California Outdoor Adventure Blog

Hello Fellow Adventurers!  We have some big news here at Adventure Out Headquarters!  This Sunday, at 10pm/9c on The National Geographic Channel is the worldwide premiere of the new survival show: REMOTE SURVIVAL – hosted by the founder of Adventure Out, Cliff Hodges.  Check out the teaser trailer:

Make sure to tune in this Sunday (January 11th) and every Sunday this month for new episodes.  If you like the look of the trailer, support our social media campaign and spread the word about the show – click here to support us:

Guest Surf Instructor 4/19/14 - Champion Longboarder!

Come take a Surf 1 lesson in Pacifica next weekend with former East Coast Champion Longboarder Chris Wessels! April 19, 2014 – 9am & 12:30pm classes!ChrisWessels


Chris Wessels 2004 NSSA East Coast Longboarding Champion(College Division) Chris is from Jacksonville FL and now resides in Cardiff by the Sea CA where enjoys having his “toes on the nose”. Surfing and teaching surfing is Chris’s life passion and he will be joining Adventure Out as a guest instructor on 4/19 (9am lesson and 1230pm lesson). Come get some waves this next Saturday with Chris and our Surf Manager Joey Evans. We promise it will be a blast.

Click here to sign up!

New Survival Programs for 2014

Looking for a series of classes?  Save 30-40% with our Primitive Survivalist & the Hunter’s Series. Buy 4-5 classes together and save hundreds of dollars.

New Survival Programs!

Get Down     ||     Get Dirty    ||     Survive

Have you checked out our 2014 Adventure Calendar?  In addition to our popular and unique survival skills programs like Bowmaking and Animal Tracking, we have several exciting opportunities to keep you outside and learning this year:

Hunter’s Preparation Course: tracking/trailing, camouflage, shot setup, & game behavior.  This class will help the serious student of the hunting arts to take their game to the next level.
Survival Immersion Overnight: Take the skills from our intro class out in the field – spend a night in your shelter, cook your dinner, live the experience!
More Stone Tools dates for 2014, including a class with visiting instructor Bill McConnell from Past Skills in MT.


Categories: Announcements


If we follow the tracks of our ancestors back far enough, deep down in the roots of our collective family arbor, we find that we are the descendants of mystical people. Highly aware individuals with the abilities to track across any surface. Master survivalists, with the skills to flourish lavishly in any landscape. Every need provided for through the bounty of the living earth. Herbalists and healers with supernatural intuitive powers. Silent hunter-gatherers, camouflaged and invisible in the pigment and aroma of the very soils and plants. This knowledge has not been lost, this knowledge is still being preserved and passed on…

Paleo life first appears in the Americas between 15,000-20,000 years ago. The specifics of the paleoindian migration are still the subject of ongoing research, however most archeological evidence points to a migration over what is now the Bering Strait, down through modern-day Alaska, and spreading south and east to populate both the continents of North and South America. These people represent the epitome of fitness and the realization of the true potential of the human body.  Paleoindians were the hunters of the megafauna: the giant beaver, steppe wisent, musk ox, mastodons, woolly mammoths, and ancient reindeer.[i] Their diet in comparison to later indigenous peoples was high in these megafauna protein sources and supplemented by the foraging for wild edible plants, nuts, and seeds. Hunting and gathering bands usually had no chief and the men and women earned the respect of the group because of their abilities at hunting, healing, or providing some other needed service or physical ability to the band.

I have been fascinated by the paleo lifestyle for most of my existence.  As I child, I used to run through the woods, attempting to fashion a spear out of just about any long pointed object I could find, and family camping trips usually ended with my parents on the verge of calling the search and rescue team to drag me out of the forest.   As I got older, I decided to actively attack this passion, and throughout my teenage and college years, I became a voracious student of primitive wilderness survival skills. I attended countless outdoor schools, workshops, and poured over every written anthropological record I could find that described the tools, methods, and lifestyles of the first Americans. I’ve always been a hands-on learner, so it was never enough for me just to read about something either.  I was “in it”, down on my hands and knees in the woods reading tracks; carving bow-drill kits to make fire by friction, brain-tanning animal hides, and banging rocks together in the hopes of making an arrowhead.  While all the primitive skills interested me, it was always the hunting skills that peaked my interest above all else.  After years of practice, honing my skills, and perfecting my tools, I was ready to put my skills in to action.  To hunt as our ancestors did, tens-of-thousands of years ago:

I’m deep in the woods of Montana.  The drive just to get to the edge of this property was over 5 hours from the nearest town, and by now I’ve hiked many miles from the last road.  The land I’m told, is an original homesteader plot – 500,000 acres of untouched wilderness with several of its own elk herds. My spiritual preparation began weeks ago at my home in California: fasting, praying, and partaking in the sweatlodge ceremony.  I’m fully committed to hunting in the old ways.

