Gear Listing and Normal Practices for Hands-on Multi-Day Classes

Class Normal Practices

  • You are responsible for bringing your camping equipment, food, and food preparation supplies.  However, a hallmark of our classes is that our experienced students will share equipment and food for opportunities to learn about other people's supplies.  (Due to COVID 19 we are not recommending anyone share food or food prep supplies)
  • Bring water for yourself.  A good guess is 1 gallon of water per person, per day you are there.  We will have access to some well water but it sometimes loses power, so better to be safe and bring some.
  • No dogs allowed in any Nature Reliance School class. 
  • The class will promptly start at 7 pm EST on Friday and end no later than 2 pm EST on Sunday.  Unless otherwise noted in an email, please feel free to show up to the class site anytime after 4pm but NOT before. 
  • The exact location will be sent to those who register for a class.  For estimating travel before receiving those directions, please plan on driving to Frenchburg, KY.   
  • The recommended minimum age for this class is 13 years of age.  Younger children will be allowed only with special permission from the instructor cadre.  Please inquire at  
  • If you have any of our books and would like them to be signed, please bring them.  If you want to buy some for that purpose, then refer to this link.

Our Approach to Gear

Our approach to gear is simple.  For Level 1 classes we want you to be comfortable enough to make the learning experience as easy as possible.  For level 2 and above classes we want you to have increased your knowledge enough that you use less gear.  To save us some time in producing redundant listings for different classes, the following are our gear lists.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:

For each of these listings, we are offering you our recommended choice.  Nearly all purchases listed here serve to support Nature Reliance School.  So any purchase you make will continue to allow us to keep class costs low.  If you already have this gear, by all means, bring it and use and learn more of its pros and cons.  Please note when available, we have offered you a list of items that will help meet various budgets.  They are listed as good, better, best.  For all classes we will have demonstration equipment available.  If you do not have the requisite equipment for class instruction you can borrow ours.  However we dont have extra camping (tent, hammock, sleeping systems) to borrow.  

General recommendations for all classes:

  • Notebook and pencil/pen, 
  • A clipboard or similar for writing on.
  • Day Pack (Good, Better, Best)
  • Basic First Aid Kit (we always have an extensive first aid kit on site for more involved issues)
  • Water container (Bottle or Bladder) also bring 1 gallon of water for drinking and food prep for yourself.
  • Head Lamp or Flashlight
  • Camera for photos (cell phones welcome)
  • Bug spray and sunscreen
  • Weather-related gear, we train rain or shine.
  • Sleep system of your choice (hammock, tent or tarp).  NRS has very few extra items and you can borrow, please contact us early if you want some of these supplies as they go quickly.
  • Food and food-prep supplies (you are responsible for your own food and preparation of it)
  • Personal toiletries and water for your use.  There is an outhouse on site but no running water.
  • Camping/Lawn type chair

Wilderness Safety and Survival – Level 1

Wilderness Safety and Survival – Level 2

The key to this course is we are going to weigh your pack.  It must weigh 25 pounds or less.  We are purposely not giving you a gear list for this course.  In this manner we are forcing you to think about what to pack. Have fun with that :).

Land Navigation – Levels 1 and 2

These courses are done from a basecamp near your vehicle so feel free to bring extra equipment for comfortability.

  • Compass (Good, Better, Best)  The best compass listed here is a lensatic (military-style), we will be using baseplate compasses in class for instructional purposes as listed in the good or better listing.
  • Download the Gai GPS app and the Caltopo app (for Iphone or Android), no worries if you do not carry a cell phone, you will learn in this small portion of class as well.
  • Non-metallic clipbard will be most helpful to you.  Clip can be made of metal just make sure board is plastic, fiberboard, or similar.
  • Two-way radio.  If you are brand new to wilderness navigation it will assist you to stay in contact with the instructors.
  • Seat cushion.  We do a fair amount of classroom work on picnic type benches.  A seat cushion will make it more comfortable.
  • Please note the need for a notebook and pencils in the general requirements listed above.
  • Sealable Freezer Bags (to put maps in during wet weather)

Scout/Tracker and SERE – Level 1 and 2

  • You will definitely need a pencil not pen for this class.  
  • Any camouflage you want to try, this could include earth-toned clothing and on up to ghillie suits.  You will find out what works, and what does not, by the end of this class.
  • Camo facepaint
  • Tape Measure (required)
  • Evidence Ruler (recommended)
  • Duty weapons (if your job requires you carry weapons, please feel free to bring them to train with.  In this course we will barrel flag all weapons).
  • Please note the need for a notebook and pencils in the general requirements listed above.
  • Mouthpiece for SERE training (we will be grappling)

Nature Immersion and Mentoring

  • Bring a good notebook of any type and both pencils and pens.  You will most likely do some sketching in the class and will want pencils
  • Any naturalist books that you might have already (Peterson, etc).  Do not buy any for the class unless specifically suggested to do so.  We will have several to use.
  • A woods cushion or similar.  We will spend a lot of time in outdoor settings in the wilderness.  You will be more comfortable if you have a cushion.  If you are used to sitting in the woods without one, there will be no need


  • A good bushcraft knife (any of the LTWK are good ones).  If you want to try before you buy" dont purchase and come to class.  I will have a couple of dozen knives for people to practice with. 
  • A small hatchet.  We typically recommend Husqvarna because they are more affordable than Gransfors or Wetterlings.  Part of this class will be learning how to choose a good axe. 
  • A good hand saw.  This could include something simple like a carpenter's saw.  Silky make great saws as does Bahco. 
  • If you have a froe bring it. 
  • If you have wood chisels you would like to use bring them.   In the interest of time we will mostly rough cut our projects but you may want to fine tune some things while you are there.  
  • Cordage.  Paracord or bankline is good for binding.  Jutte twine is good for binding and firestarting.  
  • Work gloves and safety glasses.   We will be making a lot of stuff in this class.  If you are new to working with hand tools you definitely want some work gloves and safety glasses for flying debris.
  • Bring your typical cooking equipment for outdoors.  We will do some bushcraft cooking but it will not require any cooking utensils. :)

Tactical Survival – Collaboration with Iron Sight Defense, this class is done remotely therefore you will be rucking your equipment to a base camp and doing training exercises out of that base.  You will leave your food and sleep setup at that location for the live fire exercises.

Here are some videos where we talk about gear for tactical survival (Video1, Video2, Video 3)