Arctic SURVIVAL COURSE (FEBRuary 2019)
Learn the basics of outdoor, survival and bushcraft
If you want to learn and experience more about survival, outdoor and bushcraft in challenging surroundings then we suggest you join one of our Arctic Survival Courses. During your stay there 10 workshops will be organised. We will build basecamps in different areas and you get experience in a variety of terrains like mountains, valleys and coastal areas in the north of Norway. So, absolute awesome scenery and snow and ice conditions. Your learning curve will probably steep. These courses are both interesting for beginners and more experienced men and women. You can learn a lot, but there is also time for fun and to relax. We organise these courses every month. Costs are 1175 Euro (9 days).
Develop your skills in a variety of terrain and conditions in Arctic Norway. 10 workshops included in awesome surroundings.
Facts, dates, costs and general information
Here are the facts of this expedition. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or if you want to discuss your plans. Check also our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for answers on general questions.
Dates and booking information
17 February 2019 - 25 February 2019 (9 days)
Expedition name: ARCTIC WINTER WILDERNESS BASECAMP FEBRUARY
Booking code: dutch02B
This arctic survival course is also organised in other months. Choose a month and check the details. Snow conditions are the best in the period November to April. Northern lights are visible in the period September to April. The period of the midnight sun is from the end of May until the end of July. The polar night is from the beginning of December until the beginning of January.
The costs of joining this expedition is 1175 Euro.
Flights and transfers are not included. Daily expenses like food, drinks, diesel, rental of some mountain cabins are shared among the participants and the staff. See FAQ for more details.
LOCATION and how to get there
This expedition starts and ends in nature areas near a small fishing village named Helnessund in the municipality of Steigen (Nordland) in the north of Norway. There is a good ferry connection from Bodø. This fast ferry (hurtigbat in Norwegian) takes you in approximately 1 hour from Bodø to Helnessund. Daily departures in the afternoon, check the timetable here. It is a 20-minute walk from the airport to the harbor in the city center where the ferry departs. at the end of the trip, this ferry will also take you back to Bodo (daily departures, most of them in the early morning).
The nearest airport is Bodø. You can take a domestic flight from Oslo for instance. Another option is to enjoy a 17 hours train ride from Oslo. We advise an overnight stay in Trondheim and break the trip into two parts. So, you can travel both parts in the daytime and enjoy the scenery. Check nsb.no for more information about traveling by train. The so-called minipris ticket can be an economical way to travel (only online available and you have to buy it well in advance).
We recommend that you arrive 1 day before the start of this expedition in Bodo and take some time to acclimatize and get rid of travel and work stress. We can give you suggestions for hostels or hotels in Bodo if you like.
LEVEL AND SKILLS
This course is suitable for people on beginner, intermediate and advanced level of outdoor experience. We always check if you match with other people that have booked. If you like to learn more about the level of the course and what skills you need, take a look here....
You will stay the first and the last night probably on our expedition ship, For the rest of the nights, we stay in (mountain) cabins, expedition tents, a tipi tent with a wood stove or self-built shelters or snow holes (november - april).
This camp has availability on this moment.
Number of participants: Max 8
We like to have an international team for this camp. Minimum age is 20 years.
Superb expedition if you like to observe the northern lights.
This course is organized in areas that are off-the-beaten-track.
No problem if for example hiking, kayaking and staying in the outdoors is new for you. We will teach you what we know.
gear and how to prepare
These wilderness camps are organized north of the Arctic Circle. So, you need warm clothing, good shoes and outdoor gear like sleeping bags and more. You receive a detailed packing list after you made your booking. This packing list tells you about the things you need to have and also gives you a lot of practical information. In case you do not have all the gear or if you do not want to invest, you can rent gear from us, like backpacks, sleeping mattresses, snowshoes and more.
