8 Tips For Teaching The Wilderness Merit Badge

Children scouts sitting in a forest

Boy Scouts aren’t the only ones who should be familiar with how to survive in the wilderness. We think that it is an excellent idea if parents learn basic survival skills and pass that knowledge onto their own children.

While you may not have a Wilderness merit badge to show off, you can take pride in knowing that you have what it takes to survive the wild.

man walking in forest green

Continue reading to discover what survival tasks you should teach your children, or even learn for your own knowledge.


Should you ever find that you are in a survival situation, you want to get away from any threat of danger right away. This means if your car is on fire, get away. If something is chasing you, hide. The first and most important thing right now is to ensure the safety of yourself and others.


Troop 780 from Dunn, North Carolina says that it is important that you understand what S.T.O.P. stands for. This is critical and will be the difference in a situation being bad to disastrous.

  • S – Stop – Take a deep breath and calm down. Understand that you are now in a survival situation.
  • T – Think – Don’t panic. Think about what to do before you do anything.
  • O – Observe – Assess the situation and consider your options. Take inventory of supplies and your companions. Assess your surroundings, weather, and terrain.
  • P – Plan – Prioritize the immediate needs and deal with the situation accordingly.

First Aid

Off The Grid News tells us that after you are safely away from danger, you’ll want to look at yourself and others for injuries. If someone is hurt, you’ll want to tend to the wounds, be their cuts, dislocated joints, or broken bones, as soon as possible. Use items from your first aid kit to treat the injured and provide medication if needed.


After assessing the situation and dealing with any injuries, you want to reinforce the necessity of finding or building a shelter. If you have a survival kit with you, you can use a tarp or set up your tent in an area that is flat, free of fallen limbs, rocks, and insect nests.

survival shelter in a forest

You don’t want to go astray too far from where you are to search for this shelter because someone may be coming to find you.

If you do not have a tarp or tent, you can use natural materials like overhanging branches, a rock outcrop, or build your own shelter out of fallen limbs. Keep in mind that you will want to avoid sitting directly on the ground because it can leech away your warmth and you’ll get cold, quick.

Look For Water

Reserve America tells us that we can survive without food for three weeks, but we can only survive without water for three days. So it’s important that you search for a clean water source.

In your survival kit, you should have a water filtration straw so you can drink out of the body of fresh water, but you can also build a still that will draw the moisture from the ground if there are no other means of getting water.

Filling LifeStraw Go Water Bottle With Integrated LifeStraw Filter

Build a Fire

Not only are fires used for warmth, cooking food, and boiling water you’ve found, they can also be used as a way to alert people, and they’ll come looking for you. You’ll want to make the kids aware of how to build a fire without matches.

Find And/or Trap Food

It’s always a wise decision to pack some form of nourishment in your survival kit. However,  if you’re going to be out in the middle of nowhere for any length of time, you will want to know how to trap small animals like rabbits and squirrels, but also how to fish without a pole.

You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with what vegetation in your area is safe to eat and what isn’t.

Practice Your Techniques

One of the best ways you can have confidence in what you’ve learned is practicing the techniques you would use in a survival situation. You can plan the whole experience in a realistic setting—from the very beginning where they are packing their own survival kits to the very end where they are “rescued.”

As they are packing their survival kit, ask them questions like what is a survival knife good for, what kind of knot is the strongest, what tools do you need and the like. They should be able to tell you why each item in the kit is important and what could happen if they didn’t have that item with them.

Cutting a Branch with a Survival Knife

For example, if they didn’t have a parachute cord, they may not be able to hang their tarp for shelter or they couldn’t set a trap and could go hungry.

We should also note that you can purchase complete survival kits at any outdoor retailer. However, when you choose to build your own, you can find essential items at a pharmacy and a hardware store.


Being able to survive on their own in the wilderness is a skill that everyone should have. You can never guess when something will go wrong with your car and you’re stranded without a phone signal.

Sometimes when you are hiking, it can be easy to get off course and become lost. By knowing how to survive and use the tools in your survival kit, you have a better chance of coming home.

Starting a fire in forest for survival techniques

When you are practicing your survival techniques with your children, or even by yourself, it is always a good idea to take the situation seriously. Also, you should practice the techniques as often as possible, so when an emergency does arise, you’ll be able to go through the motions like routine.

While no survival situation is going to be alike, you can tackle the problem with confidence because you’ve gone through the steps numerous times.

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