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Vision Youth

DEA Training Manual

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Table of Contents
Camp Log Writing ........................................................................................................................................ 2

Equipment ..................................................................................................................................................... 5

First Aid ...................................................................................................................................................... 11

Maps & Map Reading ................................................................................................................................. 15

Safety and Emergency Planning ................................................................................................................. 28

Route Chart Planning .................................................................................................................................. 33

Wilderness Code of Behaviour ................................................................................................................... 36

Campsite Selection...................................................................................................................................... 39

Menu Planning ............................................................................................................................................ 41

Camping Stove ............................................................................................................................................ 44

Knots ........................................................................................................................................................... 46

NOTE: Sections with ―(Silver and Golds only)” are for Silver and Gold Vs only.
Bronze Vs, please disregard that ONE section (not the entire page).

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Camp Log Writing

1) What is the purpose of writing a camp log?

The purpose of a camp log is for you to reflect upon what happened during your trip and to record
information about your expeditions. When you submit an application for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award,
you will also need to submit this camp log as proof that you actually went on this trip. As well, a couple
years down the road, you will be able to look back on this camp log and it will bring back memories of
when you completed your practice and qualifying expeditions. Someone should be able to pick up your
camp log and use it as a guide to plan their own trip.

2) What should be included in the camp log?

Practice Hike Camp Log

- Practice Hike Log should be a min. of 1 page of writing; single spaced

- With pictures and the rest of the body included, a practice hike log should be well over a page
- The following items should be included in a practice hike camp log:

Section Description
Cover  Title of the log
 Date of trip and trip location
 Your name and team
 A picture indicative of your expedition
5W’s and How  Who refers to yourself, your team members, and your counsellors
 What refers to what you did during your expedition including what activity
you chose to complete your expedition and what you did at the campsite
 When refers to when your expedition took place and the duration of your trip
 Where refers to the location in which your expedition took place
 Why refers to the reason you attended the expedition
 How refers to how the whole hike unfolded
 This section should be at least 1 page of writing, single spaced
What You Learned  What you learned during your expedition
 What was your one take away
 What was your greatest memory and experience
Hiking Route Map  Include the trail map
 Ensure that the route in which your team hiked is highlighted
Route Chart  Checkpoints, landmarks/significant features, time
Equipment List  List all the personal gears you brought and include backup gear like emergency
 List all the team gear that was associated with your team
 Include a checklist that you used while packing your bags – your equipment
list and checklist should be aligned and should have the same equipment
Menu  List what you ate for all meals including snack, dessert and drinks
 Ingredients used to make each meal (e.g. salt)
 Emergency food should also be included

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Qualifying Hike Camp Log

- The qualifying hike log should be a min. of 20 pages. Or 10 pages double-sided

o Ensure there are page numbers on your pages
- The following items should be included in a practice hike camp log:

Section Description
Cover  Title of the log
 Date of trip and trip location
 Your name and team
 A picture indicative of your expedition
Table of Contents  Should include page numbers for each section
Personal Data  Information about yourself including name, birthday, gender, interests
Introduction  Answer the 5W’s and How and what you learned
 Include as much detail as possible
Participant’s List  Who you hiked with
 Your team members
 Volunteers and counselors that hiked with your team
Personal Gear List  List all personal gear your brought
 Include backup gear such as emergency food and money
 Include checklist used when packing for your expedition
Team Gear List  List gear that is associated with your team, including stove, tent, etc.
Menu  List what you ate for all meals including snack, dessert, and drinks
 Ingredients used to make each meal (eg. salt)
 List of emergency food
Financial Report  List everything you bought for the purpose of this trip
 Include cost of transportation, food, campsite, equipment
 List quantity, price, total amount, and amount per person
Weather Report  Include forecast of weather that was anticipated
 Write out a description for weather of each day (the weather YOU
Timetable  Record events that happened during the hike
 Should include time and detail of major events that happened, landscapes your
team has seen, when and where you had breaks, etc.
 Does not have to be extremely detailed and just broken into larger chunks of
Route Chart  Should include checkpoints, bearings, distance traveled, estimated time of
arrival, and actual time of arrival
 Should also include emergency route, closest exists, emergency phone
Map(s)  Include all maps that you used in your hike and highlight the route you hiked
 Point out checkpoints that you wrote in your route chart
 Emergency routes should also be indicated in some way on the maps
Campsite Report and  Description of the campsite, the facilities, and activities done at the campsite
Map  Show how you would get help in case of an emergency
 Map that you’ve drawn that describes how the campsite looks like
 Show where tents were, washrooms, campfire, water access, North arrow

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Camp Daily  For each day, include events and your feelings in the form of a mini recount of
the trip
Conclusion/Reflection  Record your overall opinion of the trip
 What did you do differently from the practice hike
 Include what you’ve learned, how has the trip made you feel different, and
memories that you don’t want to forget
Photo Gallery  Include photos from your trip so that individuals reading it can better
understand what you experienced
Comments  Leave a blank sheet for comments for tips and advice

When to work on the camp log

Before During After

- Personal Profile - Timetable - Introduction
- Participant’s List - Actual arrival times on route chart - Timetable
- Personal Gear List - Notes on the campsite for campsite - Final copy of route chart
- Team Gear List Report and campsite map - Maps
- Menu - Take notes on what happens during - Full campsite report
- Financial Report the hike so that you can write up - Campsite Map
- Route Chart camp daily - Camp daily
- Weather Report (forecast) - Weather Report (actual experience) - Conclusion
- Comments

What is NOT acceptable?

- Handing in a report that does not meet our standards
- Handing reports late without prior notice and acceptable reasoning
- Not having all the sections completed
- Lack of detail and effort in work submitted

Important notes
1. If your camp log is unacceptable, you would be asked to redo the report and hand it in within a
week after it’s returned
2. Plagiarism will result in an AUTOMATIC FAIL on the expedition requirement for DEA
3. You will have only ONE chance to redo your report

Camp log deadlines

1. The practice hike report will be due one week after the practice hike
2. The actual hike report will be due two weeks after the actual hike
3. If you would like DEA sub-com to review your qualifying hike report before the deadline, please
hand it in at least 1 week before the final draft is due. This will give you enough time to make the
necessary changes before the actual due date

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

1) How to choose a Backpack

When selecting a pack, consider the terrain, activity, and weight or volume of the load you’ll
generally carry. This article will review the different types of backpacks and the keys features of

Types of Backpacks

To accommodate a variety of body types, activities, and environmental conditions, manufacturers make
packs in a range of designs and sizes.
Daypacks (15 - 35L): These small packs have little or no internal frame to support loads, weight is
supported by the shoulder straps. Daypacks are great for short, minimal-equipment outings like day hikes.
Helpful features are a waistbelt to keep your load centred and padding along the back for added comfort.
Alpine Packs (35 - 55L): These medium-sized packs usually have some internal stiffeners and a more
substantial hipbelt that bears some the weight. Their load capacity makes them useful for equipment-
intensive activities like ski touring and climbing, or even light overnight jaunts.
Backpacking Packs (55 - 75L): This size is designed for multi-day trips. They have a frame that gives
structural rigidity and transfers the load from your back and shoulders to your hips.
Expedition Packs (75 - 100L): The colossal capacity of these packs makes them ideal for extended
backcountry travel and full expeditions. They’re also very useful on winter trips that require extra gear.
Travel Packs: These vary from basic soft-sided suitcase with shoulders straps to elaborate backcountry
packs. They have a flap that zips over the shoulder straps and waistbelt to reduce snagging on luggage
conveyor belts. When the straps are folded away, they resemble a soft suitcase. This is advantageous for
those seeking an air of respectability when checking into hotels or crossing borders.

2) Features of Backpacks

Fit: The Most Important Feature

The key to comfort is a good-fitting pack. To get started, have a friend help you measure your torso
length. Torso length is measured from your shoulders (at the C7 vertebra, the one that protrudes farthest
out from the spine) to the top of your hip bones. Once you have this measurement, look at the torso spec
provided with each pack to make sure you're within the range.
Your waist size also matters, though most hipbelts can be adjusted to fit a wide range of waist sizes. Just
make sure the hipbelt is comfortable when you try it on; on some packs, hipbelts are replaceable.
Fine tuning: Many packs allow you to fine-tune their torso fit via easily adjustable suspension systems.
The alternative is a fixed-suspension pack. This type is non-adjustable, but offers the advantages of being
less complex and thus lighter than a comparable adjustable model.
Women-specific packs: These packs have narrower shoulder yokes, conically shaped hipbelts and shorter
torso lengths specifically designed to fit women. Men with narrow frames sometimes find these packs are
also a good fit for them.
To ensure your pack is adjusted properly, refer to the section on ―Backpack Fitting‖.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Other Key Features

