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Our venture patrol is doing a wilderness survival campout 1.5 miles away from the troop on this weekend's campout. They have asked me to come up with a list of what they can (or cannot) take. I encouraged them to make their own list, but I think they want me to be minimalistically hard on them, so they can prove to me (the adults and the other scouts) what they can do.


What minimalist list (food and equipment) would you use? Our rain chance is near nil with lows at or just below 50F, so this should be easy. They will be arriving at the campsite with 6 hours before dark.

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I would suggest things you would hope to have in a car, as you would not normally set out for a survival outing with all your normal camping gear.


Blanket (not sleeping bag)

large trashbags

butane lighter or maybe a small box of matches (not water proof)

water bottles (soda bottles for realism)


a couple bungee cords

a couple med. sized floor mats

simple first aid kit

small pocket knife

small flash light

assorted pop cans (can make a surprisingly good number of survival items from them)


makeup compact mirror

road map

maybe toss in some unrelated items you would find in a car to see if they can figure out a way to use them.


No backpack.


No other extra clothes except maybe socks in the taped off bag.


For safety I would put some real stuff (whistle, cell phone, GPS, fire starters, energy bar, etc.) in a plastic bag that is "taped off". If they don't really need it, they won't open it.

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10 Outdoor Essentials this is list from the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge Book this is what they should have anything else is up to you and is optional.


1. Pocketknife scout knife dont recommend a single blade lock blade.

2. First Aid Kit

3. Extra Clothing

4. Rain Gear

5. Water Bottle

6. Flashlight

7. Trail Food

8. Matches or Fire Starters

9. Sunscreen

10. Map and Compass


In addition there are 2 things that should be on you at all times in your pocket

Garbage Bag Instant Shelter Water Collection Signal Device

Whistle far easier to blow a whistle for a time than to yell whistle carries 1-2 miles farther than voice.


Other Items for a Survival Kit

The following things you may want to keep in your kit include:


These things make a survival situation more bearable.


Duct Tape the universal material

Signal Device Mirror, bright cloth

Two or 3 bullion cubes

Two or 3 flavored drink mix packets

Two or 3 adhesive bandages

Nylon Fishing line and hooks 50 feet

24 feet of thin 18 gauge wire

Medications that you require on a daily basis

Small Bottle of Insect Repellent


Be Prepared be sure to dress for the weather bring gear for the correct weather if its going to be cold at night on an outing bring the 40 degree bag instead of the fleece blanket If its going to be hot bring the fleece blanket or sheet.


Other Items in survival Kits:

Note: These are not in any particular order just listed.

These are all optional and not required for the merit badge they will make life easier still be careful what you bring one, there is the cost if you have to purchase it two, you have to carry it. And it must fit inside your survival kit.


Equipment, tools and other items:

Small Candle light heat fire starter

Fish Hooks

50 yards of fishing line

Few split shot weights

Safety Pins hold things together

Cotton balls first aid - fire starter

Short Saw Blade (Jig saw or Saws all) create shelter fire wood cut up food.

Gill Net catch fish in stream

Rolled up Toilet Paper a morale booster. Dont get carried away can get bulky.

Folded up sheet of Heavy Aluminum Foil Cooking, signaling, water holding

Small Sponge collect dew off of leaves or rocks for water collects water you cant get to otherwise.

Razor Blade million and 1 uses

Snap blade Razor Knife

Thin Rope small amount parachute cord is excellent. million and 1 uses

Leather Thong create shelter, fire starter, first aid many things

Chunk of Fire Log or other Fire Tab - FIRE

Wool Socks or heavy sock. (can be used on feet or as gloves)

Pencil leave notes, pass time

Paper notes, fire starter keep food clean

Thin Wire 5 10 feet create shelter, snares

Small Rain Poncho shelter signal device

Waterproof Bag keep important gear safe

Chemical Light Stick light signal device(This message has been edited by Ohio_Scouter)

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Maybe instead of giving them a list limitation, give them a space limitation and let them come up with the equipment. I know of one Troop that does a a similar trip and the Scout can take anything that will fit into a #10 can. The can is their cooking pot, so it needs to be clean. Add a piece of bailing wire for a handle. Other than that, let them work the idea.


