Counselor Tools

How to Prepare Your Trip Leader Survival Kit

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This is a guest post by Harper Reid.

Trip Leaders need to be prepared for everything and anything. However, while lots of the things we recommend for your survival kit will be common sense, let’s start out with a few things it is easy to overlook.

As a trip leader, you are going to be spending a good deal of time out in the sun. Make sure you pack a wide-brimmed hat, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and trousers. Even if you keep covered up as much as possible your skin will still become dehydrated, so be sure to include in your survival kit a good natural moisturiser or some Omega-rich rosehip oil.

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Other skin care tips for camp counsellors include regular exfoliation to help open up the pores. This improves the absorption of rehydration products. Another essential skin care product for camp counsellors is a high-protection sunscreen, which you should apply every couple of hours throughout the day.

A trip leader’s backpack needs to be robust, large enough to contain all of the following items, and with multiple pockets to keep things organized. Practice packing and unpacking so that you will always know exactly where everything is.

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A sturdy water bottle, and just to be on the safe side, include some water purification tablets. Always have in your backpack some high-energy granola bars, chocolate and sweets, or other emergency rations. In the unlikely event of you and the kids in your charge of getting separated from the group, these things could save your lives.

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High-powered torch and extra batteries. First-aid kit, plus lots of extra Band-Aids, hydrogen peroxide and antiseptic cream. You’ll be able to take care of most minor emergencies with these. A wind-up watch and a waterproof stop-watch. Compass and maps of the area. Matches, and ideally an emergency way to start a fire, such as a flint kit. Multi-purpose pocket knife. Waterproof cape.

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Cell phone and solar charger. Post-it notepads, brilliantly useful for all kinds of communications, and a stock of golfer’s pencils. Whistle, great for getting the attention of noisy children.

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Pack of cards and a rulebook. List of different games and ideas of fun things to do with the kids. You won’t have time to do all of them, but a good trip leader should have a schedule set out and flexibility when things don’t go to plan. Having entertainment ideas prepared can be your ace up the sleeve.

Duct tape. This product has loads of uses from tent repairs to blister healer. Don’t think of leaving home without it. Rubber bands and Ziploc bags are excellent for keeping opened packets of snacks fresh and for storing anything like shells and seeds.

A hammock takes up very little space, just needs two trees to hang from and creates a perfect place to rest and take a break. Pop in some Chamomile tea bags, and some natural lavender shower gel, to get you ready for a good night’s sleep.

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Being a trip leader is fun, but it is also a big responsibility. Preparing yourself adequately will make things much easier, both for you and for the kids.

The above list is just a brief guide of what you should have in your camp counsellor survival kit. Think about the particular location and situation in which you will be and make the appropriate additions for your particular circumstances. So, do your planning, pack your backpack and prepare to enjoy the experience of a lifetime.


Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who has a passion for travel, adventure and everything fun! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her planning her next trip, running on the beach, or hiking with friends. You can find more of her work on her Tumblr.


Image Sources:
Backpack by Pablo E. Ortiz via under license
First-Aid via under CC0 License
Relax by Cara Fuller via under license



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