Scouts' Festival Survival Guide - Part 3: Navigation


Finding Friends, photo by Eva Rinaldi

In crowded, unfamiliar surroundings you need to keep your wits about you, particularly as the light fades.

To spot your tents easily, decide on a colour or symbol and make a flag. Learn the simple sheer lashing so you can tie two or three poles together and raise a flagpole next to your camp. Use paracord to hoist the flag and add an LED for extra visibility.

Know the site

Study a map of the site or try to learn your way around before nightfall so you’ve got an idea of the site layout. Pay attention to your surroundings and make a mental note of distinctive features you’ll recognise later. ‘Stick to main path areas rather than finding short cuts as you’ll always end up taking longer and there are more likely to be trip hazards,’ adds Katie Farnish, Marketing Assistant for Scout Activity Centres

‘Make sure you choose a specific meeting point and meeting time if your group are splitting up to see different bands. Arrange an emergency meeting point near an MSR (main supply route). Use this as your ‘go to’ point if you get split up,’ recommends Katie.

Kit wisdom

‘Kit-wise take a wind-up torch so don’t have to worry about taking spare batteries. Head torches are also great, particularly for nocturnal trips to the loo,' says Katie. If things are likely to get really desperate, learn Morse before you go so you can signal with a torch. And one more thing: keep your phone inside your sleeping bag – if it gets cold at night, the low temperatures will eat your battery's charge.


Silverpoint detachable wind up head torch, £9; World Scout printed flag, £9.50; Gelert 24+3 LED spotlight, £4; Yellowstone essential festival pack, £7; Scout Shop essentials: World Scout phone pouch, £2.99. 

The Scout Association currently has over 37,000 young people on its waiting lists so if you’d like to carry on the festival spirit, why not consider becoming an adult volunteer?

For more timeless Scouting advice check out Be Prepared - How to light a wet match and 199 other useful things to know (published by Simon & Schuster and available for £9.99 at Scout Shops).

Read more

Index: The Scouts' Festival Survival Guide

Part 1 - What to take and how to pack

Part 2 - How and where to pitch a tent

Part 3 - How to navigate the festival site

Part 4 - Stay warm, dry and un-burnt 

Part 5 - Essentials: from mosh pits to long drops


Photo by Eva Rinaldi

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