Boy camping with his peers

Checklist for Boy Scouts: Essential Items

If you’ve recently signed up for the Boy Scouts, you’ll want to have all the essentials ready. Soon you’ll be hiking, going on camping trips, and experiencing unforgettable adventures. The Boy Scout’s motto is “Be Prepared,” so let’s do it justice!

18 Essential Items for Boy Scouts

#1 – A Handy Pocket Knife

A pocket knife, or a multi-function tool like a Swiss Army Knife, is definitely an item any new Boy Scout will need. Whether you’re out on a hike, setting up a campsite, or preparing a meal, a pocketknife will prove to be a great resource. This tool can be used for a multitude of reasons including cutting food, cutting a bandage for an injured friend, cutting rope, or creating a tent stake from a large tree branch.

When you’re looking for a new pocketknife or multi-function tool, try to find one that is easy to use. Consider purchasing a multi-function tool that has a screwdriver head, a can opener, and more than one sharp blade.

This is a good place to invest a little extra. If you buy a high-quality knife or tool, it is much more likely to last longer and provide you with multiple years of use. Whereas, if you try to save a little money by purchasing a cheap tool, it’ll likely break and need to be replaced multiple times, costing more money in the long run.

#2 – A First Aid Kit for Emergencies

No Boy Scout should be without a first aid kit. When you are out in nature hiking or camping, there are so many opportunities for you or a fellow scout to be injured. So, every new Boy Scout should be supplied with a well-stocked first aid kit.

8 Essential Items That You’ll Want to Stock the First Aid Kit Include:

  1. Band-Aids
  2. Gauze
  3. Tape
  4. Hand sanitizer
  5. Antibiotic ointment
  6. Small scissors
  7. Latex gloves
  8. A first aid kit stocked with these essentials will provide support in times of an emergency.

#3 – An Insulated Water Bottle for Hydration

Water, water, water! You don’t want to forget about water! It is essential in order for us to stay well-hydrated.

When you are shopping for supplies, look for a sturdy, insulated water bottle that will keep water cool. You can try to find a bottle that has a hook so that it can hang from a backpack for easy access. Remember that it is very important to stay hydrated and drink that water that you bring with you or send with your son.

#4 – Additional Storage to Bring Extra Water

Often, Boy Scouts are out hiking or camping for multiple hours, or even days. Most of the time, there won’t be an opportunity for accessing additional clean water to refill a water bottle. So, you’ll want to pack extra water, in addition to what is in the water bottle. You can purchase collapsible water jugs or containers that can be stored in the backpack for easy access when the water bottle needs to be refilled.

#5 – Snacks and Food for on the Trail and Camping

Hiking and other outdoor activities can be draining. In addition to needing water, food is also important to help you or your son push through some of the more challenging activities and tasks.

When you’re shopping for essentials, look for food that will be quick and easy to eat while out on the trail. Find healthy options that are not full of sugar so they provide more energy.

Protein bars are a good thing to look for because they’ll provide a lot of energy and are easy to eat. Dried fruits, nuts, and trail mixes are also popular options because of the energy they’ll provide.

#6 – Rain Gear to Keep Dry

You never know when a passing shower or thunderstorm may decide to strike. It could very well happen when you or your son is hiking or at a campsite. You’ll need to have appropriate gear stay dry.

Look for a lightweight, waterproof jacket and pants that will easily fit in the backpack. You will want to find something that will be able to fold down easily and won’t be very bulky so it won’t take up all the space in the backpack.

#7 – Extra Clothing for Unforeseen Incidents

If a thunderstorm sneaks up without enough warning, your clothing may get too soaked to be worn any more. Also, when you are hiking, it is possible that you may slip and fall into the mud. In the event either of these things happen, you’ll want to be prepared.

Be sure to get extra clothing to bring on camping and hiking trips. Again, you’ll want to make sure to find items that are light-weight and compact so they don’t take up too much space in the backpack.

#8 – A Map and Compass for Navigation

No Boy Scout can truly be prepared without a map and a compass. If you or your child doesn’t already know how to use these tools, it’ll be covered by their troop leaders.

When you are out camping or hiking, you will need a map and a compass to help find your way to a given destination. These tools will also be important in the event you get lost or separated from your group. This way, you can meet back up with the group at a predetermined location, or find your way to a main road to look for help.

#9 – A Flashlight for Nighttime

It’s always possible that a hike may run late (or be intentionally schedule for after dark). Additionally, when you are out camping, you will need to be able to find your way and access materials in the dark. A flashlight can help tremendously in both of these situations.

