Master Navigator Course
Elite-level Land Navigation Training
The ability to effectively navigate is one of the most important skills anyone can have in the backcountry. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to their wilds of choice to enjoy some form of outdoor recreation. Thousands of them also become lost, requiring considerable Search and Rescue efforts to either locate them and bring them back to safety, or worse, recover them because they were not found in time.
Many sources cite “too much reliance on technology” or not having basic map reading and land navigation skills or tools to begin with. Technology can and will fail. It often requires a signal and batteries, and should never be relied on as your sole means of navigating.
This Master Navigator course is designed to bring your skills up to the same level as the Army Rangers and Green Berets, and then keep taking you beyond even their level of training. There is none better suited to train you to that level than someone who was both a Ranger and a Green Beret, as well as a trainer of Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy Special Operations Forces.
Master Navigator is meant to pull you away from reliance on technology and teach you critical map reading and land navigation skills that will prevent you from ever becoming lost, and enable you to find yourself easily if you ever do. Not only that, but the ability to navigate confidently and effectively, day or night, opens up a whole new world that is only available off the beaten path. The wilderness is a much larger place when you aren’t stuck following the blazes on the trail.
This is a custom course that is only available once per year at this time. This 4-day/3-night course will be mentally and physically challenging with long days and several kilometers per day to walk with necessary gear. You will learn foundational skills with a map and compass, followed by learning to do without a map using the PAUL system of self-mapping (developed by an Army Special Forces unit member), and finally, learning to do it all without the aid of a compass using solar, lunar, and celestial techniques. Day and night navigation iterations are included. Despite the challenge, it will be a highly rewarding experience that gives you a level of confidence and training that cannot be gained elsewhere.
Master Navigator Students will learn:
- Basic Map Reading
- Understanding and Using Declination
- Land Navigation by Dead Reckoning and Terrain Association
- Locating Unknown Points and Finding Yourself if Lost
- Understanding GPS Navigation
- Navigating with Altimeters
- The PAUL System of Self-Mapping
- Field Expedient Direction Finding
- Solar, Celestial, and Lunar Navigation Techniques
- Night Navigation
- Ranger School Land Nav Course
- Green Beret Star Course
Students will navigate on a course similar to that which is used at the US Army Ranger School. The culminating exercise closely mirrors the US Army Special Forces Star Course, a requirement that all aspiring Green Beret’s must complete. Get ready to take your ability to navigate to the highest level taught inside or outside the military and Special Operations Forces.
There are no prerequisite courses for the Master Navigator Course. It is all-inclusive and highly focused to take you from beginner to Master Navigator.
The Master Navigator Course is part of the GB2 Instructor Program. Registered Instructor Candidates will receive credit for this portion of the program upon completion.
This is a physically demanding course. Expect to walk anywhere from 5-15km per day with additional night iterations of 3-6km. Due to the roving nature of this course, all gear must be carried during the navigation exercises since you will likely not stay in the same base camp each night. Please arrive in good physical shape for this course. Food is not provided, and there is little time to prepare meals between iterations, so on-the-go food and snacks are the best choice.
Master Navigator Packing List 2022
This course will be held in Uwharrie National Forest, NC.
Please see our cancellation policy HERE
Is there required gear?
Yes, and it must be carried throughout the course. Please see the link above for details. Also, do not arrive with brand new footwear. Footwear must be properly broken in prior to the course start if you expect success.
Will we have a basecamp?
Yes, but you will still be required to carry all gear on all navigation exercises and the base camp location may vary daily.
How far do we walk?
You should be prepared (well in advance of the course) to walk with your gear upwards of 20k per day, every day. Most students average about 20k per day, but this can vary significantly depending on individual route planning or mistakes made in the field. Measure twice, cut once is no joke during land nav!
Jeff Carlson (verified owner) –
I’ve been following Josh around the US for years now, with a hunger for all that he and the cadre have to teach. This class was different in that the focus was on one skill, navigation. This event will have the brand new student leaving with a thorough knowledge of all the aspects of land navigation. For the seasoned navigators there is definitely going to be new information for them as this curriculum is jam packed with all of it, from primitive methods, to celestial body use to traditional compass use, night navigation and self mapping techniques. Truth be told, this requires a physical commitment and many, many miles of hiking with all of your kit on your back. This adds a level of stress to make everything that much more memorable.
GBGB always chooses great venues to hold these events and the Uwharrie National Forest is no exception. It is an excellent place with great, topography and terrain to really delve into the subject. I can absolutely recommend this course for anyone that is looking to take their navigation skills to the expert level. There simply is nothing else like this available to the public in the US.
Becky Naughton (verified owner) –
Be prepared to be humbled but also to learn something… Whether you are a beginner or have extensive navigation experience, you will come out of this course with solid navigation skills and hopefully, the confidence to learn to read and travel throughout whatever terrain you find yourself in. Josh is a master instructor and he has a way of demonstrating the content in a way that is approachable and understandable. The course is physically tough as you will need to carry your gear for many kilometers throughout the day (and night!) on hilly terrain, but I found the mental challenge to be significant. I consider myself to be an experienced hiker, yet I developed an odd sense of brain warping. This is where I could easily convince myself that something on the map is missing and should be there (“the map must be wrong!”), but it isn’t… you will experience this and most importantly, learn to recognize this. This led to my realization that I was truly lost in the forest. Josh will help you will this and not only teach you how to overcome this, but why it occurred in the first place. This course is a must for anyone and I highly recommend it!
