• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Ready for an Eco-River Adventure? Explore the Big Waters of the Mighty Mississippi

Quapaw Canoe Company, Quapaw
600 338 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Eco-river adventures with Quapaw Canoe Company is part vacation, part wilderness survival training, and part everything you ever wanted in a grand eco-adventure. It’s your trip – so you help define it!

With Big River Wild Adventures, you can learn basic survival skills while canoeing on America’s largest river through wilderness areas with experienced and safe guides. It’s a trip of a lifetime and whole lot of fun!

by Leon Pantenburg

headnet Leon Pantenburg Mugshot

Leon Pantenburg


Big River Wild Adventures (BRWA) is a partnership between Leon Pantenburg through Survival Common Sense (SCS) and Quapaw Canoe Company (QCC).  SCS provides instruction and teaching materials and QCC takes care of the outfitting in beautiful hand-crafted, voyageur-style canoes that are up to 30 feet long, and they’ll provide expert guiding on the largest river in North America.


Quapaw Canoe Company has guided thousands of visitors over its 25-year-old history (Layne Logue photo)

In 2024, Quapaw Canoe Company was named the Mississippi Small Business of the Year. The company has been in operation for  more than 25 years and has guided approximately 40,000 people on the big river. About half of those are youth from schools, youth groups, church groups etc. QCC can provide tents and sleeping bags as needed, as well as wet suits and other necessary gear in cold weather seasons.


I love helping people learn these skills and enjoy the beautiful outdoors with confidence.

Firemaking: The ability to make a fire can save your life. The inability can cost it.

You’ll learn flint and steel firemaking, as well as how to use other methods that assure you can start a fire under any conditions.

Plus, you’ll put together a firemaking kit that guarantees success. I have made thousands of fires with flint and steel, and have helped teach thousands, including kids, how to do it. It is a very viable survival skill.

Most people buy tarps that are too small. The splash zone around the edges cuts back on the coverage.

You’ll learn to pitch a tarp to withstand heavy winds. 

Shelter: This portion of the course focuses on tarp shelters, since they are the lightest, most effective way to make a quick shelter. You’ll learn simple knots that can be tied quickly and easily under extreme conditions, as well as how to adapt a tarp to survival conditions.

We’ll use whatever the river provides to make comfortable shelters. Don’t worry, it’s all going to be fun!

Land navigation: Most survival situations start when someone gets lost, and we’ll start with the basics. You’ll learn map and compass skills to assure that you always stay found. In addition to compass skills, you’ll learn methods to orient yourself in the outdoors without navigation tools. And, it’s all along the river for some water play time and spectacular views.

Class is in session.

We don’t teach GPS, because the individual types and models vary so widely. Besides, ANY GPS is as reliable as its batteries.

Wilderness survival skills: Many skills needed to survive don’t fit neatly into a category, so we’ll start by discussing what you want to learn. But some of these skills will include knife selection, handling and sharpening; making a personal survival kit, and how to create your own individual survival mindset.

There will be plenty of time to practice skills during your eco-river tour, explore and absorb the peacefulness of being outside. This tour is about having fun, relaxing, going home with useful skills, and enjoying the beautiful wilderness along the big Mississippi waters.

When you get home, you can use our You Tube videos to fine tune the skills you learned. Or to get a head start, watch some of them before you get out on the river.

For more survival information, check out Leon’s book “Bushcraft Basics.”


Quapaw Canoe Company will handle the logistics, canoe and gear rentals, and expert guiding. Our services will include all trip planning from your destination. Equipment rental and guided tours are tailored to individual needs  and length of the trip (so feel free to mix and match your options, and call QCC with questions or to tailor your trip). Here are the COSTS.

Survival Skills Training Cost: We charge $300 per day per trip, up to 10 people, and up to three days, total $900 for up to 10 people. We plan one day excursions and several day trips.

The price is divided among the total participants. All teaching materials on the river are included in that price, with the exception of knives. BRWA can provide you with a loaner knife, or you can buy one from our list of recommended knives. When you book the trip, we’ll send you a list of clothing and supplies you can bring, or rent from QCC.

Scout troops, non-profits and/or charitable groups may qualify for a substantial wilderness skills discounts. Contact me to discuss this further.

Eco-River Observation Trip: If you want to tour the river and enjoy the scenery without additional survival skills training, that’s ok. Give me a call and we’ll put together your exact kind of peaceful adventure.

CONTACT US TO BOOK YOUR TRIP (Please mention Leon when you call!)

Survival Common Sense – Leon Pantenburg

Phone: 541-815-3200


Quapaw Canoe Company – John Ruskey 

291 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, MS 38614   Phone: 662-902-7841


Quapaw Canoe Company – Vicksburg Outpost – Layne Logue

Contact owner Layne Logue at laynelogue@bellsouth.net or call 601-529-7354 to reserve your date. Cash, venmo or checks are accepted.


Contact owner Matthew Burdine at Matthew@canoememphis.com or  901-820-6136 Matthew@canoememphis.com

If you’re ready for a eco-river adventure/vacation that you’ll never forget, contact us. See you on the river!

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