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Essential Wilderness Survival Skills

On sale for $175 for a limited time (regular price is $195)

7 Modules - 12 Videos - 9 Handout Booklets

Transform your experience with the outdoors! Learn the core skills of survival - shelter, water, fire, and food - in a format that allows you to participate at home and at your own pace - with the Essential Wilderness Survival Skills (EWSS) online course.

Become competent in taking care of your survival needs in the wilderness. See the outdoors with new eyes – such as which plants you can eat and what trees can be turned into a fire kit.

Come away with practical life-saving skills, a deeper relationship with nature, greater confidence, and resources to share with your family & friends in emergencies and for fun.

In this course you will:

  • Understand the survival mindset
  • Learn how to build natural shelter
  • Experience how to make fire from friction
  • Learn how to find and purify water
  • Understand how to safely forage for wild foods
  • Know how to better prevent and prepare for emergencies

Throughout the course we guide you through each skill step-by-step with videos in each module and accompanying handout booklets. Core concepts are emphasized and reviewed, with options to explore additional related skills. 

Take advantage of our years of experience teaching thousands of students to accelerate your own learning!

You can complete EWSS in as short as a weekend (as a crash course), though most spread it out over a few weeks. There are no tests and no homework (other than suggested projects). We've designed the course to be fun and empowering!

The Essential Wilderness Survival Skills Online course includes:

  • Seven Training Modules with Twelve Detailed Video Lessons 
  • Nine Handout Booklets (over 87 pages!)
  • Lessons on Survival Concepts, Natural Shelter, Water Purification, Friction Fire, Wild Edible Plants, Survival Kits, Navigation & More
  • Recognition of Completion document at the end of the course

Once you join, you'll have access the course materials for two years.


"I recently completed the online Essential Wilderness Survival Skills course. It is a very nice introductory course for anyone interested in learning wilderness survival skills and also provides resources to further ones study beyond this class. It is apparent that the instructors are knowledgeable and have practical experience in the skills presented. It includes lessons covering a basic introduction, shelter, fire, water, useful plants, food, navigation and survival kits. It provides a basic understanding of the skills needed to survive a couple unexpected nights in the woods and is very applicable for anyone who spends recreational time in the outdoors including hikers, campers, hunters, etc. The program is designed to demonstrate a skill through the videos and handouts with the expectation that the student then go out and perform the skill independently. By following their program you address each skill needed in a survival situation in the order of importance with explanation as to why that particular need should be addressed in its respective order. They proved to be readily available with very quick responses to questions or comments and it was an absolute pleasure to talk with them. I would recommend it for anyone who is trying to get started in wilderness survival skills but find it difficult to attend a hands on class. There is no question that learning skills in the woods with a qualified instructor is the standard but for those with a busy life or without access to a local instructor this is absolutely a good place to start. I have not taken any of their on site courses but based on my experience I would love to have the opportunity to visit their school someday!! Thank you!" -Rocky Hollow

"I have found a higher wealth of knowledge at Alderleaf than I find at most survival sites. Their newsletters are very informative, their courses thorough, and their attitudes fun and cheerful! Anybody striving to live not off the land, but with the land, should highly consider Alderleaf Wilderness College."-Evan Haasenritter

"If you want to learn about wilderness survival and primitive skills from extremely knowledgeable instructors, Alderleaf Wilderness College is for you. I learned more than I ever thought possible at their classes."-Casey Kafka

"The Alderleaf website for survival training is the best one I have ever found."-Ken Germer

"Alderleaf Wilderness College is outstanding at developing and delivering wilderness skills programs, providing both a deep level of knowledge and context for the teachings."-Ryan Whisnant

Module 1: Core Wilderness Survival Concepts

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Wilderness Survival Concepts - The Foundation

Module 2: Wilderness Survival Shelter

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The Debris Hut Survival Shelter - Staying Warm & Preventing Hypothermia

Module 3: Survival Water Purification

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Survival Water Purification - Obtaining Clean Water to Prevent Dehydration

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Rock Boiling Demonstration - Purifying Water with Natural Materials

Module 4: Survival Fire Skills

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Introduction to Bow Drill Fire Making - Fire from Natural Materials

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Bow Drill Demonstration - Step by Step Guidance

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Fire Making Basics - Solidifying a Core Skill

Module 5: Survival Foods

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Wild Edible Plants - Abundant Survival Foods

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Practical Survival Protein - Higher Calorie Opportunities

Module 6: Preparation & Prevention

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Survival Kits - Know What to Bring on Every Outing

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Survival Navigation - Prevent Emergencies and Find Your Way Out

Module 7: Bringing It Together and Further Resources

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Wrap Up & Review - Tie It All Together & Where to Go From Here

Alderleaf Wilderness College is one of the leading wilderness schools in the United States, offering training in wilderness survival, wildlife tracking, ethnobotany, permaculture, and outdoor leadership.