Quick Concept for Plan Ahead and Prepare


Grabbing Your Group's Attention (15 minutes)

Have a one-pot meal, or a variety of one-pot meals, cooking outdoors on a backpack stove when your group arrives. Give each participant a copy of each recipe and describe how you prepared each meal. Provide every participant with a taste of each dish.

Alternate Plan for Grabbing Your Group's Attention (15 minutes)

As an alternate activity, before your meeting, find pictures or posters depicting a local or regional environment (high alpine, desert, river). You will use these pictures to serve as your imaginary destination.

Break participants into small groups of three to five when they arrive. Tell your group you are taking them on an imaginary hiking trip and ask each person to pack a small backpack for your adventure. Don't tell the participants their imaginary destination or what to bring. Build suspense by asking them to guess the destination of their imaginary trip.

The Activity

Break your group into pairs and have them

  • Create a recipe for a simple one-pot meal.
  • Make a list of all the ingredients they would need to bring into the backcountry for this meal.
  • Describe how they should pack these ingredients to minimize garbage.

Alternate Activity

Show the destination pictures from the alternate plan above and describe (weather, terrain, etc.) the location you have selected. Explain the goal of the trip: wildlife viewing or fishing. Ask the groups to unpack their packs and discuss their answers to the following questions. To help facilitate discussion, the leader must read the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace.

  • How well do the contents of your pack properly prepare you for this trip?
  • How well do the contents of your pack ensure your safety?
  • How well do the contents of your pack ensure you will leave no trace—that you will not damage natural or cultural resources?
  • Do the contents of your pack ensure your trip will meet your goal—for example, wildlife viewing or fishing—safely and enjoyably?

Because participants packed their packs without proper information, they will probably be inadequately prepared for their destination. This activity demonstrates the importance of planning before packing.

The Discussion

Discuss why planning and preparing for one-pot meals on a backcountry trip is wiser than planning a meal of canned chili, canned fruit, and hot dogs. Refer to the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace for details to assist you in this discussion. You may want to invite a guest from an outdoor store or hiking club to conduct the cooking demonstration if you lack experience.

Discussion for the Alternate Activity

Following the alternate activity, facilitate a discussion with all participants about the results of the activity. Ask each group to briefly share its answers to the above questions and add:

  • How would the contents of your pack differ with different destinations?
  • What other information do you need to pack properly for a trip?
  • What is the value of knowing more about your destination and the activities you have planned before packing?