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Survival Kits in a Bag November 24, 2008

Posted by thetrainerscorner in Uncategorized.
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Hello fellow Scouters,

Happy Monday! Looking for an idea for your den meeting? Looking for something that will help prepare your scouts for the outdoors? Why not try making a survival kit? Nothing fancy or elaborate – just something they can carry with them whenever they camp or hike. When we made them, we put all the contents in a zip-lock bag, so it would be waterproof and easy to fold and put in your scout’s hydration pack (which I would encourage every scout to have). When assembling the contents, you can discuss each item as the boys put them in. You can also discuss the importance of the buddy system. It’s a great lesson in outdoor survival. Here survivalkitare some contents to consider:

Emergency blanket – one of those space-blankets can be a life saver. And they are very compact and light-weight.

Lithium flashlight – great for sending out signals when the sun goes down.

Glow stick – can be used for comfort and as a guide for searchers in the dark.

Mirror – the small camping mirrors can be used for signaling during daytime. (In the photo the mirror didn’t reflect, so it looks dark).

Whistle – absolute essential. The scout needs to save his voice, so this is better than yelling.

Poncho – to keep dry. We found some great orange Coleman ones at Target a few years ago, which would be really visible in the outdoors. I don’t know if they still carry them.

Energy bar – keep up the strength. Needs to be replaced every spring.

“Ace” bandage and band-aids – an Ace bandage can be used for so many injuries.

A pocket knife (and a Whittling Chip, so they can carry the kit at a Scout function) – not only for survival needs but also to pass the time.

A gallon Zip-lock bag – a waterproof way to store everything. We put a label with the scout’s name on it, so we’d know who it belonged to if it was left behind anywhere.

Waterproof matches and fire starters – (optional) – here in southern California, we discourage this, because the threat of wildfires. But if you choose this, a great container for these are those zip snack bags – waterproof and small.

What not to include– A compass (the scout shouldn’t move) and a foldable barbed cord-type saw (the scout shouldn’t be sawing trees, which probably won’t burn).

When assembling these kits, it’s a good time to discuss the “Hug A Tree” program for what to do when you get lost. Here’s a link that provides great information: http://www.gpsar.org/hugatree.html The Hug A Tree program was started here in the San Diego area after a boy was lost on a local mountain. It’s important information that every child should know, especially those that get in the outdoors a lot like scouts.

We made these when we were Bears, as part of our preparations for Webelos. When my den was second-year Webelos, one of the scouts showed me his kit when we were on a hike. He still had it and carried it with him almost 2 years after we made them.

This can be an expensive den meeting, so you will need to plan accordingly. We were able to get some donations from doctors (the bandages) and sporting good stores (the mirrors), which helped offset the cost. For the rest I went to the parents and they paid an additional fee for this meeting. But considering these kits could save the life of their son if he gets lost, it was a small price to pay.

Although you cannot carry everything in the world in these kits, if you have anything you think should be added, please leave a comment.

Have a great day!

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><



1. thescoutmasterminutepodcast - November 24, 2008

Great idea. I know that your target for this project is Cub Scout aged boys, so it all fits.
A compass however is a must for a Boy Scout, and the know how to use it.
Hug a tree is always a good idea, not getting lost is a better one. Your compass can be the difference for well trained Scout (Boy Scout).

Great post though.. keep it up, I enjoy the blog.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

2. thetrainerscorner - November 25, 2008

Jerry, great point! This kit is for Cub Scout-aged boys. Thanks for clarifying that. As Webelos, it’s good to start learning the basics of a compass, and some basic orienteering. But not in a survival situation. Boy Scout would have different things they would take for survival situations.
-Scouter Jeff

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