The rough sketch for this survival, outdoor and bushcraft wilderness camp
This winter wilderness camp is organized in a remote and very scenic area in northern Norway named Steigen. You will be surrounded by awesome fjords, wild forests, remote beaches and steep mountains. Here you will experience what living in a wild and harsh environment is like during the Arctic winter. The goal of this wilderness camp is to provide skills and experience to be safe, warm and happy in a wild environment. We take you to a variety of terrains and areas where we going to hike and build basecamps to give you new experiences. So, one day you will be in wet marshlands, the next on a mountain and the day after for instance on a coastal island with no facilities at all. During your stay with us, we organize workshops on several subjects like how to build shelters, medics, and navigation. At the end of this 9 days adventure, you will be on your own with a teammate in the Arctic wilderness and you can practice your skills and gain more experience.
TEN WORKSHOPS WITH THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW (ILLUSTRATED WITH PICTURES)
Here we give you an overview of the workshops we plan to do during your stay. Most of them are short and organized outside. You can practice as much as you like. A lot of things are just learning by doing.
CAMPS IN DIFFERENT WILDERNESS AREAS
In this workshop, we like to tell you about: finding the right spot to pitch your tent and make a base camp in different wild surroundings. We also like to show you how you can use tarps to make a shelter or to protect you from the elements. To keep your camping area clean and healthy is another important thing we will discuss So, you learn how to make a toilet in the wilderness. Also more, in general, we like to teach you how to evaluate terrain and detect posibilities and dangers. How to prepare for bad weather, like storm, heavy rain, snow or cold temperatures. Of course we share thoughts about mportant things like to stay warm, dry and happy.
FIRE MAKING AND RELATED SKILLS
In this workshop, we explain you the things we know about fires that keep you warm or that you can use to prepare food. We tell you about ways to start a fire, get the best wood, how to chop wood, keeping your gear sharp, how to dry wood and more. Also, safety related subjects will be on the menu like working with axes, knives and other tools. We like to take you to the world behind a good fire,... You want it small and hot, and probably without too much smoke (not so healthy...). What are the secrets? We are still learning, but we did a lot of research and practice. We are very interested in the techniques the Sami people used in their fire making. There is a whole new world to discover and if you like it we can take you there. But we also like to talk about basic things that you should have in your backpack to light a fire, even in situations when it rains cats and dogs....
NAVIGATION, WEATHER AND MAPS
Knowing where you are is an important thing in the wild. In this workshop, we teach you how to explore an unknown area and making your own maps. Also, we take you into the details of understanding topographic and nautical (sea) maps. You will also work with compasses, GPS and we show you which apps on your smartphone can help you with navigation.
BUILDING EMERGENCY SHELTERS
In this workshop, we teach you some ways to make an emergency shelter out of materials you find in nature. If the snow conditions are good high up in the mountains we will be building snow holes. There will be a lot of practicing and after the work is done you are invited to stay overnight in your shelter.
FOOD FROM NATURE
In this workshop, we like to tell you more about subjects like eatable plants, berries, mushrooms and other things you find in nature. We will also visit coastal areas to hunt for shells and seaweed for instance. You can also learn how to make nutritious bread, high energy bars and vegetarian burgers. Of course, we learn you how to fish on sea including cleaning, filleting and how to prepare. If we are in a good spot to do some ice fishing we will certainly give it a try.
CROSSING DIFFERENT TYPES OF WILDERNESS
To gain experience and top up your outdoor skills it is important that you learn to be comfortable and safe in a variety of terrains. So, we take you up to some summits, cross rivers, hike through marshlands, walk through forests with no trails, descend waterfalls and (if you like) some Arctic swimming. In this workshop, you will learn how to prepare those trips. So, we will talk about gear, weather forecasts, using maps and what to take with you depending on the terrain that you will encounter.
ROPES AND KNOTS
We think everybody needs to know a basic set of skills to work with ropes and know some knots. In this works shop we practise some essential techniques.
MEDICS AND EMERGENCY ISSUES
In this workshop we like to tell you about: basic wilderness procedures when someone is sick or injured, first aid, what to pack and how to get an injured person back to civilisation. We also introduce you to working with VHF radios.
WOOD CRAFTING AND RELATED SKILLS
The evenings can be long and some crafting with wood and tools is a nice and useful way to kill time. You can make whatever you like including spoons, tent pegs or parts for your shelter. We will teach you the basics.
