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Survival camp

First suggested by Bushscout
Put your survival skills to the test with a 24 hour experience.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Equipment depends on chosen programme
Camp programme planner
DOCX – 826.4KB

Join the practical skills alliance

Bushscout are a national community of Scout Leaders who have a passion for teaching traditional and practical Scouting skills to other Scout Leaders. Subjects covered on training days include:
  • knife, axe and saw safety and skills
  • backwoods cooking
  • tarpology and tents
  • fire
  • kelly kettles and water purification
  • pioneering
  • crafts
  • game preparation
Learn more about Bushscout

Before you begin

  • It’s best to practise survival skills before you head out on camp. There are plenty of on our website.
  • We’ve put together a list of things to consider. Bushscout, the National Scout Active Support Unit for all things survival, have put together an example programme, which you’ll find attached to this activity. You don’t have to follow this exactly – hopefully it’ll inspire you to create a plan with confidence.
  • If you’re not comfortable running your own survival camp, get in touch with Bushscout.

Things to consider

  • You’ll need to read all of the usual guidance for camping and practical skills.
  • You’ll need a leader with the appropriate Nights Away Permit. You may also want to have more adults than usual as some activities need extra supervision.
  • The is full of guidance and tips for safely planning and running your camp.
  • If people want to earn their Scouts Survival Skills Activity Badge, you’ll need to plan activities to meet all of the requirements: making a shelter out of natural or salvaged materials and sleeping it in as well as prepare a meal over an open fire without utensils (except a knife). You could also make camp gadgets, practise navigation, and purify water.
  • Think about the tools and equipment you need – you may need to get some bushcraft knives, fire steels, sharpening stones, folding or bow saws, and other fire lighting materials. You’ll definitely need to make sure your first aid kits are well-stocked.
  • Visit your site before the camp to make sure it’s suitable. Check that there’s enough space and natural materials to build shelters and make fire. Is there a water source? Are there any major hazards?
  • You may be trying new activities or using new tools and equipment. Make sure you’ve risk assessed everything and are comfortable with everything you’ve planned.


This activity was all about trying new things and valuing the outdoors. A survival camp is great way to take a break from the challenges of everyday life. People had to focus on their next task and meeting their basic needs – even if it was just for 24 hours. Did people feel it gave them a bit of time and space? Did people enjoy getting away from daily life? Why (or why not)? There’s no right or wrong answer; it’s OK if people have different ideas. People could share their thoughts to help others understand what they mean.


Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.