Escape the Woods Survival Challenge, We Did It!

Posted: November 24, 2015 in All Others, SHTF Preparedness, Survival and Skills

Part of the staff at BYP-US had the chance to go to the Escape the Woods Survival Challenge held in Delaware Ohio, 7 and 8 November and all they could say was WOW, what a great time they had.

Escape the Woods Survival Challenge

The event was held on the back side of the Boy Scouts of America’s Camp Lazarus, a great location with all the resource’s that where needed to support the training of those who participated.  And yes, they got to meet and train with Creek Stewart plus several other well-known survival instructors during the 2 day event.  Even the weather provided a challenge during the event, but we will talk more about that later.

First let’s look at what Escape the Woods Survival Challenge is.  If you check the website you will find the challenge “is a two person survival team challenge designed to provide world class survival training and then test those skills in a head to head competition.  You will start your weekend by spending all daySaturday learning new skills from Creek and his approved team of trainers and then test those skills on Sunday with a full day of head to head competition with the other participants. Creek is the host of the original series Fat Guys in the Woods on the Weather Channel, author of 4 books and a lifelong student of survival skills.  Then you will have a chance to prove it by putting your newly learned skills to the test against the other team to earn points and collect clues to win your share of the more than $1,000 of prizes. You can also win a cool prize by creating the best video of your day.”   And that was just what occurred.

The participants (around 30 to 40 of them) were broken down into 4 groups and rotated to go through the training pods throughout Saturday.  However, the day started with the needed Safety and First Aid classes, which is always wise.  Our people started in the Fire Pod and where lucky enough to have Creek leading that pod.


Without giving too much away, Creek and the staff of assistant instructors and trainers walked each one through several different methods of basic fire starting.  From discussing the fire trinity of the ignition source, fuel and oxygen to several of the more common and even a couple of the geewiz methods of making fire, each where discussed, demonstrated by Creek and then each of the participants attempted until successful with (if needed) the aid of the assistant instructors and trainers.  As an added bonus, Dave Howard from season 1 of Fat Guys in the Woods was also at the fire block to assist the students. After 2 hours of fire training, a short “prove it” contest was held, using one of the newly obtained fire skills for the students.  The winners not only received bragging rights, but also some pretty nice prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

After the fire block of training, everyone had a short break for lunch, which also served as a chance to get to know each other more.  It was quite amazing to see how far some people came to take part.  The furthest people that our guys met was a couple from Kansas who drove all night to be there.  Our hats are off those people and all those who are willing to do what is necessary for them to gain those skills.

After a great meal, it was on to the water block.  The group of students made their way down toward a small flat area by the creek that ran through the property to the water training area.  The instructors and trainers again used the crawl, walk, run method of training and finished the block of training with a contest for the students.  However, this time the BYP-US crew did place in the contest. Again, the information presented during the instruction was great and covered not only the how, but also the why water is so important during a survival situation.  Remember, the Rule of 3’s.  You can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  Short of air, water is a basic survival need.

Next on the agenda was the shelter block.  At the shelter block they started with the basic part of a shelter, knots.  Most survival shelters start with knots, learning and knowing knots will aid you well no matter what the situation, survival or prepping.  Once again the instructors and trainers provided one on one instruction to those who needed it and one of our staff definitely needed the personnel touch. Several knots where demonstrated that would assist you in shelter building and other endeavors and the students were given plenty of time to learn and practice.  At the block the group was broken down to two person teams for the contest.  This contest was again challenging for everyone and once again the staff came through and placed in the top three.  Sweet!

During the final portion of the shelter block the instructors discussed and several types of shelters that were exhibited in the area.  Keeping with the theme of the weekend the shelters on display where those type of shelters one would find in a survival situation.  From the simple constructed impromptu poncho shelter to the more elaborate debris shelter, each shelter’s pros and cons where addressed.  What was interesting, is that several of the shelters were being used by either the staff of the event or some of the Boy Scouts who were also in camp for the weekend.

At the completion of the shelter block, the group moved to the food block.  The primary instructor for the food block was survival instructor Clint Jivoin from Naked and Afraid season 1 and former instructor at Creek Stewart’s Willow Haven Outdoor.  This block of instruction took the students from basic trapping techniques to improvised bow through plant identification.  Again, like the other blocks of instructions, this block as also very hands-on and allowed the students to a greater understanding of those skills demonstrated.  And once a again, the block concluded with what was a wicked contest.  But that’s enough about that, we don’t want to give too much away.

Once the contest was concluded, training was finish for the day, and it was time for fellowship and the evening meal.  The evening was finished off with a big bonfire, which apparently was a little difficult to light but eventually did it after several attempts and trips to the hay pile.  Creek entertained all with an impromptu question and answer session with the crowd and gave several hints to what is coming next for not only him but also Willow Haven Outdoors.  As the fire died out, everyone slowly drifted away to their respective tents to bed down for the cold night.

As the sun rose the next morning so did the camp.  Again, a hearty meal was served to all as the sun began to warm the camp.  After chow the entire group was brought together for a bow drill class instructed by Creek & Clint.  With the instructor to student ratio as high as it was, there was almost an assistant instructor per group.  Each student was given the materials to construct a bow drill set and was provided instruction on how to finish out the kit.  As Clint demonstrated the steps that he uses to make fire with a bow kit, Creek and the rest of the instructors ensured that everyone was keeping pace.  Once Clint blew his tender bundle into flame, it was on!  Everyone was carving, drilling & whittling their own bow set, and preparing to grow an ember.  As much as possible, Creek provided everyone with a bit of personnel instruction or encouragement to ensure that success was obtainable for all.  Creek really began to let his true colors show, when a young man and his father where having a bit a trouble getting the hang of the bow drill.  Creek spent quite a bit of time giving the young man some personal instruction making sure that he not only got the hang of the bow drill, but also some up close Creek time.  The staff couldn’t figure out who enjoyed it more the young man or Creek.

On a sad note, this was the end of the day for our staff.  An injury that was occurred before our staff arrived on-site, precluded our staff from participating the in the rest of the day.  However, I’m sure there was some stiff competition among all those who participated in the rest of the planned activities.

As for the Escape the Woods Survival Challenge, it’s a great event for all ages and skill levels.  No matter if you’re a first timer or an old hand at these skills, there is always something to be learned.  The support staff did an outstanding job ensuring that every detail was taken care of allowing the participants the maximum amount of time to training and enjoy the weekend.

The bottom line is that we highly recommend the Escape the Woods Survival Challenge to everyone who wants to learn and enjoy some great fellowship!

More information can be found at the following link:



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