Pack-Based Budget Bushcraft Starting Fall 2017

Pack-Based Budget Bushcraft

The popular Budget Bushcraft class is back for 2017. This time around, Budget Bushcraft will focus on the bushcraft pack. Students will be encouraged to operate out of a minimalist pack over the course of the weekend for a more “in-touch” experience with the outdoors. The objective of this change is to prepare students for advanced travel in the backcountry where resupply (i.e. walking back to a car or house) is not possible. What does this change? Well, instead of doing multiple trips back to nearby parked vehicles, the goal is to have everything needed within the pack carried. There will be a lot of self-discovery but little self-suffering. Students will learn what they can get by with and what is unnecessary weight. No one will be deprived of water, food, shelter or other necessities.  What doesn’t change? The quality of instruction, the number of teaching hours Kevin will provide students, students providing their own food and of course, the weekend of instruction is only $99. Yes, $99 if you are unfamiliar with this event.

Fiddleback Forge Bush Hermit and Fuzz Stick

A fuzz stick AKA feather stick will challenge your knife skills.

Bushcraft is about being able to adapt to your environment. Instead of bringing equipment from the outside world to camp, instructors and students will utilize what is available in the surrounding woods.There will be a lot of carving and woodcraft with knives, saws and hatchets. For 2017, students will build various tarp shelters, one natural materials “group shelter”, bannock (what EWE course would be complete without it?), a camp kitchen with natural utensils, and much more. Each Budget Bushcraft is different and there have been many students who have taken the course multiple times as there is always something new to learn. Even the EWE Associate Instructors learn each time they are in attendance.

EWE Associate Instructors

EWE Associate Instructors Lt. Mike and Big John

The following is a list of gear suggested by Kevin for this training event originally posted to Facebook. Students are encouraged to modify and adapt this to their individual needs.

A basic packing list will follow but for now plan on having
1. A knife or a collection of cutting tools (knife, saw, Swiss Army)
2. Water bottle and metal nesting cup
3. Fire starter (3/8″ ferro rod and tinder)
4. 6’x8′ or larger tarp
5. 50′ paracord and a roll of jute twine
6. Flashlight/headlamp
7. Whistle and mirror (to be carried at all times)
8. First Aid Kit
9. Compass (need not be high-end)
10. Food and drink (Go with Mt. House if you want to pack light)

Budget Bushcraft Food

Heavy Cover Titanium Canteen, Center-Line Systems Mother Canteen Pouch and Mountain House Food. Camp life luxuries!

Misc. Gear
Pack a good notepad, pen, camera to scribe what you learn. Appropriate clothing for the weather is obviously important. Since we will be camping out, a 20 degree bag and CLOSED CELL sleeping pad is recommended. Treat clothes and sleeping bag with Permethrin and use bug dope on yourself when you’re there. Bring anything you want to test but don’t pack too heavy. We’ll add more to this list as the date nears.”

There will be very limited gear to share. Students who participate in this course should show up prepared with the basics.

The first Pack-Based Budget Bushcraft is kicking off on September 15 through 17, 2017 near Illion, NY.  Please E-mail to sign up. More information about this course is available on the Estela Wilderness Education Facebook Page under Events.

See you there!

Please Note: Kevin recently passed 100 published magazine articles and the demand for his work is growing. As a result, the courses he offers have been drastically cut back to focus on writing. Also, due to limited availability, spaces are limited on courses and courses fill up quickly. Should you want to hire Kevin for private or group instruction, please contact him at 

Estela Wilderness Education is Alaska Bound

Alaskan Flag

Alaskan Flag courtesy of NPS.GOV

Alaskan Survival Expedition 2016

This summer, Estela Wilderness Education is headed to Alaska to pair up with Mark Knapp of Mark Knapp Custom Knives for an extended hungting/fishing/survival float trip on the Sag River. Along the way, Kevin will be testing and reviewing equipment for various companies, hunting and fishing for wild game and taking photographs/journaling the experience for upcoming articles. Mark Knapp is a seasoned Alaskan hunting guide and has planned an exciting adventure highly anticipated by Kevin and the publications he writes for.

Mark and Kevin met at BLADE show in 2015 and after Mark discussed the idea of testing the 1911 Combat Survivor in the field, he suggested Kevin visit. Kevin accepted the offer and has been planning the trip since. Since agreeing to coming to Alaska, Kevin has put the Combat Survivor Bowie through some intense testing and evaluation (soon to be an article for a major magazine in May). Both Kevin and Mark will use their skill sets in the field to present the most honest field test of a knife possible. Some major names in the outdoor industry have agreed to support this trip through providing equipment for Kevin and Mark to use along the way. The editors of the magazines Kevin writes for have also expressed interest in a number of articles inspired by this adventure and experience.

