You finally want to know which plants are actually edible? How you can survive outside without a sleeping bag in an emergency situation? How to make fire in the rain and without a lighter? Then you should read on – because I have compiled a list of 19 outdoor and survival providers in Switzerland, who offer courses ranging from taster days for beginners to annual training for (budding) experts. All this is complemented by 6 tips from my experience, what you should look for when choosing.
Trial day or survival tailoring?
Before we get to the full list below, I’d like to make a few recommendations about providers I have experience with or find exciting. If you are new to the topic of outdoor and survival, you will certainly be happy with a trial day or weekend such as those offered by Oase Survival oder Swiss Survival Training. Here, questions are addressed such as: “What is most important: Food? Protection from the elements? Water?” or “What do I do if I get lost?” STOP is the answer, by the way, but you’ll learn what that means exactly in a class 😉
If, on the other hand, you already have experience and know that the outdoors is your thing (and that ticks don’t scare you), then perhaps a year-long training program like the one at Oase Survival might be something for you. Or you can deepen your knowledge in special courses such as Survival Tailoring at Survival Outdoor Schule SOS or bow making from NaturLeben.
Providers at a glance
Honestly: The list became much longer than I thought! In order not to overwhelm you with all the Excel tables, you can find the list with the providers in Switzerland that are known to me at the end of this article. It contains current prices, max. number of participants (as far as known) and course locations. With this button you can also download the whole thing as a pdf, if you want to save it locally. I recommend this especially to anyone who is reading this on a mobile screen – because Excel spreadsheets on a mobile are just not sexy…
Six tips for choosing a provider
From my own experience I can say that the providers differ greatly. Who thinks that he/she has learned with one and therefore can learn nothing more with another, is definitely wrong 😉 And not only the contents differ strongly, but also the orientations of the “forest masters”. Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing your outdoor training. By the way, this applies especially, but not only, to annual trainings.
1. teaching or learning?
First the basic question – do you want to learn the skills for yourself or is your goal to be able to teach the contents to others later? If it is about your own knowledge, I can recommend from my own experience e.g. Oase Survival or Swiss Survival Training. If you are more pedagogically oriented, you are well served by Planoalto and NaturLeben. I don’t know the other providers personally, so it’s best to check out their websites for yourself.
2. The more the merrier? Group size
There are huge differences here. Between 5 and 30 participants are taught depending on the provider – in the latter case, these large groups are divided into smaller subgroups. If you prefer small groups, you are in good hands with Oase Survival or Swiss Survival Training. There, a maximum of 10 people are taught. If large groups don’t bother you, or if that’s what you prefer, then Planoalto and NaturLeben are for you. You can also find the group sizes in the provider overview.
3. mindfulness or crisis scenario?
There are different currents in outdoor training. Some come from the so-called “prepper scene”, where the focus is more on emergency scenarios and crises and corresponding skills in handling such survival situations are in the foreground. Others can be located more in the area of mindfulness to spiritual connections with the world – many move in between. So if you are looking for hard skills, you will probably not be happy with such a provider, and if you are looking for a connection to nature, the simple learning of skills may not be enough. Personally, I experienced the annual training at Oase Survival as a perfect mixture of both – nature connection and skills in combination.
4. same same but different – contents of the courses
Paddle training or bow making? The contents of the annual training courses of the individual providers differ in part considerably from each other. Therefore, I strongly recommend comparing different offers and choosing the one that covers most of your own interests.
5. where the heck is that?! Training locations
Sounds like a no-brainer, but the offers of outdoor schools are partly scattered all over Switzerland and it is not always clear where the modules of the training will take place. In any case, it’s worth checking this out in advance – if you have to travel 4 hours for every course, you might be fed up after just a few months…!
6. get to know your instructors
If you spend a year with one or more instructors, you should feel comfortable with him or her. Sounds logical, doesn’t it? Most of them offer information evenings where you can ask all your questions and find out whether you feel comfortable with the teacher.
And what's next?
If you choose the Planoalto offer, you could then take the federal exam to become a hike leader. Another way to get there is the training through the Swiss Mountain Guide Association. The good thing is – if you pass the exam, you get 50% of the training costs reimbursed – by the way, regardless of whether you pass. At Planoalto, for example, that would be just under CHF 7000! Worth considering, isn’t it? You can also read more about it here.
I hope you found my overview of outdoor and survival courses in Switzerland helpful. I’m happy if you recommend my work or leave me a comment about other providers that I could add to my list!
Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and is based on my own experience. I completed a year’s training at Oase Survival and attended individual courses at Swiss Survival Training and NaturLeben. The pictures shown were all taken by me.
Appendix – all trainings in table format
Here you can find the complete lists of providers in Switzerland. Please note that these lists have no claim to completeness, but are constantly supplemented if I find new offers. Since prices etc. fluctuate again and again, no guarantee for the mentioned data is taken over. Please check individually the pages of the providers themselves.
Below is a list of all the annual trainings that I know of in Switzerland. The group sizes are staggered as follows:
Small: < 10 people, Medium: 11-20 people, Large: > 20 people.
Below are individual courses for beginners and advanced students that I know of in Switzerland.
And here you have again the possibility to download the whole thing as Pdf:
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