We understand that survival training can be intimidating to some folks. So to help you figure out if our survival school is the right fit for you or to help you prepare for your upcoming course, we have put together a list of answers to common questions asked by participants.
What differentiates your school from others?
Here at Bush Mechanics Survival Training we are a small business and run all of our courses with small groups. We provide an intimate and personalized environment to ensure plenty of one on one teaching which each participant. Our locations are chosen very carefully as we believe it is important to disconnect people from modern day life and reconnect them with nature. Our teaching principles revolve around using less man made gear and relying more on primitive skills and bushcraft techniques using natural resources around us.
What are the survival camp/class sizes?
Our average class sizes vary from 5 to 8 people. We never exceed 10 people on multi-day courses.
Will I be safe on your courses?
Safety is very important to us and to date we have never had a serious medical emergency. However, due to the nature of our training and remote locations there are risks. Rest assured that we are prepared for most types of emergencies by carrying first aid equipment and a PLB (personal locator beacon).
How physically challenging are your survival courses?
The pace and challenge of our courses vary. Our skills courses (wilderness survival skills and primitive skills) are run at a moderate physical pace. We allow food, all types of gear, and any comforts you desire. These courses are more like a wilderness camp-out where you learn a bunch of skills, hiking is minimal.
The 5 day bushmaster is a skills course for the first 3 days and therefore all the usual gear and food is allowed. It then transitions into living off the land for the last 2 days. These 2 days are challenging and will involve minimal food intake, cold nights, hard work and discomfort, however most people can push through this and feel a huge sense of satisfaction at the end.
The knife-only walkabout is our most challenging by design as we spend 3 days living off the land with just a knife, blanket, and water bottle. You will be hungry at times, experience fatigue and feel discomfort, however this course is ideal for individuals that want a challenge. You will find it easier if you are aerobically fit and healthy, but it is not a requirement. Positive mental attitude is the most important aspect to getting the most from this course! This is real-life training and so much is gained from this experience.
I don't have any outdoor experience can I still attend your courses?
Absolutely! You do not need any experience at all to take part in any of our courses. However we do recommend taking the 1 day advanced fire-making course or the wilderness survival course before doing the knife-only walkabout. This is not a requirement though.
What is the minimum age to attend your courses?
16 years old without a parent/guardian, and we have no age limit if the child is accompanied by a parent/guardian. Please note that we do require a signature on the liability waiver from the parent of any unaccompanied minor younger than 18.
Are your survival courses family friendly?
We are certainly family friendly and always excited to see the bonding take place in the wilderness between parents and children. We offer family discounts so please contact us if you are interested in this option. All of our courses have been taken by children as young as 11 years old however our 2 day skills classes are the most suitable for youngsters.
Where does the training in Southern California take place?
We are very proud to run courses on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in Warner Springs, California. We have a good relationship with the tribe and are very grateful to have the permission to enjoy this beautiful wilderness. This spectacular 25,000 acre property is very diverse with desert, chaparral and forest terrains, and ranges in elevation from approximately 1,000 ft at its lowest point which borders the Anza Borrego desert State park to it's highest peak at 6,535 ft called "hot springs mountain". This property is home to bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, coyote, grey fox, raccoon, squirrels, and much more. Our forest camp is always filled with the song of stellar jays and acorn woodpeckers. The reservation is abundant with resources like running water and a variety of edible and medicinal plant species.
What are the temperatures like?
Temperatures are cooler year round due to the higher elevation and we even get snow in the winter so please pack clothing accordingly. We recommend checking the Warner Springs weather forecast the day before your course starts. Below is a rough guideline on what to expect.
November-March: Temps can drop below freezing at night and rain is always a possibility. Can be windy during the day.
March-May and October-November: Temps will average in mid 40's at night and 70's during the day with a moderate possibility of rain.
June-September: Temps will average in the low 60's at night and high 80's during the day. Chance of rain is minimal.
Is there cell phone signal or WIFI?
Nope! We are very happy to disconnect from electronics and reconnect with nature.
Are there showers and toilets?
We have no modern structures as we believe in full immersion with nature. Yes there is a place to do your "business" but not the kind you are thinking of! We use nature, and bury all of our waste in an ethical way. Wet wipes (which do not get buried), hand sanitizer, biodegradable toilet paper, and a shovel will all be provided.
How do I get to Los Coyotes, where do we meet, and at what time?
The address is 2300 Camino San Ignacio, Warner Springs, CA 92086. Simply type the address into google maps and it will lead you all the way to the guard station, which is a tiny building on the right hand side of the road located at the stop signs/ boomgate. There is parking located there for you and I will be waiting to meet you. The drive to Los Coyotes is approximately 1hr 30 minutes from downtown San Diego and 2 hrs 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. We meetup at 9am sharp.
It says on the website that if we have a 4x4 or high clearance vehicle that we should bring it, what if I don't have one?
Access to our back country bush camps requires a 15 minute drive on dirt roads from our meetup point. If you own a 4x4 or high clearance vehicle then you can drive all the way to our camp. The state of the dirt roads varies due to heavy rains in the winter. At times normal cars will be able to use the roads out to our camp but we always encourage participants to bring 4x4 or high clearance vehicles just in case the roads get worse. If you do not have a suitable vehicle for dirt roads do not worry we can transport you and your gear for no additional charge.
What happens with my vehicle during the course If I do not want to drive it on dirt roads to the bush camp?
You can leave your vehicle at the guard station located at the entrance to the reservation. There are 24 hr CCTV cameras and your car will be safe here for the duration of the course
Will my vehicle be accessible during the course?
If you drive your vehicle into the back country then you will have 24 hr access to it during the wilderness survival, bushcraft skills, bushmaster, and advanced fire course. The desert survival and knife-only walkabout require hiking with packs into our wilderness camp, so therefore cars will not be accessible apart from course start and end.
What gear do we need to bring?
The wilderness survival skills and primitive skills courses allow you to bring any camping and survival gear you want. You can go minimalist and rough it to challenge yourself or you can bring a traditional camp setup. We always provide breakfast and water for the 2 day courses, but you do need to bring food to cover 2 lunches and dinner. Please check out our gear page for more information.
The 5 day Bushmaster allows all gear for the first 3 days and then you will be hiking off with just a knife, water bottle, and blanket for the remaining 2 days. Nothing else is allowed.
The knife-only walkabout only allows a knife, water bottle, and blanket. No food, water, or other gear allowed.
What kind of knife should I bring?
Please refer to the gear page for detailed information on selecting knives and other bushcraft tools.
What food should we bring for our skills course?
Please bring meals that can be prepared easily with boiling water or heating up over the fire. Freeze dried meals, MRE's, dehydrated foods, nuts, fruit, energy bars, ramen noodles, etc...Our gear page also provides more info on this.
Can I bring my gun?
The Reservation does not allow fire-arms on the property, so please do not bring guns. Otherwise you will be asked to leave.
What type of shoes should I bring?
This is your choice however we recommend wearing whatever shoes you are comfortable in whether its high heel hiking boots, running shoes, or sandals. We do not recommend wearing brand new shoes that have not been worn in. Instructors wear sandals most of the year and we only recommend this for participants if they have experience wearing them in the outdoors. Bottom line wear what you are used to and you will probably be happiest.
I am interested in your knife-only course but it sounds hard, how challenging is it?
The 3 day knife-only course is our most challenging course as we often eat very little (It depends on finding wild edibles and success of trapping animals), we spend a good deal of time hiking, experience discomfort, and deal with the elements such as cold nights. To date nobody has tapped out and everybody finds this experience very valuable.