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Plan and run a survival themed camp

First suggested by Bushscout
Put your survival skills to the test with a 24-hour experience.

Back to Activities

You’ll 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

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Planning this activity

  • It’s best to practise survival skills before you head out on camp. There are plenty survival skills activities 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.
  • 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 a 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.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

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.

Every survival camp will be different. A more experienced group could be challenged with different tasks (or given a bit less support), while a less experienced group will probably need a bit more time to complete activities and some help to get things done.

The first step is to make sure your site’s accessible – think about things like toilets and transport options too. Make sure everyone can take part in all of the activities and that your menu caters for everyone. Get in touch with Bushscout if you want further advice about making survival and bush craft activities accessible for everyone.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

There are plenty of other survival activities you could include in your camp – why not try rope making or foraging? Make sure you have support from someone with relevant experience to deliver these activities safely. Bushscout may be able to support you too.

Encourage young people to explore and find their own ways of doing things as long as everyone stays safe throughout.