HomeTracker School

What to Take & What to Expect
at a Tracker School Class
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Informal information for those who may have never been to a class at the Tracker School. Check with the Tracker School for accurate, up-to-date information. Please bear in mind that the information on this page has been provided by many people, and may therefore be subjective, and you may have a very different impression.

This website has no official or informal connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever.


All Classes - What to bring

  • Accommodations are outdoors. Bring tent and sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc. If you don't have a tent the Tracker School has a limited number available for rent.

  • Bring eating utensils, plate, cup, bowl. If your class is at the Citta Boy Scout Camp, then plates, bowls and cutlery are provided (but cups for drinks are not provided at all). However, some classes take a field trip to the Tracker Primitive camp, and if you have a meal there you will need your own plate, bowl and cutlery.

  • Water bottle

  • Flashlight

  • Notebook and pens. They sell notebooks at the school store, but sometimes supplies are very limited or non-existent. People have literally taken 100-200 pages of notes in one class. Be sure to put your name in your notebook -- at least one notebook is left behind at every class - the School can't return it to you if your name isn't in it.

  • If you wish to record the class, this is allowed - bring a tape recorder, tapes, and batteries. Tapes and batteries are sold at the school store, but again, don't rely on this. Bring a good quality microphone. Bear in mind that you won't be able to recharge your equipment at the Primitive Camp.

  • Bring your own snacks, juice, etc. Sometimes pop and other drinks are available at the school store.

  • Bring comfortable walking shoes. There's sometimes a lot of walking on field trips.
  • A camera is useful to take pictures of examples of skills, complex diagrams put up on the board, and just general memories. Bring film.
  • If you're on any medication, bring enough for the entire period of the class.
  • If you haven't already paid for the class, bring payment for the balance of the class fee. This will be collected on the first evening of the class.
  • Bring appropriate clothing for the season. Bring rain gear, especially in the fall, winter and spring. The weather can do anything in these seasons. For example, during one class it may snow at the beginning of the week and be hot enough for shorts at the end of the week. Bring gloves in cooler weather. Hat for sun.
  • Swimsuit and towel, biodegradable soap, toiletries
  • A 3-5", sharp, non-folding, sheath knife
  • Seat cushion/backrest
  • Flashlight and small mirror for tick checks at night.

Classes at the Tracker Farm (Standard Class)

  • The space provided for pitching tents is very limited at the farm, so please don't bring a large tent. 

  • Bring earplugs if you are kept awake by someone snoring -- the tents are literally placed wall-to-wall.

  • Some people prefer to sleep in their vehicles.

  • There is electric power available here in the classroom (for plugging in tape recorders).

  • There may be a primitive shower available for use.

  • There are outdoor portable outhouses.

  • Vehicles are parked fairly close by, so you can retrieve stuff from your car if you need to.

  • In the cool weather the seats around the perimeter of the classroom are somewhat cool.

Classes at the Tracker Primitive Camp

  • Your gear will be tossed into a trailer along with many other bags and packs for the trip to camp. Pack accordingly. (ie, your stuff may be on the bottom and get squished, or even wet).
  • The Tracker School doesn't want you to drive to the primitive camp. Usually you will park at the Citta Boy Scout Camp and get a ride to the Primitive Camp. They'll tell you where to meet for a specific class. One of the main practical reasons is there simply isn't anywhere to park more than a handful of vehicles.
  • Therefore, you must bring everything you need with you -- you can't go back to your vehicle part way through the class.
  • There is no "indoors" at this camp. You will be outdoors for the entire class.
  • There are now portable outhouses there (in past years you would have to sit outdoors for this, rain or shine). Larger classes (such as the Advanced Tracking and Advanced Standard) have multiple porta-potties ("Mr. Bobs" is the provider the school uses -- you might hear them referred to as "the Bobs") available for use. Other classes in for a day trip, such as Philosophy classes, may only have a few available.
  • There is no electric power whatsoever available there.
  • Bathing is in the stream (no soap allowed) or in a primitive shower facility. There is a shower tent with gravel floor available for bucket showers.  It alternates men one day and women the next. It is well away from the stream. You fill a bucket from the stream, carry it to the shower and have at it.  There is absolutely no soap allowed in the stream and bio soap only in the shower. Shower bags are not necessary unless you can't take the creek water (that is slightly  on the chilly side).
    The stream has a tarp that is placed across it to separate the upstream men's area from the lower women's area with certain times for taking a bath (nude) and other times for swimming (in swimsuits). 
  • If you bring extra food or snacks for yourself, bear in mind that you will be outdoors, and wild animals may be attracted to your food if it is not put away very well.
  • Bear in mind that it does rain (!), so you might want to consider using waterproof ink pens because the dampness and the rain will create havoc with ink in your notebooks!  A zip-lock baggie, or several, will also prove handy for field trips away from the camp to carry notebooks and prevent damage in case of rain (true for in-camp lectures, also).
  • If you can, bring a folding chair/seat for the lecture area.  It will help you see better, and support your back. Please place it so as to not block the view of others.
  • Drinking water is provided and purified at the camp.
  • Cell phones work out there, depending on the company you are with.
  • Bring gloves to protect your hands, and foot injuries do happen if you go barefoot, plus the sand can get pretty hot at times.

