Wilderness Survival & Fire Making Workshops

Saturday, April 17, 2021: Wilderness Survival Skills Training

Saturday, April 24, 2021: Bow Drill, Hand Drill & Fire by Friction

Workshop participant demonstrating excellent bowdrill form.

Can you imagine that after one day, you could become well versed with survival skills, becoming the best expert on preparedness, emergency shelters, wild foods and fire making in neighborhood?

April 10th Wildenress Survival Workshop

Eat a good breakfast before arriving, because we start our workshops promptly with the most critical information everything else flows from: an overview of our order of emergency survival – with or without gear in town or wilderness. We’ll also discuss the most essential tools to carry with you depending on your skill level. For a primer, read our article on the Critical Order of Emergency Survival, and remember, survival requires multi-tasking, so during this time, we will also pass out materials for you to learn the “reverse wrap” method of making rope which you can work on during the powerpoint. We will also discuss a big dilemma in survival situations: when to stay and when to go. We have a formula for you to decide, taking into consideration the amount of daylight, your available gear, your position relative to where you are and who you notified about your trip, and how “hungry, angry, lonely, tired and thirsty” you are. Depending on your score, you will either have to make shelter or navigate your way out of a mock survival scenario.

Ecstatic participant blows bowdrill coal into flame for the first time.

You can bring a lunch along on our plant walk to sample wild edibles, collect medicine, make tinder materials, gather tee-pee fire wood, and collect your own bow for making fire-by-friction.  Please note that the reason we will only introduce these skills today, rather than going super in-depth, is that we will have an entire Wild Edible Foods Foraging & Herbal Medicine Making Workshop the following month.

Additional skills will include the the Top 10 Hazards to avoid, so that you never experience a survival situation.

April 17th Fire Making Workshop

In addition to training you in what to do in case of wilderness survival emergencies, we’ll continue this workshop with an overview of the Top 10 Most Important Survival Plants which will give you a huge step toward understanding the most critical plants of our region.

We’ll also train you to create the most practical survival shelters and then head into the wilds to practice that skill in a timed challenge. While in the field, we’ll sample wild edibles learned earlier. We’ll also gather fire making materials and walk you through the Best Way To Make A Fire which is critical for starting fire in the rain.

Back at camp, we’ll view a variety of materials to see how they burn as tinder: various barks, seed down, leaves, laundry lint, and grass are used for different circumstances, and you can choose your own materials for a tinder bundle.  The reason we always emphasize basic fire-making skills along with traditional fire-by-friction is that there’s no reason to bother making a bow-drill coal, let alone striking a match, unless you’ve prepared materials that will sustain your fire. The scenario will require you to choose the best natural shelter and fire location in the area, then see if you can start and maintain a fire.

Pretty nice illustration of a bowdrill kit from http://shannonscout.com/webelos/firebuild.htm

For those who want to learn the bow drill in case matches, lighters and fire steels fail or run out, we’ll practice a knife safety/efficiency training while reflecting the symbolism of the parts of the bow drill kit. In so doing, you may come to realize why this method of fire-by-friction was preferred (and superior even to matches) for lighting fires in cold and wet climates. It should only take 10 seconds to create a coal if your kit is well constructed.  In the afternoon, you can carve your bow and learn to spin strong natural string for it. We’ll also provide small-diameter red cedar tree trunks from which you will saw approximate 3 inch and 12 inch sections to finish your fire kit, including spindle, hearth, hand-hold, and coal-catch plate. We will stop to show you alternatives you would have to look for in the wilderness to make your fire kit without a knife, but again, it is critical that you use good material for your first kit in order to develop excellent form. You’ll finish this hour using your knife to split a 3 inch piece of cedar to make your hand-hold socket, and do the same with your 12 inch piece to create a bottom board and 2 spindle “blanks.” You’ll carve a spindle to the perfect shape, mold your hand-hold into a comfortable socket, prepare points on your hearth in preparation for drilling, and carve one of those points into a perfect-sized notch where your coal will later be born.

Workshop participant working on a burn bowl

Special Workshop Instructions

Join us for a great day together, and please contact us for carpooling information. Please prepare as you normally would for a hike, including lunch, water bottle, 10 essentials, etc. and dress for any weather. Also, be aware that sparks from the campfire can melt your synthetic clothing, so wool might be a good option. Join us today and at any of our Weekend Workshops on themes of survival, wildlife and ethnobotany, and please contact us for carpooling information.

Times, Location & Cost:

This workshop takes place at the Wolf Camp Home Office – Blue Skye Farm, 1026 14th St SW, Puyallup WA 98371. Please drive slowly along our gravel driveway shared with neighbors in the nice little yellow house, and park along metal fence posts next to the dormant orchard, or behind our old white farmhouse as directed upon arrival.

Cost per workshop is $65 for the 9:30-12:30 morning sessions including fire steel or bow drill kit materials, with option of additional $35 per  1:30-4:30 afternoon session for hands-on practice including fire making challenges, building your own fire-by-friction kits, or harvesting cattails and nettles for food and cordage. $5 off morning session per additional family member.

Registration: Who & How

Our weekend workshops are designed for adults, but youth are also welcome to register with an enrolled parent or guardian. Directions to meeting location and carpooling information will be provided upon registration.

Credit/Debit Card Registration Option: Just call us at 425-248-0253 and we will take your registration securely over the phone.

Check/Mail Registration Option: Send with a check donation payable to the Wolf College, 1026 14th St. SW, Puyallup WA 98371 with participant name(s), phone number, email address, age of any minors, and any allergies or health restrictions we should know about.

Or Use PayPal to register via secure online donation with a credit/debit card or via direct withdrawal from your bank account. Sign into paypal.com and “send money” to our email address: (we’ll get back to you with any additional information we may need)

Email us to be put on our our list for this program in the future. We always keep your information absolutely private, and will never share it.

Refund Policy: Deposits ($100 for day programs, $200 for overnight programs) are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit is needed to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in cases of natural (weather, geologic, wildfire, etc) disasters, grid failures, epidemics, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it unsafe for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. Reasons include the expenditure of funds (property rentals, advertising, materials, admin staff time, etc.) long before programs take place, i.e. deposits make it feasible for Wolf Camp to schedule programs in the first place, but our mutually understood agreement is that Wolf Camp will run the program at the safest available time in the future. Finally, no refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation.

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