Dave and Amy Freeman
Explorers (and 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year) Dave and Amy Freeman have traveled over 30,000 miles by kayak, canoe and dogsled through some of the world’s wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. The Freemans also run the Wilderness Classroom, an educational nonprofit organization that introduces kids to wild places throughout the world. They actively engage thousands of elementary and middle school students in their expeditions through www.wildernessclassroom.org, video conferencing and live school programs. When Dave and Amy aren’t on expeditions or speaking tours, they guide canoe, kayak and dogsledding trips near Grand Marais and Ely, MN.
It all started when he was at wilderness camp in Northern Alberta Canada. He had just turned 11, this 'old guy' with a beret on his head and a thick beard shows up. He starts off by whipping up a pack frame with 3 sticks, throws it on he's back and and takes them on a two hour hike that would change he's life forever. On that hike that "old guy" must have showed them over hundred amazing things about the bush. He had them smell it , feel it, taste it and share it's secrets. It was like a veil had been pulled back and he would never look at the bush the same again.
That was over forty years ago and since then he has followed a lifelong quest to learn, experience and spend as much time in the wilderness as possible. Mors Kochanski jokes that he is longest and oldest student.
He has canoed, backpacked, fished, hunted, skied and snowshoed throughout Canada. Ran a trapline for two years . Prospected and staked a claim when he was 17 and placer mined for two summers. Married he's High School sweet heart moved to Slave Lake in the far North. Raised two wonderful children.Started and ran Wildside Wilderness Connection - instructing wilderness skills, survival and kayak and canoe trips.
At some point he stumbled across a copy of "Bushcraft" . He went out and tried items shown in the book. Everything worked and worked well. In the photo supplement there was an old fella with a beard and a beret. Nah.. it couldn't be....A few phone call's to confirm suspicions. Before he knew it he had he's book signed and a few summer and winter courses with Mors under he's belt. He started to instruct winter and summer courses with Mors and Randy at Karamat Wilderness Ways.
- Watching he's wife and children realize their dreams
- Doing adventures as a family ( Mountain biking in Moab, surfing in Costa Rica etc.)
- Every other year for the past 18 years wilderness white water canoe trip.
- In 2010 bicycled across Canada with he's wife.
- Active in Search and Rescue
- Lieutenant in the Volunteer Fire Service
- Business entrepreneur
- Bit of a Geek
Kelly Harlton- Karamat Wilderness Ways
Garrett Conover is best known for his years as co–proprietor of North Woods Ways, the classically resonant traditional canoe and snowshoe guiding service leading wilderness trips in Maine, Quebec, and Labrador. In 2008 he started work as one of the Assistant Managers of Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary. Garrett is author of Beyond the Paddle. His most recent book, Kristin’s Wilderness, has won four awards. The Snow Walker’s Companion was co–authored with Alexandra Conover, and is now in its third printing. Garrett lives along the Big Wilson Stream in Maine, a scant few miles and in the same watershed as Borestone Mountain. In addition to co–leading special trips with Alexandra, writing and photography are continuing interests, and Garrett remains in demand as a presenter of North Woods Skills Workshops and Adventure Travel Slideshows where the narration weaves a bit of history, how–to, natural history, and the intrigue of glorious trails.
North Woods Ways
Sam Larson is a wilderness skills instructor from the tropical wonderland of Lincoln, Nebraska. His interest in the outdoors began as a kid while paddling rivers, hunting, and fishing around Nebraska. At age 18 Sam traveled to northern Maine for an immersion program at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School, where he studied and apprenticed under Master Maine Guide Tim Smith. In 2015 he was a participant on season 1 of History's "survival" tv show Alone, where he was the first runner-up. He spends his time as a teacher/naturalist at Pioneer's Park Nature Center and as a writer/instructor for his business, Woodsong Wilderness Leadership School (woodsongwilderness.com). Sam spends his free time reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with his wife and son.
Woodsong Wilderness Leadership School
Now considered one of the experts in outdoor and wilderness skills, is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University (1978- BS Electrical Engineering / MBA- Baldwin Wallace College 1982). While at college he founded the CWRU Outdoors Club where he served as the club’s president for three years, overseeing the club’s growth from 6 participants to over 120 members. For the next 18 years, Tom was employed at the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. as an Engineer for Cleveland’s Industrial and Commercial customers. During this time Tom also became a certified scuba diver, private pilot and enjoyed motorcycle trips to places like the Alaskan tundra and Artic Circle. In 1997 he decided to make a career change and transform his passion of perfecting the self-reliance skills of our nations’ frontiersmen (Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton etc) and the skills of the Native Americans into his livelihood and created Midwest Native Skills.