Classes at the Citta Boy Scout Camp

  • Classes are held in an indoor lecture hall. This has recently been rebuilt (2001).
  • The acoustics in the new lecture hall are horrible. If you are at all hard-of-hearing, sit close to the front.
  • There is electricity available for plugging in tape recorders.
  • There are indoor washrooms, as well as outdoor facilities.
  • There may be showers available (lukewarm, not hot), depending on the time of year. Otherwise you can usually take a bucket of hot water out to a private spot somewhere for a bath.
  • The Citta Boy Scout Camp is adjacent to Wells Mills Park, which is a nice place for a walk in the pinelands forest.
  • Vehicles are parked nearby, so it is very easy to retrieve stuff from your vehicle if you need to.
  • Accommodations are outdoors - a tent is necessary. Usually people are allowed to sleep in the lecture hall, but there is no privacy there, and it means that you will be the among the last to go to bed and the first to get up.
  • Plates, bowls and cutlery are provided, but not cups. However, some classes take a field trip to the Tracker Primitive camp, and if you have a meal there you will need your own plate, bowl and cutlery. 

"Back-to-Back" Classes: in between the classes

  • You are usually allowed to hang out between the classes. If both classes are going to be at the Boy Scout Camp, you can usually hang out there. Similarly for the Tracker Primitive Camp. If the two back-to-back classes are at different locations, they'll tell you where you can hang out.
  • Sometimes very basic simple food is provided for those staying between classes. You may wish to be sure by bringing your own food for that time.
  • Remember that you need to bring everything you need for two whole weeks.
  • During the break between the two classes you may be able to get together with those who have cars and get a motel room to clean and eat. There is also a state park where you can shower fairly close by.

Philosophy 1 & 2

  • Bring an old sleeping bag or mat of some sort. You will be doing meditations lying on the floor. They tell you to bring in your sleeping bag and use it to lay on the floor. However, you may not wish to have your nice new down sleeping bag lying around on the floor, getting dirty and even stepped on by class members.

Philosophy 1

  • 4 In 1 File-Rasp

  • Shurform (Stanley Brand) Wood Shavers

  • Set Of Small Files

  • Sharp Scissors

  • Any Supple, Flexible, Suede-like Tanned Hide Approximately 2' By 3'

  • OPTIONAL: Soapstone Or Pipestone

Philosophy 2

  • 4-in-1 file-rasp

  • Set of small files

Advanced Standard & Advanced Tracking ("Back-to-back") classes

  • For the Advanced Standard: You might want to bring an extra large ground cover (besides the one used with your tent) of a thick plastic variety. You will be building a debris hut, and will need to collect a significant amount of debris, and the Primitive Camp is a good example of a low-debris area. The large ground cover can be used as a large debris collecting "bag." DON'T use your tent's rain fly- it's not thick enough and you will develop rips and tears in it, and it WILL rain if your rain fly has holes in it (Murphy's Law in action).

  • For Advanced Tracking: Not required but will certainly be helpful: bring a few colors of small LED keychain flashlights, the preferred are red, blue, amber, and green. You will be surprised at how many details seem to jump out at you in different colors of light (hint, hint).

  • Track pack (small backpack or fanny pack)

  • 30 Popsicle sticks

  • Magnifying glass

  • Tape measure

  • 6" clear ruler

  • Tweezers

  • Kite string

  • Sunglasses

Scout Classes

  • Light footwear (sneakers, moccasins, aqua shoes, etc.)

  • Earth tone camouflage clothing

Getting There

  • Contact the Tracker School for travel information.

  • If you travel by air, train, or bus, make sure that you contact the School and they know when you are arriving at the designated pick-up points, otherwise you may not get a ride!

  • Try to arrive early in order to hopefully reserve your seat in class and a tent spot. Some classes are tight for space.

  • No accommodations are provided prior to or after class. You must arrange your own accommodations for this time.

Other Info

  • Sometimes a class that is scheduled for the Citta Boy Scout Camp has to be moved to the Tracker Primitive Camp. You may wish to plan for this "just-in-case" scenario.
  • Theft: Generally speaking, there are decent people attending these classes. However, there have been the occasional rare exceptions over the years. Therefore, as anywhere, take appropriate care of your valuables.
  • You can only be contacted at the class in the event of an emergency.
  • Cell phones seem to usually work at the class locations.
  • Tracker School policy: No pets, no drugs, no alcohol, no children, no video recorders, no protected bird species feathers (i.e. raptors, birds of prey, etc.)
  • School store: don't reply on something being available at the school store. The inventory fluctuates in both what is stocked and quantity of items stocked. Generally batteries and blank tapes are always in stock.

  • Showers/bathing: there is very limited time and facilities available for this.

  • Most classes involve some work with a group and/or a partner. Groups and partners usually need to be selected at the start of a class. The group you are in can sometimes make your class experience either memorably good or occasionally a real downer.
  • All classes are divided into groups for the purpose of helping with chores. These include cooking and food preparation, cleaning up after meals and other things. Sometimes these obligate you to get up rather early in the morning.

  • Food is basic -- it not a gourmet experience. However, it is usually adequate. Special dietary needs can usually be accommodated. Vegetarian options will be provided as needed.
  • If Tom or the instructors say you don't need your notebooks/camera/tape recorders when you go off on a field trip or walk, bring them anyways!
  • Get there as early as possible/permissible. Claim a tent spot and a spot in the lecture hall right away.
  • There ARE lots of ticks in New Jersey, and they do sometimes carry Lyme Disease. Take appropriate precautions. For more info on Lyme Disease, visit the Wildwood Survival website.

This website has no official or informal connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever


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