Joel van der Loon

Survival & bushcrafT Instructor, school founder

My experience in becoming a survival instructor began from childhood growing up in South Africa and Tanzania, East Africa - in particular, living off the grid on an isolated stretch of tropical coastline of wild bush, hosting an array of animal species. 

The last 12 years, I have traversed through 40 countries and crossed oceans as a professional crew member, exploring some of the worlds most remote locations by sea. I have hiked, camped, and paddled in just about every type of ecosystem and trained in desert, alpine, jungle, and temperate survival methods. I have taught survival skills to various demographics such as families, celebrities, children, military, and even little people with dwarfism. I am qualified in advanced sea survival under the British Coastguard, I have tracked and hunted with the Maasai and Hadzabe tribal people in Tanzania-East Africa, and learned jungle survival skills from the Rama Indians in Nicaragua. I have put myself into testing conditions in the remote jungles of Costa Rica, the Alaskan arboreal forest, Florida swamps, arid Sonoran desert, coastline of Mexico and of course all over California with little more than a knife, water bottle, and the clothes on my back. I believe that there is no substitute for teaching from a position of real-life experience. I have worked with Lifetime, History, and Discovery channels and most recently feature on Episode 3 of Discovery's new show Bushcraft Build-Off. I write survival quizzes for and produce online survival training videos for

I have been a student of kick boxing and MMA for 7 years, and competed in several amateur bouts. I am a passionate surfer, free diver, spear fisherman, hunter, naturalist, and minimalist. 

I live in a small town called Sisters located at the foothills of the cascade mountains in Central Oregon.

Interested in getting to know Joel?...

Listen to Into the Wilderness USA with TJ podcast

Listen to Wild Ideas Worth Living podcast interview

Survival Qualifications, Education & Training:

  • STSC Survival Instructor

  • WMA Wilderness First Responder

  • MCA Medical First Aid Responder

  • ASHI Wilderness First Aid

  • MCA Advanced Sea Survival

  • MCA Advanced fire fighting

  • CA Hunter Education

  • CA Bowhunter Education

  • CA Trapping licence

  • RYA/MCA Yachtmaster200t Captains License

  • Celestial and electronic navigation

  • MCA Chief Engineer Officer Certificate of Competency

  • IMSN Vessel Safety Officer Course

  • IMSN Anti-Piracy Defense Course

  • Surf Proficiency Award, Lifeguard

Book a course with Joel here