I’m not sure what to pack or if I have the right gear. What will I need?

Upon registration, a gear list and other class materials will be sent to you for each program. The gear you’ll need for your adventure depends upon the course you choose. After you enroll, you will be sent a complete gear list with required items. The gear required for most courses is extremely simple. Those without basic backpacking gear often rent supplies from a local outdoor store or borrow items from a friend.

Do I have to be physically fit to attend?

Some courses require that you be in reasonably fit physical condition such as canoe camping and any of the expeditions. Regardless of this statement, overweight people and folks in their early 70’s have successfully completed adventure courses. While challenged at times, they succeeded because they refused to give up and had the encouragement and support of their peers.

Skills courses revolve around primitive or modern base camps and are more focused on skills than the journey itself. Most allow you to bring your own food and sleeping gear. Our adventure courses require that you be in good physical condition due to the advanced nature of the experience. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding your participation.

Why not have your course gear lists on-line?

Because our courses are taught outdoors, and weather and climate factors are fickle, our gear lists remain flexible so we can edit them for safety and effectiveness. One-size-fits-all gear lists ignore the reality of a changing wilderness and the hundreds of variables that exist

Are NOW courses safe?

No wilderness experience is without risk. Anyone who tells you differently is either untruthful or a fool. Anytime a person combines the variables of human nature with Mother Nature, all bets are off. A large part of your wilderness self-reliance training begins with taking responsibility for your actions. Only by doing so will you become fully empowered with the qualities of attitude, adaptation, and awareness, all key elements to your survival and overall enjoyment of the outdoors.

Every course involves many years of intense backcountry planning and experience whether you choose from our adventure courses or skills courses. There is no substitute for instructor experience when assessing problem situations that can arise in the wilderness. It doesn’t matter how long a survival school has been in business if your instructor has only a few years of “dirt time.” Good judgment, problem-solving skills, and the overall assessment of your safety in the outdoors are learned over many years of backcountry experience. No one can cheat their way into becoming a competent survival skills instructor.

When attending a NOW course, participants are made aware of the potential risks involved and must accept them as part of the experience that makes our training unique. Once NOW makes students aware of the risks, participants are allowed to implement whatever level of consideration they feel is appropriate, so long as it does not endanger or compromise the program, other participants or staff.

If you desire a challenging, supportive, and honest look at yourself and the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. Adventure is based upon uncertainty and exposure to risks and their consequences. In short, NOW provides the training, appropriate equipment and/or increased supervision to enhance your experience in an otherwise unsafe environment, but we, like everyone else, cannot guarantee a “safe environment.” Please contact me with any questions you may have regarding our courses.

How many students are in each course, and what is the age limit?

We have taught custom courses to more than 60 elementary school students at once, (groan) regular NOW offerings have a maximum enrollment of 10 to 16 students ensuring you plenty of personalized learning, maximum adventure, and fun! Unless a potential student is 16 years old or older (for most courses), they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to attend.

Who teaches the courses?

Unless specified otherwise, Nick Gordon is the lead instructor on all NOW courses. Instruction is intense yet taught in a non-intimidating manner and courses are packed full of information without sacrificing attention to detail. based on the class, trip, and group size, there will often be additional instructors and guides.