Seven Priorities For Wilderness Survival Every Adventurous Kid Should Know

Teach your children the seven priorities of survival.
Teach your children the seven priorities of survival.

If you are the parent of a boy scout, you are probably familiar with the seven priorities for wilderness survival.  The Boys Scouts of America requires that scouts attempting to earn their Wilderness Survival Merit Badge know and understand these priorities.  The priorities are easy to understand, are built on common sense, and can easily be taught to young people whether they are boy scouts or not.  Listed in order of importance, these priorities are:  keep a positive mental attitude, first aid, shelter, fire, signaling, water & food.

Keep a Positive Mental Attitude:  If they panic and lose control, they are likely to make the situation worse.  The best thing to do is to adopt the S.T.O.P. rule.  Stop, think, observe, plan.  Explain this concept to your children as it is a good one and can be used during any crisis situation.

First aid:  If anyone in the group is critically injured, first aid becomes the next priority.  Teaching children basic first aid is a crucial wilderness survival skill.  Topics to cover would be minor health issues including insect bites, blisters, dehydration, hypothermia, cuts, scrapes, and bruises.  You can also cover larger health problems such as broken bones and snake bites.  The Red Cross is an excellent resource for first aid training.  JM Cremp’s also sells a waterproof Pocket Guide to First Aid that is an excellent addition to any backpack.

Shelter:  The third priority is to find or create shelter.  The ability to protect yourself from the elements is crucial in any survival situation regardless of the weather.  The next time you are out with your children, ask them how they would find or build shelter.  What materials would they use?  How would they build it?  You can learn more about finding shelter in the book Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters.

Fire:  The ability to build a fire in a survival situation is critical.  Fire provides warmth, can cook food, purify water, can be used as a signal device, and will most definitely boost morale.   Show your kids how to build a proper fire in the woods and you will teach them a skill that will last a lifetime.

Signaling:  The most effective tools for signaling are a signal whistle and a small mirror.  Teach them that three blows on the whistle means “help”.  The mirror can be used to signal aircraft, helicopters, or people far away.

Water:  A human being can survive approximately three days without water. Teach your children how to find a clean water source, how to purify water, and how to draw moisture from the ground.  The book, Essential Survival Skills, is an excellent resource for all of the topics discussed here including how to procure safe drinking water.

Food:  People can go several weeks without food in survival conditions.  Knowing what plants to eat in the wilderness requires some more extensive training.  The book, The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants is an excellent learning resource.  Also, if you are a family that hunts and fishes, use that hunting and fishing time to discuss procuring food in a survival situation.

As always, JM Cremp’s is an excellent resource for survival gear for kids and adults of all ages.

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Build Your Own Survival Kit With This Basic Survival Kit Checklist

Building your own basic survival kit is easy and fun to do.  It is the perfect addition to your pack when you’re camping, fishing, hiking or hunting.  By making your kit ahead of time, you can take it with you whenever your adventure leads you into the wilderness.

The Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit
The Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit has all the essentials that a good survival kit should have.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind.  A survival kit such as this one is only useful if you know how to use the items in it.  So be sure to practice proper use of the items with your family before you head out.  Also, JM Cremp’s carries some excellent survival books that give instruction and tips for survival situations.  Two of our favorites are The Ultimate Survival Manual and Essential Survival Skills.

Put Your Pack Together Today! (Click here to download your Basic Survival Kit Checklist)

Remember:  This is a basic starter list, so you can add or take away whatever you need to customize your pack for your situation.  JM Cremps carries the Gerber Bear Grylls Survivial Kit.  This survival kit is small and compact and  will fit in a large jacket pocket.  You can use it as is or build upon it to include more options for your situation.

Survival Basics for your Survival Bag

Every good Boy Scout knows that it is important to be prepared when you head out into the wilderness, but “preparedness” isn’t only for Boy Scouts – it is essential for every one of us that enjoys an afternoon in the woods.  Even if you are hiking a familiar trail with your family, playing tag in a wooded area with your friends, or camping out with your scout troop, you should always be prepared.  No one ever expects to be in a survival situation, but unexpected things can happen.  When they do, the person who is best prepared will be able to handle any situation.

The Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit
The Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit has all the essentials that a good survival kit should have.

Boy Scouts and woodsman all over the world make sure to take a bag with some essential gear in it.  It’s called a survival bag or survival kit.  You can make your own, or you can buy one that is already made for you.  The Bear Grylls Survival Kit (Basic) is a great one to take with you when you head out for an afternoon in the woods.  It has many of the essential items a good survival kit should have, and it fits nicely in your bag or pocket.   (See the complete contents of the Bear Grylls Survival Kit below.)