If they struggle, suggest a few of the following ideas:

Super large trash bag for sleeping bag/ground cloth.

Cheap shower curtain or space blanket also works.

Instant Rice, a small can or pouch of chicken and a quart freezer bag can make a great meal. Add in a packet of soup mix and you are really eating!

Don't count the water bottle as part of the #10 can limitation - make sure they have plenty of water.


One of the Troop's goals was to show the Scouts they didn't need a ton of stuff to overnight in the woods. They did add an interesting twist - if the boys put out snares, they were rewarded with extra food, found at the snare site. The boys didn't know that ahead of time, so most didn't put them out.

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If they are capable (I don't know them), see what they think of a piece of flint, a knife, a water bottle, and something to boil water in(if they can't make one out of materials at hand).


Then put the 10 essentials in a water-proof, sealed bag. They can use the bag at any time but lose points for doing so.

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Here is what I had in mind (This is more than I was given when I did this as a scout, by the way):

Pocket knife

Clothing (extra layer)

1 5x6 tarp per person

2 matches

12 binders twine

small First Aid kit

Total 1 pound of hamburger


(I never had the tarp or the twine). But I am beginning to re-think this based upon what you all have suggested. I do like the idea of space, like in a #10 can, with which they may cook. I also like the idea of fishing line. They will 50ish yards from a natural (not dammed) lake, which is so remote at our scout camp, I doubt it is fished 3x a year. The lake is filled with leaches, so that should discourage swimming. I also like the idea of a cell phone (GPS is simply unnecessary where they will be) in a sealed bag. Coverage is good at the camp, so they could call us and we could be there in 3 minutes if absolutely necessary. I was hiking out there back in October (scouting it out for them when I was at the camp with the Cub Scouts, not the troop) and we saw a 4' coral snake (a real monster by coral snake standards!).


Keep the ideas coming and I will refine my list. I do want to give the scouts the decisions, to a point. This is good stuff!(This message has been edited by Buffalo Skipper)

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Is that list for the whole patrol?


I would have them use space blankets, trash bags or plastic sheeting instead of a commercial tarp.


If you're not giving them water, make sure they have some sort of treatment system beyond boiling.


If you decide not to use the can for space, I might add in a couple of eggs. Increases the challenge slightly by making them figure out a way to carry as well as cook.


Another option would be to assemble all the materials that have been listed here, plus some more not mentioned (particularly tasty food) - a big can of peaches, chocolate bars, a cheap used paperback novel, a single can of soda, etc. - and give them two minutes to pick X number of items. Consider giving them a "Your-plane-crashed-and-you-have-two-minutes-to-salvage-stuff-before-it-blows-up" -type of scenario.


Depending on their skills and the weather, also think about substituting the matches for flint & steel, fire-by-friction, a magnifying glass, etc. (It's also theoretically possible to start a fire with a Hershey bar and soda can, though I've never done it.)

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Shortridge, I like the way you think. It reminds me of several leadership/survival games in which I have participated. Thinking about it from this perspective gives a whole different feel. By the way there will be 4 scouts participating, all 16 or 17.

OK, how is this? Your small plane crashes. You each have the following items:


Clothes on your back (nothing in your pockets)

1 pocket knife

1 liter bottle of water

Lay the following out on a table and give them two minutes (without speaking) to pick out4 items each:

(3) Visqueen sheets (remember, there are 4 scouts)

(4) Assorted 3-6 lengths of binders twine

(4) garbage bags

(4) Assorted pop cans

(3) Small bungee cords

(2) Floor mats

Paperback book

Small flashlight (doesnt work)

Smaller flashlight (does work)

Sun Screen

Can of peaches

Safety pins


Bug repellent (liquid)