Loading (top or panel): Virtually all packs let you access the main compartment at the top of the pack or
via a front panel. The top-loading design minimizes weight, while the panel-loading design offers easier
access to your gear. Some models combine top- and panel-loading features for maximum access to pack
Support (stays or framesheet): Typically, one or two aluminum stays are used to transfer the weight of
the load to your hipbelt. Stays are typically a rod or bar, though some now feature a tubular design to
reduce weight. Other packs use a stiff plastic HDPE (high-density polyethylene) framesheet for load
support. This thin sheet helps prevent objects in your pack from poking you in the back. A number of
packs now offer a stay/framesheet combo.
Suspension system: This broadly refers to the load-supporting system of shoulder straps, load-lifting
straps, a sternum strap and belt-stabilizer straps. Refer to the section on ―Backpack Fitting‖.
More specifically, packs offer one of two types of suspension.
Adjustable suspension: This type allows you to fine-tune the fit of your pack to match your
torso size. Many feature a ladder-type system of rip-and-stick closure that let you move the
shoulder harness up or down in small increments.
Fixed suspension: This style allows no fit adjustment, but offers the advantages of less
complexity and weight than comparable adjustable models.
Ventilation: Some frame designs are now using tensioned mesh to create a cooling air space between
your back and the pack. Other packs feature a channel design to provide a similar cooling effect.
Packbag: The materials used in packbags seek to find a balance between durability and weight. Nylon
packcloth and Cordura®, a burly nylon fabric with a brushed finish, both emphasize abrasion- and water-
resistance. Cordura is tougher and a bit heavier. For minimalist and ultralight travelers, newer fabrics such
as silicone-coated nylon are used to trim precious ounces at the cost of some durability.
Hipbelt: The hipbelt should straddle your "iliac crest" — the two prominent bones on the front of your
hips. This is the area where your pelvic girdle begins to flare out. When evaluating hipbelts. Consider
their comfort and adjustability. Some packs offer interchangeable belts, permitting a more customized fit,
and even belts where the angle of the fit can be adjusted. An increasing number of hipbelts have pockets
for easy access to your energy food, digital camera, GPS or similar items.
Other load-bearing straps: Most packs help keep the load close to your body by using load-lifter
straps. These are located just below the tops of your shoulders (near your collarbone) and should angle
back toward the pack body at about a 45 degree angle. Also common is a sternum strap which secures
across your chest to help support the load and allow your arms to swing freely.
Hydration compatibility: Most packs have a compartment designed to hold a hydration reservoir, plus a
port (opening) on each side to route the sip tube. Reservoirs are typically sold separately, except on
hydration-specific packs. Other packs have elasticized mesh "holsters" on their sides to hold water bottles.
Rain covers: These shelter your pack from bad weather and help prevent lashed-on gear from snagging
on brush.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

3) How to fit a Backpack

Ensuring proper fit is the most important step when you select a pack. It's hard to take in breathtaking
vistas if your pack leaves you hunched over or racked in pain.
Pack size and suspension systems are the key considerations in fitting a pack.

Finding Your Pack Size

Find Your Torso Length

Just because you are a certain height — say a 5'9" female or 6' male — does not mean you automatically
need a "large" or "tall" pack. Your torso length, not your height, determines your pack size. Here's
how to measure yours:
 Have a friend locate the bony bump at the base of your neck, where the slope of your shoulder
meets your neck. This is your 7th cervical (or C7) vertebra (Point A). Tilt your head forward to
locate it more easily.
 Using a flexible tape measure, your friend should start at that spot and measure downward along
your spine.
 Place your hands on your hips so you can feel your iliac crest, which serves as the "shelf" of your
pelvic girdle. (It's the first hard thing you feel when you run your fingers down from the sides of
your ribcage.) Position your hands so your thumbs are reaching behind you (Point B).
 Have your friend finish measuring at the point where the tape crosses an imaginary line drawn
between your thumbs. This distance is your torso length.

Use your torso length measurement to find your best pack size.
Generally, manufacturers size their pack frames something like
Extra Small: Fits torsos up to 15-1/2"
Small: Fits torsos 16" to 17-1/2"
Medium/Regular: Fits torsos 18" to 19-1/2"
Large/Tall: Fits torsos 20" and up

Determine Your Hip Size

While not as crucial as your torso length, your hip measurement is useful to know. It's especially helpful
if you are considering a pack that offers interchangeable hipbelts.
Take your tape measure and wrap it around the top of your hips, the "latitude line" where you can feel
your iliac crest — those two pointy bones just above the front pockets on your pants. A properly
positioned hipbelt will straddle your iliac crest, about an inch above and below that line.

Adjusting the Fit

Once you've selected a pack with the right torso length and hipbelt size, you need to get properly fitted.
Your goal is to have 80% to 90% of the load weight resting on your hips. To achieve this, start by putting
about 10 to 15 lbs. of weight into the pack to simulate a loaded pack. Do this in front of a mirror, get a
friend to help if possible, and follow the six steps below for a great fit:

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Step 1: Hipbelt

 First make sure all the pack's straps and hipbelt are loosened.
 Put the pack on your back so that the hipbelt is resting over your hip bones.
 Close the hipbelt buckle and tighten it.
 Check the padded sections of the hipbelt to make sure they wrap around your hips comfortably.
Keep at least 1" of clearance on either side of the center buckle.
 Note: If the hipbelt is too loose or tight, try repositioning the buckle pieces on the hipbelt straps.
If this doesn't solve the problem, you may need a different pack (or hipbelt).

Step 2: Shoulder Straps

 Pull down and back on the ends of the shoulder straps to tighten them.
 Shoulder straps should fit closely and wrap over and around your
shoulder, holding the pack body against your back. They should NOT
be carrying the weight.
 Have your helper check to see that the shoulder strap anchor points are
1" to 2" inches below the top of your shoulders.

Step 3: Top Stabilizer Straps

 Top stabilizer straps are located just below the tops of your shoulders (near your collarbones) and
should angle back toward the pack body at a 45-degree angle.
 Gently snug the load-lifter straps to pull weight off your shoulders. (Overtightening the load
lifters will cause a gap to form between your shoulders and the shoulder straps.)

Step 4: Sternum Strap

 Adjust the sternum strap to a comfortable height across your chest.

 Buckle the sternum strap and tighten until the shoulder straps are pulled in comfortably from your
shoulders, allowing your arms to move freely.

Step 5: Lower Stabilizer Straps

 Pull the lower stabilizer straps located on either side of the hipbelt to snug the pack body toward
the hipbelt and stabilize the load.

Step 6: Final Tweak

 Go back to the shoulder straps and carefully take a bit of tension off of them. Now you're ready to

Note: there is an excellent video on adjusting a pack in the Expert Advice section @ REI.COM

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

4) What To Pack

The Essentials

 Navigation: Map, Compass  Repair kit & tools: Knife, repair kit (duct
 Sun protection: Sunscreen, Sunglasses  Nutrition: Emergency food
 Illumination: Headlamp / flashlight (spare  Trip Plan: Left with a friend
batteries and bulb)
 First-aid supplies: First-aid kit  Whistle
 Fire: Matches / lighter and fire starter in  Hydration: Water bottle / hydration system,
waterproof container water filter


 Wicking T-shirts (long-sleeved helps  Jacket

protection against sun)
 Quick drying pants / shorts  Hiking boots
 Pullover / sweatshirt / fleece jacket / vest  Socks (liner & outers) plus spares
 Underwear  Sun hat
 Rainwear  Sandals or camp shoes

Camping Gear

 Backpack (and pack cover)  Eating utensils

 Sleeping bag  Toiletries (including toilet paper)
 Sleeping pad  Garbage bags
 Notebook and pen / pencil  Hand sanitizer and Insect Repellent + OHIP
 Camera / cellphone  Watch

 Tent and tarp  Stove and fuel

 Water filter  Cooking utensils and detergent and towel
 Food and snacks  Ropes

Tips on Clothing

 Select items to fit your trip and weather conditions. Pick clothing appropriate for the probable
worst case weather conditions.
 For hot weather, keeping cool and avoiding sunburn are major considerations. Loose fitting
clothing, a broad brimmed straw hat, and loose, long sleeved shirts will help considerably.
 Avoid cotton clothing wherever possible. It keeps moisture close to the body allowing you to
become chilled. Try polyester / silk / wool. NO COTTON SOCKS!
 Hiking boots is a MUST!

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

5) How to Pack

Before packing, spread everything you plan to take on the floor in front of you. Leave behind those things
you may not really need, and make sure you haven’t forgotten any essentials. If you’re unsure what to
take, use one of our trip checklists.
Imagine that your pack is made up of three zones:

 Zone 3 – Place medium-weight or bulkier items toward the top or down the front of
the pack.
 Zone 2 – Pack heavy items, such as water, food, climbing gear, tent, etc. closest to
your back. Use a sleeping pad or fleece as a buffer between sharp-cornered
items and your spine.
 Zone 1 – Put light items, like your sleeping bag, at the bottom. Squeeze in any
additional lightweight items you won't need until bedtime (no scented items)
Your objective is to avoid having a top-heavy pack, which will pull you backwards, or a bottom-heavy
pack, which will make you feel like you are being dragged down. Packing heavier items close to your
centre of gravity (middle of the back) will keep you balanced and make the load feel more natural.
Packing tips:

 Distribute weight evenly between left and right sides

 Place frequently used items in an easy-to-access place, such as external pockets. This includes
your map, compass, sunscreen, sunglasses, headlamp, bug spray, first-aid kit, snacks, rain gear
and packcover.
 When hiking on easy terrain, pack heavy items a little higher for better posture.
 On harder terrain, put heavy items lower down for better balance.
 Stuff sacks allow you to quickly pack and unpack your gear and find what you need. The highly
organized put each category of items (first aid, kitchen, etc.) in differently coloured bags. Try not
to stuff the sacks full, as a little play makes them easier to squeeze into gaps.
 Use your pots as hard metal stuff sacks to protect delicate items.
 If carrying liquid fuel, make sure your fuel bottle cap is on tightly. Pack this below your food
in case of a spill.
 Use your compression straps to bring the load closer to your body and keep everything in place.
 Don't waste empty space. For example, put a small item of clothing inside your cooking pots.
 Split up the weight of large communal items (e.g., tent) with others in your group.
 Keep often-used items where you can easily get to them.
 It’s best to minimize the number of items you strap to the outside of your pack. Gear carried
externally may adversely affect your balance. Be sure to secure any equipment you do carry
outside so it doesn't swing or rattle.

