What You Can Learn From the Boy Scouts

Plan for the Worst

It doesn't matter whether it's bad weather, a poorly marked trail, a medical emergency or some other unfortunate circumstance, if you've planned to deal with it, the consequences are likely to be much less severe.

Boy Scouts are drilled on carrying the "10 essentials" on every wilderness outing, even day hikes. These include:

  • Map and compass
  • First-aid kit
  • Pocket knife
  • Water bottle
  • Emergency trail food
  • Rain gear
  • Extra clothing
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Matches or fire starter
  • Sun protection

More: Hiking Checklist: What to Pack for the Trail

One of the first merit badges many young Boy Scouts earn at summer camp is Wilderness Survival. They spend a day building their own shelter out of material they find in the wilderness and then spend the night there with only the 10 essentials.

Should the need arise for them to spent a night alone in the wilderness, they are prepared to do so.

Leave No Trace

It's possible to enjoy nature while having a minimal impact on the environment, which is the philosophy behind the "Leave No Trace" outdoors ethics code.

Imagine if everyone experiencing the outdoors left their area in better shape than they found it.

More: 10 Camping Etiquette Tips

RA Find a campsite at ReserveAmerica.com.

About the Author

Chuck Scott is a freelance editor and writer with 30 years of experience in sports journalism. He is also an avid backpacker and camper.

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