Mystery bag

4 matches

small duct tape

cassette tape

5 wooden popsicle sticks

salt and pepper


Mystery bag

steel wool

9 volt battery

4 nails

5 wooden popsicle sticks

bouillon cubes

(There are 30 items here and they may choose up to 16)

Finally, I will give a #10 can with the following items inside:

50 of fishing line, a hook sinker and a small bobber

Magnifying glass

Small first aid kit

1 pound of hamburger

1 Herseys Bar (for starting fires)

Sealed Emergency kit with: cell phone, whistle


I will give the scouts only the items at the top, and I will not tell them what is in the can except the emergency phone/whistle(they can find it near the crash site).

Is this better?


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Bah! You're all being too easy on 'em. :)


My brother's troop holds a "Survival" weekend every summer up here in the Maine Wilderness.


What are you allowed to bring? A pocket knife, flint and steel and if they choose, fishing line/hooks. They are also allowed/required to bring water as there is no portable water source on the 20 acre woodlot used for the event, but there is a nearby lake for fishing.


Scouts have to make their own shelters and sleep in'em along with living off the land for the weekend using their edible plant knowledge learned on previous camping trips from older youth/leaders.


It has become a very big hit among the scouts and has become a recruitment point for the unit.


Might sound easy in a Maine Summer, but up here that means temps anywhere from 50F to 95F. Could be dry, could be pouring rain and raw. Also, the misery known as black flies--more annoying than mosquitoes and more painful. No bug dope allowed. Wouldn't matter anyway. Most of the commercial products, even the ones containing DEET seem to have no effect on Maine Black Flies. Maybe it's viewed as hot mustard by'em. :)


That Survivor "reality" TV show will never impress me until they try and host the event up here in the Maine Wilderness during black fly season. We got plenty more folks like that high school teacher from Gorham, Maine that won the last season up here who would gladly give the others a run for their money. :)

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More serious response to Buffalo Skipper's last post.


This is a good start. I recall a Wilderness Survive exercise similar to this as a scout. In our case the "background story" was:


Your plane crashes deep in the Maine Wilderness, pilot is killed. Only your patrol members and a dog survive. Radio is destroyed. Due to fuel shortages, there won't be any search and rescue parties looking for you. You'll need to travel 50 miles through the wilderness back to civilization. You are able to salvage the following items from the crash (insert your list of picnic table items along with other items that would be useful or useless such as 20lbs of dog food, a handgun, but no ammo, etc.). You can't carry everything out. What do you take to use on your hike back? It was a very interesting and educational test/discussion where the patrol members discussed the useful or uselessness of each item.


Anyway, in your case, where you have the choices from the picnic table for these scouts, if this is a "plane crash", maybe suggest they have only two minutes to rescue 4 items each because after two minutes the wreckage is engulfed in flames.


Don't tell'em about the #10 can at all. Do as you mention--they "find it" near the wreckage site.



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Moxieman, thanks for doing a better job of explaining what I had in mind. Yes, 4 items each and the plane is engulfed in flames, no more. I intend to do this on a picnic table right in front of the other scouts, so they can see exactly what is chosen. Because of the time factor, they cannot test equipment, just silently pick it out. After this, we will drive them out to the site, while the other scouts have lunch. I will give them the coffee can at that time (I have already packed it, except for one of the scout's phones, which will be sealed in the emergency kit).


I do like the idea of giving them a non-working flashlight. Maybe I'll just put the batteries in backwards, and see if they can figure it out. I want them to have challenges. And maybe I can make a 3rd "Mystery bag" of completely useless stuff.


What do you think of having the entire troop hike out to the site to see what they have done on Sunday morning, and then hike back together? This may give these boys a chance to see what they can do in the next year or two.

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I deciced to add a 3rd mystery bag. This one will be a bunch of junk. Some phillips head screws, a slotted screwdriver, an ink pen, and clothes pins. Certainly they can make use of these items, but they are less functional than what is in the other bags....

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