Course Information

Ranger School

Read this first: This new event is not a survival class and it is unlike anything else that we offer. This is a fantasy themed weekend based heavily on the ranger characters of Tolkien and D&D. While we teach various interesting skills and offer survival training within the weekend, please understand that this is more about ranger culture than survival skills. We expect EVERY recruit at Ranger School to be dressed in some kind of garb (clothing) that fits into this fantasy world. But listen - we don't expect anyone to buy hundred of dollars of costuming in addition to paying for the class. We do have loaner garb for those who don't have anything that resembles medieval clothing or costuming that would fit into a LOTR, Hobbit, Robin Hood-type world. We'll also recommend some base-layer choices of ordinary clothing that will help with your look. To sum it up, this isn't a survival class with a fantasy theme, this is a LARP weekend that happens to include some survival skills. 

And this: Yes, we know there's a plague upon the land, and most SCA and LARP activity has cancelled for the remainer of 2020. Do not come to Ranger School if you are sick or think you've been exposed to COVID recently. We'll be wearing masks (like rangers do), keeping our distance (like rangers do), and keeping our numbers very small (you know why).    

Now, for the Backstory of Ranger School, told by the founder (Tim MacWelch):

We're moving forward with a dream of mine - a new type of event. This one isn't for everybody. In fact, this isn't for most people, but if this is for you - welcome to the Ranger School!

Let me provide a little backstory to place things in context. Ever since I was a little kid, the realms of fantasy and medieval European history have captivated my imagination. I wanted to be a knight and I even made little castles out of paper, cardboard and tape. Reading books like the Lord of the Rings and watching countless adventure movies only whet my appetite as a teen. Of course, survival skills have been a passion of mine for more than 30 years, and I have never failed to honor and appreciate the ways of my Native American ancestors. When I started hiking and backpacking as a teenager, I really started paying attention the one type of character - the master of the outdoors - and that was the ranger. Here was an individual that combined and embodied so many of the disconnected and incongruent things that I loved. Rangers possessed the woodcraft and outdoor skills of a survival expert. They fought like knights and they knew the forest like a Native. Here was everything I loved, all rolled up in one package!

Now, jump forward 2019. Thanks to the support, encouragment and help of many friends, I have built a "ranger training program" from the wilderness surival and self-reliance topics that I love (and routinely teach at my woodland camp). We ran our very first Ranger School on June 13-14, 2020 and had a great time!        

This event kicked off a series of weekend classes, packed with all the hands-on skills that a ranger would need in the wild.

Course Description:

  • Learn how to build wilderness shelters, how to safely procure water & disinfect it (plus how to make a "gypsy well")
  • Fire making 
  • Foraging, tree identification and a medicinal plant hike
  • Campfire cooking and a Saturday night feast
  • Perception skills
  • Martial skills, including archery and lessons in self-defense from a professional instructor
  • Special theme content 
  • Last but not least, we will include some fantasy-style fighting.


To make the retreats feel fully immersive into the world of the ranger, we're requiring "ranger type" clothing and encouraging period camping gear (like lean-tos and canvas tents) to complete the aesthetic. Loaner garb will be available for the first few who need it. Space is limited. Questions are welcome.

Be a ranger for the weekend!


Event Update

We had a great time at our first two pilot events, June 13-14 and September 5-6 of 2020, and are looking forward to the next installment of Ranger School.

For better weather and to offer a more polished event, we have decided to offer Ranger School twice in 2021 (in the spring and fall) rather than four per year. 

We are postponing the December 12-13, 2020 event in favor of running the next Ranger Schools on April 17-18 and October 2-3 of 2021. 



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