Outdoor/wilderness training

This story, and the comments being horrified that teenagers weren’t supervised, got me curious. How much outdoor/wilderness training did you have in school?

I grew up in a small city in Sweden, we were out in the woods at least once a month in the first three grades. We were checking out plants, animals and insects. We learnt some basic tricks, like that ant hills usually face the south, moss north and what to do if we get lost in a forest.

In grade 4-6 we learnt how to read topological maps and how to use a compass. We had hikes in a forest (we knew well) without constant adult supervision.

From grade 7-12 I remember that we were out in the woods for an entire school day, usually there were some kind of scavenger hunt and different stations with tasks we needed to solve - like starting a fire or building a small shelter. There were teachers at the stations, in between we were alone in small groups.
We also did orienteering at least twice a year in P.E.


Every year my last primary school took years 5&6 to an outdoorsy place for a week. The trip was planned for late autumn to avoid the busy times, but that meant we didn’t get to do the camping part.

None of the other primary schools I went to did this but apparently enough visited the outdoorsy place that there’d be 3-4 schools visiting constantly throughout the summer.

The most wilderness training we got was being asked to build a shelter and then getting judged on them. My shelter was full of holes, because we weren’t taught how to do any of this properly, but I gained points by pretending a nearby log was a river the shelter people could get water and fish from.

We also had an orienteering activity both years, but because it was a game (like most of the activities) I’m not sure the map was realistic enough to be useful for actual map reading. I also had an orienteering class once in year 7, but that wasn’t wilderness because it was a map of the school. The map was more realistic though which kept confusing me because the school was at an angle on the map.

I “know” a couple other survivally things, like if you have to drink water from an unknown source you should boil it first, but I can’t remember where I learned these.

Friend of mine did D of E. If I’m remembering correctly she had to do other activities that weren’t the hike and I think some of those were preparation. The most dangerous thing she went through on her hike is when a cow decided it wanted to chase her, thankfully when she was almost out of the field.

Tangentially related, my middle sister did some outdoorsy activity. In the initial meeting about it, one of the adults mentioned the “kids” (all no younger than 16) were going to have to cook their own food. And by cook, I mean open a tin of beans and heat them up. By all the gasps and murmuring in that room you’d think these kids had never had to make themselves a sandwich. I can’t imagine them being taught wilderness training willingly.


UK based former scout. In school, any kind of survival training was basic to non-existant. I enjoyed scouting though. However, most things were treated as a game rather than “How to survive in the wilderness…” training. Duke of Edinburgh award participant in high school but failed the silver level due to my team being a-holes and deciding to walk along the main road rather than following the map (and getting caught).

That being said I do have a preference of being as wholly prepared as I can be for a SHTF scenario and do take more of the average suburbanite in survival.

In Sixth Form (17-18 y/o), the two Biology classes were briefly combined to discuss a coursework field trip. We were asked who could read a map. Only two of us out of twenty raised their hands, me being one of them. Either that’s only two people willing to volunteer or a very disappointing state of affairs for the education system.


Not much to speak of here, but how much use is it, when there are basically no places where you can be dropped more then a couple kilometers from civilization in any direction in the entire country. . .

When the power goes off and looting starts, how are you going to get that new 75 inch TV home without looking at a map to plot the safest way?

Pff, no need for a tv when there’s no power! People will loot toilet paper :grin:


I looted the toilet paper last time. Now I will aim for the high end electronics for when the power is restored! Or when I get the generator home safely…


So… you’ll have entertainment, beer and tp! I’m coming to your place when things turn bad!


I also live on a very steep hill. It’s great for psychological warfare. People just look up at it and go “Screw looting up there!”

That being said, what are you and yours bringing to the table?

Well, we’re good in navigation and can use maps, compasses and sail! I’m a nurse and my fiancé was trained by his dad how to survive in the woods.

Also, I have a deck of uno, a cat and a few bottles of Talisker :laughing:


Interesting question. My grade school did much what yours did for grades 5 & 6, though in late spring; as part of that, the sixth graders spent one night out at the camp site (though in cabins). I don’t remember building shelters, but we learned some basic plant recognition and about some edible ones, and a bit about cooking over a campfire. We worked with maps on and off through the school year, though for things like geography and weather rather than navigation; they taught us how to use a compass during the outdoor-education week. I don’t remember map navigation being covered in school until driver’s education at age 15, though, and that was strictly road-based.

In either 5th or 6th grade, before the outdoor week, we also had a unit on first aid as part of an anatomy section.

That was about it as far as outdoor skills in school.


I remember in Gr.6 going on overnight camp with my class. But I learned Survial skills from Guiding. Cooking, and in the spring (since except for my last year of Guiding most of the other guiding groups except maybe Sparks-what is now Rainbows the youngest group, had two camping session one was in the fall and it was in a cabin or a cottage)- learning how to set up tents and stuff.

Erm… does outdoor games day count? lol
Even in camp we never did anything like that. It happened in a book I read… can’t remember the name of that though.

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This one is easy - none. My K-8 schooling took place in urban or suburban areas. High school was farm country, and college was UCLA.

My parents never sent us to camp, because they knew we would fight tooth and nail to keep from going.


Essentially none. I think I remember learning a couple of things from 4-H, but I stopped dealing with that organization when I was maybe 10 or 11 and remember none of it.

I’m not sure if this is fully representative of where I grew up or not, though, since my parents stuck me in private schools. I have no clue what the public ones do in this regard, but it’s a very suburban area so I doubt they do too much either.


Here in Germany, starting school in 1996, I can tell you that any school I went to never had any kind of wilderness training. If we went into a forest or similar, it was a field trip, with at least two teachers as supervisors. And those were not for wilderness training, but more discussing nature or looking at acorns.


In school? Next to none

From my family? Tons. Started camping young, started going hunting with my dad when I was 7 and spend just about every weekend I could from 7 till 18 in the woods with my dad and or grandfather


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