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Get lost! Survival class teaches Arizonans how to thrive in the Sonoran Desert

Posted at 11:17 AM, Feb 25, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. — Do you have what it takes to survive in the Sonoran Desert?

Arizona's landscape is gorgeous to explore, but if you found yourself stranded, knowing proper survival techniques could mean the difference between life and death.

One local class teaches explorers every survival tip under the sun. It's called Southwest Survival.

For 25 years, survivalist Jon Helleson has been passing along his nature knowledge to adventure seekers.

From desert edibles, to natural medicines, every Southwest Survival course is full of desert life hacks.

Three Tasty Desert Plants: Tips from Southwest Survival

3 Tasty Desert Plants: Tips from Southwest Survival

"I teach people how to live out in nature. I tell people, I've been doing this for twenty five years, you're trying this out right now. So you gotta give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You are going to fail a little bit, but through that failure you're going to learn quite a bit, cause I'm going to guide you through how to be successful," Helleson said.

One of the courses offered is titled "Savvy Survivor." In one session, trainees will learn how to build shelter, create fire, harvest water, collect food and navigate the landscape.

In addition, Helleson shows his class all the ways to thrive in the desert with only a knife.

One day in wilderness school will change the way you see the desert forever.

All the tools are there to survive for days, you just have to know where to look.

"By the time you're done with the class, you'll know what to eat, how to eat it, you'll know about medicines for cuts and sicknesses and the flu and that sort of thing. You also learn how to make different took kits. Fire by friction. All kinds of different skills. How to take your environment and utilize it to sustain yourself," Helloson said.

To sign up for the Savvy Survivor course, visit

Survivalist Jon Helleson talks about near-death experience in Sedona

BONUS CLIP: Southwest Survival's Jon Helleson talks about near death experience in Sedona