By the staff of Trucks & Guns Magazine
We cannot count how many people we have come across that claim they are a survival expert and they teach a survival class. It is easy to watch a few videos on YouTube and think you are an expert. I watched a video about how to build a rocket, now I am a rocket scientist? Until you have truly put your skills to the real world test you are not an expert.
WHO HE IS
This is why we decided to check out Survival Training School of California. We will not go into a lot of detail about the founder and head trainer, Thomas Coyne, because after taking his class we decided to give him a column in Trucks & Guns Magazine. You can read about his background in his first column. We will tell you that he has been in survival training his whole life and was on the front lines of many major fires in California. He has also been trained in swift water rescue, technical ropes rescue, confined space rescue, helicopter hoist rescue, helicopter rappelling, search & rescue, HAZMAT Ops, and flood fighter training to just name a few. He has also been training the U.S. Marines on how to survive with nothing but a pocketknife for many years. These facts are the reasons we decided to take a closer look at his training however, it was not until we got there that we knew he was the real deal.
As Thomas teaches you the survival techniques, you can see how second nature everything is to him. It is in the little details, things that only someone who has done something hundreds of times would know to teach you. You can see it in the little things he does, that are not even part of his class. Things he does just because he has spent so much time out in nature. Like grabbing a few pine needles off the tree for a high vitamin C snack. He said something during his class that really hit us: “These things I am teaching you were all common knowledge less than 100 years ago.” It was great watching him teach the lessons during the class. Each lesson came with a real world scenario, and/or a true story about when he used that skill.
All of the Survival Training School of California classes focus on different skill sets. The class we sat in on was supposed to be a winter survival class, but California had such little snow this year it became a cold weather survival class. He still taught us many useful skills, such as: how to make a shelter out of sticks, making fire with a bow drill, boiling water in any container, how to use a signal mirror, how to make a dead fall trap, and the list goes on.
Do not think you can just watch some guy on YouTube, do a few survival tricks and think you know how to do it. Come out to California, and learn from someone who has put all the skills into real world applications. Also, get some hands on training, and actually build a fire with nothing but sticks and sleep in a shelter you built yourself with pine needles. Trust us, we thought we knew how to make fire with sticks, then when they showed us the proper technique, it was a night and day difference. We are talking difference of 30 minutes trying to start a fire to 5 minutes.
Here are some of their available courses:
• 4-day Critical Survival Skills For Families (All ages family based training)
• S.E.R.E. (Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion) /Anti-kidnapping & Escape Training For Global Adventurers
• Off The Land: Identifying & Using Wild Plants For Food, Medicine, & Utility Purposes
• The Ancient Apothecary: Healing With Wild Plants
• 7 Day Cross Climate Skills Intensive
• Survival Skills Certification Courses
• Wilderness First Aid Certification
• Weekend “Knife Only” Field Courses
• 1-Day Critical Skills Intensive
• Ancient Tools & Weapons- Working In Stone
• Basic Map & Compass Certification Course
• Alaska 10 & 14 Day Field Courses – America’s Only Alaska Field Training
• 2 & 3-Day Critical Skills Intensives
• Instructor Certification Courses