 It’s an eerily misty morning as the sun begins to rise, I can’t see more than 20 yards in to a meadow that I know is almost a quarter of a mile long. As I come up out of a mossy ravine, under the cover of the juniper boughs, I can hear the mystical sound of the bull elk’s bugle call.  The primordial scream echoes off the hillsides causing my pulse to quicken and my palms to sweat.  In my hands, I clutch on to nothing but sticks and rocks.  A hand-carved wooden bow, made from an Osage Orange tree, and a small Dogwood arrow shaft tipped with a chipped flint point, and fletched with wild turkey feathers.  I look out to the field, squinting, trying to focus on something that I still cannot see… when, all of a sudden… CRASH! The thunderous sound of antler-on-antler almost knocks me over backwards as two satellite bulls explode towards me engaged in a battle of dominance. Saplings fall to the wayside like cardboard models in a Godzilla movie and the ground shakes each time the bulls engage.  I look down at the 2-inch stone point lashed to my arrow, and then back at the 1000 pound bulls and think to myself “no fucking way”. 

Then, as quickly as they appeared, the beasts are gone.  Bugle calls go off all around us and the herd is on the move.  My partner, who is my hunting mentor and best friend (as well as the author of the opening paragraph to this piece), looks back at me and signals that it’s time for the chase.  I’ve learned everything I know about hunting from him, and as I far as I know, we are two of only a few people still hunting big game in this sacred manner.  We sprint through the field, staying low to the ground and following the shadows.  Through another ravine, jumping across a small creek and scaling the side of a flood wash with the aid of tree roots and small rocky handholds. Moving through a boulder field, my legs start to burn, it’s like a 2 hour long session of Tabata Squats… while running… through snow covered fields… trying to be completely silent and invisible. I can’t help but think how clumsy my movement must be in comparison to my paleo counterparts.  But that is why I train, that is why live and eat the way I do, to continue on these ancient traditions, and keep that small slice of human history alive.

That was my first day as a true paleo hunter.  It was many years ago, and needless to say, I did not shoot an elk that day. Nor did I shoot any animal for a good 2-3 years.  It took countless days of practice: tracking , stalking, sitting , and shooting, before I would make my first kill.   My equipment alone has hundreds of hours of work put in to it – bows are the culmination of many weeks of refined woodworking, and a single arrow made of earthen material can take upwards of 2-3 days to complete.  And when it’s all said and done, I head out on to the landscape, like my ancestors before me, with a quiver full of weaponry that most people in the modern world would put behind glass or display on their mantel.

The thrill, excitement, and pride I take in harvesting my own food is immense and wholly incomparable to anything else.  There is a deep spiritual connection that takes place in the depths of my soul when I am able to feed myself not from aisles of a supermarket, but from the plentiful earth herself.  The meat on my grill was once a living, breathing creature.  I know this not because I am told it is so, but because I was there.  I have that moment, etched in to my memory forever, when I felt the wind on my face, the sun on my skin, and my senses stretched out in to the open space around me in a deep meditation of awareness. I can still see that animal moving gracefully in front of me as we carry out that timeless dance between hunter and prey that has been played out time-and-time-again for over 100,000 years.

I do not expect that everyone has the time to learn the art of bow-making and flintknapping, or the opportunity to spend hours on end in the woods tracking their prey.  However, most of my students have already committed to that higher standard – you train with me, you study, you work hard to realize that human potential inside of you.  If you’re not eating paleo, than you need to seriously examine why you are even training so hard.  If you are eating paleo already, then go kill something.  Just once.  Kill what you eat. Your diet already necessitates the taking of life, so I am wholly unwilling to have a debate with you on the morality of hunting. Have the courage to do it yourself at least once in your life and make that connection within you to your paleo ancestors.  It will, forever, change the way you look at nutrition… and the world.


[i] Breitburg, Emanual; John B. Broster, Arthur L. Reesman, and Richard G. Strearns (1996). “Coats-Hines Site: Tennessee’s First Paleoindian Mastodon Association”. Current Research in the Pleistocene 13: 6-8.



Categories: Uncategorized

5 Things to Remember Before You Go Extreme Camping


Spending a weekend with the family in a designated camping ground comes with its own unique set of challenges, such as exactly how long should you grill those steaks? and how late is too late when it comes to shattering the meditative stillness of nature with the sound of your 4-wheeler? However, for some people, getting away from it all and roughing it in the wilderness just isn’t rough enough. You all know who you are. You’re the campers who “forget” to pack a tent. You’re the campers who schedule your weekend in Yellowstone to coincide with the flood season. You’re the campers who are, for lack of a less-annoyingly 90s word, “extreme.”

Well good for you! However, a thirst for adventure isn’t the only thing you’ll want bring if you plan on surviving a truly extreme camping trip. Here are a few tips to help get you home alive.




1. Do some research. Extreme camping is basically camping minus the supplies. It’s been called “primitive camping,” and for good reason. Basically, it consists of living off of nature to survive. So, before you get yourself killed and end up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars so that Search and Rescue can retrieve your desiccated corpse, do some research. Read up on the area you’ll be visiting. Figure out what kinds of localplants can be eaten, and what kind of weather you can expect. Practise building shelters and campfires, and know how to prepare stream water for drinking. Also, it would be a good idea to make sure that your destination allows for this kind of camping, because fines and jail time are also extreme, but in less enjoyable way.


