Basic Gear

The gear that scouts need for a successful camping trip can be broken down into some major groups.

Please note, the links found below are not necessarily recommendations, rather they are meant to serve as product examples. Some of the linked gear has been used successfully by the scouts/leaders in the past. 


Sleeping Bag
  • A synthentic fill bag is a better choice for scouts. Down does not perform as well well when wet.
  • Try to a get a sleeping bag liner for the bag. Liners help keep the inside of the sleeping bag cleaner. Some liners can also increase the temperature rating of the bag by upto 25 degrees.
  • Some good Brands: North Face, Sierra Designs, Kelty, Eureka, EMS, Alps Mountaineering, REI, Big Anges
  • Quilts can also be a good option. They offer lots of flexibility and coupled with a good pad they can be a good 3 season option
  • A zero degree sleeping system is needed for winter camping. But this doesn't mean a zero degree bag is needed. Layers help when sleeping. Sleeping bag liners, inexpensive fleece bags and overbags can be layered.
  • Make sure the sleeping bag has a good stuff sack. This will help keep gear to together on trips. Some bags come with cotton sacks for storage. These cotton bags should not be brougt out on camping trips. It is not recommended to store bags in their compression sack long term, especailly down bags.
Sleeping Pad
  • There are two major types of sleeping pads, Closed Cell Foam and Air Matresses.
  • Closed cell foam pads provide for better insulation from the ground. They are bulkier than an air matrress, but they are cheaper as well. You can find simple blue pads to more expensive self inflating ones.
  • Air matresses pack smaller and are ligher. Some more expensive version come with insulation. Simple inexpensive air matresses provide little in the way of insulation and should be avoided. A lightweight bag pump, (Big Agnes has one, but there are other types around) should be considered to ease blowing up an air matress.
  • Consider the R-value of the pad when purchasing. A higher R-value pad helps to keep you warm at night. It slows the heat transfer from you to what ever it is you are lying on.
  • Consider getting an space blanket. These can used, silver side up on the bottom of the tent floor to help radiate body heat back away from the ground. (They have lots of other uses too)



Cotton should not be brought out on our camping trips. While cotton is very comfortable around the house, it loses all insulating properties when wet, dries very slowly and gains weight and size when wet. And scouts get wet! Wicking type materials are a much better choice and can be easily found.

Clothing should be worn in layers. Layers help move moisture away from the body and provide easy temperature regulation.

  • Wicking shirts (polyester or other synthetic) are available in lots of stores now. Brands like: Champion, Russell, Starter, Brooks, Nike, Columbia, Marmot, Northface.
  • For three season camping synthetic (wicking type materials) pants should be used. Scout pants/switchbacks are a great options here.
  • For winter, layer thermal pants and the scout pants under rain/wind proof pants.
  • Fleece pants can be a good layer for both day time activites as well as sleeping
  • Water resistant snow pants can be an option, especially for smaller scouts who can get still cold with the thermals.
  • Waterproof Gloves and Mittens are a great purchase. Get them a little bit large with as much loft as possible. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Glove liners can be a help. 
  • Everyone should have an an extra pair along with them.
  • Fleece gloves are not a good optoin. Fleece will collect the snow and then get wet and likely freeze.
  • A simple ball cap or boonie hat is good for three season camping.
  • A winter hat is needed for winter camping.
  • Consider getting a hat liner as well.
  • No cotton!
  • Consider layering a wicking liner under a wool sock.
  • Wool, synthetic or wool synthetic blend is best. Can be found in sporting goods stores, EMS, REI
  • has great deals on Columbia Falmouth expedition weight socks, good sock!
  • Bring extra pairs. Change into dry socks before going to sleep. Wet feet are cold feet.
  • Polyseter Fleece can be found almost anywhere at little cost these days. Fleece has a great warthm to weight ratio
  • A wind proof/rain proof shell is great for three season camping as the top most layer
  • On winter camping trips, down or primaloft jackets are great for low motion times. Not to be worn when the scout is very active. 
  • Sneakers should be avoided on most camping trips. 
  • Hiking boots for 3 season camping and backpacking trip should be used. Make sure they are broken in before the trip.
  • A good waterproof boot with removable liners is great on winter camp outs.


Internal Frame pack
  • Look for a low weight, internal frame pack, adjustable fit pack.
  • Get some advice from the Scoutmaster or adult Quatermaster on fitting a pack to a scout. The right fit is important to ultimate enjoyment of the trip. An ill fitting pack makes for a long back packing trip. This is time well spent.
  • Consider getting a pack rain cover to fit over the pack. 
  • A garbage bag makes for good inner liner to help keep the contents of the pack dry. More expensive pack liners are also available.
  • Ziplock bags make provide a way to help keep clothes dry and provide organization inside the pack. Dry bags can also be used.

Other gear

This list contains gear that is nice to have, can make camping more conveinent, but shouldn't be considered as must have items. These items have more specific uses, for backpacking or snowy winter trips.

Backpacking stove
  • Canister stoves can be a convient option. Canister stoves can see reduced performance in colder weather situatons. Canister stoves can be easier to use compared to white gas stoves.
  • White gas stoves perform better when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Back up lighter/matches should be brought along in either case.
  • Please note that alcohol stoves are not approved.
  • Kahtoola Microspikes are an excellent purchase! Provide safety when traveling over mixed ice, snow and rock.
  • A great aid for winter travel, relatively inexpensive and very versatile.
Treking Poles
  • Not required for three season camping, but can be a help when the snow is deep.
  • Poles can help increase your balance when hiking and going up and down steep terrain.
  • Cheap generic brands are fine, can be found at places like Job Lot, Dicks Sporting Goods
  • Better poles brands: Leki, Black Diamond
  • Good for old, tired, knees.

Please: Do not pack cotton!


There are all sorts of places to get decent gear without over paying. Do some comparative shopping. Sales run all the time.

Some of our favorite places are:

Online Brick and Mortar
  • REI
  • Cabelas
  • EMS
  • BJ's
  • Costco
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Dicks Sporting goods

Packing lists

Troop 1 is active year round. The different seasons bring different needs. We have several different recommended packing lists. Remember to be prepared. Pack for one season colder than it is.