Maximum Pack Weight

As a general rule, the weight of your loaded pack shouldn’t exceed 25% to 30% of your ideal body weight.
Some experienced backpackers may be able to carry more, while novices should generally start with less.
The quality and fit of your pack influence the amount you are able to carry. A pack that does not
effectively transfer weight to your hipbelt due to poor fit or design puts more weight on your shoulders.
With these packs, the maximum amount of weight you carry should be reduced to 15% or less of your
body weight.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

First Aid
Basic First Steps:
If an accident occurs in the wilderness, it will be your responsibility to deal with the situation. The
specific sequence of actions when dealing with this situation is:
1. Remain calm, providing your victim with quiet, efficient first aid treatment.
2. Keep the patient warm while lying down. Do not move this injured person until you have
discovered the extent of the injuries.
3. Start mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration immediately if the injured person is not
4. Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure.
5. Give your patient reassurance. Watch carefully for signs of shock.
6. Check for cuts, bleeding, fractures, breaks and injuries to the head, neck or spine.
7. Do not allow people to crowd the injured person.
8. Do not remove clothing unless it is imperative.
9. Decide if your patient can be moved to a proper medical facility. If this is not possible,
prepare a suitable area in which shelter, heat and food are provided.

Common injuries that may occur on a hike:

Shock is a depression of all of the body processes and may follow any injury regardless of how minor.
Factors such as hemorrhage, cold and pain will intensify shock.
- Weak, and may faint
- Cold, clammy skin
- Weak and rapid pulse
- Shock can be more serious than the injury itself
What to do: W.A.R.T.S.
Warmth, maintain body temperature
ABCs (airway, breathing, and circulation)
Rest and reassure
Treat the cause
Semi-prone position (recovery position)

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Bleeding includes any sort of open wounds where blood is visible.
What to do: R.E.D.
Elevate the wounded area
Direct pressure
- Wash and disinfect wound after bleeding stops and apply dressing and bandages.

Dislocation happens when the ligaments near a joint tear, allowing the movement of the bone from its
What to do:
- Rest
- Immobilize
- Control pain with Aspirin and other suitable drugs
- Do not try putting it back into place

What to do:
- Rest
- Ice
- Immobilize

Heat Exhaustion
Due to excessive heat and poor hydration
- Nausea
- Faintness
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Cold, clammy skin
What to do:
- Rest and rehydrate

Caused by excessive sun exposure; prevent by wearing proper headgear.
- Flushed, hot face

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- Rapid pulse
- Headache/dizziness
What to do:
- Rest in cool shaded area
- Rehydrate

What to do:
- Apply moleskin or adhesive tape over affected area as soon as possible
- If blister breaks open, wash, sterilize area and bandage.

When your core body temperature drops below that required for normal body functions
- Shivering, feeling cold
- Loss of muscular co-ordination
- Decreased consciousness, confusion, disorientation, unconsciousness
- Fatigue
- Shock
What to do:
- Maintain an open airway, access breathing and verify pulse
- Remove victim from cold environment
- Warm the victim’s body core by wrapping him or her in warm blankets
- Treat for shock
- Give oxygen if you are trained to

1st Degree Burns

- Redness
- Pain
- Mild swelling
- Anxiety
What to do:
- Flush the burned area with cool clean water

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

- Repeat flushing until the victim notes that the heat in the area has subsided. Note
that the burning sensation will most likely come back a few minutes later.
Repeat flushing.
- Do not apply oils, lotions, creams
- Maintain hydration
- Manage pain with Tylenol (not Advil/Aspirin)

Contacting EMS
Phone numbers to the closest hospital and police station should be obtained before the trip. When
contacting them, have this information ready:
o Who you are and who the victim is
o What the victim’s condition is
o Where you are (be as detailed as possible)
o How the accident happened
o Find out when EMS will arrive

First Aid Kit components

Group first aid kit Personal first aid kit
Adhesive strips (Band-Aids): For minor cuts Antiseptic towelletes
Adhesive tape: 1‖ roll (1) Sterile gauze pads
Battle Dressing: for large wounds pressure dressings Bandage strips or assorted adhesive dressings
Elastic Ace Bandage: for securing dressing, Tensor bandages
splints/wrapping sprains Medications as required (Tylenol, Advil,
Moleskin (1 pack): cover/prevent blisters Claritin, Imodium, Gravol)
Gauze pads: cover large wounds Whistle
Tweezers (1): for removing splinters Pocket knife
Small scissors (1) 2 quarters for coin-operated telephones
Triangular Bandage (1): immobilize arm/shoulder Sunscreen, lip balm
Disposable gloves (2 pairs): avoid contact with Matches in waterproof container
blood Pencil & Notebook
Small bottle of rubbing alcohol Moleskins
Splints (3): for fingers
Antibiotic ointment (ie: polysporin): for burns and
Sunscreen to prevent burns
Cold pads

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Maps & Map Reading

Topographical map

- Differences between topographical and street maps

- Key features of a topographical map
- Identification of basic contour line patterns
- Measuring distance

There is an excellent 1 minute video on Parts of a Map at www.REI.com.

What is a topo map?

A topographic map is a detailed and accurate graphic representation of cultural and natural features on the

Both topographic and street maps show roads, water features, cities and provincial parks, but that's where
the similarity ends. Topographic maps also show relief, forest cover, marsh, pipelines, transmission lines,
buildings, various types of boundary lines, and many more features. Topographic maps show both a
geographic grid (latitude/longitude) and a UTM grid (kilometres), allowing the user to determine precise

What I can find on a topographical map?

A map is a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional world you'll be hiking in. All maps
will have some basic features in common and map reading is all about learning to understand their
particular "language." You'll end up using a variety of maps to plan and run your trip but perhaps the most
useful map is a topographic map. A topographic map uses markings such as contour lines to simulate the
three-dimensional topography of the land on a two-dimensional map. Here's a brief overview of the basic
language of maps.


A grid is a pattern of parallel lines intersecting at right angles and forming squares or rectangles; it is used
to identify precise positions. To help you locate your position accurately on the surface of the earth (or
map sheet), topographic maps have two kinds of referencing systems:

- Geographic: degrees, minutes and seconds (latitude/longitude)

- Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)

Latitude and Longitude:

Maps are drawn based on latitude and longitude lines. Latitude lines run east and west and measure the
distance in degrees north or south from the equator (0° latitude). Longitude lines run north and south

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

intersecting at the geographic poles. Longitude lines measure the distance in degrees east and west from
the prime meridian that runs through Greenwich, England. The grid created by latitude and longitude
lines allows us to calculate an exact point using these lines as X axis and Y axis coordinates.

Both latitude and longitude are measured in degrees (°).

1° = 60 minutes
1 minute = 60 seconds

Reading the grid/Grid References:

When determining grid references, always read the latitude (horizontal) number first, and then read the
longitude (vertical) number. The numbers are always along the edges of the map. When filling out the
route chart, grid references should be written in the following format: Checkpoint # (latitude grid
reference, longitude grid reference). Ex: A (63, 77). Be as precise as possible! If necessary, use up to
one decimal place.


Scale refers to the relationship between distance on a map and the corresponding distance on the ground.
At a scale of 1/50 000 for example, one unit of measure on the map represents 50 000 equivalent units of
measure on the ground. Medium-scale maps (e.g. 1/50 000) cover smaller areas in greater detail, whereas
smaller-scale maps (e.g. 1/250 000) cover large areas in less detail.

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Map Legend:

The map legend contains a number of important details. The major features on the map legend include:

(1) Map Name / Edition (2) Year of Production

(3) Map Scale / Distance Scale

(4) Contour Interval

5) Latitude and Longitude

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(6) Magnetic Declination

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Map Symbols and Colours:

Seven colours can be found on a map, each relating to different types of features.

 BLACK: shows cultural features such as buildings, railways and power transmission lines. It is
also used to show geographical names (toponymy), certain symbols, geographic coordinates,
precise elevations, border information and surround information.
 RED: is used for paved roads, highway numbers, interchange exit numbers, certain symbols as
well as for names of major transportation routes. A red tint is used to show urban development.
 ORANGE: indicates unpaved roads and unclassified roads and streets.
 BROWN: shows contour lines, contour elevations, spot elevations, sand and eskers.
 BLUE: represents water features, such as lakes, streams, falls, rapids, swamps and marshes. The
names of bodies of water and water courses are also shown in blue, as are magnetic declination
and UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) grid information.
 GREEN: indicates wooded areas, orchards and vineyards.
 GREY: is used on the back of the map where the different symbols and a glossary of terms and
abbreviations can be found.
 Note: PURPLE can be used to show information added over the original map detail (updates).

