Bushcraft

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Bow Drill Success

Making Fire: Fire Structures, Fire Secrets & All About the Bow Drill

The ability to make fire is the most important of all the survival skills. Fire is Shelter. Fire provides safe water. Fire cooks our food. Fire provides us with light, comfort and safety in the night. Fire is Life.
Fire is also physics, and once you understand universal laws that dictate how and why fire comes into being, your ability to make a roaring, smoke-free fire will increase exponentially!
During this workshop you learn what makes good firewood, the differences between fuel wood, tinder and kindling and how to lay an easy fire structure that can be lit with a single paper match, provides lots of heat and light and requires very little work to maintain. You will also learn why so many fires are "smokey" and how to fix it. No more needing a whole newspaper or gasoline to get/keep your fire going!
On top of all that, you will discover that, despite what you may see on "survival" shows and on the internet, creating fire by friction is not only possible, but easy to learn! Bowdill is both simple and reliable, and you'll discover how you can quickly and easily create fire using this method. You will learn the vital importance of proper form, how using properly sized materials makes all the difference, and why taking a extra few minutes while carving your kit can save you hours of frustration. No matter how many times you may have tried and failed in the past, or if you've never attempted to make fire by friction before, you WILL be sucessful making a Bowdrill fire during this workshop, we guarantee it!

›› CHECK THIS OUT!
The Video:  Don't believe friction fire can be easy? Our instructional video on Proper Bowdrill Form will guide you step-by-step to make Bowdrill fast, effortless, and consistent

Skill of the Month:  A Perfect Notch is key to effortless bowdrill. Follow these Skill of the Month instructions from our February 2009 newsletter to make notch-making easy.

April 2 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Bowdrill Kit


NEW! Fire by Friction: Bowdrill off the Landscape

Ready to take your fire-making skills up a notch? Being able to create a bowdrill coal from a prepared kit is a great first step, but now it's time to take your skills to the next level. Spend the day learning everything you need to know to create a perfect bowdrill kit, gathered completely off the surrounding landscape. Learn how to make your spindle straight every time, how to find the right material for your fire board, the huge variety of things that can be used as a handhold, and get some all-important experience finding, preparing & using natural cordage on your bow!
You'll also learn a few variations on making a traditional fireboard, methods of dealing with tension and friction with your cord and much more. If you're ready to "take it up a notch" with Friction Fire (and we know you are!) then come on out!

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a beginner workshop and we will not be covering the basics, You MUST be able to regularly make fire using a bowdrill in order to attend. If you are new to friction fire please attend our Making Fire workshop instead.

 

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Bowdrill Kit


NEW! Advanced Friction Fire: Hand Drill, Fire Saw, Fire Roll & More

The more tools you have in your tool box, the better off you are. And that is more true when it comes to fire than with almost any other subject! During this one-day workshop you will learn the secrets behind the Hand Drill, Fire Saw, Fire Roll and more. All friction fire works on the same principles, whether you are using a stalk of Goldenrod, some split bamboo, cotton, or anything else.
You'll have the opportunity to try several different kinds of advanced friciton fire methods, try out different types of hand drill stalks, work with both bamboo and native wood fire saws and use multiple different materials to make fire using the amazingly effective fire roll. If there is time you may also have the opportunity to experiment with fire thong and fire plow. The first time we have offered this advanced workshop, it's going to be an amazing and fire-filled day!

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a beginner workshop. If you wish to learn about Bowdrill please attend our Making Fire workshop instead.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Winter FireNEW! Winter Fire

Lighters don't work as well (or at all) in the cold, matches get wet in the snow, tinder and kindling are cold and damp, hands begin to shake...
Fire is life, and during the Winter, that is more true than any other time of year. Building a fire in cold, wet, weather, on top of snowy ground, ice, or during winter conditions is a whole lot different that making one on a warm sunny day. One of the things that fire requires in order to exist is heat. During the cold weather of Winter, heat can be hard to come by.
Learn how to make a bowdrill fire in the snow, how to build a fire structure on top of snow and ice, and how to keep your fire from drowning as it burns.
Fire in Winter presents an entirely different set of challenges. The time to learn to overcome them is before your life depends on it, so come on out and discover the wonders of Winter Fire!