Find a bright and sturdy flashlight that will withstand being dropped. Always make sure to check the batteries before embarking on a trip. Plus, tuck a spare set of batteries in the backpack, just in case.

#10 – A Headlamp for Hands-Free Use

Instead of a flashlight, or perhaps in addition to one, you can consider getting a headlamp. A headlamp can help to provide light to see when walking in the dark or if you are trying to get into your bag.

The benefit of using a headlamp over a flashlight is it allows both of your hands to be free. This way, you will more easily be able to look through your bag, keep your balance when hiking, or have your hands free to help a friend in need.

#11 – Matches to Start a Fire

Frequently when camping, a Boy Scout troop may need to start a campfire. They may need the fire to cook a meal or to warm up on a cold night. Be sure to pack a box of matches so you or your son are able to start a campfire if one is needed.

It is also a good idea to be extra prepared and carry other fire starter alternatives in case the matches don’t work or get wet. Some other options you can consider purchasing include fire starters or butane lighters.

#12 – Protection from the Sun

Boy Scouts often spend a lot of time out in the sun. We all know how damaging and dangerous the sun’s rays can be to our skin. You will want to ensure that you or your child is protected from the sun.

Make sure to pack a comfortable, water-resistant hat. Look for one that provides a lot of shade to the face. You can also purchase a pair of sunglasses to provide protection for your eyes.

Between the sun’s rays and hiking in the woods, long sleeved shirts and long pants are normally safest. You’ll want to find lighter-weight items for those hot summer hikes and warmer, thicker ones for the winter hikes. Also, pick up a good sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

#13 – Sturdy Hiking Boots for the Trail

When you or your child is hiking, the trails may be muddy, there may be sharp items on the trail, or it may be necessary to cross through a creek. In order to do all these things safely, a good pair of hiking boots is necessary.

Go out to a store to try on a few different boot styles. Or, if you are purchasing the boots for your child, be sure to bring them with you so they can try on some book. It will be important to find a comfortable pair of new hiking boots since they will often be worn for extended periods of time.

#14 – A Backpack to Carry Everything

After reading the long list of items a new Boy Scout is going to need for hikes and camping trips, you’ve probably already figured out that a backpack will also be needed to carry it all. Before you purchase a new backpack, you’ll want to consider a few different factors.

First, think about weight. You already know that there are going to be a lot of items filling up the backpack and weighing it down. Try to find a backpack that doesn’t weigh a ton by itself.

You should also consider the material from which the backpack is made. You want to make sure that it is a durable and water-resistant material so the items inside the backpack remain protected.

Also, think about comfort. After you’ve researched a few backpacks, head out to try on some of the backpacks you’re considering. You or your child is going to be wearing the backpack for hours at a time, so you’ll want to be sure to find one that is comfortable to wear.

#15 – A Tent for Camping Trips

Boy Scouts take many overnight camping trips. You or your child will need a tent for some of these trips. Before you pick up a tent, there are also a few factors you’ll want to consider.

First, check with the troop leader and see how many people the tent should be able to sleep. This way you can narrow down the sizes of tents you’ll be looking at.

You will also definitely want to consider the weight of the tent since it will need to be carried in addition to the backpack. Also, be sure to check out the reviews online of the tents you’re considering and find one that is quick and easy to put up and take back down.

#16 – A Sleeping Bag for Camping Trips

A sleeping bag is another essential for camping trips. Consider the climate you live in when selecting their sleeping back and be sure to find one that will keep you or your son warm enough. Again, you’ll also want to find a sleeping bag that is relatively light-weight to carry when camping and hiking.

#17 – Camping Utensils for Eating on the Go

Pick up a set of camping utensils also. This way, you or your son can enjoy a nice meal while out camping. Camping utensils are more compact than regular utensils and should fit more easily in a backpack.

You can even find sets of camping utensils that are more compact and work similarly to a Swiss Army Knife, with the different utensils sliding out from the handle!

#18 – A Whistle for Safety

One last item that you should consider purchasing for yourself or your new Boy Scout is a whistle. In the unfortunate event you or your child becomes separated from the group or another emergency, the whistle can be blown to sound for help.

Conclusion

Joining the Boy Scouts is an exciting time! But, there’s a lot to do to be ready for your soon to be adventuring. Hopefully this list has been helpful. Happy trails! 🙂

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