SOME SURVIVAL BASICS INCLUDE:

    •  A Whistle –  If you find yourself lost or separated from your group, then you need a whistle to signal your location to any searchers in the area.  Your voice only carries a few hundred feet in the forest, and a whistle can be heard up to two miles away.  Unlike your voice, the whistle won’t get tired and wear out after a long day.  That makes a whistle a very valuable rescue tool.  SURVIVAL TIP:  The universal signal for help is three clear blasts with a slight pause between each blast.  Repeating that whistling sequence every few minutes while you are in danger just may be your key to being rescued.
    • A plastic garbage bag – A garbage bag can be used in many different ways.  Wrapped around you, it will keep the wind out, the heat in, and the rain or snow off of you.   A garbage bag can also double as a rain poncho, a container to hold water, a tarp for shade, or a bag to carry supplies.  A garbage bag can be your own personal shelter, and in a survival situation, shelter is an essential thing.  Depending on the weather, you may need to take shelter from the sun and heat, rain, snow, cold, or wind.  Anyone of those things can rob your body of vital energy.  NOTE:  Do not EVER put your head inside of a plastic bag.  You will not be able to breathe!
    • Water – You absolutely must have water to keep your body working correctly.   Don’t ever go out into the woods without taking some water with you.  Try to take at least one quart of water.  If you find yourself without water, then try to conserve the water that is already in your body.  Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth because you lose water when you exhale.   Also, try to minimize activities that make you sweat.  You will rapidly lose water as you sweat, so move slowly and carefully, and rest often.
Survival Bandana
A brightly colored bandana is very useful in a survival situation. Especially this helpful Survival Bandana that’s loaded with survival information.
  • A bright colored bandana – A bandana is very useful.  You can use it as a hat to keep your head and ears warm, or you can use it to protect your eyes and face from the sun.  You can also use it as a signal flag to wave at aircraft passing overhead or people you see far away.  You can also tie your bandana to a stick so that your flag can be waved high in the air.   That will greatly increase your chances of being seen.  JM Cremps carries a bright orange Survival Bandanathat is the perfect addition to any survival bag.  The bandana is loaded with survival techniques including:  How to gather water, how to build a shelter, how to find edible foods, start a fire, tie knots, and more!
  • A Flashlight – If you find yourself out at night, a flashlight will be your best friend.  Besides being able to see your surroundings, a light from a flashlight will be a comfort to you during the night.  Remember to try to conserve the batteries by shutting the light off when you don’t need it.  And don’t forget to check the batteries BEFORE you go out!  You don’t want to be stuck in the woods at night with a flashlight that doesn’t work.An excellent flashlight that is waterproof, floats, and is durable is the Waterproof Floating Flashlight by Eveready.  If you want something smaller, there are many small led flashlights that provide excellent light and long battery life.   The Impulse LED Multi-Purpose Light is a good one, and it clips onto your belt or pack.
  • Rope or Cord – A rope or cord is one of the most versatile pieces in your survival bag.  A durable, strong, and lightweight type of cord is 550 Paracord.  Paracord was first used as the suspension lines for a parachute, but its strength and durability has made it a must-have for any survival bag.  Paracord can be used as a tourniquet in first aid situations, to make a shelter, as fishing line, to weave a basket or net, to make traps to catch an animal, and on and on.  A 50 ft. section of paracord is an adequate length, and it doesn’t take up too much room in your pack.  A fun way to carry your paracord is to wear it as survival bracelet.  JM Cremps has everything you need including FREE downloadable instructions so that you can make your own survival bracelet.  We also carry ready-made survival bracelet in a variety of colors. One bracelet contains 50 ft. of 550 paracord that is easy for you to unravel should you ever need to use it.
Learn how to make paracord bracelets with the Survival Bracelet How to Guide
Knowing how to make paracord bracelets can be both fun and rewarding!

There are many resources that you can use to learn more about survival techniques, survival kits, and survival basics.  The Boy Scouts Website has a whole section devoted to wilderness survival, and it is a great resource for the entire family.  In this post we’ve only covered a few of the basics that should be included in a good survival bag, but every family can prepare their own bag based upon their own needs.

In our next Survival Post, we will cover what to do if you ever find yourself in a survival situation.

Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit Features

• Lightweight, Ripstop Nylon Bag w/ Waterproof Zipper
• Waterproof Inner Bag
• Gerber Mini-Paraframe Knife
• Emergency Whistle
• Fire Starter & Cotton Balls for Tinder
• Waterproof Matches
• Snare Wire
• Emergency Cord
• Land to Air Rescue Instruction