January 29 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

No-notch Bowdrill Kit


NEW! Making Fire: No-Notch Bowdrill Fires

Using a traditional bowdrill kit, the perfect notch is key to perfect bowdrill success. But what you may not realize is that there are ways of setting up your kit that absolutely no notch is necessary!
During this evening workshop you will learn how to set up your fireboard so that you can create a coal without ever having to cut, carve or abrade a notch of any kind!
(7 - 9:30 p.m.)
(NOTE: This is NOT a beginner workshop. You must already be able to make a coal using a traditional bowdrill kit before attending this workshop.)

 

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

NEW! Making Fire: The Fire Roll

Friction fire that doesn't require any wood at all? No fireboard? No spindle? No stalk, no notch, no knife? Fire roll is one of the fastest methods of making fire you will find, and requires hardly any materials at all. You'll get to try several different materials for making your roll and have multiple options available to create your friction. Join us for this evening workshop to discover this simple, versatile and amazingly quick method of making fire using friction. Definitely one that should be in your fire-making tool kit!
(7 - 9:30 p.m.)

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

Flint and Steel Fire-making Kit

Flint & Steel: Making & Using a Traditional Fire-Starting Kit

One of the most commonly used traditional fire starting methods, Flint & Steel was the way to start a fire for generations of people the world over. In this workshop you will not only learn how easy and reliable a way of making fire this really is, you will make your very own!
You will knock off your own flint chip, forge your own steel striker, create your own char-cloth and tinder tube, and sew up your own bag in which you can carry it and keep it all safe. You will also have a chance to experiment with many different types of char-fibers, and learn the tips, tricks and secrets to making char-cloth from almost any natural fiber.
Another fun and useful tool to add to your Fire-making toolbox!

March 5 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Water from Grapevine

Water: Finding & Purifying the Blood of Life

Water is life. As the "Rule of 3's" tells us, without water we cannot survive for more than a few days. Proper hydration is KEY to your body being able to keep itself warm or cool, and to your brain being able to function properly and make good decisions. You need to take in at least half your body weight in ounces every day, yet Water is one of the least taught, least understood and least practiced of all Survival skills!
There are many myths about water, about where to find it, how to purify it and what makes water safe, and over the course of this day we will bust them all. You will learn not only how and where to dig a seep, but what plants and trees indicate that water is nearby. You will discover for yourself the truths and myths about getting water from grapevine, cacti and other plants, how, when and where to tap trees for sap (and which trees to tap) and what other sources of water may be found around you.
You will also learn how to purify water, using both modern and primitive means, how to make your own water filters and how to prolong the life of your filter. Gathering and storing water will also be covered, as well as the myths and realities of how to tell if water source is "clean".
Remember, in a survival situation You Stake Your Life on Your Water Source. So join us to learn the basics of Finding and Purifying, because this is one skill you definitely want to learn and practice BEFORE you need it.

March 10 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Survival Skills 101

Survival Skills 101: How to Not Die

The First Rule of Survival: Don't Die.
Whether it's a wrong turn down a closed road, an accidental separation when hiking, hunting or camping, or a natural disaster at home or abroad, too many people find themselves in situations that are unfamiliar and out of their control with no idea how to help themselves or their families, and how to make it out safe and alive.
In this weekend workshop you will learn how to build a shelter that will keep you warm and dry with no tent or sleeping bag, how to build a proper fire structure that will light easily and burn well, how to make a fire without matches, lighter, or flint, how to find and purify safe drinking water, how to make a tools from stone, how to locate and harvest food and plants are delicious and nutritious, how to make cordage, rope and string, and how to turn the odds in your favor when you find yourself in an unexpected circumstance.
A knowledge and understanding of some basic principles and rules, and two days of hands-on practice, will set you on the road to being an inspirational news story instead of another sad statistic. These skills are not hard! Anyone can do them and everyone should know them! So come on out and join us to learn How to Not Die!

