There are many ways to train yourself, your friends, and your loved ones in the skills of wilderness survival. It’s usually easiest if the training is either a little scary (to make it memorable) or simply fun. If giardia water bottle roulette isn’t your idea of a fun game, then consider these five training games for your next camp out.
**Ten-Minute Fire Drill **
Tell somebody that they are in a remote location in the wintertime with little Timmy, and he has fallen through the ice, down a well, or in some other way has come down with hypothermia. You alone can save him, by lighting a sustainable fire within 10 minutes.
Based on the gamer’s skill level and the weather conditions, he or she may receive a lighter to use, maybe a box of matches, maybe a box with one match inside, or even a friction fire kit. This game gets people moving; gives them a little jolt because of the time constraint; and it reinforces good fire building skills.
For those with some knowledge of edible plants, the Five-Minute Meal game is a wild edible plant harvesting game in which the participants have five minutes to either point out, or harvest, the available wild edible plants it would take to make a meal. Success is based on the players’ ability to gather safe species, the volume of the harvest, and the caloric value of what was reaped. This is another “time constraint” game, which encourages folks to move quickly. But don’t judge this game quickly, especially if your contestants are eating the stuff they have gathered.
Twitch Up Challenge**
This game can follow a lesson in trap building, or stand alone for experienced trap builders. Tell your contestants to create a spring pole snare (or “twitch up”) for small game. You can give them a time limit, or not, based on their skill level. Don’t tell them that you are judging this one on both trap activation and lifting power. Find something that weighs about 5 pounds and can be lifted with a noose, and then set off each trap with it. Judge this game on trap triggering, and how high the weight was lifted.
The Camo Game
Give your contestants five minutes to disappear. Within a predetermined area, they must camo up and hide from you, or from a search party. They can cover up in mud (like Schwarzenegger in Predator), they can cover up with leaves, or they can simply hide in an unexpected location. Then you try to find them. It’s hide and seek, with a camouflage twist.
Give your gamer a local topo map, a compass, some coordinates and a tiny landmark to look for, which can only be spotted if you are right on it. The little landmark designates a buried treasure (like a hand full of coins), and the first one to find it wins.