jessie krebs ropes

Wilderness Survival MasterClass: Learn Backcountry Skills From Military Expert

Learn backcountry survival from an expert who trained downed Air Force pilots to survive behind enemy lines. She’s as qualified as it gets and as jovial as they come.

U.S. Air Force and civilian SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) instructor Jessie Krebs has a refreshing take on wilderness survival.

“The wilderness is not out to get you,” she said. “She’s not this creature that’s … just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. So relax that mindset and go out there and play.”

Learning survival techniques, she says, can open up a “whole new world.”

jessie krebs sere survival

That’s the positive mindset she shares in her new survival course, now available through MasterClass. The course, launched this week, guides aspirants through the five basic needs of a survivor, including fire building, orienteering skills, and making shelter.

And in spite of the upbeat feel of Krebs’ approach, it’s designed to be a very serious course.

“This class may one day save your life,” David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass, pointed out.

Interested yet? Read on.

Ambitions as a Survivor: The Life of Jessie Krebs

Jessie Krebs displays an insistently light-hearted attitude to her quite serious work (see video below), but her reputation is no joke.

Krebs has devoted her life to becoming a wilderness survival expert. In her previous role as an Air Force SERE specialist, she trained military personnel on survival behind enemy lines and making their way home safely. She worked with the Air Force until 1994, when she received an honorable discharge.

At that point, she focused her leadership skills toward backcountry mountain guiding, often leading recreational and wilderness therapy expeditions across the American Southwest. Continuing to build on her military career, she also founded the SERE Training School for civilians and outdoor professionals.

In her MasterClass course, Krebs will distill her 30 years of experience into essential concepts and skills to help members explore nature safely and handle unexpected situations when they arise.

“This is really the most consolidated version [of survival teaching] I’ve done,” she said. “Many of the skills you’re going to see me doing here, I’ve never done anywhere else on camera.”

jessie krebs building fire

MasterClass Adaptation

MasterClass is all about leveraging expert acuity. In its own words, the streaming platform “makes it possible to watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons taught by 100-plus of the world’s best.”

Krebs’ course features an extensive itinerary. It all starts with the five basic needs for survival (as listed by Krebs): signaling, personal protection, sustenance, navigation, and health. Subordinate skills in the five categories include making a survival kit, building fire and shelter, map and compass use, and using survival tools like knives and ropes.

Krebs will also explain the “survival mindset,” which develops the wherewithal to make calm decisions in survival circumstances. For instance, the course will equip members with methods to deescalate a worsening situation and manage adrenaline when fear sets in.

Roundup and Signup

MasterClass invites everyone from casual hikers or avid adventurers to sign up for Krebs’ course. The baseline of applicable skills is designed to prepare students for whatever might come their way. 

“The wilderness has everything we need to exist or we wouldn’t be here at this moment,” Krebs said. “In my class, I want to encourage members to let Mother Nature reach out her hand so that you can utilize what she has to offer. You’ll realize you’re more capable than you ever thought you were.”

Subscribers to MasterClass have access to this survival course, as well as the library of the online learning platform’s offerings. You can join MasterClass now for $15 per month.

jessie krebs sere survival masterclass

Learn more about SERE specialist and survival expert Jessie Krebs’ new Masterclass. You can also follow Krebs on her social media channels.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.