Desert Daze Course
Sonoran Desert Days


















The Bushcraft Basecamp

(Class limited to 12 students)
Not offered for 2021. Please check back next year!
Tuition: $2699
Instructors: Cody Lundin and Mark Dorsten
Sign Up Today!

Click here for wait list options if course is labeled "full"

The beginnings of a bushcraft basecamp.

Build a primitive basecamp from scratch using only a knife! In 1990 and 1991, Cody lived in a wicki-up (a cone-shaped brush shelter) in the mountains of Arizona. His wicki-up was constructed from downed pine trees, pine needles and oak leaves. He slept on a pine needle bed, cooked over an open fire, made a woven willow door to keep out the local javelina and studied for college by candlelight on a stone table. The ALSS Bushcraft Basecamp course was created in the spirit of Cody’s wicki-up experience, and focuses on building an effective long-term basecamp in the wilderness using minimal modern tools. Whether you’re interested in how indigenous peoples made the most of their landscape for millennia, discovering the most efficient design for a campsite, or learning the proper basecamp layout for an off-grid urban emergency, this course provides the details to do so efficiently and safely.

Primitive Shelter: Create a long-term shelter from native materials including shelter site, design and size selection, heating and cooling options, effective use of minimal tools, identifying, prepping and using natural materials, sustainable harvesting techniques, dealing with “critters,” identifying hazards, and weather-proofing options.

The All-Important Fire Pit: Introduce yourself to the aboriginal “kitchen” of all world cultures including proper fire pit location, choosing the correct size and shape, the “keyhole pit,” using reflectors, “dealing with” and uses for smoke, what types of fuel to burn and how much, fuel wood pile location, fire pit etiquette, safely extinguishing a fire without using water, and uses for ash and carbon.

Primitive Fire-Making: Create fire by friction using native materials in the wilderness including creating a proper tinder bundle, proper wood choices, understanding the fire triangle, the “keyhole” notch, extending coals, transporting fire, and using fire as a tool.

Primitive Sleeping System: Create a sleeping mat and pillow from natural fibers for greater comfort and to mitigate conduction in hot or cold weather.

Primitive Cooking: Cooking food with and without metal containers, uses for radiant flame and coals, pot suspension systems, identifying, processing and cooking with wild edible plants, food storage, camp hygiene, responsible clean-up, and dealing with “critters.”

Primitive Lighting: Lighting up the night using lamps and torches from indigenous materials including natural fiber wicks.

Primitive Fishing: Learn about willow traps, crayfish traps, clamming, natural fishing line and lures, and fish spears.

Backcountry Sanitation, Hygiene and Safety: Long-term sanitation in the backcountry, including slit trenches and cat holes, “natural” toilet paper, cleaning up without soap, solar washing, dealing with rattlesnakes, scorpions, and more.

The Bushcraft Basecamp course is an ALSS “Skills” course rather than an “Adventure” course, and allows the student to take basic camping gear into the field. Two hearty meals per day are included with tuition - and wild edible plants will be added to the meals, when possible! (Minimal hiking required.)

Sign Up Today!