2. Start small. If you’ve never been extreme camping before, start small. Consider bringing a backup food supply or some basic fire starting equipment. Plan short (one- or two-night) trips, and stick relatively close to civilization.


3. Dressappropriately. I guess it really would be extreme if you were to just hit the trail naked and hunt for clothing along the way, but for the sake of modesty (and survival) make an exception to your primitive camping experience and bring along the right attire. Depending on where you’ll be camping and how much walking you’ll be doing, you may need a pair of sturdy hiking boots. You should also pack warm clothing—preferably waterproof—and a hat to help ward off sunstroke. Also, bring several pairs of clean socks, so you don’t get a foot fungus. Some work gloves will also come in handy if you plan on doing any shelter building or tool crafting.


4. Consider the toilet situation. No supplies means no toilet paper. Didn’t think of that, did you? Digging a hole and dropping your duece down into it isn’t all that difficult, but unless you’ve got a really high-fiber diet, you’re going to need something for wiping. If you’ve got some extra water for washing your hand, you could always go that route. It may not be pleasant, but it’s doable. Alternatives include using leaves (which brings us to another reason you should do your research before you head out, because you’ll want to know which leaves will and will not leave a burning rash when they come in contact with skin), or clean, smooth stones. I know, but its either that or your hand. Choose wisely.


5. Don’t be an idiot. Thrill seeking is all well and good, but it’s not worth your life. Before tromping off into the wilderness, let someone know where you’ll be. Bring some emergency supplies along with you, like signal flares and a GPS locator. Stay away from wild animals, excluding only the ones that can be safely (and legally) harvested for food. I guess what I’m really saying is that you should use your common sense. Another thing to consider is to be aware of surrounding accommodations in case they are ever become necessary. Its not unheard of for an enthusiastic backpacker to run out of supplies, become dehydrated, or get injured. In that case it might be a good idea to have a backup plan or at least know what is around the area so if you need to, you can get what you need. You should usually be able to find some sort of lodging accommodations or a service center if you look out for them. Personally, if I were hiking through a desert like DeathValley, I’d like to know how long it would take me to find civilization in dire straights. Either that or be the hovering vultures next meal, but then again, it is extreme camping.



Author Bio: Kevin Devoto is an avid outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer for the National Parks.




Categories: Uncategorized


Help Our National Parks Survive the Sequester

March 1st was the kickoff date for a series of federal budget cuts that are designed to reduce federal spending by 1.2 trillion dollars over the next ten years. These cuts are known as the sequester. It may seem at first glance that we finally have some fiscal responsibility in our government. However, these cuts are likely to have a major impact on jobs and important government programs, some of which are already being seen.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to keep your job over the last couple months, you might simply be wondering what the sequester is all about and how it is affecting you and your family. Here are some quick facts and figures that will help you visualize the impact of sequestration:



Categories: Uncategorized

Guide Training and Affiliation Program Launches!


These are very exciting times here at Adventure Out HQ.  As many of you have read in the media this past week, we have officially launched our Affiliation Program. Applications are rolling in, and by the end of 2013, we will be announcing our first 10-15 Adventure Out Satellite locations around the country.

Read the official press release here

In short, our guide training program will be pushed out and offered to the public to come learn the nuts and bolts of our programs and business.  How do we do it, what are our teaching methodologies, how the business is run, and how we grew to the company we are today with over 30 guides serving over 5000 people per year. Existing outdoor schools with a proven track record, or new guides/schools upon completion of the training course, will then be able to “affiliate” with Adventure Out: they can license the brand name as well as receive business and marketing assistance, client referrals, discount group purchasing power on outdoor gear, liability insurance, and more.

As this program has been gearing up for launch over the last few months, I’ve been getting one question over and over:  “Why? …why would you do this?  Why would you serve up all the knowledge and experience you’ve acquired so that other people can copy your model?“.

The answer is quite simple: because I want to, and because I can.  Adventure Out has grown to be an amazing organization – it has taken me on a ride and become bigger than me, and bigger than I’d ever imagined.  I want to share this with people.  I’ve been getting requests to franchise for years – but that’s not what we’re about.  I don’t want to own a hundred outdoor schools across the country, I don’t want a percentage of their profits.  I want to see people own their own business, control their own program, and be passionate about what they do.  I want to give new adventure entrepreneurs the chance to use my knowledge, my teachings, and the lessons of my successes (and failures!) to go out and start amazing new outdoor schools anywhere.  I want to form a network of trusted programs, offering a level of top-quality service, and unified by a community, and a brand, known as Adventure Out, that stands for integrity and professionalism in the outdoor industry.

Who’s going to join me?

Cliff Hodges
Adventure Out LLC



Categories: Announcements, Uncategorized

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