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Training and Skills Events 2022




MDFI Northwoods Training

Saturday – Sunday | October 8 & 9, 2022 Chase, MI.

2-Day Class: Saturday 9am – 6pm / Sunday 9am – 3pm
Students are encouraged to bring personal camping gear and camp out Friday and Saturday night. See NWTF Lodging page for camping costs and amenities.
Class Cost:
$350 + $25/day venue fee

Instructors: Ben Piersma (Bensbackwoods) and Jason Gustafson (Lester River Bushcraft)


This class will cover the skills and tools required for survival and comfort in the north woods. These skills will give you safety and confidence in everything from an unexpected night in the woods to a longer off grid trip or expedition. The main topics covered will be shelter, fire and water. We will go over basic kit ideas for a day pack or bug out bag to meet your shelter fire and water needs. The goal is to combine skills, natural resources from the environment and a few well selected tools to not only survive but to thrive in the north woods.

Clothing is your first line of shelter, we will cover clothing options for cold/wet weather, footwear, base layers, insulation layers and environmental layers for working around fire.
We will cover tarp set up for heated or unheated shelter, running a tight ridge line, building a raised and insulated bed, stake carving and super shelter for deep cold weather.

Mastering lighter, matches and ferro rod for fire lighting will be a large part of the class as it is the top skill in meeting your needs in a wilderness emergency or living situation. We will cover birch bark, fatwood, twig bundles and feathersticks. Types of fires used will be a warming drying fire for emergency use and a long fire for cooking and sleeping.

Water filters for on the move pros and cons, boiling water over a fire as a reliable source of water. Setting up a cooking crane pot suspension system for a large group or a small tripod for single person use. Boiling Kochanski coffee and gathering roots, leaves, bark and mushrooms for bush tea.

Understanding what tools you need for crafting, carving , cutting and meeting your firewood needs. Knife, axe, saw and pot selection for different kits. Maintenance and sharpening of tools. We will cover safe use of these tools during our carving projects and we will build a 24″ bucksaw with saplings.

All students will be given a Mora knife, ferro rod and 24″ bucksaw  blade.


Positive mental attitude 
Outdoor clothing to meet the expected weather conditions as most teaching will be done outside.
Folding chair
Food and drinks for yourself. (A large pot of hot water and coffee will be available throughout the camp, we will also have a hanging grill grate above the fire for grilling meat, steak and sausages are easy. )
Coffee cup or metal canteen cup etc. 
Headlamp, knives, saws axes and personal gear you want to test and use.

Bring any other outdoor gear that you want to test, use and evaluate.