Celebrating a decade of world class instruction

EST. 2008


The best train with the best...

We are here to get you ready for the real thing. All courses are led by former first responders, veterans, or our instructor program, graduates. Our training is not based on what you'll find in all the same old survival manuals or YouTube videos. It's based on real world experience, in extreme climates and terrains- globally. This is why 3 branches of the United States Military have chosen us for training, and we hope you and your family (yes we have training for all ages and skill levels) do as well.


OUR Locations

We now have locations across California, from Chico to San Diego. Each location was selected to provide optimum training value and student access. 

      *Big Bear/Angelus Oaks (Southern Ca National Forest)     *Monrovia Canyon Park, CA (Los Angeles County)         *La Honda, Ca (Bay Area)     *Lake Concow (Chico Area)

Your expert delivery of lifesaving information will undoubtedly benefit VX-31 and staff for years to come. Again, accept my personal thanks for a job well done.
— Commanding Officer, VX-31, United States Navy

America's Most Elite Cadre Of Survival Instructors

TCSS QUalified Instructor List

 experience, training, and qualifications

(updatED Regularly)

 Instructor/Founder: Thomas Coyne

*6 Years of Fire/Rescue Experience   *Former Firefighting Helicopter Crew Member (HELITACK)  *EMT                                  *Helicopter Rescue Team Member   *Helicopter Rappeller   *Search & Rescue Technician   *Fire Crew Squad Leader   *Confined Space Rescue   *Techinical Ropes Rescue   *Swift Water Rescue Technician   *HAZMAT Operations   *Dunker trained (emergency aircraft underwater egress)   *Member of the helicopter rescue team for the first civilian space shuttle launches (X Prize Launches, 2003)   *Trained in the ICS & NIMS Disaster Management Systems   *Has provided training to; US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Center Instructors, US Navy Helicopter Search & Rescue & Special Warfare, US Air Force Special Operations, The US Dept of Defense, The California Department of Justice, and many more


Lead Instructor: Justin Garfield

*US Marine Corps Veteran   *US Coast Guard Auxillery Veteran   *EMT   *Physical Security Specialist   *Critical Skills Course Instructor Program Alumni   *Justin has served as a combat lifesaver program (battlefield first aid) instructor to the "Peshmerga" Kurds of northern Iraq, and has trained soldiers and law enforcement from around the globe   *Justin has trained extensively with Ed Calderon of the legendary "Ed's Manifesto" in counter custody and anti-terrorism techniques


Lead Instructor: USAF Sergeant Joseph Hernandez

*Active duty US Air Force Technical Sergeant with 15 years service *Former F-15E Weapons Loader *Skills Instructor Program Graduate *Combat Veteran, 2 tours in Afghanistan, 1 tour in Iraq  *Awarded 2 USAF Commendation Medals, 3 USAF Achievement Medals  *Certified Health and Safety Official *OSHA Outreach Trainer *US Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer Academy Graduate *Combat and Wilderness First Aid Trained *Aircraft crash investigator *Joseph has helped trained aircrew, special operations and intel specialists as a USAF Augmentee SERE Instructor *Joe has been the Military And Survival Consultant for TV and an OCR race

Lead Instructor: Carl Eather

*Professional Lead Ship's Engineer    *Mountaineering Instructor   *TCSS Survival Expedition Alumni   *TCSS Field Instructor Program Graduate   *Mountaineering Guide   *TCSS Alaska Field & Skills Course Graduate & Instructor   *International outdoor adventurer who has spent decades exploring the world's most remote outdoor destinations.

 Primitive Skills & Stone Knapping Instructor: Gary Pickett

Gary Pickett is a nationally respected stone tool maker (knapper) and has been teaching his craft for over 20 years. But what we really love about him is his heart of gold. In his daily life, he is a program coordinator for "New Advances For People With Disabilities" where he works with mentally handicapped youth. He has trained US Air Force, US Navy, & Department of Defense personnel on our courses, and has been with us since 2010.

Instructor Program Graduates:

Skills Instructor: Al Quintero

Critical Skills Course Instructor: Anderson Hailey

 Field Instructor: Giovanni Paolo

Wilderness First Aid Instructor: Jade Stone

Field Instructor: Adam Mayfield

Field Instructor: Canaan DellaVechia

Field Instructor: Ajani Fida

Field Instructor: Alex Hjelviik


Did you know? Lead instructors and/or owners at several California area survival schools (many of whom refer to themselves as California's #1 or premier school) have sought our training before either teaching at, or opening their schools for business. Make the same choice they did- train here, train hard.



  • US Marine Corps: Mountain Warfare Training Center Survival Instructors & Sniper Instructors

  • US Navy: Search & Rescue, EOD/Special Warfare

  • US Air Force: EOD/Special Operations

  • United States Department of Defense

  • History Channel

  • Discovery Channel

  • Craftsman Tools

  • California Dept. of Justice

  • Facebook

  • The Desert Institute @ Joshua Tree National Park

  • Women In The Outdoors ("WITO" is America's largest women's outdoor organization)

  • Stanford University Vaden Mental Health Services

  • LAPD (Los Angeles Police Dept.)

  • Buzzfeed

  • Ford Motors

  • Regal Cinemas (Regal Entertainment Group)

  • CNN

  • Palm Springs PD

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff

  • and we hope you are next!

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