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Contour Lines

Contour lines are a method of depicting the 3-dimensional character of the terrain on a 2-dimensional map.
Just like isobars in the atmosphere depict lines of equal atmospheric pressure, contour lines drawn on the
map represent equal points of height above sea level.

On multi-colored maps, contour lines are generally represented in brown. The map legend will indicate
the contour interval—the distance in feet (meters, etc.) between each contour line. There will be heavier
contour lines every 4th> or 5th contour line that are labeled with the height above sea level. The figure
below illustrates how a variety of surface features can be identified from contour lines.

Drawn Contour Lines

 Steep slopes - contours are closely spaced

 Gentle slopes - contours are less closely spaced
 Valleys - contours form a V-shape pointing up the hill - these V's are always an indication of a
drainage path which could also be a stream or river.
 Ridges - contours form a V-shape pointing down the hill
 Summits - contours forming circles
 Depressions - are indicated by circular contour with lines radiating to the center

Measuring Distances

There are a number of ways to measure distance accurately on a map. One is to use a piece of string or
flexible wire to trace the intended route. After tracing out your route, pull the string straight and measure
it against the scale line in the map legend. Another method is to use a compass (the mathematical kind)
set to a narrow distance on the map scale like ½ mile and then "walk off" your route. It is a good idea to

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be conservative and add 5-10% of the total distance to take into account things like switchbacks that don't
appear on the map. It's better to anticipate a longer route than a shorter one.


What is North?

True North (also known as Geographic North or Map North)

True North is the geographic North Pole where all longitude lines meet. All maps are laid out with true
north directly at the top. Unfortunately for the wilderness traveler, true north is not at the same point on
the earth as the magnetic North Pole which is where your compass points.

Magnetic North

Think of the earth as a giant magnet. The shape of the earth's magnetic field is roughly the same shape as
the field of a bar magnet. However, the earth's magnetic field is inclined at about 11° from the axis of
rotation of the earth, so this means that the earth's magnetic pole doesn't correspond to the Geographic
North Pole and because the earth's core is molten, the magnetic field is always shifting slightly. The red
end of your compass needle is magnetized and wherever you are, the earth's magnetic field causes the
needle to rotate until it lies in the same direction as the earth's magnetic field. This is magnetic north. The
figure below shows the magnetic lines for North America. If you locate yourself at any point in North
America, your compass will orient itself parallel to the lines of magnetic force in that area.

Magnetic declination is the angle between the (magnetic) north compass heading and the heading to true
(geographic) north.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Types of Compasses

Even in this era of high-tech, satellite-assisted navigation, a compass remains one of the Ten Essentials of
wilderness travel. True, you may hike for days on a trail and never even look at it, yet if you take a wrong
turn or a whiteout blows in, a compass (in tandem with a map) suddenly becomes one of the most
important tools in your pack.

Accessory Compasses

The type found on key rings or watches, or small round compasses with no base plate. They accurately
point toward magnetic north, but are designed more for fun and quick reference than serious navigation.

Basic Compasses

These are inexpensive, yet quite sufficient for wilderness travel; well-suited for beginners. They have all
the essential components but lack some bonus features, such as a declination adjustment or a mirror.
Example: Suunto A10.

Specialized Compasses

Full-featured models with many extras (a mirror, magnifier, et al.). Well worth the added cost if you are a
regular wilderness explorer, particularly one who regularly travels off-trail. Example: Silva Ranger CL.

Parts of Compass

Some of the more common parts of a compass include:

 Magnetic Needle - this is the heart of a compass. This needle is magnetically charged, and freely
floats in the dial (usually in light oil). It will align itself with the earth’s magnetic
field. Generally speaking the red (or black) end points north and the other end (usually white)
points south.

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 Rotating housing - An important part of the mountaineers compass. This dial has magnetic
bearings printed on it (in degrees), and the alignment arrow. This is used to enter or determine
 Alignment arrow - this is printed on the rotating housing. It is used to align the magnetic
arrow. When the magnetic arrow is within this arrow the compass will point along the desired
 Direction of travel arrow - this arrow is printed on the base plate, and points in the direction of
the bearing.
 Grid Lines - these are printed on both the base plate and the rotating housing. These make it
easier to align the compass on a map.
 Base Plate - the bottom of the compass.
 Ruler - Can be used to measure distances on a map, the size of animal tracks, the size of *that*
mosquito ... Declination markings - Some compasses have an additional declination grid, which
eases measuring declination.


There are two excellent videos on ―Map to Compass‖ and ―Compass to Map ‖ at REI.COM.

Setting a Bearing - allow you to find a direction relative to you, in degrees, in 3 simple steps.

Step 1 - Hold your compass level, with the direction of travel arrow pointing directly away from you.

Step 2 - Rotate the housing until the bearing you're looking for is aligned with the direction of travel
arrow (Let’s say 110 degrees).

Step 3 - Rotate your body (while holding the compass level, with the direction of travel arrow
pointing directly in front of you), until the magnetic needle is inside the alignment arrow,
with the red end of the arrow at the "tip" of the alignment arrow. Once this is done you are
facing the desired bearing (in this case 110 degrees).

Finding a Bearing on the map - allows you to find your destination on the map assuming you know
where you are on the map.

Step 1 - Place your compass on the map with the straight edge of the compass joining your current
location and your destination.

Step 2 - Align the grid lines ON THE ROTATING HOUSING with the north/south grid lines on the
map. The alignment arrow must point NORTH on the map. This is the important part -
double check to make sure you did it right.

Step 3 - The bearing will be displayed on the rotating housing. It'll be the bearing that sits on the
direction of travel arrow.

Finding a Bearing of an object - allow you to find the bearing of an object.

Step 1 - Hold the compass level in your hand, with the direction of travel arrow pointing towards the
object in question.

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Step 2 - Rotate the housing until the magnetic needle is inside the alignment arrow, with the red end
of the magnetic needle pointing towards the point of the alignment arrow.

Step 3 - Read the bearing off the dial.

Following a Bearing

Following a bearing isn't as easy as it

sounds. Unfortunately things tend to get in the
way, and you have to be able to move around them
without moving off your bearing.

Find an obvious land mark along the bearing. This

land mark should be easy to find, and not too
distant. Make your way to this object and then find
another object along the bearing and repeat. It is
essential that the object be exactly along the
bearing, as this type of navigation tends to amplify

Triangulation - (Golds only)

Allows you to pinpoint your position on a map even if

you have no idea where you are.

Step 1 - What you have to do is find two landmarks

that you can find on your map. These
landmarks cannot be in a straight line and
ideally are about 90 degrees apart.

Step 2 - To find where you are take a bearing on

the first point, and draw a line on the map
from the feature, along the bearing.

Step 3 - Repeat this with the second land mark,

where the lines cross is where you are.

Step 4 - Where the bearing crosses the feature is

where you are.

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Declination (Golds only)

What's your Map Declination?

The first thing you need to know is where you are in relation to magnetic north. You can find this
information by looking on your map legend. If you look at the map of North America in Figure 6.8 you
will see the line roughly marking 0° declination. If you are on the line where the declination is 0 degrees,
then you don't have to worry about any of this, since magnetic north and map north are equivalent.
(Wouldn't it be nice if all your trips were on the 0 degree of declination line?) If you are to the right of
that line, your compass will point toward the line (to the left) and hence the declination is to the west. If
you are to the left of the line, your compass will point toward the line (to the right) and hence the
declination is to the east.

Map Bearings & Magnetic Bearings (Golds only)

If you think about your map as an artist's rendition of the world, it displays true north, but it doesn't
include magnetic fields as the real world does, so you need to make accommodations when going from
your map to the real world. The real world doesn't have a true north—it's merely a construct of the map—
so you have to make accommodations when going from the real world to your map.. The basic principle
is this: to correct for declination, you want the map bearing and the magnetic bearing to be equivalent. If
you are lucky enough to be on the line where the declination is 0°, both are already equivalent, or if you
orient your map with your compass then you have made the two equivalent. Otherwise, you will need to
make your own bearing corrections by adding or subtracting the declination amount. That gives us 4
possibilities to work with:

1. West Declination - Going from a Map Bearing to a Magnetic Bearing

2. West Declination - Going from a Magnetic Bearing to a Map Bearing
3. East Declination - Going from a Map Bearing to a Magnetic Bearing
4. East Declination - Going from a Magnetic Bearing to a Map Bearing

West Declination (Golds only)

If your declination is west, then magnetic north is less than true north and the map bearing is less than (<)
the magnetic bearing . You need to make the two bearings equivalent by adding or subtracting the

 Map Bearing to Magnetic Bearing: If you are taking a bearing from one point on your map to
another point on the map with respect to true north, then you are working with the map bearing.
Now you want to figure out where your position is in the magnetic bearing. In order to transfer
this information back to your magnetic bearing you need to add the declination to your map
bearing to create the proper magnetic bearing. Map bearing + Declination = Magnetic Bearing.
 Magnetic Bearing to Map Bearing: If you use your compass to take a bearing from your current
position to a point on the landscape, then you are working with the magnetic bearing. Now you
want to figure out where your position is on the map. In order to transfer this information back to
your map you need to subtract the declination from your magnetic bearing compass bearing to
create the proper map bearing. Magnetic Bearing - Declination = Map Bearing.

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East Declination (Golds only)

If your declination is East then magnetic north is greater than true north the map bearing is greater than
the magnetic bearing. You need to make the two worlds equivalent by adding or subtracting the

Map Bearing to Magnetic Bearing: If you are taking a bearing from one point on your map to another
point on the map with respect to true north, then you are working with the map bearing. Now you want to
figure out where your position is in the magnetic bearing. In order to transfer this information back to
your magnetic bearing you need to subtract the declination from your map bearing compass bearing to
create the proper magnetic bearing bearing. Map bearing - Declination = Magnetic Bearing.

Magnetic Bearing to Map Bearing: If you use your compass to take a bearing from your current
position to a point on the landscape, then you are working with the magnetic bearing. Now you want to
figure out where your position is on the map. In order to transfer this information back to your map you
need to add the declination from your magnetic bearing compass bearing to create the proper map
bearing. Magnetic bearing + Declination = Map Bearing.

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If the
Map Bearing to Magnetic Bearing to
declination Then …
Magnetic Bearing Map Bearing
is …
Magnetic North < Map Bearing + Magnetic Bearing -
WEST True North Map Bearing < Magnetic Declination = Declination =
Bearing Magnetic Bearing Map Bearing
Magnetic North > Map Bearing - Magnetic Bearing +
EAST True North Map Bearing > Magnetic Declination = Declination =
Bearing Magnetic Bearing Map Bearing

Adjusting Your Compass for the Local Declination

Another way to deal with declination is to adjust your compass. Some compasses have an outer degree
ring that can be unlocked either with a set screw or a latch. This allows you to reset the compass to
account for declination. For example, if the declination were 14 degrees East, you could rotate the degree
dial to the right so that the magnetic needle was pointing to 14 degrees instead of 360 degrees. Once you
do this, you will no longer have to add or subtract for declination because your compass is aligned to true
north. Now when the compass needle is inside the orienting needle, the compass bearing that you read off
your compass will be in relation to true north instead of magnetic north. If you have a fixed-ring compass,
you can mark the declination angle on the compass ring with a piece of tape.

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Safety and Emergency Planning

Water Safety:

 If you don’t purify your water, you will get sick.

 Typical water sources:
o stream, lake, spring, or a designated water pump at your
o Check with park to determine water purity
 Difference between viruses and bacteria
o Not all water filters remove viruses
 Other popular contaminants in water include aluminum,
cryptosporidium and fluorine.

1) How to Purify your Water? (Silver and Golds only)

There are three possible and effective ways of purifying water during your outdoor expedition:

1. Boiling your water:

 This is one of the most effective methods of purifying your water. Although this
would kill the viruses and bacteria in your water, it gives it a funny taste afterwards.
(To reduce taste, you can quickly pour water from one clean container to another, by
letting the water cool, or by adding a pinch of salt per litre of water.) Just as well, due
to water’s high heat capacity, it requires a lot of energy to bring it to a boil. To ensure
maximum water safety, you should boil the water for another 5 minutes after seeing
bubbles. (The minimum is one minute, then, add another minute for every 300 meters
above sea level.)
2. Chemical Purification:
 The most popular chemical purification method would be iodine tablets. By adding
the iodine tablet to your water, it would disinfect it and eliminate most of the bacteria
and viruses. On the other hand, iodine tablets give the water an extremely horrible
taste and require a long period of time to finish purifying the water. Not noting the
yellowish color it gives you. Another downside to iodine tablets is that the bottom
portion of your filtered water is undrinkable since it contains the iodine and things
you tried to filter out. Chlorine dioxide is also a low-effort treatment method,
effective against all pathogens but is normally used in pools.
3. Filtration:
 A water filter can easily remove a majority of the bacteria and microorganisms from
the water. Where viruses are not a concern, a good filter is good enough. If viruses
are a concern, you should boil the water after filtration to ensure safe drinking water.
The other downside to using a water filter is that it is quite costly while being a bulk
to carry and energy consuming to operate. Filtered water should be consumed within
2-3 days. Just as well, the filter needs to be cleaned after a period of time to continue
providing semi-clean water.

Be careful and avoid cross-contamination

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2) Emergency Route Planning

 Closest hospital and police station (with phone numbers) for each day
o Also phone number for park office
 Identify closest major roads for each checkpoint
 When should you plan for this?
 When should you use the plan?
 Who should be informed of this?

Emergency Route Planning:

 Emergency route planning is basically knowing WHERE the closest MAIN ROADS are in
order to exit the trail if an emergency ever occurs. By a main road, we mean a road with frequent,
flowing traffic, stores, or pedestrians, not a deserted road without houses and sidewalks.
 You should always have as many emergency routes as possible and have these planned
BEFORE the actual hike.
 Your emergency routes should be located on your route chart and team members, counselors,
and committee members should be informed of your emergency routes.
 You should indicate the emergency routes on the maps in addition to the route chart.
 As another safety procedure, a copy of your route chart should always be given to a family
member or a friend who is not going on the trip with you. In case of an emergency, outside help
will always know roughly where to locate you with the help of this route chart.

Other Issues:

3) What do you need to submit to your leader before a hike?

 Before the actual hike, you should give your leader an emergency contact number (day and night).
This way, we would know who to contact if anything bad ever occurs. As a note, the emergency
contact person should be someone, OTHER THAN your parents, who can make a decision for
you upon an emergency.
 Health Card:
o You should be carrying your health card with you all the time during your expedition.
o Aside from that, your counselor should know your health card number and where you
placed the card.

4) Other issues to be concerned with – what can you do in these situations to ensure your safety and the
safety of your team members:

 Walking on roads or crossing streets

 Snakes and wild animals
o What should you be concerned with?
o Safety precautions
 Climate and weather concerns
o How do you know when a storm is coming?
o When do you need to know this information?
o What do you do in cases of rain and lightning?

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Walking on Roads/Crossing the Street

 ALWAYS walk SINGLE FILE AGAINST the traffic when walking on a road, that way you can
see oncoming traffic and warn others behind you
 ALWAYS look both ways BEFORE crossing the street

Snakes and Wild Animals:

 The main safety precaution you should have against any wild animal is NOT to play with it or
feed it.
 If you ever do feed or play with wild animals, they will instinctively come back to you for more
 DO NOT disturb wild animals or poke them with sticks
 During the hike, you want to make noise (at a reasonable volume) such that wildlife is notified of
your approach. When they hear noise and footsteps, they tend to move away from the location.
 If you are ever unlucky enough to meet a bear during your hike, the number one thing to do is to
stop and stay calm.
 Do not try to play dead, turn your back, or run away from the bear. They will think of you as prey
if you do any of those three.
 Make a lot of noise and wave your arms and hope that you are able to trick the bear into thinking
that you are bigger than he/she is.
 If you feel you cannot wave, slowly back away from the bear in the same direction you came
from while looking at the bear.
 Snakes on the other hand, would generally not approach you due to the difference in size. Unless
you attack it, it should not come and attack you.
 So if you see a snake on your trail, simply wait it out until it leaves the area.
 Certain parts of the Bruce Trail have rattlesnakes. If the area you are traveling in an area that has
snakes, you should include in your emergency planning to the snake bite anti-venom depot.

Climate and Weather Concern:

 You should be notified of an approaching storm if you see low and dark hanging clouds ahead of
you. Nevertheless, you should always check the weather report before leaving on any outdoor
 In case of rain, you should have your rain gear (poncho) in a very handy place where you can get
it out and put on very quickly as it is very unusual to stop hiking for rain.
 When there is lightning on the other hand, try to get to open and low grounds as soon as possible.
Noting that there might be a few trees or plants around you that are taller than you.
o Do not hide under the tallest tree
 So if you are in a forest, get to the closest trail exit. If unfortunately you are the tallest object in
the open ground, put your pack down and crouch on top of your pack, bringing your knees up to
your chest, head down on your knees and wrap your arms around them.
o Make sure you and your team-mates are spread-out
 If you are already at your campsite, and you suspect a rainstorm/thunder storm coming on, put up
a shelter and your tents as QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
 It is better to be safe than sorry.

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5) How do you call for help?

How to Call for Help?

 If you are in an emergency situation and need help, the international SOS signal is:
o 3 short, 3 long, and 3 short blow of the whistle.
o … ,___ , …
 Make sure that you leave some time in between each whistle signal such that your new whistle
does not interfere with the echoes.
 Include whistle communications
o One blast = stop, 2 = something happened, 3 = help, come to me
 Double-check with Bruce trail standards

6) What do you do when you are lost?

