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Cooking and Backpacking and outdoor survival skills (Bushcraft) for Scouts BSA

Campfire Cooking and Backpacking and outdoor survival skills (bush craft) are my passions which I would like to share.


This first video is cooking caveman steak. While in scouts in my youth this was my entry into a Boy Scout cook-off contest put on at Camp Lewellan Missouri.. The OA Anpetu-We Lodge is having their fall reunion on 11-13/September/2020 where many scouts will have their OA ordeal part of which are various service projects to cut brush, camp improvements, and repairs.

Caveman steak by Cowboy Kent Rollins.

The second video is Dutch oven cherry/peach cobbler. This was my favorite meal supplied by the Philmont Scout Ranch staff about half way through our 50 miler. For a chubby 14 year old, the 50 miler was a challenge but today, I probably would NOT be eligible to go because of my weight for my height which is an unnecessary rule. By the end of the 50 miler with good heart and lungs, I had lost enough weight to meet the current restrictions.

For your next camp out with the pack/troop/crew check out, Cowboy Kent Rollins has hundreds of campfire cooking recipes including dutch oven meals and a pinch of history and cowboy lore.


Selecting gear to outfit yourself for overnight Backpacking can be a bit daunting as there are so many choices today. Back in the day the official Boy Scout backpack had an external frame and the sleeping bag was made from cotton and the cook kit was more than needed, all pretty weighty problems.

My go to source for backpacking info and backpacking challenges is Dixie at Homemade Wanderlust.

If you are just starting out, I recommend Dixie’s Full Budget-Friendly Backpacking Gear Review video.

Dixie has completed the AT, PCT, and CDT through hikes and has tons of videos on how she did that and her experience, gear she used, and advice for anyone up for the challenge. For girls, Dixie will assuage any fears or concerns and answer many questions you may have.

At my age I will never do a through hike, so I live vicariously through her. I still do overnight backpacking and have been gradually updating my gear based on her reviews. I am hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit as she would say.


Having just returned to the Scouting community last year, I have needed to relearn many outdoor and bush craft skills that I had forgotten like use of compass, tying knots, survival/first aid kit, building a fire, and shelters.

CPL. Kelly USMC and his Corporals Corner YouTube channel provides great refresher bush craft lessons.

The Corporal’s video on Knots teaches very useful knots that I never learned And the Corporal’s video on compass use and land navigation is the best training video out there. Check out the Corporal’s survival shelters.


Survival skills and Bush craft is popular around the world.
For girls and boys alike, Survival Lilly’s videos are inspirational. Lilly is from Switzerland.

From Russia Max Egorov of the Advoko MAKES YouTube channel bush craft are more elaborate and offer project ideas for Venture scouts. Check out Max’s pack frame, tick extractor, kayak, log cabin, and metal forging.


Max Egorov earns $220 per month from his Patreon account. Cowboy Kent Rollins, Dixie of Homemade Wanderlust, Cpl. Kelly of Corporals Corner, and Survival Lilly all have Patreon accounts. Scout troops and Venturing crews should consider operating a YouTube channel to fund their backpacking, camping, cooking, bush craft, and other adventures which don’t necessarily have to be outdoor adventures. You may not obtain the subscribers that these have but surely there would be interest in your local community to make the effort worthwhile and rewarding…

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The next time we get around to offering the MB and i’ll add Pioneering is to watch some episodes of the best survival show on TV called “Alone”. They send out 10 individuals to a location, load them up with cameras to document, a basic set of survival gear along with 10 specific items of their choosing and the last person standing wins. They’ve been in the Great Slave Lake for the last few years. This year was a little different as the goal was 100 day challenge. They started at the end of September so they would endure severe winter. Great show.

Great list of resources, love Kent Rollins! Been looking at pioneering projects and bushcraft to tie in engineering STEM with my local scouts. Thanks for posting.

Pioneering and bushcraft were the science and technology of their day just like spices were the technology of preserving food in its day. STEM exists in every merit badge including basket weaving! How many baskets were engineered using the science of reeds, the technology of weaving, and the math to calculate the dimensions for the application before the final design was arrived at? Thousands probably!

Pioneering projects like building a log tower requires a bit of math and engineering. I am an electrical engineer and not a structural engineer.

To make it simple I would use a free calculator to design the tower then convert the constants used for dimensional lumber to logs using this calculator and this table of wood strengths then construct and test and measure its performance under various loads. Heavy towers with large live loads will require footings under the legs.

This would be the advanced STEM Curriculum of K-12.

No warrantees are expressed or implied.

Here are some structural design calculations.

Here is how communications towers are designed.

Here is a 5 part series on Homemade scaffolding Tower.

FYI: I ran across this wilderness survival website while researching this post.

Do not use that table of material strengths. They are significantly unconservative, and could easily result in failure and/or injury. If you are really looking to design a structure people will be on or around, hire an engineer. If you’re looking for more accurate design values and are competent to use them, look for the National Design Specification for Wood Construction and the associated supplements. Structural design is not a recreational activity, and mistakes can easily kill people.

ETA: Lest my failure to mention the calculators referenced in the post above be misinterpreted as an endorsement, I haven’t reviewed them to determine if they are or are not correct. Be very wary of using online structural calculators if you’re not professionally competent to evaluate the results, and even then, be wary.

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The Troop and Crew 272 flew by the seat of their pants.
The Gauteng Scouts went whole hog.
The Triple Story Tent Tower has it covered!

Do not let others dissuade you of the challenge. Everything in scouting has inherent risks. If there is nothing ventured nothing is gained. Towers made from wood logs have been built for thousands of years and those men did not use anything but their own noggins to build it and some trial and error to get it right.

If you understand the stresses and loads and why each member has a purpose in a structure you can eyeball it and make a judgement call and get close to the answers. Always apply a FACTOR OF SAFETY to all materials and designs. A tested model is a good way to start as did The Gauteng Scouts

Here is link to National Design Specification for Wood Construction.

On a final note, it irks me to no end how some say it can’t be done by scouts. Scouts can do anything they set their mind to.

The BSA Age Guidelines for Tool Use and Work at Elevations or Excavations are treated as rules, and in my opinion they are bogus. High school shop class and FFA shops use the tools that the Guidelines says are only to be used by youth 18 years old and older and On scaffolds (above 4 feet). A 13 year can’t use a cordless screwdriver nor a wheelbarrow, Jeesh!

The rules are also incomplete in that the age appropriateness of copper pipe soldering with a propane torch and electric arc welding and operating a metal working forge and metal grinder required in various merit badges are not listed.

Further, per the safety procedures on page 3 of the Pioneering merit badge handbook, the11.25 foot hourglass tower on page 79 cannot be built as it exceeds the height limit of 6 feet policy. I estimated the height of the tower by counting the ladder rungs. And, by the by, only scouts age 18 and over can climb the rope ladder and then they need a safety harness.

If a youth is man/woman enough, he/she should be trained and permitted to use the tools and work wherever. When youth are adequately and properly monitored, age does not matter!

People want to be challenged! Mike Rowe on the future of boy scouts

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