Published: August 2008How to Survive (Almost) Anything: Survival Schools
Photo: Simulated mortar round

Survivor’s Ed

From backcountry emergencies to hostile fire, practice for the unexpected at these five outdoor academies.

Text by Robert Earle Howells
Photograph by Jonathan Kingston/Aurora Select

Years ago I hiked the Inca trail without a tent or a stove, having been assured by my buddy that we’d find huts and firewood along the way. Wrong. It rained for a week, and we spent our nights bickering while spooning for warmth under rock overhangs. I learned my lesson the hard way. Real survival schools go beyond wilderness skills and appreciation (which we had) to preparedness and teamwork (which we lacked). Graduates get the wisdom of real experience and the confidence to face the unforeseeable—anywhere from war zones to the Peruvian Andes. This prep school education could turn out to be the most important lesson of your life.

Next: Read about five top survival schools.

1. Mountain Shepherd, VA

2. Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School, NJ

3. Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS), UT

4. Centurion Safety, VA

5. National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), AK

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