What is Scoutcraft?

The UK Scout Association splits the Scout Programme across several zones as enumerated below:

Programme Zones split the whole programme into manageable areas. Each Zone represents a different development area in a young person's life. There are six Programme Zones in the Scout Section. They are:

  • Beliefs and Attitudes
  • Community
  • Fit for Life
  • Creative Expression
  • Global
  • Outdoor and Adventure

It is recommended that a troop spend roughly 50% of its programme time working within the Outdoor and Adventure Zone.

The Outdoor and Adventure area of the Scout Programme refers to what used to be called Scoutcraft. It means much the same thing as bushcraft (antipodean term), fieldcraft (military term) and backwoodsmanship (archaic term).

It is further described by the UK Scout Association thus:

The expectations of young people have changed significantly in recent times. However, the outdoors and adventurous activities still hold great appeal. Camping remains the most popular Scout activity and this is reflected in the emphasis of the 'outdoors' in the Balanced Programme. Adventurous activities allow young people to try out new sports and pursuits, such as sailing, canoeing, climbing and hill-walking, which many find both challenging and rewarding. Scouting is the place where many young people are first introduced to physical pursuits, some of which they remain involved with into adult life. The programmes should provide a Scout with opportunities for involvement in a wide range of adventurous activities during their time in the Troop.

Benefits of Outdoor Activities

As part of a Balanced Programme for young people, the outdoors:

  • encourages self reliance, resourcefulness and confidence in their own ability
  • develops skills associated with traditional Scoutcraft
  • provides training for what to do in emergency situations

Benefits of Adventure

As part of a Balanced Programme for young people, Adventure :

  • provides opportunities to undertake a variety of exciting activities
  • provides skill training
  • increases confidence in their abilities
  • encourages teamwork and participation
Four Challenge Awards link with the Outdoor and Adventure Zone. They are Outdoor Challenge, Outdoor Plus Challenge, Adventure Challenge and Expedition Challenge. All Challenge Awards are described here.


An online video library is currently being built which presents the topics covered by the Outdoor and Adventure zone. Refer to the sub pages to see the media content.

Primary Skills
  • Shelter - tent pitching, bivouac construction
  • Fire      - burning properties of wood, firelighting methods, types of fires
  • Water   - locating water, collecting water, purifying water
  • Food    - foraging, angling, trapping, cooking
Secondary Skills
  • Tools
  • First Aid
  • Knotting & Pioneering
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Nature Study


As a closing thought, Lord Baden-Powell wrote:

"Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don't let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is character with a purpose. And that purpose, that the next generation may be sane in an insane world, and develop the higher realization of service, active service of love, and duty to God and neighbour."    Source

Subpages (3): Fire Kit Quartermaster