Daniel Edmonds –
Navigation is such a top tier ability that it takes a master instructor with experience to teach it well. GB2 fills that void in an industry that has multiple courses that just skim the surface of this crucial skill. Once you take this course you will look back on other trainings as sub-par or incomplete. This course has it all for those that truly want to rise above others in this skill.
Right out of the gate you are tested to see where you fall in your current abilities and GB2 makes note of it so they can teach you where you are. Having said that, a standard is still required to patch in this course, a requirement that makes this instruction that much more valuable when you get it. (A patch is not given just for showing up, but for those that make the standard).
The instruction is top-notch, making the concepts understandable and useable in the field. Testing those concepts shortly after the classroom time really locks it in. And as you progress through the course you see the reasoning behind the steps and process. You stop taking simple stuff for granted and realize you need it to get out of the woods.
You dive deep into the topics from primitive nav with sun, moon, and stars to modern compass and topo maps. Nothing is left out or partially taught. This is the real deal.
Be honest with yourself as you need to be in good physical condition. Prepare yourself for that and break in your footwear well before you arrive (I’m talking months of prep). Stuff will hurt somewhere at some point, be ready and resilient to it. Helps if you have gone through and managed soreness, hot spots, and blisters prior to being there. Only way to do that is get out with a pack and start walking until those things happen. Once you have that down it’s much easier to focus on the task(s) at hand.
Humor and community with the cadre and other students makes it more than enjoyable when you are resting up for the next iteration. You don’t feel alone there at all and you realize you are all just trying to achieve that same goal….to be a Master Navigator.
My experience with Josh (GB2) and his style of training has been top notch. He gives his best to teach you all he can with-in the time frame given. Puts it all on the table for you, but its up to the individual to pick it up. Leave nothing behind, take in all he has to give, and you will be much better for the experience. The Master Navigation course is no joke. Be prepared. Put in the work months ahead of the class. I thought I did. However upon arriving at the class, setting forth for our first set of Nav points I soon realized, mentally I was ready, physically not so much. That was on me. I’m in my 60s, probably 70lbs over weight. Don’t Quit, don’t give up and push through. The team will support you, just keep moving forward. I don’t know of another instructor that teaches Navigation so in-depth, that it puts you in a place where you are confident in your own skills and abilities. No matter where you are, with a map of the area you are in and a sunnto MC2 compass, and Josh’s teaching on Nav, being lost in the woods becomes null and void. I will recommend this class to anyone looking to gain the confidence in themselves in this area know as Navigation. Furthermore I will recommend any and all classes Josh has to offer. I’ve had the pleasure to attend 6 of his classes so far. All have been amazing, full of information and presented in a way that anyone can understand.
john didomenico (verified owner) –
As someone who intends on taking people into the wilderness and teaching basic land navigation skills, it is my commitment to finding the best possible training in the industry to do that. Having access to the knowledge and experience of a true subject matter expert is invaluable to me. This course exceeded my expectations in every way. The programming, tempo, physicality, instruction, and challenge level, were the ideal measure of professionalism. No matter what your experience level coming into this, you will walk away a much better wilderness navigator. What I really appreciate is how this course sets you up to succeed going forward. You walk away with the tools necessary to practice on your own and keep these skills sharp, so long as you put in the work.
If land navigation is important to you, do not pass up this training opportunity. It is second to none.
Joshua (verified owner) –
Land navigation is one of the most underrated or misunderstood skills in the outdoors community. But how many people get lost every year? If you hunt, fish, hike or camp the ability to find your way in through the woods accurately is critical.
This course will take you from the beginner level basics of map reading and using a compass and bring you into advanced mastery and creating your own maps, and finally into primitive navigation without the use of maps or a modern compass.
Make no mistake this class can be intense if you’re not physically prepared for at LEAST 10k a day. The GB² cadre is all about making you better than when you came, and if you stick with it, it is one of the more rewarding classes GB² teaches.
Chance Chaffin (verified owner) –
I have had the opportunity to train under Josh for several years now. We have covered a broad range of topics from fire craft to boiling water in Earth bowls. There has not been a single class that was short of exceptional. That being said, Master Navigation stands apart. It is mentally and physically immersive and will give you an opportunity to genuinely test yourself. The depth and breadth of instruction that you will receive is second to none and you will find yourself looking at navigation in a whole new light. The physical and cognitive demands are rigorous and it is recommended that you prepare for those rigors in advance. Despite these demands, you will find this to be one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences you will have under GB2. I have found myself counting down the days to the next offering and plan on attending this class as many times as possible!
Jake Chilek –
Trust us – you want to take this course.
I have had the good fortune of taking a few of GB2’s courses. Each class has provided a massive takeaway and somehow simpler understanding of the world that finds it way back into my everyday life. This course is that and so much more. It is just as much physically as it is mentally demanding and you’ll leave with a sense of confidence that can only be earned while mastering a broad range of navigation skills. I can’t wait to attend the next one!
Alexander Washut (verified owner) –
I just recently completed the Master Navigator Course and it has been one of the more challenging, intensive and rewarding experiences outdoors, let alone while in a “classroom” environment.
This was my first class with Josh and the GB2 group and it went above and beyond in every way possible. The professionalism and elite level training were second to none, the cadre were equally skilled and supportive, and the other fellow students (many of whom are regulars) were welcoming and generous with their experience.
Aside from the numerous and varied navigation skills that we as a class were exposed to and made to demonstrate mastery of, what I found to be of particular reward was the group of people that were involved and the environment that was fostered.
With most things, action often speaks louder than words. I have since signed up for three more class this year with GB2… Wilderness Skills, Bushcraft and Vildsmarksliv Bushcraft… I suppose that’s all that needs to be said and will most likely take the Master Nav class again next year.