›› CHECK THIS OUT!
Student Comments:  Read what past students of this workshop have to say

 

June 3-4 $195 Great Meadows, NJ
$97 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Women in the Woods

››NEW! Women in the Woods: The Basics of Bushcraft

This special Women in the Woods weekend is specifically designed to teach women the Basics of Bushcraft. These 2+ days will be taught by a female instructor and geared toward helping women to feel safe, strong, comfortable and confident in the woods.
You'll learn how to build a shelter that will keep you warm, safe & dry, how sleep outdoors, how to build, maintain, bank and safely extinguish fires, how to start fires multiple ways and practice with different fire-starting techniques, and how to find and purify water to stay hydrated. You'll also learn about staying safe in the woods, personal and field hygeine, how to deal with forest animals and other Basics of Bushcraft.
We recognize that women tend to learn some skills differently than men, have different difficulties and different priorities than men, and many will feel more comfortable asking those questions from a female instructor. Women are always welcome and always encouraged at ALL of our Practical Primitive workshops, but if you would prefer to learn in a group of supportive women we look forward to having you join us for this special weekend of Women in the Woods!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Cooking on fire

››NEW! Survival Skills 102: Field Test Weekend

Ready to give your Survival skills a "field test"? It's all only theory until you put it into practice, so this workshop will be modeled on a Survival situation in which all you have is a wool blanket, a cook pot and a knife. Much of the first day will be dedicated to building your own shelter, which you will sleep in both nights, and setting up your camp. You will make all your fire using friction methods (and have the oportunity to make your own kit from materials off the landscape), gather and purify your water and cook your own meals over your fire.
You will also learn several new traps and where to set them, additional ways of procuring and cooking food, as well as basic backwoods hygiene, first aid and plant medicine.
The time to practice your skills is before you need them! Improve your skill and confidence in a controlled environment while learning the importance of metabolic efficiency and mental toughness.

PLEASE NOTE: You must have an understanding of shelter-building, water purification and making friction fire to attend this workshop, as we will not be teaching the basics of these skills. If you do not yet have experience in these areas please attend our Survival 101: How to Not Die workshop instead.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Knife-only Survival

››NEW! Knife-Only Survival Challenge

A knife, a gallon of water, the skills in your hands and and the knowledge in your head. That's it. You've seen it on tv, this is your chance to to see what a survival situation can really be like when you've got just a knife.
The first 48-72 hours of a survival situation are critical and building your shelter, making your fire and setting up your camp with only a knife is a real challenge. Are you ready to test your skills and take that challenge? You'll choose your camp site, build your shelter and your fire, source your water (although 1 gallon of safe water will be provided to you for drinking & cooking) and forage your own food, all with just a knife. Over the course of the weekend you will also learn additional survival tips to make your life easier, more about sourcing food and metabolic efficiency, and how to keep your mental game on point and push through the physical challenges required to make it though to the other side. Test yourself in this Knife-only Survival Challenge and see what you can do with just a knife.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a beginner workshop. You must already have an understanding of shelter-building, water purification, making friction fire and wilderness survival to attend, as we will not be teaching the basics of these skills. If you do not yet have experience in these areas please attend our Survival 101: How to Not Die workshop instead.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Wool Blanket PackWool Blanket Shelter

Wool-Blanket Survival

Meet your new "Security Blanket"! When it comes to survival gear, a good wool blanket is one of the best things y ou can carry and it can save your life many times over. A shelter, a hammock, a backpack and more, your wool blanket is easily the most versitile piece of gear you can carry and definitely worth it's weight. In this workshop you'll learn just how important a good wool blanket can be in any wilderness or survival situation. You'll also make a roycroft pack frame, a blanket pin, and learn some of the knots that will be the most helpful to you in putting your wool blanket to its best use.


