Wilderness Survival Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Related Advancement

  • Tenderfoot requirements 1a and 1b
  • Second Class requirements 1a, 2b, 2d
  • First Class requirements 1a and 3
  • Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Safety, Search and Rescue, Signs, Signals, and Codes, and Wilderness Survival merit badges
10 Essentials
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Survival Gear – Every survival kit begins with the Scout Basic Essentials. Get into the habit of having them with you on every trip into the backcountry.

  1. Pocketknife
  2. First-aid kit
  3. Extra clothing
  4. Rain gear
  5. Water bottle
  6. Flashlight
  7. Trail food
  8. Matches and fire starters
  9. Sun protection
  10. Map and compass

GPSWhat about a cell phone and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver? Those can be useful to have, but don’t rely too much on technology. The wilderness areas Scouts like to explore can be far removed from any cell towers. While GPS units don’t rely on cell towers, they stop working if they get submerged in water or if their batteries die.

What to Do When Things Go Wrong – Following the seven priorities of survival in a backcountry or wilderness location will help you act effectively when things don’t go as planned. The priorities are listed here, in order of importance.

  1. STOP – Don’t panic. Unless there are immediate dangers, Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan before you do anything else.FirstAid
  2. Provide first aid – Treat life-threatening injuries and illnesses immediately.
  3. Seek shelter – Without using more energy than necessary, find or create shelter that will help your body maintain its ideal temperature.
  4. Build a fire – In chilly and cold weather, a fire can be important for maintaining body warmth, melting snow for water, drying out clothing, signaling for help, and raising your spirits.
  5. Signal for help – Signaling for help can be very important if you have become lost or if you or others in your group are injured and cannot be moved.
  6. Drink water – You can survive for days without food, but in hot weather without water, only hours. Dehydration happens in cold weather, too, even though you may not feel so thirsty.
  7. Don’t worry about food – Yes, you may get hungry, but that’s better than eating plants that cause intestinal stress or poisoning or burning more energy capturing an animal to eat than eating that animal would give you.


Helping the Wilderness Survive You – The Boy Scouts of America is a strong supporter of Leave No Trace methods of camping, hiking, and all other outdoor activities. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace whenever you are practicing survival skills. Do everything you can to protect the environment, especially as you are building fires and gathering materials for constructing shelters. In a real emergency situation, put the safety of yourself and other persons first, and take whatever actions you must to survive. Think survival first, low-impact second.

Resources and References

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Wilderness Survival Information Troop Meetings Main Event