Desert Skills Course Gray Bearded Green Beret

Desert Skills Course


Joshua Enyart, Kirsten Rechnitz

Main Skills Taught

Fire by Friction, Primitive Shelters, Primitive Weapons and Tools, and More...

Event Dates

Boulder, Utah 17-20 August


Desert Skills Course (4-day)

Roughly one-third of the earth’s land mass is considered a desert environment. The Desert Skills course is designed to teach you the skills that are essential to a safe and enjoyable experience in a Desert and High Desert environment. This is a custom course that is only available once per year. It is a 4-day/3-night course with a heavy focus on developing modern and primitive skills to further your confidence and ability to support your needs in this type of environment. Having the necessary skills in the desert will expand your outdoor opportunities by opening up this incredible environment for recreation.

The best way to learn is from a qualified instructor in a controlled setting to ensure student safety while learning and developing these skills. This particular course has two highly qualified instructors to teach you, guide you, and keep you safe while learning these essential skills: Joshua Enyart (the Gray Bearded Green Beret) and Kirsten Rechnitz (Desert Skills Lead Instructor).

Many take to the wilds of their choice for a number of different outdoor recreation activities. Regardless of what took you into the wilderness, your needs while in the wilderness remain the same: Maintaining your body Core Temperature with proper clothing choices, fire, and shelter; Hydration, Calorie Consumption, Rest, First Aid, Navigation, Signal, and the safe and efficient use of tools to facilitate it all. You can expect to learn how to provide for all of these needs during this course.

Students will learn:

  • Essential Gear and Clothing Choices
  • Primitive Friction Fire Techniques
  • Primitive Desert Shelters
  • Finding and Disinfecting Water
  • Primitive Trapping Techniques
  • Basics of Useful, Edible, and Medicinal Plants
  • First Aid for Common Wilderness Injuries
  • Basic Map reading and Land Navigation
  • Emergency Signals
  • Tool Selection, Safety, and Use

Click here for the Course Required Equipment List 

This course is the third in the series we are calling the “GB2 Desert Skills Extravaganza”. There are two available workshops immediately preceding this Desert Skills Course that can also be taken to enhance your Desert Skills and to prepare for this course. During the Primitive Pottery Workshop, you will make primitive pottery containers, and/or you can make a willow pack basket during the Primitive Basketry Workshop, both (or either) of which you will be able to use for this course.

There are no prerequisite courses for the Desert Skills Course. Students who have taken the Wilderness Skills Course will find value in this course as it reinforces skills learned in the Wilderness Skills Course as well as some of the skills learned in Bushcraft Skills and Primitive Skills Courses, and teaches you the application in a different environment.

Recommended viewing: Survival HD with Kirsten Rechnitz

The Desert Skills Course is NOT part of the GB2 Instructor Program as a required course. However, this is a highly recommended elective course for Instructor Candidates and Apprentices to increase your experience level and skillset in a challenging environment. 

The course uses a “crawl, walk, run” method of instruction. Desert Skills students will first be taught by cadre, followed by the student being required to demonstrate proficiency on their own. This culminates in being able to then perform these skills under various stressors to ensure proficiency.

This Desert Skills course is a “field course”. Students should expect to be immersed in a desert setting for the duration of the course. Restrooms are primitive and on-site. There is no electricity or running water. Vehicles will be parked in a student parking lot and are not accessible while taking the course. Students will sleep in shelters that they themselves construct and cannot leave the premises to stay at a hotel, sleep in their vehicle, or go to town for food.

Students should expect the potential for cold, wet weather, and primitive field conditions. Cadre and staff will ensure safety at all times during the course. You should arrive in reasonable physical shape with the required equipment list. Expect to walk several kilometers per day (usually no more than 3-5km) carrying your equipment in addition to natural resources that you collect (usually no more than 15-35lbs) that are needed for individual classes. If you have sustained a prior hot- or cold-weather injury (heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia, frosting, frostbite, etc.), please let us know as you are more susceptible to a repeat injury. If you have a previous injury or medical condition that may negatively effect your ability to keep up with the group or walk the required distances carrying your gear, please let us know so that we can discuss whether or not it is appropriate for you to attend this particular course.

For safety reasons, students must continue to train and apply themselves to remain in the course. If you do not quit on yourself, we will not quit on you. However, if a student chooses not to continue training, or doesn’t participate in any part of the training, the student will be escorted back to their vehicles immediately and must depart the training venue. There can be no refund or credit given to take the course at a later date. Students may not depart the training area and return at a later time.

Please see our course cancellation policy HERE

Do I need gear?

Yes, but not much. Please see the Packing List link above for details.

Are there prerequisites?

No. There are no prerequisite courses for the Desert Skills Course.

Is this course beginner friendly?

Yes, this course is suitable for beginners who want to learn to survive and thrive in a desert environment.


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Desert Skills Course


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