Tom’s past experience of training with Tom Brown Jr., internationally renowned author, tracker, and other leaders in the primitive skills field like Errette Callahan, Daniel Firehawk, Del Hall, Charles Worsham, Robert Berg, and Ray Reitze gave him a broad base of skills. People like Tom Brown Jr. provided insights into the Apache ways of survival while Master Maine Guide Ray Reitze augmented those skills with those of the Mic-Mac tribes of northern Maine and the Cree Nation of Canada. Field experience, testing and perfecting each learned skills was the key in Tom’s success.
Even today, a majority of Tom’s experience comes from the practical application of going out into the wilderness in every season throughout the year, and putting his skills to the test by applying them, refining them, and testing them again. He believes theory is a good foundation but the practical applications are the true test of real survival knowledge.
For as long as he can remember, Larry has enjoyed the outdoors and the solitude it provides. Growing up, Larry enjoyed hunting, fishing, backpacking and anything else that would allow him to spend time in the woods. After marrying his high school sweetheart at the age of 18, Larry soon switched his focus to starting a family and raising his two kids. Now that his son and daughter have left home, he has refocused his life to the outdoors with a new emphasis on survival and primitive skills. Over the last few years, Larry has taken and taught several survival classes, written articles for a self-reliance magazine, made and uploaded over two hundred videos. Recently, Larry was a participant on the tv show Alone, where he put his skills to the test filming his adventure himself and lasting for 64 days.
Kelly started guiding wilderness canoeing and winter camping trips for the Boy Scouts in 2003.
In 2014, he and some friends completed a 70-mile, 19-day snowshoe and toboggan trip across
the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. Kelly loves exploring the northern woods and waterways in
every season, but finds a special magic in the snow covered time of year. When he is not out on
the trail, Kelly enjoys crafting useful outdoor equipment like longbows, snowshoes, and canoe
Rhonda lives on a tick farm on a lake at the end of the road in da Nort Wuds of Wisconsin. She was the first winner of the "Golden Spatula" award in 2008. She promptly sold the solid gold spatula to "Cash For Gold" and has been living of the proceeds ever since. She has been winter camping for more than 10 years. She hosts the Winter Rendezvous the first weekend in February each year in Northwest Wisconsin.
Brian Gustad recently moved to Duluth in June 2012 to grow his side hobby of leather craft into a full time business. Brian specializes in knife, axe, and tomahawk sheaths as well as other leather outdoor gear. His primary focus is function and durability in his designs. If it does not work exactly as intended, its back to the drawing board. He blends the vintage appeal of leather with the durability and functionality of modern fasteners and materials. His business, Sagewood Gear, has customers from all over the world, such as England, and Australia. When Brian is not in the workshop, he spends his time backpacking, and practicing bushcraft and wilderness living skills
Duane Lottig, an avid winter enthusiast is the owner and founder of Snowtrekker Tents, LLC. He has been designing, manufacturing and selling equipment for the traditional winter camper for over 17 years. His lightweight canvas tents are expedition quality and can be found in use from Alaska to the Arctic regions of Scandinavia and anywhere else it gets cold. Duane continues to create new tent designs and refine his existing ones on a continual basis. 60 years young Duane lives with his wife Margot, his indispensible partner, in Solon Springs, WI. His business started in his garage and continues in his garage to this day.
Duane will be giving a tent tour Saturday afternoon.
Chris Evavold has been making tools and equipment since his start carving cedar canoe paddles back in the mid 80’s. Dogsleds and hand-hauling toboggans are the most widely used of his creations. His sleds have been used all over North America in events like the Iditarod and UP200 as well as sledding loads on caribou hunts in Alaska or Lake Trout trips into the BWCA. “There is nothing more satisfying than making something that has a practical use and is appreciated.” Chris and his wife Ingrid live with their three kids on the Black River (northwest Wisconsin) within earshot of Big Manitou Falls and the coal and taconite train whistles in the river valley. Check out Black River Sleds on the web at
Chris will be teaching a Toboggan Workshop (HDPE) on Sunday morning.
