requests we had from one of the student prior to the class was how to use an MRE, so we brought MREs for everyone to eat. Kind of surprising that people don't know how to use them and the heaters

    Spent a good deal of time making shelters. Some good info about canteen cup cooking and tin can heaters.

    It was a pretty good basic survival class. I actually learned some new stuff.

    I think everyone should take a basic survival class as well as a basic self defense class.
  2. wolf19r

    wolf19r Problem Solved!

    Feb 8, 2009
    JAX, FL
    Sounds like a good day. Id take one again after all the stuff I took in the boy scouts a lot of it has come in handy. Plus you never know when you might need that info to save yourself.

    posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire

  3. Batesmotel


    Apr 5, 2007
    I am in a similar situation as you so far as Boy Scouts and teaching. Doing a big class on the mental aspects of survival next week for an adult church group.

    What new things did you learn?
  4. dissthis

    dissthis Gun Fan

    Aug 24, 2005
    Marietta, GA
  5. WT

    WT Millennium Member

    Jan 12, 1999
    It is interesting your mentioning the canteen cup.

    A friend spent 3 days at a survival course taught to aircrewmen at Clark AFB. They were issued a canteen cup, an Army poncho, and a fixed blade knife. A Filipino taught them how to use them in the jungle.
  6. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Rebel South
    You being a former scoutmaster, what interest did you have in taking a "basic" survival class? Thats kinda like a range master just up and deciding to take a "basic" pistol class.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  7. Are there any good links for national classes? I'd love to do something like this but they always seem to be very location/region specific?
  8. sebecman


    Jun 13, 2008
    Well I could be wrong but the way I read that post, the instructor was a friend of his and he was helping teach the class.

    Title of the post should have read "I helped teach a wilderness survival class".
  9. Stevekozak

    Stevekozak Returning video

    Nov 9, 2008
    Why not? We can all use a brush up on our skills. And, for what it is worth, I have seen a few "range masters" that could benefit from a basic pistol class...:whistling:
  10. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    I was asked to observe his class and I have an interest in how other people do things. His perspective was a little different than mine in that I have no military background. Fundementals were the same, execution was a bit different.
  11. Aceman


    Nov 30, 2008
    Can't ever get too much of the fundamentals. You always learn something if you want to
  12. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    I should have mentioned that most of the people in the class were Young Marines (YMs are a youth group) with a few parents and a few others.

    Most of my experience with boy scouts and back packing used cups and pots etc. I do have a set of coffee can pots and cups and heaters I've used to show what can be done with improvised stuff.

    The main instructor coming from a military background mostly used a canteen and canteen cup as his kit. One of the things I had not seen before was cutting a plastic canteen in half and using the lower half as your cup. Use the metal cup as your pot. He also puts holes in his metal canteen cup and made a wire handle to hang over a fire. Of course the plastic canteen cup nests inside the metal canteen cup.

    This is similar to civilian back packing kit where you might use a metal cup and a small pot, or a water bottle and cup that the bottle nests into.

    The one other thing I hadn't seen before is the use of a hanging coffee can heater. I've used coffee cans as stoves, heaters, pots etc but never thought to hang one. Basically he punches air holes in the bottom, makes a small fire in it and hangs in at entrance or back part of the shelter. The alternative is build a fire, scoop up hot coals into the can and hang it behind you. Fire warms your front, can warms you in back. Of course were talking about garbage bag, poncho, plastic sheet, emergency blanket type shelters at least initially. We didn't get into the debris shelters, wikiups or more advanced stuff.

    One thing I got from the class is that most people don't know how to build a fire, don't know how to tie a knot and know little or nothing about lashing. In boy scouts you learn that stuff pretty early and practice it a lot to build a pretty good foundation on which to build. When I taught wilderness survival in scouts, the kids knew that stuff by the time they took that merit badge. Trying to teach that basic stuff, and then add shelter making, etc is impossible in one day.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  13. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    I taught wilderness survival at a Scout Camp for three years running. Went on overnight survival trips for many nights with nothing more than a small knife and a canteen.

    Lots of things you can do but the basics like building a fire etc are really best taught in small blocks BEFORE you go out on a school like this. There are so many techniques you can learn by going to things like jamborees etc. You can boil water in a paper cup! How to dig a Dakota Hole (so hot it can melt your aluminum pot!). How to gather and break wood to length without an axe (or a big Rambo knife--what a waste of time).

    Building a shelter is a piece of cake with a small knife anyhow. Knots, lashing, all that stuff is pretty basic and we used to teach it in the church basement. By the time you go on a camping trip most any scout knows that stuff.

    Its the stupid things that people don't think about that gets them into trouble. Like building your shelter in a poison ivy patch, or in a dry creek bed or on the side of a hill.

    Or taking time to learn edible plants and things you can use to make tea.
  14. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    The weather that day was about 15 degrees in the morning when we started with only a inch or so of snow in the low spots. We had had a thaw the week before. By the time we finished the temp was up around 30 and we got 4" of snow, which covered everything and curtailed individual wood gathering and collapsed some of the shelters.

    Some of the older kids slept in their shelters that night and the temp went down to 9 degrees. They didn't get much sleep but survived. The adults kept a a bonfire going for them all night to warm up if they got cold. I did not spend the night, been there, done that. I talked to one of their dads on Sunday, the kids said they had a good time. Want to do more.
  15. Carry16


    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    You might check to see if your county has any CERT classes. They usually also have first aid, first responder, CPR, etc. In my experience I ran into a couple instructors at those courses that taught wilderness survival on the side.

  16. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Good idea, I'm a CERT instructor and know several others that do search and rescue training and wildness survival as well.

    Might also want to google wildness survival in your state. There is always some local guru willing to do classes. Here is a link to schools nationwide.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  17. WT

    WT Millennium Member

    Jan 12, 1999
    Mac - since the temperature got down to 9 degrees and the kids 'survived', I would be interested in knowing what was the temperature rating for their sleeping bags?

    We've some discussions lately about sleeping bags and temperature ratings and how they really hold up at night.
  18. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    I honestly didn't pay much attention to what sleeping bags they were using. They brought all the stuff out as we were leaving.
  19. WT

    WT Millennium Member

    Jan 12, 1999
    Okay. Maybe next time.

    Kudos to you. Keep up the good work with the YMs.
  20. Glock30Eric

    Glock30Eric .45 ACP

    Feb 3, 2011
    Southern Maryland
    Keep up! I get free lessons from my bro who was one of the best SERE instructors for AF for 8 years. I think everyone should have some of basic survival skills before they take the driver license because that will change how they look into their life.