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28-day Field Course

The BOSS 28-Day “Standard” Field course offers students the ultimate minimum-equipment desert and mountain expedition. It has been designed over the last 50 years to test a student – physically, mentally and emotionally – and to provide him or her with an extended traditional living experience. This wilderness survival experience is the signature BOSS course that started it all and, as a result, it is the most popular course BOSS offers. For those interested, this course is also offered in 14- and 7-Day versions, too.

About the Course

Join up to 11 other students and three staff members for 28 days to explore Southern Utah’s breathtaking Boulder Mountain and glorious canyon country. Leaving the high-tech, modern world behind, you explore the desert washes and mountain trails with little more than a knife, a water bottle, a blanket, and a poncho. You can’t get much more immersed in the natural world than on this course. The mental, physical, and emotional challenges may leave you 10 to 30 pounds lighter at the end of the course, but the wilderness competency and the greater sense of self that you gain are priceless.

About BOSS

Since 1968, BOSS courses have set the standard for low-technology camping and hiking techniques, where instruction is conducted with minimal intrusion of modern technology in environments that allow course content to be experienced first-hand. Our commitment to quality and to our core philosophies has earned BOSS its reputation as the survival school to go to when you want to learn from the best in the industry.

Less is More

In line with the BOSS Positive Impact Camping philosophy, the 28-Day Field course has a decided emphasis on using renewable, natural resources. Tents, sleeping bags, stoves, backpacks and many other “required” pieces of outdoor equipment are replaced with their low-tech counterparts: a poncho, a blanket, a campfire, etc. The motto here is “Know more, Carry less” and we’ll explore how traditional cultures lived comfortably without all the modern gadgets (which are not allowed on our courses). Come learn how back-country travel can be a less intrusive and more harmonious experience.

The BOSS Challenge

The BOSS 28-Day Standard Field course provides, among many other things, a physical test for its students. Students hike long distances over the rugged terrain found in Southern Utah’s mountains and desert canyons, sometimes as much as 15 to 30 miles in one day. The combination of high exertion and moderate rations usually leaves students 10 to 30 pounds leaner at the end of the course.  BOSS REQUIRES THAT ALL FIELD COURSE APPLICANTS UNDERGO A COMPLETE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND RECEIVE THEIR PHYSICIAN’S APPROVAL IN WRITING PRIOR TO FINAL ACCEPTANCE ON THE COURSE.

In addition to the physician’s approval, students are asked to complete a 1.5-mile run during course orientation. Please keep in mind, despite your physician’s approval and BOSS’s acceptance of you on the course, there are no guarantees. Health and participation risks (inherent and otherwise) remain. It’s up to you and your physician to determine if a BOSS course is an appropriate choice. All participants must be aware of these risks and embrace them. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Because of the physical aspect of Field courses, students younger than 18 are not allowed. Historically, the average age of BOSS 28-Day Field course students has been in the mid-20’s, but plenty of students in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s have successfully and enthusiastically completed the course.

Learning by Doing

At BOSS, we strongly believe in learning by doing. While at times instruction will be done in lecture format, it will be done in the field where students can see what they are learning in situ and can practice their skills in a natural environment. BOSS course enrolment is designed to provide each course with a student-teacher ratio conducive to hands-on instruction. Our courses typically have 9-12 students and 3 staff. This ensures that our staff are available to students to help guide them through the lessons as needed or sought.

Course Phases

Phase Description
Orientation Welcome to BOSS, gear review & purchase.
Impact A fast-moving, minimal-equipment hike through the wilderness. No food except what you find. No blankets or ponchos until Group Ex.
Group Expedition A time for on-the-trail instruction, as our staff teach you the skills you need to comfortably survive in the desert.
Survival Camp *Large game processing is taught within the context of traditional wilderness living and the realities of the physical needs of the human body.
Solo Placed in your own Solo site, you will put your skills to the test and enjoy some solitude.
Student Expedition Time and route permitting, you and your coursemates may be given the opportunity to travel instructor-free to a specific destination.
Final Challenge Just when you think it’s over, it isn’t….
Celebration/Graduation You’ve earned it.

Please note: Because each course is different and will experience different combinations of weather patterns, student abilities, and ground conditions, phases may be adjusted before or during a course.

*On 28-Day and 14-Day Field courses, large game processing is taught within the context of traditional living skills and the needs of the human body. For more information, please read this page.

Co-ed vs. Single Sex

BOSS courses have been co-educational (men and women on the trail together) since the very beginning, in 1968. If you are interested in a single-sex course (All men or all women, including staff), please contact us and we can help coordinate creating that type of trip.

Skills Covered

Skills taught on Field courses are directly relevant to the group’s needs in a traditional-living environment. Issues dealing with the effects of physical stresses and extended travel on the human psyche are just as important to the students’ experience as how to make a fire without matches. All courses are designed to cover these basics: desert ecology & travel, fire construction, campsite selection, trail hygiene, shelter location and construction options, water location and purification, nature observation skills, and basic edible & medicinal plants.

Tuition Assistance Available

BOSS offers tuition assistance and discounts to qualifying applicants.