Map of Alaska

Map of Alaska accessed from

The trip insertion will be on the Sagavanirktok River on an unnamed lake after meeting up in Fairbanks. They will float in a 13’ inflatable to pipeline haul road at pump station 3 where they will be extracted. Transportation will be by Brooks Range Aviation.  Gear selection will be critical as space will be limited and there is no room for failure along the way.

Alaska is considered to be the final frontier in the United States and there are many places in the state that have never seen a footprint. At this time of year, the sunlight extends long into the night. The expression, “land of the midnight sun” is appropriate for this reason. The weather will range from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit but that can quickly change as weather extremes are possible in Alaska. Another consideration in this region of the state is bear safety. Alaska is home to the highest concentration of brown bear and Kevin and Mark will be traveling through this territory very carefully.

There is more to come about this trip in the months that follow. More details will be published and equipment lists posted. Keep up with Kevin’s readiness planning on his social media On Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @estelawilded

1911 Custom Knife Survival Bowie

Mark Knapp Custom Knives Combat Survivor from BLADE Show 2015

Corporate Sponsors (Providing Equipment):
Buffalo Bore Ammunition
Buffalo Wool Company
Mark Knapp Custom Knives
Mountain House Foods
Quantum Reels
Schmidt Bender
SIG Sauer
St. Croix Rods
Tactical Solutions
Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST)
Vortex Optics
Watershed Bags

3rd Annual Wilderness and Wellness Field Day


Kevin Estela Advanced Fieldcraft Graduates

EWE Owner/Head Instructor Kevin Estela with the 2015 Advanced Fieldcraft graduates.

This event is coming back and it is even bigger and better than years before! CHECK THIS PAGE FREQUENTLY AS EVENTS ARE BEING UPDATED REGULARLY!

The Wilderness and Wellness Field Day is designed to bring like-minded individuals together from various skill sets to share their knowledge with each other and the public. Both wilderness skills and wellness activities will be presented by numerous guest instructors. Indian Rock Nature Preserve is the perfect setting for skills such as paddle boarding, atlatl throwing, yoga, hiking, fishing lessons, farm demonstrations, canoeing and kayaking and much much more.

Indian Rock Nature Preserve

The Wilderness and Wellness Field Day will take place at 501 Wolcott Road in Bristol, CT on Oct. 3rd

The Wilderness and Wellness Field Day is a fundraiser for the Estela Wilderness Education Fund at the Main Street Community Foundation. This designated Fund was designed to make scholarships available to send underprivileged children to ELCCT programs each year. As of January 2015, just shy of 3 years since it’s establishment, the fund was deemed permanent and will begin making “campership” money available to deserving children.

Martial arts at the ELCCT

Martial Arts as presented by Sifu Chris Smith and Jessie Miele at the Wilderness and Wellness Field Day in 2014.

The event is open to the public, family friendly and appropriate for all ages.  Seminars will be running all day and participants are encouraged to attend multiple or simply walk the grounds to see what the ELCCT has to offer. This event is held RAIN OR SHINE  as ample space is available indoors and out and there is no rain date. Chance giveaways and other surprises are guaranteed!

Flint and steel at the ELCCT

Where there is smoke, there is fire! Flint and steel firestarting with Vern Hussey is back this year!

Date and Time:
OCTOBER 3rd, 2015
10am to 3 pm.

Indian Rock Nature Preserve
501 Wolcott Road
Bristol, CT 06010

Cost of Admission:

Martial Arts
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Birds of Prey
Situational Awareness Training
Emergency “Go Bags”
African Photo Safari Exhibit
Atlatl throwing
Barn Yard Animals
Reptile Exhibit
Open hiking trails

Chasing Rambo in Hope, British Columbia

Everyone has that movie. The one that catches our attention and the one we know all the words to. The one that we are compelled to watch on television regardless of how many times we’ve seen it before and how annoyed others are in the room when we anticipate what happens again and again. The movie that takes us right back to childhood and early memories of playing like the star(s) in it. For some, a visit to a Planet Hollywood restaurant may satisfy our interests by seeing props used in production. For others, there may be a wax exhibit at Madame Toussaud’s we can pose next to. Others still will chat about their movie online hashtagging key words or movie language only fans understand. Me? I’m taking a different approach 30 something years later. My movie was First Blood and I plan on chasing the history of Rambo around the woods in British Columbia.


