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Self Reliance Outfitters: Dave Canterbury

Self Reliance Outfitters: Dave Canterbury

Whether it’s the backcountry of South Africa or the sub-zero mountains of Wyoming, survival expert Dave Canterbury knows the ins and outs of living in the wilderness. 

With almost 40 years of experience in the outdoors, Dave has put his knowledge to good use by writing guide books, instructing at schools, educational videos, and selling high-quality gear at his online store. 

But before that became a reality, Dave started humbly in the U.S. Army and as a deep-sea fisherman off the coast of Florida. Here’s his story:

Meet Dave Canterbury

Dave was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 19, 1963. Having been interested in the outdoors his whole life, it was only natural that he joined the U.S. Army in 1981, where he served for six years.

After Dave left the military, he worked private-sector jobs, including a reptile farm and as a commercial fisherman/diver in Florida. There, he was able to apply skills he’d learned in the military to his real-life work. 

Applying what he’d learned in the military was easy. Dave says it’s all about repetition. “Repetition is the key to owning a skill,” he said in an interview. “This proved true for me in the military and in life. If you can’t repeat a skill in your sleep, you don’t own that skill.”

Working with reptiles and deep-sea fishing was a step towards where Dave is today. Now, he has several projects under his belt as the founder and co-owner of the Pathfinder school, co-founder of Self Reliance Outfitters, NYT Best Selling Author and starring roles on a variety of survival-based television shows.

Survival Television/Entertainment

Dave took his real-life survival skills to the screens of the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He starred in episodes of survival based shows like Dirty Rotten Survival, Dual Survival and an episode of Shark Week – How Sharks Hunt.

Bestselling Author

Dave is someone that is truly vested in teaching. The next logical step to continue to connect with the masses was to put pen to paper and share his wealth of knowledge with the ever-growing bushcraft community. The first in what would become a series of titles is New York Times bestseller Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival, offering particular expertise on essential basics—and how to reconnect with nature.

Described as the “ultimate resource to experiencing the backcountry,” Dave stresses the “must-have gear” when embarking on a trip into the woods. He has tagged these items as the 5 C’s of Survivability. With these five resources and the proper knowledge, you can not only survive but thrive in the wilderness.

  1. Cutting Tools
  2. Covering
  3. Combustion Devices
  4. Containers
  5. Cordages

Dave is also the author of The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, & Cooking in the Wild, Bushcraft First Aid, and Advanced Bushcraft and Bushcraft Illustrated.

Hands-on Instructing at The Pathfinder School

Dave has always thrived on teaching others the fundamentals of survival, which is why he opened the Pathfinder School in southeast Ohio. As a survival-based program, the Pathfinder School offers a variety of opportunities for everyone from the novice to highly skilled outdoor person.

Dave loves teaching these fundamental skills at the school—and the students who admit they are new or fairly new to bushcraft are some of his favorites. Dave says this is because they are essentially a blank slate. Less previous experience lends itself to an open-minded approach and willingness to think outside the box.

The Pathfinder School is genuinely open to all skill levels, where students can learn basic and advanced skill sets. The Pathfinder School is considered one of the best in the U.S.

Sharing Expertise and Tips

With an undying passion for nature and the outdoors, Dave is naturally drawn to passing on these skills. “I’m spreading that knowledge because I think it’s important for people to have those skills in this day and age,” he says.

Dave’s initial leap and outreach to the outdoor survival community were through YouTube. Dave created a YouTube channel where he posts survival-themed instructional videos. Just from his homepage, you’ll find a variety of lessons and tutorials such as primitive skills, blacksmith lessons, making fire using nature’s resources. 

Supplying the Best Gear at Self Reliance Outfitters

Self Reliance Outfitters is a one-stop-shop for anything survival tool-related. With a plethora of outdoor gear for outdoor people, you can find everything from outdoor cooking tools, cutting tools, trapping gear, and more. 

You’ll also find helpful guides, which include Dave’s books, information on first aid kits, and waterproof notebooks and bibles. If you’re looking for additional reading material, be sure to check for updates on the Survival Blog

Self Reliance Outfitters has been in business for over 10 years and has thrived by providing high-quality gear and tools for all outdoor adventure-seekers.


With more than 40 years’ experience of mastering survival techniques, Dave Canterbury remains one of the nation’s leading survival experts. At the end of the day, he wants nothing more than to share these fundamental skills with people of all levels and ages. To stay updated on his videos and classes, you can find Dave on Instagram and Facebook

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