Primitive Skills and Wilderness Training FAQ


What Should I Bring to EarthSky People Primitive Skills and Wilderness Survival Classes?


All of our wilderness training and primitive skills classes are at least a half day in length so be sure to bring water, lunch, and snacks. We also recommend a camera and notepad. As part of any wilderness type of activity we always recommend to carry a pocket knife with a fixed or locking blade and, in some cases a class requirement, a fixed blade bushcrafting knife or similar field knife with a minimum four inch blade length. A sharp, durable, cutting edge is an often used tool in most classes and always a good idea in any wilderness setting. In many cases, especially during the warmer months, at least one method of water treatment such as a filter is necessary, although a classmate or instructor will assist you if you do not have one. For our overnight classes, you will need shelter and sleeping gear appropriate for the weather along with dinner, breakfast, and any additional snacks or meals necessary for the length of the class. For stealth camps, review our stealth camp page for guidelines and the recommended gear list. For conventional and/or car camping the same recommended gear list applies with the addition of a tent if you choose and any other food or equipment you you may wish to bring.

How Should I dress at EarthSky People Primitive Skills and Wilderness Survival Classes?


We’ll be spending our time in the great outdoors and suggest that you come dressed appropriately in layers. Although we generally like to stay in the shade when working on our skills, exercises and plant walks will often times include periods of time in the sun or elements so make sure to bring the proper protective clothing including a hat. Also, poison oak is sometimes a concern in the wild so long sleeves and pants are recommended. Finally, be certain to bring the appropriate footwear for potentially rugged terrain.

Where’s the Bathroom?


In some cases, classes will be held in an area where public toilets are relatively nearby. In many cases, however, instruction takes place in the wilderness with a substantial hike in so we default to the use of catholes as primitive backcountry style toilet conditions. To use a cathole (cat hole), simple dig a hole with a stick or rock about six inches deep and about four to six inches wide and deposit your waste inside. We recommend to use natural materials such as leaves, smooth rocks, or smooth sticks to clean yourself, instead of toilet tissue, as tissue biodegrades quite slowly. It is important not to make your cathole too deep because we want the contents aerated and for the microbes in the topsoil to do their work of breaking down the waste. Be sure to dig your cathole at least 200 ft from any water source and from camp.

What About Inclement Weather?


We appreciate Mother Nature in all its forms and expressions and are happy to adjust to the weather as needed. Classes are always continue as scheduled and are never cancelled with the exception of extreme and unsafe conditions such as high wind storms, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc. In the rare case that a class must be cancelled, rescheduled, or relocated, we will make sure to contact all registered students.

What is Stealth Camping?


Stealth camping is our way of describing minimal impact camping. As the day comes to a close, we quietly and harmoniously slip back into the embrace of the landscape to sleep under the stars much like our nomadic ancestors did. In this way our experience in the wild is enhanced by becoming a part of nature and not disturbing our plant and animal friends. If we are fortunate enough we may even have the privilege of observing and sharing space with them. Find out more about stealth camping and our guidelines here:

What is the EarthSky People Code of Conduct?


Our classes are run using the “Village” philosophy that mutual respect, consideration, communication, and connection are vital to harmony and the survival of a group of people working together. As such, we expect both instructors and students to maintain the highest levels of integrity. Instructors reserve the right to remove, at their discretion, participants who are disruptive and/or a danger to themselves and others. Participants removed as a result of a violation of our code of conduct are not entitled to a refund for any fees or class expenses.

What is the EarthSky People Class Cancellation & Refund Policy?


A great deal of staff time and expense is invested into the preparation and organization of individual classes. It is difficult and oftentimes impossible to recover costs and/or find a student to replace a cancelled registrant and so our cancellation and refund policies reflect this.

Refunds, minus $20 non-refundable deposit for single day classes and a $50 non-refundable deposit for multi-day workshops are given to registrants who cancel with at least 10 days notice of the event. Cancellations made less than 10 days of the event forfeit a refund. We understand that emergencies and unforeseen circumstances do happen. As such we offer the courtesy of transferring your fees to a different class within 12 months of the originally scheduled class, minus a $20 administrative fee for single day classes or a $30 administrative fee for multi-day classes. For example, a single day $50 workshop cancelled the day before may be transferred to a multi-day $200 workshop the following month. The total balance due would be $70 ($100 multi day – $50 single day transfer + $20 single day admin fee). A maximum of one transfer per registration is allowed.

Long term programs spanning more than four months in length include a $200 non-refundable deposit and require a 14 day advance notice for refunds. No shows and cancellations made with less than two weeks notice forfeit a refund.

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