January 28 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Survival Skills 101

Winter Survival: How to Not Die in the Cold

Survival skills are one thing, Winter Survival Skills are something else all together! Knowing how to keep yourself warm, safe and dry in the heart of winter is a very different proposition. Falling temperatures, heavy snow, little in the way of traditional resources and only a few short hours of daylight in which to get everything done make Winter Survival something that must be well-practiced under safe and controlled conditions.
This weekend workshop will cover the Winter versions of Shelter, Water, Fire & Food, as well as additional handy winter skills like improvised snowshoes, snow googles, making fire in the snow and plenty more.
A fun way to spend a winter weekend, with plenty of coffee, tea and hot chocolate on hand!

February 18-19 $195 Great Meadows, NJ
$97 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

 

Small-stick debris hut

Improvised Shelters: Surviving the Night

The ability to stay warm and dry when outdoors overnight can be the difference between getting home safe or becoming another sad story on the news. Exposure to the elements is the leading cause of hospitalization and death for those who find themselves lost, injured or stranded. Knowing how to build an improvised shelter is something that everyone who spends time outdoors should know — and it's a simple skill to learn!
You will construct several different styles of "Emergency" shelters suitable for different environments and circumstances, (including a MUCH faster and simpler version of debris hut) and discover options and variations that will allow you to adjust your shelter to the season, situation and environment in which you find yourself.
Going far beyond the traditional debris hut, you'll learn the principals of shelter building and how to easily apply them to make sure that, whether you need to keep warm, stay dry, get cool or get found, you will have the know-how to build a shelter that will help you to Survive the Night!

 

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Small group shelter

Small-Group Shelters & Short-term Primitive Living

This workshop will focus on shelter styles that are suitable for smaller groups, which are less labor- and material-intensive than building several individual shelters, but not as large of a project as building a permanent or semi-permanent dwelling. These shelters will comfortably sleep 2–4 people, making them ideal for small groups, primitive camps and planned survival outings, or for extended individual stays, as they allow room for both sleep and work areas. Quick and easy to make (relatively speaking), they blend with the landscape and offer more spacious accomodations than the standard debris hut or body hollow.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

 

 

Neolithic Shelter

››NEW! Long-term Living: Neolithic-style Thatched Shelter

Come and participate in the construction of our newest long-term shelter! Taking advantage of the abundace or rocks and grasses in our area we will be builing a Neolithic-style, thatched-roof shelter. Waist-high rock walls will be toped with an A-frame style roof that will be thatched with bundled local grasses.
These types of dwellings were common all across northern Europe around 5000 year ago, and variations on this same style can be seen in the architecture of the Mississipian culture of the Cahokia era.
During the building process you will learn about a variety of advanced shelter types and the pros and cons of each, depending on the time of year, location, and the materials that are most readily available. We will be working with materials found here on the property, but will not require you to work strictly with stone age tools — shovels are our friend!
This shelter is one of several we are planning; we are very excited to create this new addition to our camp area and look forward to having you join us in learning and creating our new Long-term Living Shelter.
(Artist's rendering by Adam Hendley)

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

 

Snow-covered Shelter

Winter Shelters

When it comes to shelter, winter can present a whole new set of challenges. Snow has incredible insulative properties that can be used to your advantage in staying warm and dry, but what if it's all powder? or all crusty? or there is only a couple of inches of snow cover on the ground?
In winter weather you have to be able to adapt your shelter and the materials you will use to build it in whole new ways, and that's what this workshop is all about. We don't know what the weather will be like, or how much snow we will or won't have, but we will work with whatever is available to us to create shelters that will keep you warm, safe and dry; and when it comes to winter, there is nothing you need more.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

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Setting up a Campsite

Bushcraft Basics: Setting Up Camp

If you've never spent much time in the woods, are an inexperienced camper or don't feel quite ready for the other workshops we offer, then look no further. This is a class designed especially for those with limited or no outdoor experience.
Learn the basics of camping and bushcraft, such as how to select a camp site, set up a tent, use a knife and a hatchet safely, how to build fires for the purposes of cooking, light and warmth, and how to bank and to extinguish fires so they are safe. You will also learn to cook over an open fire, basic outdoor hygeine, how to spot and avoid hazards and what to do in case of an emergency. Then, to round out your knowledge and help you gain the confidence to venture out on those initial trips, you'll learn about basic gear selection — both what you need and what you don't need — to have a great time in your price range and at your comfort level.
If you have ever wanted to spend more time outdoors but didn't know where to start, then this is the course for you!

 

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

Natural Navigation: Reading the Landscape & Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass

No phone, no GPS, no batteries, no map or compass. Could you find your way? Find North? Find the nearest water source? Find your way back to civilization?
With the advent of smart phone "map apps" and the common availability of both in-car and hand-held GPS equipment, the ancient art of Natural Navigation has fallen by the wayside. This workshop will focus on bringing out your innate ability to find your way, and the many natural means to determine direction, time of day and distance. You will learn how to know which direction to head and how to keep your bearing over both time and distance, all without a compass. You will also practice traditional storytelling methods to communicate the placement of important resources and safe havens to others, in the manner of our ancient ancestors.
Being able to read the landscape, estimate time and distance and navigate your way from point to point is a vital skill for anyone who camps, hikes, travels or just spends time wandering the woods and fields. Tap back into your inner navigator, and learn to Find Your Way!

February 25 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
     
Pay in Full

 

Campcraft

Carved Wooden Spoons


NEW!
Campcraft Carving: Bowls, Spoons & More

Whether or not you have done some work with wood in the past, come out and join us for this special new workshop!
Going through the basics and beyond, you will enter the world where function can become art. Begin creating carved bowls, spoons, and other utensils that are both beautiful and functional, of all shapes and sizes. The step-by-step process of spoon carving can be addapted to make small spoons for eating or big spoons for ladeling, mixing or stirring.
Wooden spoons, bowls and other items are both beautiful and functional and can be made from all different types of found wood, or from pieces off your woodpile. A great, fun and informative workshop, you'll leave with all the items you worked on carving throughout the day!

February 5 $95 Great Meadows, NJ Sorry, this workshop is now full.
Contact Julie to be placed on the Waiting List.
 
         

 

 

Learning to Sharpen

 

Knife Sharpening 101: Knives, Axes, Hachets & Machetes

"A sharp knife is a safe knife." This first rule of knife safety is one of the hardest for most people to put into practice. Why? Because keeping your knife sharp requires a skill that most people have never learned!
Trust us, sharpening knives, axes, hatches and other sharp edges is not nearly as difficult as you think. This Skills Club evening is devoted to teaching you how keep your knife (or axe or hatchet) sharp and safe. You'll also learn what to look for when choosing a knife and a sharpener, and how to know if you are getting your money's worth.
7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


January 13 $35 Great Meadows, NJ
$35 Payment in Full

 

 

Bushcraft Basics: Knots & Knives and Putting them to Use

Campcraft tools

"A sharp knife is a safe knife." This first rule of knife safety is one of the hardest for most people to put into practice. Why? Because keeping your knife sharp requires a skill that most people have never learned! Trust us, sharpening knives, axes, hatches and other sharp edges is not nearly as difficult as you think. Half of this one-day workshop is devoted to teaching you how to safely use a knife, how to use a knife effectively and efficiently, and how to keep your knife (or axe or hatchet) sharp and safe. You'll also learn what to look for when choosing a knife and how to know if you are getting your money's worth.
"If you don't know knots, tie lots!" is another common saying in bushcraft. Looking at a Knots book can be overwhelming with the hundreds of possible knots you can tie. How do you know which one to choose? Believe it or not, becoming proficient in just a few simple knots will give you exactly what you need in almost every circumstance. In the other half of this workshop you will learn easy-to-use knots that can be tied with both modern and natural cordage and will serve your purposes in most situations. You'll never again feel at a loss for what knot to tie, or be worried whether or not your knot will do the job.
In addition to learning basic knots & lashings, and how to work with knives, saws, and axes, you will also learn other handy bushcraft skills such as natural measurement, how to identify and select the appropriate natural cordage materials, and even some of the basics of primitive engineering. A great day, and must for anyone who wants to improve their ability to put Knots & Knives to Use!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹

 

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