Black River Sleds
Greg Wilcox is the co-founder of Country Ways and for the past twenty-five years has brought us the very best in showshoe kits and finished outdoor equipment.
Greg will be teaching a seminar on snowshoe lacing and repair.
Brian Dallmann AKA "The Iron Chef"
Brian Dallmann is from Owatonna Minnesota. He’s been cooking with Dutch ovens for over 7 years, for groups as large as 30. He is an active member of the International Dutch Oven Society (IDOS) and Lone Star Dutch Oven Society with his Southern MN DOG group. He has given DO cooking demonstrations at state wide events, from Grand Marais to Rochester. The Dutch oven has become a fixture within many of his personal hobby’s, including Winter camping, Blacksmithing, Ham Radio, Competitive Shooting and Curling. His friends who have experienced his DO cooking have given him the nickname “The Iron Chef”.
Scott loves getting outside--no matter the time of year--to explore, enjoy the wild, and test his outdoor skills. He eagerly works to convince others to join in the fun--in hot or cold weather--as he is thoroughly excited to introduce people to the outdoors and the adventure it holds. No stranger to cold weather camping, Scott earned his first "Zero Hero" more than 25 years ago, sleeping in a quinzhee on a frozen lake. An Eagle Scout, he is currently involved in teaching at the BSA's Winter Camping School and Okpik Cold Weather Leader Program, as well as developing and coordinating other advanced outdoor training programs. Scott is also a Registered Maine Guide, and co-owner of Bull Moose Patrol, an outdoor skills and adventure company.
Bull Moose Patrol
Co owner of Cooke Custom Sewing. Winter camper for over 40 years . Leading Winter camping trips into the BWCA since 1974. Mostly ski-tarp camping until making sil nylon hot tent in 2008. With CCS has over 30 years experience designing and sewing winter camping and mushing clothing and sled bags.
Cooke Custom Sewing
Warren Peterson is from Medford, Wisconsin. He's been making knives since 2001 after getting a knife making book from a friend. His specialty is a Scandinavian-style knife, which is a combination of wood, antler, birchbark, and occasionally mammoth tusk, as well as making all leather sheaths or wood, leather, and antler sheath combinations. Warren will also make knives with all wood or antler handles for a more traditional look. His knives are being used throughout the states, with one even making it to Alaska. Warren is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying camping in all the seasons as well as canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing and hunting, fishing, and trapping.
Hans Erdman began snowshoeing with his family in upstate New York at age 14, took up Nordic skiing when he was 16, and started backcountry skiing in 1983 under the tutelage of his mentor, the legendary Wilderness Forest Ranger Peter Fish in the Adirondack Mountains. He is Patrol Director of the Backcountry Trail Patrol Association, a volunteer mountain bike and ski/snowshoe trail safety and service group in northern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, and is the owner and chief instructor of Emergicare Medical Training, Inc. Hans has been an EMT since 1973, Wilderness EMT certified since 1979, and is a former paramedic. He recently retired after 26 years as a ranger, first with the Anoka County (MN) Park Rangers, then as a volunteer backcountry ranger with the US Forest Service and for the past 13 years, the MN DNR State Parks, and now works as EMS Coordinator for the Team Ortho Foundation in Minneapolis. He is certified as a National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP) Instructor and a First Aid and Wilderness Medical Care instructor to the First Responder level. Hans has also been involved in wildland search and rescue (SAR) since 1971, and developed the SAR training manual used by NMBP. Hans enjoys mushing with friends from the Siberian Husky club, and after first trying an early winter “Fat Bike” in 2004, he now rides a Cogburn Outdoors CB4 fat-bike 12 months a year.
Brian’s biggest passion in life is designing, fabricating and constructing effective durable winter camping gear. To him, there is no off season – it’s just the time to be building! Brian is a true do-it-yourselfer and his energy and humor shines through each of his presentations. Whether you want to build it on your own and are looking for his tips or you just want a good laugh, Brian’s seminars are full of entertainment and education.
Kevin is a Penn State graduate, outdoor industry veteran, and lifelong silent sports enthusiast. He cut his teeth working for other companies with the goal of building his own. Now, nestled into a quiet Duluth shop, he draws upon 30 years of experience as designer and athlete, to craft outerwear using traditional textiles that offer timeless performance.
