Top 10 Best Wilderness Survival Schools

This is a list of some of the best wilderness survival schools in the world. These schools have proved themselves as the top providers of this potentially life saving training.
The Top Ten
1 Thomas Coyne Survival Schools

This school is all about practical knowledge and skills that will save your life and the lives of those you're with when faced with any survival situation in the wilderness. What makes you feel good during these classes isn't some spiritual enlightenment journey or learning about and buying all those useless survival tools being sold to the masses.

What makes you feel good is knowing that when it hits the fan and the situation gets real, you're fully prepared to keep breathing, eating, and drinking until you can get yourself out or signal your location to others who can help. If you want true survival training in how to think and what to do in a survival situation, go to STSC. If you want to blow your money, go somewhere else.

I went through the training and have used what I've learned to help myself and those I'm with through a few minor emergencies. Thankfully, nothing major has happened yet, but if and when it does, I know I'll be prepared.

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2 Maine Primitive Skills School

A 30-year plus school owner and martial artist here, with 13 years of military experience in basic scouting and survival skills, but I have been out of the picture for a while. When I started looking for a "survival" school, this one stood out above the rest. First, it was the name that caught my eye. If I were to spend time, money, and passion on something, I wanted more than just "survival." I wanted basic to advanced skills, knowledge, and understanding behind what was being taught. This was it!

Yes, the first stage they teach is survival (which was an amazing weekend), but I was amazed at the abilities of the apprentices who were attending. Everything you could think of that dealt with survival, homesteading, thriving, primitive skills, bushcrafting, tracking, the latest and greatest tech, but also the absolute historical native way, the primitive do-it-yourself. You name it, it was there.

Also, they had guest instructors with well over 40 years of experience. I've been going since 2015 and have since enrolled in their non-residential apprenticeship program. These men and women love to share, and you can see it every time you come back.

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3 Karamat Wilderness Ways

Having attended classes with Creek Stewart, Dave Canterbury, and Tom Brown Jr., I can confidently say that Mors Kochanski is the Godfather of Bushcraft. Kelly Harlton, Dragon, and Randy are his disciples. This is the school for serious bushcraft students and instructors-in-training. While Karamat may not have a slick website like Creek or a full store like Dave, it is the school for those in the know.

And he doesn't lie about his background like Dave Canterbury. He also actually hunts and doesn't believe you can kill big game with a slingshot or wrist rocket like Dave Canterbury. He would never claim you can make fire with a bag of urine like Dave Canterbury.

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4 The Pathfinder School

It is a superb school with superb instructors. In addition to Canterbury, several instructors also have their own YouTube channels so you can get a taste for personalities and what you will learn. Check out the Grey Bearded Green Beret and Corporal's Corner on YouTube as well as Dave Canterbury's YouTube channel, and you will get a good flavor for the training there. Ignore the comments from haters who have never been there if you are actually interested in getting quality training.

I have personally taken his course and found that the classes are very well structured and extremely informative. The instructors are well-trained and have no problem answering your questions when you are having difficulty with a task. As for the whole Dave Canterbury thing, who cares? Everyone lies every day, and there's no reason to judge him with complete hate and disrespect. After all, you should treat people the way you want to be treated.

5 Woodlore (Ray Mears Bushcraft)

Long before Bear Grylls and Survivorman, there was Ray Mears. Mears is a legend in the field and operates courses internationally. He can take you tracking through Namibia, Africa, or trekking through the frozen Arctic. He has trained British military forces and law enforcement, and he has even helped police track a fugitive on a real-life manhunt.

London, England

6 The Human Path

I had a truly transformative, beautiful, challenging, interesting, and educational experience spending two weeks learning primitive skills at The Human Path. There are things you learn and experiences that will stay with you for life. No bull, just reality mixed with compassion and a huge wealth of knowledge that is delivered in a humble and accessible way.

Whatever you think you know about life and being authentic, go to The Human Path and be humbled and learn. This is the sort of education you can't get enough of. Next time I'm anywhere near San Antonio, I'll do every course they offer. You should too!

7 Trueways Survival School
8 Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School

If you haven't heard of Tom Brown Jr., "The Tracker," then you must be very new to this. He is one of the founding fathers of the modern survivalist movement and one of the first to popularize "native spirituality" intermingled with survival training.

Manahawkin, New Jersey

One of the best out there. His teaching style may not be for everyone, but he has a lot to share. Much of what others teach can be traced to Tom Brown's lineage.

Tom is the real deal. I have taken many classes at the Tracker School, and I rarely go elsewhere.

9 Aboriginal Living Skills School
10 SIGMA 3

I went through the 45-Day Instructor Program at Sigma III Survival School and loved every minute of it. From learning the essentials like bow drills and water purification to basic traps and shelters, we also learned to make bows, tan hides, do some SERE training, and spend time alone in the woods with nothing more than a knife.

