Wilderness Survival

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Resources include the Wilderness Survival merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Wilderness Survival merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1974
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 117
Requirements revision: 2018
Latest pamphlet revision: 2012


In their outdoor activities, Scouts learn to bring the clothing and gear they need, to make good plans, and do their best to manage any risks. But now and then, something unexpected happens. When things go wrong, the skills of wilderness survival can help make everything right again.

Wilderness Survival merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter while participating in wilderness survival activities, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, or lessen these hazards.
    b. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur in backcountry settings, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, blisters, insect stings, tick bites, and snakebites.
  2. From memory, list the seven priorities for survival in a backcountry or wilderness location. Explain the importance of each one with your counselor.
  3. Discuss ways to avoid panic and maintain a high level of morale when lost, and explain why this is important.
  4. Describe the steps you would take to survive in the following conditions:
    a. Cold and snowy
    b. Wet
    c. Hot and dry
    d. Windy
    e. At or on the water
  5. Put together a personal survival kit and explain how each item in it could be useful
  6. Using three different methods (other than matches), build and light three fires.
  7. Do the following:
    a. Show five different ways to attract attention when lost.
    b. Demonstrate how to use a signal mirror.
    c. Describe from memory five ground-to-air signals and tell what they mean.
  8. Improvise a natural shelter. For the purpose of this demonstration, use techniques that have little negative impact on the environment. Spend a night in your shelter.
  9. Explain how to protect yourself from insects, reptiles, bears, and other animals of the local region.
  10. Demonstrate three ways to treat water found in the outdoors to prepare it for drinking.
  11. Show that you know the proper clothing to wear while in the outdoors during extremely hot and cold weather and during wet conditions.
  12. Explain why it usually is not wise to eat edible wild plants or wildlife in a wilderness survival situation.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Wilderness Survival is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Wilderness Survival requirements. usscouts.org has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Wilderness Survival merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Adventure.
Wilderness Survival merit badge is required for the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement.
  1. Wilderness Survival is a popular summer camp merit badge.
  2. The BSA Wilderness Survival Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Wilderness Survival as one of your monthly themes.

Requirement resources

The Troop Wilderness Survival Monthly Theme includes meeting and activity materials.

1. First Aid: Hypothermia  •  Heat Reactions  •  Frostbite  •  Dehydration  •  Blisters  •  Insect Stings  •  Tick Bites  •  Snakebites

2. Survival Skills checklists and videos.

  1. Positive Mental Attitude
  2. First Aid
  3. Shelter
  4. Fire
  5. Signaling
  6. Water
  7. Food

4. Weather Skills  •  Dehydration  •  Cold Weather  •  Hypothermia  •  Wet Weather  •  Warm Weather  •  Heat Exhaustion  •  Heat Stroke
5. Personal Survival Kit

6. Fire Starting videos show eight ways to start a fire without matches.

7. Survival Signaling videos
8. Survival Shelter videos show how to improvise natural shelters.
9. Insect Protection  •  Poisonous Animals  •  Food Handling and bears.
10. Water Purification
11. Warm Weather  •  Cold Weather

12. Survival Skills including the Identifying Plants & Food video.

Related awards

Outdoor Skills Awards
Outdoor-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools