7 Weird Survival Skills The Original Boy Scouts Can Teach Us

Every good Boy Scout learns basic survival and camping skills and what most don’t realize is that the skills they’re learning are more than just ways to become an Eagle Scout; they’re actual survival skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.


The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910, and the first issue of Boys’ Life magazine was published in 1911 and many of the tips and skills shown in this inaugural issue are just as useful today as they were back then. Check out the seven weird survival skills you can learn from the Boy Scouts of 1911 and remember: Always Be Prepared.

Oh, and these are in the original wording from 1911 just so you can see how the Scouts learned.

1. Camp Night Light


Boys’ Life 1911:

The simple contrivance that is known as the camp night-light, is one that often proves handy for camping out. It is formed of a small tin without a lid, and half-filled with fine earth.

Upon this are melted any odd ends of candle, until a fair thickness of tallow has been obtained. A thin, dry stick neatly wrapped round with a piece of say, calico, is then pushed down through the tallow and earth, right down to the bottom of the tin. When this wick is lighted, the camp night-light sheds a modest but useful glow all around.

And, of course, there is no oil to get dangerously upset or spilling about, to spoil things.


Being able to make an emergency candle is really important when the SHTF. With power most likely out and batteries at a premium, fire and candles can bring a little sense of relief to a pitch black night. These types of candles are perfect because unlike oil lamps, you can’t knock a solid candle over and catch your bunk on fire.

2. Bottle Beacon


Boys’ Life 1911:

An uncovered signal light displayed on the top of a hill is, of course, in the very finest position for being blown out by the wind.

On the other hand, when you want to make use of such a light, a glass-protected lantern is not always at hand.

But a candle, or a piece of one, and an empty bottle are generally to be obtained, and with those you can get along very famously if you know how, even on the very gustiest of nights.

Break off the bottom of the glass bottle, which should be without a cork. Plant the candle in the ground, light it, and quickly pop the bottle over it, pressing the latter down firmly into the earth.

There you have a cheery little beacon, that will shine out and not blow out, no matter how the gale rages.


Being able to have a light burning outside without fear of it being blown out is a very useful tool. While you usually want to keep as low of a profile as possible, it’s usually necessary to leave lit markers so you can find your way back to where you’re staying when it’s dark out, and you only have so many glow sticks.

3. Use a Bar of Soap to Hide Valuables


Boys’ Life 1911:

Some people when they wish to hide anything go to a great deal of trouble. The chimney is now too well known for absolute security, so digging in the ground in the coal cellar or some such place is resorted to.

There is not the slightest reason to make such a fuss, for the best place to hide anything is in an object which does not seem to offer any scope as a hiding place.

Soldiers seem to have realized this, and it is said that when “Tommy Atkins” received his money he used to make a hole in a bar of soap, place the coins in the middle, as shown in the illustration, and seal up the end by banging the bar down on something hard. Who would think of looking for anything in such a place?

Tobacco has been smuggled into this country in imported broom handles and lady smugglers used to cross the Atlantic with babies who were never known to cry. The reason was made apparent when it was discovered that the babies consisted of lace and other contraband articles.

So when you want to hide something give a simple hiding place a preference.


It’s a great idea to keep some silver coins with you for when the SHTF, as they’re easier to split up than gold is, and in the case of economic collapse these will be two of the only useful forms of money. Securing a few of these in a bar of soap is genius, as few people would steal soap like they would food or other supplies you’d hide them inside of.

4. Spot a Bad Egg


Boys’ LIfe 1911:

Here is something more about the egg, much more important than the boiling question. It is to see whether it is worth boiling or not. No one but a person unpossessed of the sense of smell can mistake a bad egg when it is opened, and the most unfortunate individual is he who has opened it and perhaps carried the first spoonful in the direction of the nose.

The difference between a fresh and a stale egg can be detected, however, the moment they are put in the water for boiling the fresh egg immediately sinks to the bottom and lays flat upon its side, whereas, the stale egg will be seen to rise on end. If it rises slightly it may only be a trifle stale, but according to the angle at which it inclines with the bottom of the saucepan, its staleness can be told. If it rises to the top, as shown in the illustration — well, take it out to the dust bin, but be careful not to break it. One disadvantage to our camp boiling receptacle, described above, is that it prevents the testing of the egg in its boiling water, and in this case it is advisable to test the egg in a fairly shallow vessel beforehand, or with cold water in the billy-can.


Getting sick from bad food today is a real pain, but even if it’s a really bad case you can go to a doctor and get better. In time of emergency doctors will be few and far between and medicine will be even scarcer. Add to this the dehydration that comes with food sickness and you can see that in an emergency situation bad food can actually kill you.

5. Fix a Side Stitch


Boys’ Life 1911:

One of the most annoying things that can happen when you are running is to feel that unpleasant pain in the side known as the stitch. The accompanying illustration shows a quick and easy cure for this annoyance.

Bend down in the manner shown, place your hands on your hips, with thumbs to the rear, and then start walking along in this undignified position.

When you have proceeded a few yards, then get up again and you will find that the pain has disappeared.


One constant truth for emergency situations is that you’ll be walking, running, and hiking; a lot. A side stitch can not only slow you down, but it could possibly stop you from getting away from a threat or getting to someone that needs your help. This tip is great for not only fitness but for your safety as well.



Other useful resources:

Pioneer Survival - Lessons We Should All Learn
Alive After The Fall (Advice onto handling crisis situations )
US Water Revolution (Have Plenty of Water when others don't have any!)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )

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