• 4 Days

Traditional Hide Tanning Workshop

  • Basecamp Retreat
  • Skills Workshop
  • 4 days; 3 nights
  • 1 to 10 travelers
  • Begins & ends in Weaverville
Reconnect to nature and learn ancient, forgotten skills. In this four-day workshop, you’ll learn the ancient art of brain tanning. Each student will learn and practice every step of the process. Over the course of the long weekend, you’ll transform a deer rawhide into soft, supple, natural, beautiful, wearable leather. Rawhides are provided.

At a Glance

Creature comforts

no frills

Physical activity


Ground support



  • Mountains
  • Forest


  • For ages 18+
  • Proficient english


  • Camping

Your Local Expert

Natalie Nicklett

This class is taught by a Tyler Lavenburg, one of our amazing guest teachers! Here is more about Tyler: Nose to the grindstone (sometimes literally), Tyler lives for unraveling the mysteries of the Earth. He first fell in love with Southern Appalachian ecology as a student at Warren Wilson College, graduating with a degree in Environmental Education. Beginning as Natalie’s first apprentice in 2009, he has since traveled around the Eastern US learning and teaching ecology and traditional living skills in a variety of settings. Tyler is devoted to understanding material use in context of it’s ecological niche—unveiling ancient and scientific wisdom to appropriate technologies. Whether it be putting by wild foods or working with stone tools, bows and arrows, hides, baskets, fiber or woodcraft, Tyler orients his life by the skills that have kept our ancestors alive for thousands of years.read more

The Journey

Day 1

Overview of brain tanning; skinning, fleshing, scraping

We will start at 9:30 am with a discussion of deer skinning, a fleshing demonstration, discussion of hide preservation, and an overview of tanning techniques. Each student will be given their own hide, much of the rest of the day will be spent hands-on learning the art of removing not only hair, but also grain. Everyone will remove the hair, grain, and membrane on this day. This day is fairly strenuous.read more

Day 2

Braining and wringing

Students will spend the day braining, wringing, braining, wringing… you may see a pattern here.

Day 3

This day is all about softening your hide. We’ll show you several methods for softening your brain tanned buckskin, before smoking it. Everyone will get a chance to try out various approaches to getting their hide nicely supple. This day is fairly strenuous.

Day 4

Some folks will be finishing up with softening; others will be sewing their hides into tubes and preparing them for the smoking process. Smoking a hide preserves the super-soft character that the hides have taken on, gives them a lovely honey color, and prevents them from


  • Lodging

    Camping on-site is free, including use of our outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, and outhouse. We have three tiny house airbnbs on-site that you can rent for an additional cost. Contact me for more details,

Join the Journey

Join a likeminded community of curious and active explorers

$650 per person
Strict cancellation - No refunds for cancellations within 30 days of departure .

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