Wilderness Survival skills

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MeritBadge.Org offers resource and video links for Backpacking, Campfire Building, Clothing, Cooking,
Cycling, First Aid, Navigation, Outdoor skills, Scout skills, Swimming, and Wilderness Survival skills.
Troop Program Features let you make Wilderness Survival skills a part of your troop program.



While the Boy Scout Handbook is your primary resource, the links below can help you learn Wilderness Survival skills. See the Disclaimers.

  This symbol notes many other lesson videos.

Survival Skills

See: Wilderness Survival Merit badge. Make Wilderness Survival A Part of Your Troop Program.
  Survival Lesson Videos: Wilderness Survival Tips - Assessing the Surroundings - Identifying Plants & Food - Patience & Making Decisions - Using Personal Possessions - Desert - Using Pinecones

Survival Kit

Survival Kit

Every survival kit begins with the Outdoor Essentials. Get into the habit of having them with you on every trip into the backcountry.

From the Scouts BSA Handbook, "Hiking" chapter, pp. 238-239:

The Basic Scout Essentials can make every outdoor adventure better. In an emergency they can help you get out of a jam.

  1. Pocketknife
  2. Rain gear
  3. Trail food
  4. Flashlight
  5. Extra clothing
  6. First-aid kit
  7. Sun protection
  8. Map and compass
  9. Matches and fire starters
  10. Water bottle
Depending on your destination, the length of your trip, and the season, other essential items may include insect repellent, a whistle, and other items such as water treatment tablets. Remember the Scout motto, and be prepared.
Scouts BSA Handbook, "Hiking" chapter, p. 239
From the Wilderness Survival merit badge pamphlet, SKU: 35966 (2015 Printing) — ScoutShop.org

Adding some or all of the following items to your emergency kit can come in hand during survival situations.

____ Duct Tape. – Wrap a length of it around a plastic water bottle and you will always have some handy.
____ Whistle. – A whistle can be heard for longer distnances than shouting can and requires less energy.
____ Signal Mirror. – A metal signal mirror can be slipped into your first-aid kit or a side pocket of your pack. Keep it in its case or slip it inside a spare sock to protect it from becoming scratched and dull.
____ Thin Wire. – A few feet of thin wire can come in handy for repairing camping gear.
____ Garbage Bag. – A heavy-duty 30- to 39-gallon plastic bag, preferably in a bright color, can be used for emergency rain gear, to protect tinder and kindling from the rain, and to shield your sleeping bag and other equipment.
____ Fishing Line and Hooks. – Fifty feet of nylon fishing line can have many uses for making repairs. Add a few hooks and you will have the gear you need to try fishing in lakes and streams.

Basic Warm-Weather Clothing Checklist

____ T-shirt or lightweight short-sleeved shirt
____ Hiking shorts
____ Underwear
____ Socks
____ Long-sleeved shirt (lightweight)
____ Long pants (lightweight)
____ Sweater or warm jacket
____ Brimmed hat
____ Bandannas
____ Rain gear
____ Appropriate hiking footwear

Basic Cold-Weather Clothing Checklist

____ Long-sleeved shirt
____ Long pants (fleece, wool, or synthetic blend)
____ Sweater (fleece or wool)
____ Long underwear (polypropylene)
____ Socks (wool or synthetic blend)
____ Warm hooded parka or jacket
____ Socking hat (fleece or wool)
____ Mittens or gloves (fleece or wool) with water resistant shells
____ Wool scarf
____ Rain gear
____ Appropriate cold/wet weather footwear

Survival Shelter

Survival Shelter

  Video: Build a Shelter - Video: Using Straw Grass - Video: Finding Shelter - Video: Lean-To Shelters

Survival Signaling

Survival Signaling

  Video: Signaling


See Outdoor Safety

See also

Related awards

Outdoor Skills Awards
Outdoor-related awards


Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, or formal training. Please note that the only materials recommended by the Boy Scouts of America are those found or listed in official BSA materials such as the current Boy Scout Handbook. Wilderness Survival skills recommendations are constantly being revised. Neither MeritBadge.Org, nor its contributors make any recommendations. See the Guide to Safe Scouting.

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