The MCE2 is the Survival Knife provided by Martin Knives for the Estela Wilderness Education Trip to Hope, BC 2015

In April 2015, I am traveling to Hope, British Columbia to the exact filming locations of the movie First Blood. First Blood was the movie my father and I watched together over and over and after a trip to Northern Washington State this past fall, I realized how close I was to the exact location where my childhood movie was filmed. After touring part of the state with my good friend Guro Martin Gonzales of USMAA I decided I had to come  back and I started planning this trip before my return flight landed in Connecticut. As a modern day Survival Instructor, I intend to address some of the needs of the protagonist, John Rambo, putting my spin on the skills and gear used. The Rambo series is one of the reasons I developed my passion for training and teaching wilderness survival skills. While friends picked up American sports like baseball and football, I played in the dirt and prodded my father to teach me the skills he knew. Over the years, my passion grew stronger and my knowledge deepened. The film is one of the reasons I eventually spent summers working as a professional Survival Instructor and years collecting, using, testing and reviewing knives. Going to Hope, BC will give me a new understanding and appreciation of the film that reached the 5 year old me 30 something years ago.

Circa 1985 Kevin playing like Rambo with a toy M16. Note the sling made from his father's robe belt.

Circa 1985 Kevin playing like Rambo with a toy M16. Note the sling made from his father’s robe belt.

I know I’m not Rambo and I have no delusion or fantasy that I am. The last time I “played like Rambo” was when I was a little kid. I’m like many of you reading this, just one of the many fans of this film from a particular generation. Don’t expect me to push a fishhook through my arm or make my knife into a torch by wrapping it in oily rags. Expect real skills and a real perspective on how First Blood would be different if done today. I will recreate some of the skills and see how the filming locations have changed since 1982. All the while, I will be on a high Rambo franchise fans can surely understand. This is a high I plan on sharing through all my social media outlets and this website.

Young Kevin with Rambo

A very young Kevin with his inseparable Rambo action figure.

This trip will be possible due in large part to the generosity of Hank Martin of for providing me one of their First Blood/Lile inspired MCE2 knife to carry while in the field. It is an updated knife featuring a S35VN steel blade and the hollow handle construction is proprietary resulting in a near indestructible joint. Since first telling Hank of this trip back in October, he has been very supportive and on board from the get go. Additionally, while some of the information about the movie is available online, Scott Hardy of  gave me great local information and may even meet me out in BC to revisit the sites he spent so much time finding initially.  I have never met Scott but after speaking with him on the phone once, it is really interesting to note how two total strangers can strike it off so great connected by a common interest in the film. Also praise worthy is Regan Greenard, Herve Attia and rest of the community at the First Blood 1982 Movie page on Facebook for your support and knowledge. Of course, all my friends and family who support my endeavors are not to be left out.

First Blood Autographed

An autographed copy of First Blood given to Kevin by his sister Wendy for Christmas 2014. This novel would inspire the screenplay of the same name.

If you or someone you know may be interested in following this trip more closely, I suggest you keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook. That account information is below. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for some time now. Hope you will share in my excitement.

Follow this trip by following me on Twitter: @EstelaWildEd as well as on my Facebook page for Estela Wilderness Education,

Have Skills, Will Travel!

Since starting Estela Wilderness Education in 2011, I’ve traveled around the country and overseas to teach skills, review equipment and document adventures. Just this year alone, I’ve been to every state in New England, Georgia, California, Norway, Costa Rica, Washington, Pennsylvania and still have a couple other places to travel to before the end of the year. I’ve logged thousands of miles to bring my blend of mental and physical training to a diverse group of students and audience through courses and in written pieces. Logistically, travel like this can be a nightmare as overweight bags and restrictions limit what I can carry on board aircraft but with proper planning it is absolutely manageable resulting in highly effective and really fun training. With the end of 2014 in sight, I am starting to plan training opportunities for 2015 and lining up my calendar to reach further and a larger audience.

Mt. Baker Washington

Scouting trip to Mount Baker in Washington State Oct. 2014

If you are in search of quality survival instruction and truly customized courses to fit your needs, look no further. Whether large group or private format, you will find you receive top value in the services I offer. Repeat clients are proof of the satisfaction received by working with me. Often, my rate including travel is less expensive than local options. In 2015, I will begin offering new courses based on articles I’ve written for the magazines and websites I’m affiliated with. Furthermore, if you are looking for writing services, I will travel to your location and put in real journalistic legwork to make sure your product, service or subject is featured as it should be, professionally.

In short, there is no distance too far and no challenge I will not consider.  Estela Wilderness Education has been running courses locally but is shifting focus in 2015. My schedule fills up very quickly and reservations are on a first come, first serve basis.  For more details on rates and packages, please E-mail me at or call (860) 214-3629.

