TOBY COWERN - SIGMA 3 Survival School




Arctic Survival Instructor

Toby’s extensive and broad-ranging experience in the Reserve Armed Forces, leisure industry, outdoor activities and Health and Safety industry have equipped him with comprehensive skills and knowledge which he know channels as chief instructor of his own company “Tread Lightly”. Toby Specializes in Arctic Survival having over 20 years of training experience in these brutal cold weather environments.

Toby has had a keen interest in survival skills from an early age especially in being an arctic survival instructor. Given the chance he will recite the story of diligently saving his pocket money aged 11 to buy the ‘newly released’ SAS Survival Handbook, probably never imagining that he would end up, one day, spending over two years on the same training team as the internationally accredited survival author/instructor, John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman!

As a competitive and keen sportsman in many diverse disciplines, Toby started a career in Leisure Management largely to facilitate the time required for him to be outdoors as much as possible. Positive career progress saw him quickly rise to an executive level position in a high risk and challenging Health and Safety Professional role. To further complement his career Toby joined the Reserve Armed Forces aged 21. Having spent 4 years with the Royal Marines reserve, then 2 years as a Section Corporal with a British Military Training Team, Toby concluded his final 5 years of service with an undisclosed unit.

Toby’s unique fusion of accredited qualifications, skill sets and life experience give him a rare and unrivalled ability to deliver exceptional training in the fields of Wilderness Survival Skills and Urban Preparedness.

Combining extensive military service, an ambitious personal development and liaison programme with like minded international experts, with routine work alongside the indigenous population of the Sápmi (Lapland) region ensures Toby’s office is now almost exclusively outdoors, where he spends his time tracking, hunting and researching, practicing and refining relevant survival techniques, further expanding and consolidating his 20 years of Arctic experience, and 25 years of survival training!

Toby has attained recognized qualifications in mountain guiding, climbing instruction, first aid, snowmobiling, and has a broad competence base in skiing (Nordic and alpine), mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, shooting, sailing and swimming to name but a few! He has also formally instructed in a variety of both practical and theoretical areas in outdoor pursuits for over 17 years.

Notable training achievements for Toby include training the winning team for the Polar Challenge 2006 (a race to the North Pole) and preparing Team Helmut for the Arctic Ultra Yukon Challenge 2009, as well as acting as a professional guide for numerous organizations and media companies in the frozen north.

Qualifications and Professional Memberships include:


  • Member Army Mountaineering Association
  • Member British Mountaineering Council
  • British Mountaineering Council Single Pitch Award Instructor
  • Mountain Leader
  • British Canoe Union 3 star competency in Open Canoe
  • Snowmobile Guiding License
  • Member Society of Primitive Technology
  • Professional Fire Fighter/Rescue Operative
  • Swedish County Rescue Services ‘First Responder’
  • National Rescue Standards Teacher / Examiner (Covers First Aid / Aquatic rescue and more)
  • Graduate level Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
  • BSC Certificate in Safety Management
  • BSC Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health
  • NEBOSH Level 3 Certificate in Fire safety & risk management
  • NVQ Level 2 in Learning and Development
  • Kamana Naturalist Training Program Level 2 (Currently studying towards Level 3)
  • Class1( Large Calibre) Civilian Firearms License
  • Active Member Porjus Hunting and Fishing Club
  • Active Member Porjus Handgun shooting society
  • Numerous accreditations in Self Defense / Unarmed and Armed Combat skills
  • Currently studying for International Committee Red Cross (ICRC) ‘Medic’ Qualification


As a professional outdoorsman, Toby now travels and teaches Applied Survival Skills globally, in addition to running a variety of guided outdoor seasonal activities throughout Scandinavia and advising / assisting on international outdoors and adventurous projects.


Toby is delighted that in the last two years he has also been able to increase his voluntary work commitments, focused at this time on awareness and personal defensive training for ‘at risk’ women, and soon looking towards service with ICRC crisis response teams.


Toby’s passion, experience and enthusiasm, coupled with his professionalism, patience and humor will make your time on any of the courses he delivers a memorable experience!