Prep Monday—The Great Outdoors

So I’m coming up with an idea, based on my fantastic Sunday afternoon, for a class for kids on survival and outdoor living. It’s a simple plan, teaching the basics over a two- or three-day period. Take a look and tell me what you think:

First, what are the essentials? Water, shelter, food. Second, what type of situation is this? Long-term, or lost? This makes a huge difference—in the first, you’re prepared, or should be, before it starts; in the second, you’re planning (or hoping) for a rescue within a short time.

Day One: Learning Skills

Let’s start with becoming lost in the woods, because at this time it’s the far more likely scenario. And let’s assume that the individual—although it could be a couple or a group of any size—has no communication devices, or at least no cell service.

Just like anything, you could do things the hard way or the easy way. The easy way is to be prepared ahead of time for that day hike and carry a few of the basics with you: matches or firestarter, knife or other weapon, water purification tablets, heat blanket, rain poncho, compass, whistle. Think that’s a lot? Nope, it’ll all fit in your pockets without being bulky or constraining, but if you think it’s too much, carry a small pack. Throw in some protein bars and an extra water bottle, and you’re set. And, if you carry a pack, you can add a few more things, like a small, collapsible container—heat-proof, of course—and a first aid kit.

Set for what? To get lost, of course!

Anytime you go into the woods, you have to assume you could be there for the long haul. Don’t pass up something potentially useful, like an old, empty bird’s nest for example, or a few wild strawberries. I’m not suggesting picking every plant you see, or dragging around a log for firewood, just in case, but be smart, and be nature-friendly.

Skills covered: observation, useful items, packing, planning, fire-building, tools

Day Two: Practice and What to Do When

Hiking is more than walking: it’s pacing yourself, limiting your impact on your surroundings, showing restraint, and much more. Keep an even, steady stride; step ON logs, not OVER them—Mr. Copperhead could be sunning himself on the far side of that log. Watch and listen. Sip your water. Conserve your resources: water, food, energy.

Take what you need, but not all that you want. Don’t uproot plants. Step carefully to avoid injury; test your path before you commit. Sound travels—which is good when you become lost, but not so great for others who want to enjoy the woods too.

Role-playing: what do if you get lost in the woods—first, second, third; splitting up—good or bad; when and where to settle down for the long haul.

Day Three: What To Do

Practice makes perfect! You know how the reality survivor shows work, right? Those people aren’t really alone, there’s a camera crew present. They aren’t allowed to interfere except in life-and-death situations. Now, with kids, you have to have a certain parameter which would also include injury, but Day Three is about getting lost. For real.

So, readers, what do you think? Feasible? Fun? Useful? Comment below!








11 comments on “Prep Monday—The Great Outdoors

  1. Robin, this is a GREAT idea! Not only is this valuable information for everyone, but actual classes may save a few lives. I like it! Keep doing what you ARE doing. Great job.


  2. Three likkle words:- PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE.

    Because you will encounter:-

    Matches = Burn
    Knifes = Cut
    Chemical Water Purification that can’t be rushed = Crypto or Giardia (Not forgetting iodine allergies)
    First Aid = Poison Ivy, Lyme Disease, Chiggers, poisoning (bad Berries)
    Hiking = Sprains and Strains

    As for them getting lost? = Yep, that happens too.

    And in today’s litigation mad world, forget teaching kids to protect themselves, protect yourself.


  3. authormjlogan says:

    I think this is a great idea.

    I would make it a “lost on a hike” scenario. That way you can cover things that ought to be in their pockets and in their day pack.

    Is it possible to do several scenarios, almost like a class, with 1, 2, and 3 day trips?

    Teach the very basics in class 1 like packing for a day hike, building a fire using a fire starter and purifying water, finding their way, etc.

    Let them put those skills to use in class 2 on a two day camp out.

    A final more advanced class where you spend day 1 getting the group lost and then guiding them along as they figure it out for themselves.

    Of course, you could combine all that into a three day “survival camp” on a long weekend.

    BTW, my brother used to take teens into Quetico Park for a ten day version of this where the kids were entirely on their own for 5-6 days with just 2 days worth of food. They had to work together as a group. Ages 13, 14, 15, and 16.


  4. Forget the kids – I need the training for ME!


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