Shoe Box Campout/Survival
Every so often, we have a shoe-box campout for the troop. You may ask, what in the world is a Shoe-Box Campout?
Well for those of you scouters that have never experienced one, or for those of you that are not familiar with the scouting world, scouts have to take everything they need (or think they need) in a regular shoe box for the campout, included sleeping gear, food, drink, (or ways to find food & drink), items to eat with, compass to find your way, etc...the list can go on.
Needless to say, scouts bring all kinds of items that they “think” they need. We had a “shoe box campout” several years ago at a scout’s (now adult leader) property here in town. It was amazing what scouts brought and didn’t bring. May I say that we did prepare for those that were younger in the troop and didn’t know quite what to bring (even though it was covered in meetings).
Scouts brought such items as eating utensils/eating gear (bowl/plate), a couple of changes of clothes, food or drink (or ways to get them), tarp/ground cloth (scouts were going to sleep on ground), sheet/blanket, hardly any brought a compass (in case of getting lost on a real trek), cards or non electronic games, stakes to use on tarps, etc but items were sporatic amongst the ranks…even had a couple of boxes that were almost empty.
The ideal items to bring was a small ground cloth (old shower curtain works as well as small tarp or piece of plastic), small sheet or space blanket, compass, a small bowl, fork/spoon combo called a spork, something to drink from, a little bit of important paper (toilet paper), fishing line & safety pins/hooks (hopefully a tank near by with fish in it), flint & steel to start fires with, small water pump with Iodine tablets to purify water (never know where you are going to be and if the water is safe to drink), small roll of duct tape, knife, LED headlight or small flashlight, rope, personal first aid kit, dehydrated small food items (like oatmeal) that can be put in zip lock bags. Packed right, items will amazingly fit into a shoe box.
Clothes can be worn in layers to accommodate the heat of the day or cool of the night. Scouts can wear pants that have zippers in them that will zip off at the knees to make shorts during the hot part of the day and can zip back on the legs to make pants on a cool night. Scouts can also wear a light jacket to take off the chill of the night. Scouts can cut branches from a fallen tree to use as a fishing pole to string their fishing line on. Once scouts get their “fishing pole” made, they can put on their hook (hopefully they catch some fish). Scouts can then proceed to catch grasshoppers and various bugs that fish like (have to make sure non-poisonous) and put them on their hook to fish with.
Scouts should have carried some dried food with them to eat, oatmeal, power bars, trail mix, beef jerky or other dried foods that are compact. Scouts can use their cups and small bowls to stuff smaller items in like the fire starters, fishing gear, small personal first aid kit, compass, etc depending on what fits in and around the cup & bowl.
Water Purifiers and Iodine (or similar purification tablets) are sold in various sports places like Academy. Only one or two people will need the purification items to serve those going. Small dried tinder (leaves, small twigs, dead grass) can be found around the place you are going to camp. As your fire builds, you can add larger pieces of dead wood that you have collected. It is important that you do not harm live trees by cutting them up for your fishing poles and building your shelter (unless there is absolutely no choice and your survival depends on it).
Before it gets dark, find dead limbs that are good and strong to build your shelter with, using your rope/duct tape that you brought... It is good to make one end close to the ground and the other end higher up in the air in case of rain, etc, the moisture will run off.
If there is a tank around, you can use your purifier and tablets to purify your water (if no tank, need to plan how you are going to get water). Individual camel backs will work if scouts have them (They are bladders that hold water that scouts can put over shoulders with straps that has a straw that scouts can use to get the water from).
As having younger scouts with us, we did bring food items and water so it was a good learning experience for the scouts, but scouts had to work on figuring out what was needed and how to get it before food and water items were broke out to use. We held several Junior Leader Training Sessions to help scouts understand the importance of being in nature and how to prepare for it. The troop does a lot of high adventure treks where they back pack in and back pack out of the area, including Philemont which they normally do a 100 mile hiking trek over a period of 10-15 days that every thing they need is carried in their backpacks including all food, cooking utensils, water, sleeping gear, rain gear, first aid items and other items needed.
Another Troop on the internet shares their experience as listed below:
We had some boys decide to go solo - pack their food, space blanket, etc in an individual box. We had scouts in a couple patrols decide to split it up - one box had all their shelter materials, a couple of boxes had all their food. In the end, I don't think it matters - there is only so much space.
Just about everyone had a cheap space blanket - those that didn't make a ground cover out of natural materials. There were a couple of kids that cooked using sterno, but most of it was dry food (we did cheat and have water coolers available so that at least no one became dehydrated).
A few people were smart enough to glue some padding to the bottom of their boxes for use as pillows. The lid makes a good tray, cutting board, rain shelter, fan, frisbee, etc.
Poncho, military (Tent, tarp, sleeping bag, rain protection)
There are a couple of shows on TV that show survival techniques (MAN VERSUS WILD & SURVIVOR MAN). If you have a chance, check them out.