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Teaching camping skills

This is a program over three weeks that I have used successfully with new campers to prepare them for an outdoor camp. It could be adapted for other types of tents (we use bell tents), and for indoor camping.


  • peg bashing
  • flagpole making
  • gadget making/square lashing
  • firelighting/woodpile
  • kit/how to pack a kitbag
  • lantern care & use
  • tent mending
  • campfire building
  • use of tools e.g. bushsaw, tomahawk, penknives
  • food storage
  • cuts/burns/snakebite
  • care of the environment
  • campfire songs



Cuts/burns/snakebite (leader) (15 mins)

Round Robin in patrol groups (15 minutes each, move to next station on the whistle)

  • peg bashing - outside (PL)
  • square lashing - inside (PL)
  • bedding rolls - inside (leader)
  • woodpile/fires - outside (PL)
  • graces - inside (leader)

Food storage (leader) (15 mins)


Care of the environment (leader) (15 mins)

Round Robin (15 minutes each, move to next station on the whistle)

  • campfire building & songs - inside (PL)
  • kit/how to pack a kitbag - inside (leader)
  • lantern care & use - inside (leader)
  • flagpole - outside (PL)
  • gadget making - outside (PL)

Use and care of tools, e.g. saws, tomahawks, penknives (leader) (15 mins)


6.30 Arrive

Erect tent (each person in the patrol to bash in two pegs - timed)

Make gadget (everyone to be involved in planning and construction)

Put gear on gadget

7.10 Split patrol into two - one group cooks sausages on a fire for the patrol, the other group makes a miniature flagpole. When the flagpole is ready, have a proper colour party, then sit down in a patrol, sing grace, and eat the sausages.

7.45 Games - food storage/first aid/care of the environment

8.00 Campfire

8.30 Bedtime - put on pyjamas over jeans, get into bed, lights out

8.40 Morning - wake up, get dressed, do bedding rolls, undo gadget, pull out tent pegs, clean up fireplace (and dishes?) bring down the flag, sit in circle on bedding rolls ready to go home.

8.55 Circle formation - give out point scores and prizes - point out the advantages of cooperation, obedience, involvement, which are essential at camp in order to get the chores out of the way so the fun can start!

POINT SYSTEM (fastest = 5, slowest = 1) TO BE APPLIED TO:

  • Fastest adjusted times for peg bashing
  • Fastest patrol making gadget and gear stowed away
  • Fastest patrol finished flagpole and eating
  • Point score from game
  • Fastest into bed with torches out, no noise
  • Fastest dressed, and ready to go home
By the end of this program, your campers should have a very good idea of the skills they will need when they go to camp, and they will be able to hit the ground running!