I went in a complete novice. I must've learned something, however, as I survived 30 days alone in the Ozarks a few months after I graduated with some basic tools.

I believe Sigma 3 is a great school with great instructors. My experience was fantastic in my first basic training course. The instructors were outstanding, teaching a group of people with little or no knowledge of the outdoors. The teaching style was something that gave the group of strangers the confidence to work together as a family. I'm eager to return to Sigma 3 to continue my learning process in wilderness survival skills.

The Contenders
11 Ancient Pathways

One of the few schools to offer a "pocketknife only" course, Ancient Pathways has been a leader in the industry for some time. They've trained everyone from the US military to movie stars, and their desert survival training is outstanding.

Flagstaff, Arizona

I have been a student numerous times. Nothing is better than real life, and that doesn't always end on schedule or as planned. Top-rated!

12 Mountain Shepherd Survival School

I've personally attended class at Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School, and it's awesome. Reggie knows his stuff. He'll teach you the difference between the real world and Disney World. I've also attended other survival schools, one of which was with a celebrity of the survival show world. I won't say his name. I'm not into ruining one's name and reputation.

But Mountain Shepherd taught me a hundred times more survival skills than I've ever seen on these "survival shows." Go to Mountain Shepherd. You'll regret it if you don't.

13 Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS)

"The oldest toughest survival school in the world" says it all. They also operate perhaps the most well-known field courses in the world, where students live off the desert landscape with as little as a pocketknife and a blanket for up to 28 days at a time. Of course, they also offer a plethora of primitive skills courses where they guide the student back to a more ancient time when humans hunted and gathered their daily wares.

Their courses take place in the beautiful and rugged desert of Boulder, Utah (not Boulder, Colorado!), which is an outdoor travel destination in its own right. These courses are truly legendary in the field.

14 Jack Mountain Bushcraft School

This school has been recognized as a top provider in the industry for a long time. The guides are top-notch, and they have an outstanding outdoor skills program, perhaps the best in the American Northeast.

Masardis, Maine

15 ROOTs School

Teachers at ROOTs are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. They will answer any question you have, even if it has nothing to do with the class you're currently taking. Their student-centered approach creates a fantastic learning environment for beginner through advanced students.

Wildly knowledgeable people with well-grounded core values. This is a place and community that has forever changed me. I am stronger and a more capable team member thanks to my time with the folks at ROOTs.

Teachers who know how to teach are few and far between these days. Brad and Sarah are two of the best instructors I've ever had the pleasure to learn from!

16 Trail Blazer Survival School

Just went through their Bug Out Class, and it was great. Tom was very thorough, showing and telling us what he thought we should include in our bug-out bags, how to move without being seen, where to find resources, and how to survive in the wilderness until you can get to your destination. I especially liked the tracking part of the class where he led us in tracking down a deer which we spooked where it was bedding down. Best survival class I've taken so far!

Just went to their Essential Survival Course and loved it. Tom took us through a 72-hour survival kit, what should be in it, and how to use it. He went over shelter, fire, water, and food procurement and how to increase your chances of being found by search and rescue. I recommend this course to anyone who goes into a wilderness area and has any chance of getting lost. Thanks, Tom! Really enjoyed your class.

17 Teaching Drum Outdoor School

Learning is through immersion in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with the guidance of wilderness guides. Immersion courses can range from 80 days to 11 months in duration. Alongside acquiring primitive skills, participants develop the ability to connect with nature, build awareness skills, and track wildlife. By the conclusion of the program, they acquire the knowledge necessary to live outdoors using primitive skills and a limited set of tools.

18 Colorado Mountain Man Survival School

Jason and his team have a laid-back yet structured teaching style. His military background lends a minimalist aspect that was helpful to my overly gear-laden outdoors style. Jason and his team are all fabulous friends and work so well together, making the classes both fun and instructional. They are all very friendly and outgoing. I can't recommend this school highly enough. The beautiful mountain setting is breathtaking as well.

This school is awesome! Jason is so down-to-earth in his teaching and really wants you to understand what it means to survive.

19 Mountain Scout Survival School

I've been a student at this school for a couple of years and love it. I have learned so much!

20 Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)

This highly professional outdoor skills school offers an all-ages survival program that is great for the entire family. Perfect for an outdoor adventure.

Bryson City, North Carolina

21 Learn to Return, Anchorage Alaska
22 EarthSkills LLC

Awesome instructor! A no-frills, in-the-dirt experience for newbies and experts alike. Highly recommend!

23 Holistic Survival School
24 Wilderness Awareness School

This school offers a wide range of programs up to nine months in length. They can truly get you in touch with the outdoors.

Duvall, Washington

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