What to Pack?

Personal Outdoor Essentials

They are called “essentials” for a reason.

  1. Every packing list starts with bringing your BSA Scout Handbook so that you can work on your advancement requirements during any trip.

  2. A Reliable Tent — Along With Your Rainfly, Tent Poles, and Stakes

  3. A temperature appropriate Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Mat, and light Camping Pillow to ensure a good night's sleep. This can make or break your camping experience

  4. A water-proof headlamp, or flashlight or a rugged penlight is important for finding your way in the dark. Bring extra batteries, too.

  5. A wide-mouth, lightweight water bottle with a secure lid. Drinking water frequently can prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

  6. A clean mess kit (see below for what it should include)

  7. A sharpened pocketknife or multitool can be handy in a wide variety of situations. It’s useful for tasks as large as building an emergency shelter or lighting a campfire with poor fuel, or repairing a damaged backpack.

  8. A first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally. A few items will allow you to treat scratches, blisters and other minor injuries. They should also allow you to provide initial care while waiting for help for more serious injuries.

  9. Bring extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are better than a single massive jacket, because layers can be adapted to changing conditions.

  10. Rain gear is very important. Rain can come in a hurry, and getting your clothes drenched is more than just uncomfortable, it can lead to hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.

  11. Your Toiletries kit for personal hygiene.

  12. Trail food is good for maintaining your energy. Bring more than you think you’ll need in case you get stuck (or lost) in the woods.

  13. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help. Store matches or lighters in resealable plastic bags.

  14. Sun protection and Insect Repellent might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.

  15. A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry in case you get lost.

  16. Cook Kit. Only required if a patrol goes on a hike or campout with the patrol boxes which contain the patrols cooking gear - stoves, pots, pans, etc.

The Troop Provides

  • Patrol box containing cooking gear

  • Cookware (Pots, pans, dutch ovens) and cooking utensils

  • “Coleman” style propane stoves

  • Backpacking stoves when appropriate

  • Dry goods box

  • Coolers

  • Lanterns

  • Kitchen Patrol ("KP") items - wash basins, soap, scouring pads

  • Water containers

  • Other items such as tarps, tables, hand-tools, shovels, saws, etc.

Printable Checklists


Personal Mess Kit

Your personal mess kit should include:

  • Plate or bowl

  • Fork and spoon or "Spork"

  • Cup or insulated mug

Toiletries Kit

Here are some hygiene items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Dental floss

  • Soap

  • Comb

  • Waterless hand cleaner

  • Small towel

  • Washcloth

  • Toilet paper

  • Trowel for digging cathole latrines


Here are some extras you may want to pack, depending on the outing:

  • Quick drying towel

  • Flint & Steel

  • Tinder or Firestarter

  • Trash Bag

  • Watch

  • Camera

  • Notebook

  • Pen or pencil

  • Sunglasses

  • Small musical instrument

  • Swimsuit

  • Gloves

  • Whistle

  • Nylon cord

  • Insect repellent

  • Repair kit

  • Hiking stick or trekking poles

  • Binoculars

  • Fishing gear

  • Animal identification books, plant keys, geological studies, star charts or other guides