 As a team
 With another person
 By yourself
 Step by step get lost procedure
Got Lost? STOP Procedure:

- Make sure to stick together with your team, the last thing you need is another person lost
- BE RESOURCEFUL – look at what’s on you, or around you, to communicate with someone that
can lend a hand

S – Stop, T – Think, O – Observe, P – Plan

 Always remain calm if you think you are lost. Never separate with your team members and stop
immediately. Use your map and current surroundings (mountains, rivers, etc..) to try to locate
yourself. If possible, you can try retracing your steps to a known point. If you cannot do that, stay
in your current position and assess your situation.
 Take stock of the equipment and supplies you have and make a plan. Send out distress SOS
signals and stay visible to searchers by displaying bright and neon colours
 If possible, protect yourself from rain, wind and excessive sun. Build a shelter and collect
firewood if it seems unlikely that anyone would rescue you before nighttime.
 If someone is in need of first aid, that would be your first priority. Otherwise, the entire team
should separate tasks and work together into making it through the night.

7) What do you do first in an emergency situation? Ie. Getting completely lost?

 What are the priorities?

 How do you ensure the maximum usage of all the resources around you?

- Assess your situation.
- Gives you a boost of morale
- Warmth
- Light

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- Smoke as signal
- Protects you from elemental dangers
- Protects you from rain, snow, cold, and insects
- You can go a long time without food, but without water for a couple hours you will not
be able to accomplish anything
- Do whatever you can to signal for help – using walkie talkie, cellphone, shouting
(together and at the same time as a team to generate maximum loudness), smoke
- Emergency food is VERY important

(from: http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/wilderness-survival-priorities/)

8) Important information

 OHIP and emergency contact persons

o Bring your OHIP card with you for all outdoor programs
o Your emergency contact person should be someone other than your parents who can
make a decision on your behalf
o You should have your emergency contact person’s name, phone number, and relation to
o Information should be given to your counsellor
o Provide this information before all outings
 Emergency numbers and locations of nearest hospital, police station and fire station
o On your route chart, you should have the emergency numbers and locations of the nearest
hospital, police station and fire station at each emergency route exit. A city map from the
campsite/hiking area to these locations would also help prepare for emergencies.
o This information could be easily found on the internet if you go to the individual’s
township or city websites.
o The numbers and address should be on your route chart and given to counsellors,
committees and friends/ family not going on the trip.

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Route Chart Planning

1) What is a route chart?

A route chart is helpful when one is planning a hiking route. It helps provide a detailed
description of the route before the hike actually takes place, and allows a group of hikers to get to know
the path they will be following on the hike. This is very helpful during the actual hike, because it can help
a group stay on a planned route and to determine when the group is lost. For example, a completed route
chart can provide valuable information on the terrain expected during various sections of the hike, such as
when uphills and downhills occur. Compass directions, or bearings, taken from a map can help keep a
group on the right track. Completing a route chart helps a group estimate the time of arrival, time of
departure, total length of the trip, and the distance traveled. This information can then be used to
approximate break times, and the location of the group during the hike.
When a route chart is completed properly, the hikers are well-informed for their hike. The
emergency contact numbers provided can help supervisors locate lost groups. The estimated time of
arrival allows supervisors to know when to expect the group at their destination. Also, when a group
loses their maps along the hike, a properly planned route chart can tell a group how to complete the hike
and to find their way to the end point.

2) What kind of information is on a route chart?

This includes the date of the hike, the distance between various points on the route based on grid
references, bearings for each section, remarks on the terrain for each section, emergency contacts, and
information. The estimated time of arrival at each point, the estimated time of arrival at destination and of
departure, the distance traveled in each section, and the total distance estimated to be traveled are also
In the remarks section, details on the terrain, such as whether a particular section of the path is
going uphill or downhill, can be included. If there are any bodies of water, roads, or other significant
natural landmarks near the path, this information can also be included in the remarks section.
The remarks section is important because it includes information about the route that describes a
particular section on the route. During the actual hike, one can verify whether or not one is lost, whether
or not one is going in the right direction, or even determine his or her own location by comparing the
remarks made on the route chart to the actual route. You can always try to find out where you are by
comparing features on the map to what you see en route. For example, if at Pt. C the map indicates that
the group should be hiking alongside a lake on their right side, and then during the hike, the group can
determine when they are approximately at Pt. C by looking for a lake on their right side. It is also very
important that the route chart contains information about the closest emergency exits at each point on the

3) What information should be obtained before the hike?

In addition to the emergency contact information of each hiker, the emergency numbers of the
region that the group is hiking in are necessary. The local police station, hospital, and fire department
numbers should also be obtained prior to the hike. Information about the estimated time of arrival,

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

remarks, grid references, estimated distance traveled, estimated bearings, etc should also be obtained
before the hike.

4) What information should be obtained during the hike?

The actual distance traveled and the amount of time it takes to travel between the various points
must be obtained during the hike. The departure times and arrival times should be recorded. A description
of the scenery and terrain along the route should also be obtained.

5) How fast do you hike?

You determine how fast you hike by considering how quickly each team member is able to travel.
Typically, a person will take fifteen minutes to walk one kilometer. However, experience tells us that
with the heavy packs on, 2-3 km/hr is more reasonable. It depends on how quickly your team would like
to go – however, remember to take breaks! While you are taking breaks, it would be useful to point your
pack in the direction in which you were traveling so that you don’t go the opposite direction after your
break. After the practice hike, your team should have a good estimate on how fast your team actually
The distance traveled can be determined using the scale at the corner of a map. The distance
determined from your map is proportional to that of the actual distance. Therefore, a relatively accurate
estimate of the distance can be determined by using a thin piece of string to trace the hiking route and
then comparing it to the scale. The angle and distance uphill and downhill can be determined by
observing the contour lines of the map. The closer the rings are packed together, the steeper the hill is,
and the farther apart the rings are, the less steep the hill is.

How to calculate the angle and the actual distance that you travel on an uphill:
* Add 30 minutes to every 300 meters gain
height of hill Actual distance travelled
in elevation.
(based on contour
* If you don’t know your pace, you should
determine pace at beginning of hike.
angle of hill
Distance shown on map * Should use pace to check and help
establish where you are.
6) Emergency Route

The purpose of an emergency route is to have a shortcut to a road that will lead to help or safety.
It should be planned before the hike takes place. It is used in the event of an emergency, such as when a
team member is injured, or when the weather is dangerous. The team must agree to use the emergency
route. As many emergency routes as possible should be planned.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

7) What should be handed in before the hike?

Maps used in conjunction with route chart, with highlighted routes, different points and sections
indicated should be handed in along with the route chart. At the same time, DEA subcom would expect
to see the emergency numbers of the nearest hospital, fire station and police station. Also, hand in your
menu plans as well.
You should also leave a copy of the route chart to a nearby police station or warren at the park
before the trip. This will give police officers a faster time to respond in case of emergencies.

8) Roles

During the hike, the recorder is in charge of recording information such as the significant
landmarks in an area, and the time that it takes to reach different points on the route. Any breaks or
periods of time when the group is lost should be recorded as well.
The time keeper should keep track of the departure and arrival times as well as the time it takes to
reach various points and break times. This information should also be recorded.
The navigator/leader leads the group using the map, a compass, and the route chart. The leader
decides which direction to take when a path splits, and tries to determine when the group is lost. No one
should be in front of the leader and the leader is generally the person who sets the pace for the team.
However, if someone is injured or unable to keep up with the pace, you mean want to put that person in
the front and have him/her set the pace. Motivation from the team would generally get these injured
people to walk faster as a pace-setter than if they were to trail behind at the back. The leader should
periodically initiate a head count to ensure that everyone is still behind the leader and not to far back.
The cheerleader/entertainer’s job is to encourage team spirit during the hike. He or she must
encourage a positive attitude and encourage the other team members even when they are tired and
There should be someone (―sweep‖) at the back to make sure that everyone is okay and that no
one should be behind the sweep.
The roles should be switched periodically in order to allow each team member to play a different

Sample Route Chart

Date Pt.: Map Pt.: Map Compass Actual Estimated Actual Distance Accumulated Remarks
no. & grid no. & Grid Bearing Compass Time of time of Distance
reference reference Bearing Arrival arrival

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Wilderness Code of Behaviour

1) What is the Wilderness Code of Behaviour and “Leave No Trace” practice?
The purpose of the two is to:
- To minimize the damage to nature/eco-system and not to endanger the wild life
- Minimize risks with preparation, knowledge and awareness
- Leave no Trace = Leave everything as you found it, encourage everyone to practice this

2) How we are going to do that?