Empire Wool & Canvas Company
Sydney Tanner and Jim Nosker
Sydney Tanner and Jim Nosker are Azen Lodge Outfitters. They’re parents of 10 children, have been cooking together, for groups, for decades. They’ve camped from coast to coast, from the rain forests of Central America to the Arctic Circle, in all seasons. They’ve hiked, backpacked, run dog teams, skied, showshoed, canoed, kayaked, hunted, fished and trapped at one time or another throughout their lives and have been long term Boy Scout leaders. At this year’s Winter Camping Symposium they’re offering a two hour hands-on presentation on quick meals suitable for winter camping.
Azen Lodge Outfitters
Michael Maruska, one of the three brothers has been consumed by winter camping and winter gear design especially micro insta-yurts. In the winter of 2009/2010 Michael spent 3+ months living in a micro yurt of his own creation right here on the shores of Sturgeon Lake. Wood, metal, canvas and wool 'Modern Traditionalism' shows in all his creations. In the winter camping off season Michael lives and works in remote central Idaho as a Forest Ranger for the US Forest Service.
Jon Maruska, an Engineering Technician in Duluth, MN, introduced himself to winter camping by living in a wall tent for a winter while attending college. He started building his own winter camping gear out of economic necessity and continues to do so for the love of the creative process and the ability customize and innovate.
Ben’s full time job is testing, researching, and selling tools and outdoor goods for life in the north woods. He uses hand tools like axes, hand-saws, and knives daily for fishing, hunting, foraging, self reliance, and primitive bushcraft. His goods can be found at
Don is the proprietor and owner of the Four Dog Stove Company. He has been designing and building portable wood stoves for the past 23 years. From a 2¼oz titanium back-packing stove to a large steel stoves that can heat a 14’ x 20’ wall tent at -30 below. He is known as the leading innovator in trail stove design and construction. All stoves are hand crafted with his wife, Roxanne on their back 40 acre Minnesota-based workshop/farm, where they enjoy family, friends, raising a large garden, chickens and working their mules. Don’s passion for creating time tested and proven items for use in the harshest wilderness conditions is evident by the testimonials of hunters, trappers, outfitters, guides and adventures throughout the globe.
Four Dog Stove
Glen Hooper lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he works for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as a forest and wildlife biologist. Glen spends as much time as possible in winter snowshoeing, skiing and hauling sled through the bush and over frozen lakes of Northwestern Ontario. Glen has been winter camping for about 15 years now, and laments that he waited too long in life to get into the activity. Glen is co-owner and lead writer for the winter camping website Wintertrekking.com, and moderator of the active discussion forums. In the website’s E-book main content, and in his several posted photo trip reports in the Forums, you can read about some of Glen’s winter gear and camping styles, both hot and cold style. Two years ago Glen started his YouTube channel “Wintertrekker”, and he has uploaded several videos of recent winter treks where he enjoys showing gear, practicing skills, and discussing winter forest and wildlife ecology.
Jason Gustafson is the owner of Lester River Bushcraft
He is a knife builder, outdoors man,bushcraft enthusiast and student of survival and self reliance.
"I'm a father, adventurer, and craftsman. My hands tell me as much about the world around me as my eyes. From the simple angles of a bevel to the last knot in a cord, I build deliberate gear so you can use it with purpose. So when all of the glitz and technology of the catalog pages fail you in the woods, my tools will be there in your hand. No 12V plugs, microchips, or fancy interlocking pieces- just steel, sharp and solid."
Lester River Bush Craft
John MacEntyre Allen
John MacEntyre Allen, known in the woods as MacEntyre, is a chemical engineer who has been self employed for 25 years. He is the owner of Molly Mac Gear, whose products he designs and makes. Molly Mac Gear includes the versatile Molly Mac Pack, canvas and nylon hammock socks, nylon gear hammocks, canvas Anoraks and Mukluks, as well as ultra light weight hammock insulation. MacEntyre lives in North Carolina, where he tests his gear in unforgiving conditions. Molly Mac Gear is called "Gorge Tested" from MacEntyre's time spent on the rugged trails of Linville Gorge. Each winter, he seeks cold, high locations in the snowy Appalachian Mountains, such as Roan Mountain and Mt. Rogers. Find out more about MacEntyre's adventures at his YouTube Channel: http://www.YouTube.com/user/MollyMacPack.