Varsity Scouts Survival Outing - Background Information

Here are some links to internet resources which will provide some good background information for the upcoming Varsity survival outing. As you will see, there are many ways to do things wrong, and many ways to do things right. Feel free to experiment. Above all, have fun.

Blanket pack
What to bring: A blanket, some rope or straps. Bungee cords optional.
Notes: Please report to the check-in site with your gear already packed in a blanket pack. You can roll your gear inside the blanket as shown in the videos.

Tarp shelter
What to bring: Bring a tarp or large poncho. An 8'x10' tarp is recommended. They are relatively inexpensive at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, etc. Bring some rope: it doesn't need to be real strong rope. Even a strong twine will work. A trekking pole, hiking stick, or even a broom handle, can come in handy, as you'll see in the videos. Bring some tent stakes if you'd like as it will save you a lot of time.
Notes: Practice setting up your shelter before you come to the outing.

Hobo stove
What to bring: Hobo stove, can or large metal cup to boil water in.
Notes: Hobo stoves are great for cooking. They are easier to cook on than a campfire. They also use far less wood than a campfire, which can be a very important consideration in a true emergency, since fuel may be hard to find. We hope that you will each make a few hobo stove before the outing, perhap at your meetings. If so, please plan to bring it with you.

Ash cakes
What to bring: Small ziplock bag with about a cup of white or wheat flour, or bisquik. Water bottle. Cup or small can. Brown sugar, raisens, peanut butter, jelly optional. Leather work gloves are nice but not really necessary.
Notes: What if you had some basic food staples, but no utensils? What would you do with a small bag of flour or bisquik? One solution is to make ash cakes. You can add some water to the flour to make a simple dough. If you mix a little ash (white ash, not black coal) from the fire into the flour before adding the water, it will serve as a leavening agent. Pat the dough into a thin cake and lay it on the coals (again, on the coals, not in the flames!) Let it cook awhile, then turn it over. We'll demonstrate ash cakes on Friday night and we hope you'll bring some flour and plan to make them for breakfast on Saturday morning.

Iodine water purifier
What to bring: Bring a water bottle.
Notes: We hope to distribute an inexpensive product comparable to PolarPure, good for hundreds of quarts of water. You can use it on future outings, or add it to your families emergency preparedness kit.

Sheet bend
What to bring: Two large trash bags per boy. One ball of jute twine (about $1 at Walmart) per troop should be sufficient.
Notes: Most scouts know that a sheet bend is the knot of choice for tying together two ropes of different diameter. But why is it called a "sheet bend"? Because if you make a "bend" in a "sheet" (or sail) it's the perfect knot for tying a rope to that sheet! Likewise, you can use the sheet bend to tie a rope to a piece of plastic or to an emergency space blanket. You will be asked to build an emergency shelter using your trash bags and jute and, or course, a sheet bend!

Fire building
What to bring: Empty Altoid-type tin or small plastic pill bottle. All other materials will be provided.
Notes: I always take a lighter with me when hiking and camping. Always! I can start a fire by friction, but I've done it enough to know I don't want to have to rely on it in an emergency. But lighters do break. So I also bring a ferro rod and cotton balls coated in petroleum jelly. I also bring a small fixed blade knife for splitting wet wood by batoning. I prefer batoning to using an axe.

Life Basket Knot
What to bring: Nothing.
Notes: You will learn how to tie the life basket knot. Tie it carefully, because you just might be lifted by it...! This is part of the Emergency Preparedness merit badge.

First Aid
What to bring: Nothing.
Notes: Can you ... improvise a stretcher? split a break? wrap a sprained ankle?

Hobo Fishing
What to bring: An empty 12-16oz water bottle.
Notes: You will learn how to tie a line to a hook, and then how to cast using a hobo reel. Can you land your weight inside the hula hoop?

What to bring: Signal mirror if you have one, or and old compact disc (CD).
Notes: You will learn how to signal using a CD and a signal mirror.

Compiled by Bill Qualls.