Plan ahead by:
- Trip planning, know the regulation of your destination (some parks will not allow for
canned items to be brought in)
- Keep your group size small
- Ensure enough time to reach destination
- Carry enough food supplies and not rely on the environment

3) When Traveling
- NO SHORT CUTS, hike along established trails
- DO NOT climb over fences, or trespass
- Don’t step on vegetation
- Respect private property
- Leave flowers and plants, do not disturb wildlife, keep your voice down
- Leave the trail cleaner than you found it

4) Campsite and shelters

- Do not expand the campsite, keep campsite small
- Should not dig trenches to protect your tent
- Do not damage live trees or strip off bark or sticks from tree, only pick up dead wood from the
ground for fires
- Don’t hammer nails onto trees

5) Fire
- Use existing fire pit, keep fire small, make sure extinguished fire completely after use
- Where no fire pit, not to dig too deep, avoid roots and overhang trees
- When done, use sand to cover ashes then replace top sod
- Use dead and downed wood for fire, burn all wood completely to white ash

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

6) Garbage
- Leave no trace: if you pack it in, then pack it out; don’t leave anything (including garbage) at the
- Pick up garbage along the trail if you see any
- Inform authorities of the mistakes of others if they are too extensive for you to cope with
- Leave the place as you found it, or even cleaner when you found it
- Remember you are a guest of someone’s home, be considerate and respectful

7) Washing Dishes
To minimize the impact we have on nature, it’s important that we follow a proper procedure to clean
dishes. Clean up as soon as you can after your meal. Food dries and eventually sticks to the pot making
your job harder. Washing dishes does not require soap at all. If you must use dish soap, please make sure
it is biodegradable.


Steps to follow:

1. After dining, first remove all food scraps from the dirty pot and food containers.
2. Put some water in the pot and put it on the stove. Heat the water until hot.
3. Remove the pot from the stove. Scrub it with a sponge until all of the solid matter has been
removed. Wash your dishes and utensils in this water as well.
4. Food scraps will attract insects and animals. Filter your dishwater and carry out your food scraps
(by using a ziplog bag) with the rest of your trash. Dispose of your gray water by either straining
or drinking.

o Straining: Pour the gray water through a bandana, coffee filter, or even your fingers to
catch all food particles. Pack out all of these scraps with your garbage. Scatter the
remaining waste water in the bushes well away from camp and 200 feet from any water
o Drinking: Simply drink the water that you used to clean your pot and dishes. It might not
sound very delicious, depending on what the meal was, but it’s just water with some of
the food you just ate. It will save you hassle with dealing with food scraps and it has the
least impact on the environment.

Biodegradable Soap

Keep in mind that biodegradability doesn't necessarily mean environmentally friendly.

 Using a biodegradable soap doesn't reduce its immediate environmental impact; it just means
that the soap will biodegrade in time. Some materials may take years to biodegrade.
 Biodegradable soap is NOT biodegradable when it ends up in a river or lake because it
requires soil for it to breakdown properly
 Biodegradable soap is NOT NATURAL.... it is a chemical
 Biodegradable soap is concentrated so be sure to use sparingly

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Meal Planning Considerations

 Prepare a meal that requires little time/effort for cleaning

 Try to finish the whole meal and leave as little food scraps as possible

8) Human waste
- Use existing outhouses whenever possible
- If there are no outhouses around the campsite, bury the human waste in a small and shallow
latrine (―cat hole‖) that is 15-20 cm deep (6-8 inches) and at least 50 meters (150 feet) away from
trails, camps and water sources. If buried less than 6‖ deep there’s a greater chance of animals
digging it up, and burying deeper than 6‖ which will slow down the decomposition
- Use single ply white toilet paper and burn/bury it completely after use.
- Don’t wash your hands directly in fresh water source. Hand sanitizer would be a good option if
washroom not available
- What if you have to poop?
o Just do it in a quiet way
o If comfortable tell your teammates / leader that you are behind, so your team will know
you will catch up and wait for you
o If the trail is busy, have the person-in-need hike ahead and do their business, and have the
team stop the on-coming traffic (other hikers)
o Ladies, what happens when you have your period? Talk to come later!

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Campsite Selection
1) How to select a site
- Site should be near water supply but at least 200 feet away to avoid contaminating water sources
with possible run-off from camping activities
- Campsite should include: nearby water source, adequate area for cooking and cleaning, shade
- Always use existing sites and never expand a campsite

2) Where to pitch your tent

- Tent should be pitched on fairly level ground
- Remove any debris such as twigs and stones before you pitch your tent. This will ensure a good
night sleep
- Area for tent should be reasonably open but not so isolated that it becomes a target for lightning
or such dense forests that dead tree limbs can come crashing down during a storm
- When camping along a river, watch out for rising water from storms or dam-floodgate releases
- Choose locations away from gullies and running water if pitching tent along slope
- Site for tent should be dry & far away from stagnant water where insects like mosquitoes breed
- Tent should be set up in a location that offers shade during the day because tent’s nylon canopy
deteriorates when exposed to direct sunlight for too long
- Try to select a site where boulders/trees provide a windbreak if it’s really windy; if no natural
windbreaks are available, find convenient places to attach guy-lines from trees to the tent

3) Food storage at campsite

- No food is allowed in the tent
- Food and cookware/eating utensils should always be hung up on trees using ropes where animals
can't get to. The food will be hung at least 2 meters from the ground and 1.5 meter away from
tree trunk and branches
- Toiletries should also be hung as their smell will attract wild animals as well
- Some campsites offer bear boxes which are storage boxes where you can put your food

4) Fires
- Using existing fire rings for campfires
- Never leave a fire unattended
- Use only dead and fallen wood; never remove branches from trees for your fire even if the tree
may look dead
- Don’t burn plastic/foil
- No bonfires - smaller fires are safer & easier to tend
- Put out fires completely with lots of water and stir before leaving
- Remember to extinguish the fire pit thoroughly. Stir around the fire pit and the ashes and

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

extinguish thoroughly again. Eliminate all possibly removed fire scars

- There is ―ground‖ fire which burns a few feet below the ground and can burn for quite a long
time. Make sure you put it out using water and remove all flammable material from around the
area even though you think the fire has been put out

5) Cooking
- Don’t ever cook in your tent
- Cook in area away from any leaves, twigs, or bushes that may catch fire
- Should also cook away from tents because not only does it have a chance on catching on fire, but
the food odours will also catch on the tent which will attract animals
- As a safety precaution, do not use oversized pots for small stoves because it can easily be tipped
over and everything will spill. It’s better to use a smaller pot and have a longer cooking time than
to lose your food
- Purify all drinking water by using water filter, iodine tablets, or boiling for 3-5 minutes

6) Maintaining your tent

- Don’t wear hiking boots/shoes inside the tent. Hiking boots should be put in garbage bags and
place outside of the tent
- Tarps should be placed under tent to protect the tent and minimize the chance of water getting in.
Use garbage bags if tarps are not available
- Tent door should remain closed at all time
- Pole and tent bags should be put inside tent at the campsite
- Guy-lines should be anchored to the ground with a tent stake to secure tents and keep them from
blowing away. This will also prevent water from getting inside the tent
- Always dry + air out tent before putting it away to prevent rotting and staining from mildew
- Shake out any debris such as twigs and stones, from inside the tent when taking it down because
they can rip and puncture the fabric of the tent

7) Vision Youth Campsite expectation

- The first thing you should do when you arrive at the campsite is to set up a shelter and a tent, just
in case it rains later on
- All belongings should be put inside tents once tents are set up
- It would be a good idea to cook under a shelter (at least 2m off ground) to prevent rain as well as
stuff from trees from getting in your food. The shelter must be relatively high so that it won’t get
burnt while cooking
- DO NOT wash dishes/dispose dirty water around the water tap
o Food scraps will attract insects and animals
o Be considerate to other users
- Keep quiet after light is out
- NO mixed sexes in tents – For safety, personal and security reasons.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Menu Planning
1) Where do we get our energy?

- Energy comes from three sources – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates

- Proteins and fats provide long-term energy, while carbohydrates provide short-term energy
- Carbohydrates are easier to break down than fats and proteins. Carbohydrates are abundant in
breads, pasta, and rice
- Fats and protein on the other hand, provide a lot more energy, but are hard to break down, so even
though a single gram of fat contains three times the amount of energy than a gram of
carbohydrate, it takes longer for your body to break down the fats and proteins to obtain needed

2) What is a balanced meal?

The four food groups are dairy products, wheat and grain products, meat and alternatives products and
finally, fruits and veggies.

Food Group Examples

Dairy Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
Wheat/Grain Pasta, Bread
Meat/Alternatives Chicken, Fish, Tofu
Fruits/Vegetables Mango, Broccoli, Apples

You need 5 –12 servings of grain products, 5 – 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3 – 4 servings of
dairy products and finally, 2 – 3 servings of meat and alternatives. How much serving of each group you
would need depends on your gender, age, size, how active you are, etc. So a full grown adult who is very
active would need more servings than an inactive child.
An average adult male needs approximately 1800 – 2000 calories a day, while an average female adult
needs about 1200-1500 calories a day. You can ensure that you get a balanced diet by making sure you
eat properly, and regularly.

3) What foods can you bring to camp?

