Traditional Outdoor Skills Workshops

Teaching Fundamental Outdoor Skills;

Developing Outdoor Competence; and 

Building Backcountry Confidence

Desert DAWN travels to you with exciting nature based workshops.  Often it is more efficient for us to pack our bags and travel to your location to share knowledge.  Nature is everywhere, so we can teach anywhere.   We have a selection of workshops already designed that we adapt to the needs of your group which makes every workshop unique.

The Discovery Workshop is a fun introduction to Traditional Outdoor Skills.

The Fundaments Workshops are five different workshops that focus on the primary traditional outdoor skills: Knife Craft; Fire Craft; Clothing Craft; Shelter Craft and Trail Craft.

Self-Reliance Workshops are full scope workshops using the primary traditional outdoors skills with a focus on taking care of one’s self in the backcountry. This group of workshops include Overnight Self-Reliance, Backcountry Self-Reliance and Traditional Animal Processing.


Discovery Workshop


That’s a Big Friction Fire Set

The Discovery Workshop is designed to be fun and engaging learning. We bring cool tools and activities for learning traditional backcountry skills in a front country setting.

Fire Craft ~ Traditional Fire Methods 

Clothing Craft ~ The Natural Fiber Way

Shelter Craft ~ Flat Fabric Camping

Trail Craft ~ Lost Proofing

The Discovery Workshop is an introduction to the fundamental outdoor skills that are used to develop outdoor competency and build backcountry confidence.


Fundamental Skills Workshops


The fundamental skills Workshops focus on a single skill providing the opportunity to learn the skill in depth, developing competency with the skill.

Knife Craft

Fire Craft

Clothing Craft

Shelter Craft

Trail Craft

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Knife Craft Workshop

Traditional Woodcraft


Knife Craft
Knife Craft, A Foundation Skill Photo courtesy of Terry and Marlene Webb


Knife skills are an essential part of life, whether in the kitchen, around the home or farm or on the trail. In this class you will discover all aspects of  being safe with a knife, using a knife and maintaining a knife (yes, you will be able to sharpen your knife).  Your knife will become an indispensable tool  that will be an extension of your hand.  Workshop Length – 4 hours to 2 days.

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Fire Craft Workshop

Traditional Fire Methods

Making a fire using a “long match”.


Fire is the essence of our experience in nature – the sight of the flickering flames, the sound of wood popping, the aroma of  burning wood and the feeling of the warmth from the fire – fire completes the camping experience.  We start with the ABC’s of fire and then allow students the opportunity to discover the thrill of making fire by rubbing sticks together.  Next, we progress through the technologies for making fire and discover the true nature of fire. Workshop Length 4 hours to 2 Days.

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Clothing Craft Workshop

The Natural Fiber Way


The Clothing Craft Workshop explores the wisdom of old relating to dressing in the backcountry. This workshop answers the question as to what clothing to works well and why. All gear has its positives and negatives and no item is wrong or right. The concern with clothing is not knowing the limitations of an item and expecting it to perform outside of its limitations. Workshop Length 2- 4 hours.

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Shelter Craft Workshop

Flat Fabric Camping


Could you make yourself comfortable while backpacking and camping with a blanket, a poncho, a half blanket, a “camp cloth”, a silk scarf and some bandanas. This is the traditional gear of many campers prior to the early 1900’s. This eye opening workshop shows the key benefits of flat fabrics: Versatile, Durable, Repairable and Comfortable. And you will learn to use flat fabrics for:

Shelter Systems

Sleeping Systems

Pack Systems

Outerwear and More…

After the Flat Fabric Camping Workshop, you will be able to take a look at your gear and realize that some of it is not needed and some of it you may even want to exchange for flat fabrics. Workshop Length – 4 to 8 hours.

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Trail Craft

Traditional Navigation Workshop

Map and Compass
Map and Compass Navigation Photo courtesy of Marlene and Terry Webb


Are your map and compass skills going to be able to help you stay found (not get lost) or does your head spin at the thought of using a map and compass?  We help you remove the mystique surrounding the map and compass.  They are both quite basic and with practice the anxiety over using them drifts away like a soft summer breeze.  Staying found  will be much easier at the end of this workshop.  Workshop Length – 1 to 3 Days.


Self-Reliance Workshops


Self-Reliance workshops cover the set of skills that are beneficial for taking care of one’s self, whether short term such as on a day hike, longer term such as on a backpacking trip, or or even longer term such as for homesteading.

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Overnight Self-Reliance Workshop

Critiquing Survival Shelters


Have you ever wonder, “What would I do if I had to stay out in the woods overnight with just what is in my daypack?”

The Overnight Self-Reliance Workshop helps you answer the question with “I’ve got this, yeah!”

We start with the Priorities of Survival and then address the critical skills for staying out over night. We cover the basic items one may want in a daypack for just this scenario. Finally, we practice the skills for hands-on experiential learning. This workshop is ideal for anyone who travels in the backcountry. It is great day hiker and backpacker skills for adults and children, backcountry enthusiast and backcountry professionals, including search and rescue teams or medevac helicopter teams. Workshop Length 4 to 8 hours or overnight.

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Backcountry Self-Reliance Workshop

Learning to make Fire by Friction
Friction Fire Encompasses Several Woodcraft Camping Skills. Photo by Terry Webb.


Have you ever considered, “What would I do if I were days deep in a backpacking trip and my pack went over a cliff?”

The Backcountry Self-Reliance Workshop helps you answer the question with “I’ve got this, yeah!”

We have taken the six core backcountry self-reliance trail skills – knife craft, fire craft, shelter craft, rope craft, pack craft and traditional navigation – and bundled them into this all encompassing workshop.  Our aim is for you to leave this workshop competent in your traditional backcountry skills and confident in your ability to stay happy and comfortable should any of your modern backpacking gear fail.  Workshop length – 3 to 5 Days.

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Homesteading Self-Reliance Workshop

Traditional Animal Processing

Softening a sheep hide.
Softening a sheep hide.


Have you ever wondered, “What would it be like to be able to provide more of my own food”?

The Homesteading Self-Reliance Workshop ~ Traditional Animal Processing helps you answer the question, at least relating to meat with, “I’ve got this, yeah!”

Did you know that there are practical uses for every part of an animal and that the meat is not necessarily the most nutritious part of the animal. The Traditional Animal Processing Workshop puts not only the meat of an animal in your control but the use of other parts that are quite helpful when living more simply on the land. You will be able to gain more nutrition from the animals you process and you will be able to make all sorts of cool stuff from what is not used for food. Workshop Length – 3 to 5 days.


Let’s Explore,




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