MB – Wilderness Survival

February 3rd, 2014 by user
 Wilderness Survival

In their outdoor activities, Scouts learn to bring the clothing and gear they need, to make good plans, and do their best to manage any risks. But now and then, something unexpected happens. When things go wrong, the skills of wilderness survival can help make everything right again.


  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter while participating in wilderness survival activities, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, or lessen these hazards.
    2. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur in backcountry settings, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, blisters, insect stings, tick bites, and snakebites.
  2. From memory, list the seven priorities for survival in a backcountry or wilderness location. Explain the importance of each one with your counselor.
  3. Discuss ways to avoid panic and maintain a high level of morale when lost, and explain why this is important.
  4. Describe the steps you would take to survive in the following conditions:
    1. Cold and snowy
    2. Wet (forest)
    3. Hot and dry (desert)
    4. Windy (mountains or plains)
    5. Water (ocean, lake, or river)
  5. Put together a personal survival kit and explain how each item in it could be useful.
  6. Using three different methods (other than matches), build and light three fires.
  7. Do the following:
    1. Show five different ways to attract attention when lost.
    2. Demonstrate how to use a signal mirror.
    3. Describe from memory five ground-to-air signals and tell what they mean.
  8. Improvise a natural shelter. For the purpose of this demonstration, use techniques that have little negative impact on the environment. Spend a night in your shelter.
  9. Explain how to protect yourself from insects, reptiles, and bears.
  10. Demonstrate three ways to treat water found in the outdoors to prepare it for drinking.
  11. Show that you know the proper clothing to wear in your area on an overnight in extremely hot weather and in extremely cold weather.
  12. Explain why it usually is not wise to eat edible wild plants or wildlife in a wilderness survival situation.


Scouting Literature

Boy Scout Handbook; Fieldbook; Deck of First Aid; Emergency First Aid pocket guide; Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid; Be Prepared First Aid Book; Backpacking, Camping, Canoeing, Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Lifesaving, Orienteering, Safety, Search and Rescue, and Weather merit badge pamphlets

Visit the Boy Scouts of America’s official retail website at http:// www.scoutstuff.org for a complete listing of all merit badge pamphlets and other helpful Scouting materials and supplies.


  • Angier, Bradford. How to Stay Alive in the Woods. Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2001.
  • Forgey,William W. Basic Essentials: Wilderness First Aid, 3rd ed. FalconGuides, 2008.
  • Gill, Paul G. Wilderness First Aid. Ragged Mountain Press, 2001.
  • Harvey, Mark. National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness Guide: The Classic Handbook. Fireside, 1999.
  • Isaac, Jeffrey. The Outward Bound Wilderness First Aid Handbook. The Lyons Press, 1998.
  • Keller, William. Keller’s Outdoor Survival Guide: How to Prevail When Lost, Stranded, or Injured in the Wilderness. Willow Creek Press, 2001.
  • Nickens, T. Edward. The Total Outdoorsman Manual. Welden Owen, 2011.
  • Randall, Glenn. Outward Bound Map and Compass Handbook, 3rd ed. FalconGuides, 2012.
  • Stillwell, Alexander. The Encyclopedia of Survival Techniques. The Lyons Press, 2000.
  • Tawrell, Paul. Camping and Survival: The Ultimate Outdoors Book. Paul Tawrell, 2011.


  • More Wilderness 911. DVD. Wellspring Media, 1998.
  • Survival Basics 1 and 2, The Adventure. DVD. Stoney-Wolf Productions, 2006.
  • The Unexplained—Wilderness Survival. DVD. A&E Home Video, 2006.

Organizations and Websites

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education
Telephone: 810-299-2782
Website: http://www.aore.org

Backpacker Magazine
Website: http://www.backpacker.com

Equipped to Survive
Website: http://www.equipped.org

Guide to Safe Scouting on Scouting.org
Website: http://www.scouting.org/HealthandSafety/GSS.aspx

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
Toll-free telephone: 800-710-6657
Website: http://www.nols.edu

Outside Magazine
Website: http://www.outsideonline.com

Wilderness Education Association
Website: http://www.weainfo.org
Toll-free telephone: 800-572-3015