- Each meal should be cooked and hot

- Consider its nutritional value – how full will you be? It’s probably better to eat a meal that has a
lot of carbohydrates and can keep you satiated for a long time, such as pasta
- Consider the length of the trip and the weather. Bring only what you need. Avoid over packing
your bags with food. Try to bring snacks and other provisions that do not dehydrate you, and
consider packing extra loads of water if it's very hot. On the other hand, if the weather is wet,
make sure your food is well packaged
- Consider the weight of the food – bringing instant pasta/rice packs may prove to be lighter than
carrying a whole load of pasta and the pasta sauce cans. Fresh food contains more water and is
heavier so for longer trips you may have to sacrifice and bring more dry food instead

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

- Consider the preparation required – How long does it take to cook? Do you need special iron
chef skills to cook it? What are the cooking utensils required? – Obviously you shouldn’t bring
an eggbeater for eggs if you plan on bringing eggs to camp
- Good foods to bring: Unflavoured Uncle Ben’s rice (salt content in flavoured rice is too high and
will dehydrate you), candy (for snacks and a quick boost of energy), eggs, pita breads, hot dog
buns, veggie dogs, noodles, beef, chicken, pasta, fruit
- Bad foods to bring: Canned sauces, sauces in their jars, coffee, expired produce, things that may
possibly spoil because of the temperature, eggnog, moon cake, coke, instant noodles

4) Planning for a Team?

- You need to take into account how much each person eats – remember that a person tends to eat a
lot more after or during strenuous exercise
- It is illogical for everybody to go out and buy food for himself or herself when you can share.
Get a couple of members in your group to do all the shopping after you’ve planned your menu
- Each person in the group should only pay at around $5/person for every meal eaten and around
$3/person for all snacks and $3/person for emergency food
- You should always use zip log bags to carry food. Double bag them to avoid spillage. Fresh meat
should be frozen and wrapped with several layers of newspaper – this will help to keep them cool.
Throw out excess package to minimize weight and garbage. For eggs, you can beat them in
advance, store them in jars and freeze them! You can also store them in water bottles

5) How do you store foods at camp?

- Wrap your food in two garbage bags and tie your bag up in a tree that is fairly high (about 2 m)
off the ground
- Make sure it is a fair distance away from the trunk of the wood in order to ensure that it is
unreachable for animals
- Don’t forget to hang up your toiletries and utensils as well!

You should make note of individual preferences and allergies in order to ensure that everyone is
comfortable with the menu and has a proper calorie count to continue hiking. Check with your group
members about their preferences in eating when you plan out your menu.

6) Backup Food/Emergency Food

If you were to get lost or if your original menu food got spoiled in some way or another, having
backup food can save your life. You should plan your emergency food and include it as you make up your
meal plan. Remember, emergency food is your lifeline so it should be able to replace a meal. It should
also be quick, energy-dense and convenient (you shouldn’t have to cook them). More importantly, they
are not snack so you should only consume them in emergency situation. Some good emergency foods
include granola bars, can salmon (small), trail mix (make sure it doesn’t make you thirsty though).
Everyone should keep his or her own pack of emergency foods. Counselors and DEA operation team will
check your emergency food before and after the hikes!

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

7) Snacks

- Snacks are basically foods you eat between meals, or during the hike for a quick boost of energy
- Some good snacks include granola bars, candies, chocolates, or anything that provides you a short
burst of energy
- You should eat snacks whenever you feel hungry, or dizzy when experiencing low blood sugar

8) How to shorten your cooking time at camps

- Cook anything that can be cooked in advance (thick pastas)

- Wash or precut food in advance
- Minimize the time need to clean dishes afterward. Avoid planning a meal that makes too much of
a mess (eg. Curry)
- It's going to take forever to boil water if your pot doesn't have a lid
- Leave the lid on your pot as you boil water, don’t be tempted to peek! This will only lengthen the
cooking time!

9) Safety precautions in the camp

- Cook in an open area of the campsite.

- Clean up after you’re done cooking and eating. This is to minimize the risk of having animals
spending the night with you.
- Use things that are not too heavy for cooking (like the two-in-one cooking sets)

10) When writing up your meal plans...

- Your meal plan should include the following information:

o What foods are you packing (this includes for meals, snacks, drinks and emergency
foods), the amount of each item that you included on your list, the approximate cost of
the food you’ll bring, and possibly, who is bringing what
o A meal plan should be written and completed at least two weeks before the actual
excursion, that way, your pricing for food is accurate, and you have enough time to
prepare buying the food
o You should hand in your meal plan for approval along with your route chart. In addition,
the meal plan is also a part of the qualifying hiking report

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

Camping Stove
1) Safety

- Practice lighting your camping stove in the back yard before you take it into the backcountry
- Use only the fuel(s) that your stove is designed to burn. For liquid fuel stoves, don't use old fuel
that has been stored for a long period of time
- Fill the stove or fuel bottle only to the safe fill line. Fuel expands as it warms, so leaving an air
space prevents excessive pressure build-up
- If carrying liquid fuel in your backpack, make sure your fuel bottle cap is on tightly and pack this
below your food in case of a spill
- Ensure the pump is well-lubricated and functioning. Oil the pump cup on the stove's plunger with
lightweight machine oil every 6 months, or more often if needed. The oil helps to seal the pump
against the inside of the compression tube so that it can be pressurized to deliver fuel to the
burner. If the pump does not work, neither will the stove
- Never cook inside a tent or in a confined space. Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning are
significant hazards
- Check all fuel lines, valves and connections for leaks before lighting your stove
- Operate your stove on the most level surface possible. Clear away any flammable debris near the
stove before lighting
- Empty your stove before you store it. Standing fuel will gum up the fuel pick-up and coat other
parts it comes in contact with. This can eventually restrict fuel delivery so much that the stove
would stop working
- Clean up food spills as soon as possible. Besides attracting unwanted wildlife, spills that fall near
the manifolds or other working parts can quickly clog your stove. Under most conditions, stoves
can be wiped out with warm water and dishwashing soap and then dried before storing. If a stove
has been cleaned with any type of water hose, turn the stove upside down to ensure all the water
is removed from inside the manifold. Any water left inside the manifold can cause it to rust and
disturb the flow of fuel to the burner, preventing the stove from burning properly

2) Refuelling

- Always fill your stove (or change the fuel canister) outdoors, never inside a tent or cabin
- To avoid lighting spilled fuel, don't light the stove in the same place you filled it
- Don't refuel your stove while it is still lit – this is extremely dangerous. Take special care with
alcohol stoves, they make no noise when burning and can burn with an almost invisible flame.
Wait until your stove is stone cold before refuelling

3) Tips for Efficient Cooking

- Use a wind block or windscreen. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for screening the stove
- Keep pots covered to retain heat
- Use clean fuel. White gas degrades over time and when it is exposed to air. Store your fuel in an
airtight container

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

- Remove carbon build-up from liquid fuel stoves. Carbon builds up faster when you're burning old
or dirty fuels (kerosene) and at altitude, where stoves tend to burn rich
- Pump to the recommended pressure. As the fuel burns, the air space in bottle grows larger, and
pressure decreases. You'll have to pump more to maintain the same pressure
- When using canister stove …
o DO NOT use a windscreen
o Use the recommended LPG canister for your stove
o Keep the canister warm. Put it in your pocket or curl up with it in your sleeping bag

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

SHEET BEND Bronze, Silver, Gold

The Sheet Bend is a good

knot for tying two lines
together. Strong and easy to
tie, it works particularly well
joining lines of differing sizes.
In its doubled form. This knot
will even hold in slippery
nylon rope. Not for use by
climbers though.

BOWLINE Silver, Gold

The Bowline is one of the

most useful knots you can
know. In fact, if you only
were to commit one knot to
memory, this should probably
be the one! The bowline
forms a secure loop that will
not jam and is easy to tie and
untie. It can be tied around
objects, can be tied into any
size loop and even after being
under load can be untied -
truly a versatile trusty knot!

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

CLOVE HITCH Bronze, Silver, Gold

A simple all purpose hitch.

Easy to tie and untie. Holds
firmly but is not totally


The Double Fisherman's Knot

securely ties two ropes
together or can be used to tie
the ends of rope or cord
together to form loops.
Another use for this knot is to
make another knot more
secure by tying this knot in
the running end of the rope
behind another knot, a
practice common to mountain
climbers. In that case, you are
effectively tying one half of
the Double Fisherman's
around the standing line of the
other knot.

Last Updated: July 3, 2010


The Figure Eight Follow-

through is one of the strongest
knots. It is generally rated at
70% - 75% of rope strength.
Due to its strength and the
fact that it is easy to visually
inspect, it is commonly used
by climbers as their "tie-in
knot" - the knot that connects
the climber to the rope. It
forms a secure non-slip loop
at the end of a rope. For even
greater security, finish the tag
end with a backup knot such
as the Double Fisherman’s.


The Trucker's Hitch is one of

those knots that once you
learn it, you wonder how you
ever got along without it! Use
this knot to cinch down a load
on your car top, boat,
horseback, you name it. This
combination of knots allows a
line to be pulled tight as a
guitar string!

Last Updated: July 3, 2010

TAUTLINE HITCH Bronze, Silver, Gold

The Tautline Hitch is a

favorite among campers. This
knot is useful for adjusting the
tension of tent guy lines and
laundry lines, among other
things. The knot can be
slipped to tighten or loosen a
line, then holds fast under

SQUARE KNOT Bronze, Silver, Gold

Watch out for this popular

knot. It is included here as
much as to warn you of its
pitfalls as to show the proper
way to tie it! This is an easy
to tie knot that is good for
securing non-critical items. It
should not be trusted to join
two ropes together or to hold
down something that
absolutely has to stay put.
This knot will "capsize" or
jam under load and will also
untie itself under movement.


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