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Neither Naked Nor Afraid: America’s Top Survival Experts Risk It All (In real life)

Industry: Survival Expert

Two U.S. Marine Corps survival instructors are joining forces with a civilian counterpart to cross an entire mountain range with little more than a pocketknife.

United States (PRUnderground) July 31st, 2013

If you’ve caught any of these “reality” survival shows lately, you know they can be a little light on the reality and heavy on the show. There’s often experts advising the stars behind the scenes, medical teams assisting the injured, and in the case of the Discovery Channel’s most recent survival show; food and fresh water being given to the “survival experts” while the cameras weren’t rolling.

What happens when you take all the cameras and safety nets away however? This September two United States Marine Corps survival instructors and The Chief Instructor of The Survival Training School of California are about to find out. The trio will carry nothing but a pocket knife, a water bottle, and a rain jacket to cross the entire Sierra Nevada Mountain Range (home to the largest mountain in the contiguous United States). They will bring no food or water, no emergency medical kits, no lighters or matches, no sleeping bags or tents, and will instead live in the mountains the old fashioned way; off the land.

“Let’s do something crazy, something where there’s a chance we won’t make it back”, said Master Sergeant Keith Parker while offering advice to Thomas Coyne, the civilian instructor who planned the hike. It goes without saying these Marines are no strangers to harsh conditions and danger, in fact they revel in it, but neither is their civilian counterpart. Thomas Coyne, a former wildland firefighter who inserted to fires by Helicopter (“Helitack”), has done hikes like this before: 130 miles across Death Valley in the summer time carrying only a tarp, knife, and a water filter (Coyne brought no food or water and travelled distances of up to 37 miles between water sources) being his most recent.

This event is part of a larger series of expeditions for Coyne who plans to perform treks like this on every continent on the globe (with the exception of Antarctica). Why do it? “I want to bring realism to a field where it is, but has no business to be lacking” he says. “Too many people are watching these tv shows and youtube videos and thinking these guys are for real. If you try half the things they teach in the field you’ll wind up seriously injured or worse. These survival celebrities are literally peeing in plastic bags and calling it a fire starting magnifying glass, and even teaching to dig below cacti for water- which is sort of like digging below a cooler for a beer. This is unacceptable to me as an outdoor safety and survival instructor.”

Coyne plans to turn these treks into an international “competition” of sorts for the world’s top experts to come and prove they can walk the talk. “It’s called the Ultimate Survival Challenge” says Coyne who was inspired by the Gracie family’s introduction of The Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC) to the world. “The website is up, location scouting underway, and I can’t wait to get started”. You can follow the action at, or at

About Survival Training School of California

As the Nation’s only year-round/all-weather field school; we are on the cutting edge of our craft. Our combination of a gimmick free approach and a high level of field experience has led to us providing training for such prestigious organizations as: The U.S. Marine Corps, The California Department of Justice, The U.S. Navy, Joshua Tree National Park’s Desert Institute, W.omen I.n T.he O.utdoors (America\’s largest women\’s outdoor association), The Boy Scouts of America, and we hope you are next. Whether you\’re a beginning backpacker, a prepping family, or a military unit; we\’ve got a real world training program for you.

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Thomas Coyne
(805) 503-8861

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