Thank you for making 2014 another great year!



Emergency Overnight Course at Gossman Knives March 29-30, 2014

The “Bearded One” hosts Estela Wilderness Education

The popular Emergency Overnight Survival Course is coming to Gossman Knives in Whiteford, Maryland in March 2014. This course is designed to challenge outdoorsmen of all levels. Learn the essential skills to stay alive during an emergency bivouac situation. The complete course description can be found here

Estela Polaris Field Knife

Kevin Estela’s Polaris Field Knife

What makes this course different than previous offerings is the fact it is being hosted by my good friend Scott Gossman. Scott is the master craftsman behind Gossman Knives. I’ve known Scott since 2005 and I own a number of his blades. Scott is the reason my 2 blade designs the “Polaris Field Knife” and the “Estela/Gossman Bolo” were taken from sketches to reality. His knives have been endorsed by many authorities in the outdoors community and they are highly sought after. Scott is one of the few knifemakers out there who is actually a knife user. He will have various blades on hand for people to handle and purchase. Scott’s website is

As a bonus for anyone who attends this course, Scott is extending a 10% discount on his knives. Furthermore, if you are a Gossman knife owner and use  knife on this course, I’m extending a 10% discount on the cost of the course. Think about the savings and the unique experience of using one of Scott’s survival knives on a survival course.

Estela/Gossman Bolo

The Estela/Gossman Bolo on a river trip in the summer of 2010 NH/ME.

Anyone interested in this course should print out the registration form on the contact page of this website and mail it to me with a 50% deposit prior to the event. The balance can be paid upon arrival. This course has a limited enrollment and spots are already filling up. Don’t miss out on this excellent opportunity to train!

The cost of the course is $150 per person.

2nd Annual Wilderness and Wellness Field Day at the Indian Rock Nature Preserve

IMG_03882nd Annual Wilderness  and Wellness Field Day Fundraiser at Indian Rock Nature Preserve

Where?: Indian Rock Nature Preserve in Bristol, CT

When?: October 4th, 2014 from 10 am to 3 pm

What?: A Field Day with presenters, vendors, games and activities

Why?: To benefit the Estela Wilderness Education Fund at the Main Street Community Foundation

Who?: YOU! and the public are welcome to attend for a minimum donation of$5 which covers cost of admission and access to the various activities

Nature Walk at Indian Rock, Estela Wilderness Education

Will you help bring education to the next generation?

The Wilderness and Wellness Field Day is designed to bring like-minded individuals together to share their knowledge with each other and the public. Both wilderness skills and wellness activities will be presented by numerous guest instructors. Indian Rock Nature Preserve is the perfect setting for skills such as edible and medicinal plant walks, fishing lessons, canoeing and kayaking and much much more.


-Kevin Estela of Estela Wilderness Education (teaching Lost Proofing)
-Marty Simon of the Wilderness Learning Center presenting 2 plant walks (1.5 hrs each)
-Rebecca Ferarro of Breathe and Flow Yoga (All level Yoga)
-Mountain Biking  and Bike Field Repairs with John O. of Biker’s Edge
-Mark Enie of Primo Adventures covering African Photo Safaris and Adventures
-Martial Arts with Sifu Chris Smith of IMBCT
-Ham Radio with Bristol C.E.R.T.
-Bristol Police Explorers
-POST University booth for post secondary education options in related fields.
-Indian Rock Related Activities including Farm Animals and Orchards

Food can be purchased on site and there will be an hour-long lunch break built in where no presentations will be missed and attendees will have the chance to meet and greet the various presenters from around the Northeast.

Kevin teaching friction fire skills in 2013 at the ELCCT

Kevin teaching friction fire skills in 2013 at the ELCCT

This field day is a fundraiser for the Estela Wilderness Education Fund. The fund was established to help send children to the environmental education programs offered by the Environmental Learning Center of Connecticut at Indian Rock and Barnes Nature Center. All financial contributions collected go directly to the fund.

Marty Simon conducting a plant walk at Indian Rock in 2013

Marty Simon conducting a plant walk at Indian Rock in 2013

Anyone or any group interested in being a presenter can contact Kevin at or (860) 214-3629


Main classroom building at Indian Rock Nature Center

Check back frequently as this page will be  updated frequently!


Indian Rock Pond, Estela Wilderness Education

Indian Rock Pond











See you on October 4th, 2014!


Traditional Shelter and Camp on Site, Estela Wilderness Education

Traditional Shelter and Camp on Site