There are important things to discuss. This is our most serious workshop with deep talks and thoughts. Stress, fear, danger, peer pressure, attitude, coping with issues, injury..... We like to share our knowledge, theories and experiences.
Background information about the wilderness of Steigen
nature of steigen
So, here is some information about the area that we explore during this expedition. Steigen is 1000 km2 big and has a variety of landscapes and terrain.
The coastline is characterized by dramatic jagged mountains that reach sea level. The coastline has many sandy beaches and very typical are the birch and pine forests that almost meet the sea. There are many islands and islets close to the shore, but also further away. The water is crystal clear and is full of life. It is a great playground for kayaking or (if you dare) some Arctic snorkeling with a drysuit. Some of the archipelagos are nature reserves or bird sanctuaries. There is also a lot of history and remains of older times. There are interesting fjords to explore and just a hike up a hill and get a view over the wide Vestfjord with the Lofoten islands in the background is a treat for your eyes and camera.
The mountains of Steigen
The mountains are steep, but there are trails that also can be done in wintertime (we take crampons or snowshoes with us). The views are magnificent and there are cozy cabins in the mountains and also in the lower areas that we can use for staying overnight. Most of the mountain lakes freeze in the winter time and offer possibilities for ice fishing.
The valleys and forests
The valleys in Steigen offer great opportunities for hikes on sea level, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. If the temperatures are above zero the valleys can be quite wet and swampy with many small streams to cross. So hiking is quite adventurous out here. There are a lot of waterfalls and some of them will be frozen in the winter. Encounters with foxes, moose and reindeer are quite common. Pine and birch forests are inviting for a hike and we like to stay overnight in tents or (heated) tipi in wild surroundings.
Glaciers, nature reserves, and national parks
In the south of Steigen, we find the Helldalsisen glacier and this area is part of the Sjunkhatten national park. There are no roads here and the area can only be visited by boat.
Steigen has quite some interesting things to see of the iron age, the times of the Vikings and more recently fortifications from WWII.
observing the Northern lights
In the evening and at nighttime the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, may be visible. We need enough solar activity, no clouds (that's an important thing because it blocks the view) and it's necessary that we frequently check outdoor. It appears at certain times in the evening or at nighttime, but we never know when. Sometimes it lasts for 10 minutes on other times it goes on for hours. Also, the strength might vary every day.
If you are serious about taking pictures then an important accessory is a tripod. So don't forget (it is on the packing list that you receive from us).
We can use our 4x4 Land Rover to go to great spots to watch the northern lights or do a hike on a hill to get a good view.
facts abgout the WEATHER AND CLIMATE here
The temperature in this period is just above or just below 0 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperatures are around minus 10 and the highest +8 probably. The warm Gulfstream provides a mild climate and there is not always snow along the coastline, but a few miles inland we have snow conditions. In the mountains and on the higher areas (plateaus) there is snow this time of year.
Weather changes quickly in the Arctic, so we have to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Because our plans are depending on weather conditions we make daily plans for our activities. So you need a flexible mindset and expect that the plans we make can change due to weather or road conditions.
Roads are often icy and gear like crampons or spikes are very useful. In case we have deep snow, snowshoes are needed for hiking.
Water temperatures are just above zero. So you need a drysuit for sea kayaking. You can also rent the suits from us.
wildlife in the area
There are not many people living in this area (2500 in 1000 km2) and there is a lot of wild nature. So, this makes it a perfect place for encounters with wildlife. Remember it is not a ZOO and we have to be lucky, silent and determined.
There is a huge amount of the giant sea-eagles living in Steigen and they can be spotted in the mountains and also near the coastline. We will certainly spot these amazing birds.
Moose and (wild) reindeer can be spotted in the forest, valleys and sometimes close to the beaches. While driving we have to be careful, because they can cross the roads.
Well, there is more to see for example foxes, hare, lynx, grouse, and seabirds.
Near the coast and on the islands we might see seals, otter and sometimes small whales or dolphins. When we are out on the sea with our small expedition vessel we even might see killer whales, but we have to be very lucky for that. that.
Map of the area
Here is a map of the area in which this expedition takes place. Take a look and you get an idea of the natural environment, distances and possibilities.