Boy Scout Backpacking Checklist

Welcome to the Troop 120. This Boy Scout backpacking checklist should provide some basic information of the gear you’ll need during your years as a Scout. The gear list below lists out all the gear you will need for a basic 3 season single overnight backpacking trip.

The below gear checklist can be accessed by clicking this link.

Cotton is bad.
Cotton does not wick moisture, does not keep you warm when it gets wet and unfortunately does not dry out very quickly. Do not bring cotton on a Scout outing (camping, hiking, etc). This includes sweatshirts, T shirts, socks, briefs, jeans, etc.

Keep the total weight of gear in mind. Slogging up a hill under a 40-50 pound pack just isn’t fun no matter who you are! A target weight of 3-4 pounds or less for your sleeping bag, and backpack is optimal.

A good target ideally would be that your combined gear (without food or water) is less than 20 pounds, and sub-optimally in the 20 to 30 pound range.

Don’t let your Scout become discouraged about backpacking by carrying a pack that is too heavy!

Though we have many experienced leaders and scouts in our troop – remember that you must always exercise your own judgment in evaluating the applicability and utility of the information provided based upon your scouts own ability, experience, and comfort level.

Troop Gear:
The Troop supplies; Tent (includes poles, stakes, ground cloth), Water filters, Stoves & fuel, Cooking kits (pots), and other misc gear. Plan for 3 pounds of gear to be added to your pack once this has been divided up.

Good places to look for gear are: Costco,,,, ,,,  and    Spring is a good time to find clearanced items, craigslist is good for finding used items,  REI garage sales are good source.   Here are a couple of other links for sourcing used gear:  NWHikers,  Gear Swap, and Gear Deals. On these forums Post a message listing what you want to buy and the price range.

You can find great deals if you shop around a lot, especially during off seasons. Talk to a Scoutmaster if you have any questions.

** Identify 10 Essential Items.

Boy Scout Backpacking Checklist

The pictured gear below serves as functional gear examples, purchase the gear you are comfortable having your scout use.

Required Personal Gear Worn

Backpacking Gear Checklist
Trekking shirt and pants – no cotton
Underwear – no cotton
Trail running shoes or boots
Merino wool or synthetic hiking socks – no cotton
**Compass on neck lanyard
**Pea-less whistle on neck lanyard

TIP: Convertible Scout Pants work great for backpacking and hiking trips, as well as polyester sport pants.

TIP: Shoes – Trail runners, or hiking shoes are recommended. Boots are O.K but Shoes compared to boots cause fewer blisters, dry out faster, and are cheaper in the long run. Scout’s feet grow fast!

All in all, get the footwear you are comfortable having your scout wear.

Required Personal Gear Carried in Pack

Backpacking Gear Checklist
Backpack (Size: 3050 cu. in. / 50L)
Sleeping bag in stuff sack
Sleeping pad (closed cell foam or inflatable)

Pack liner (trash bag, or trash compactor bag)
Stuff Sack for clothing
Dedicated nylon stuff sack for food storage
2 Large gallon Ziploc bags for organization

TIP: A trash bag or trash compactor bag works well to protect your gear from getting wet.

TIP: Gallon size ziploc bags are recommend for organizing your gear, and can be used for packing out trash.

TIP: A 3050 cu in/ 50L backpack works great if your sleeping bag compresses well. Bigger backpacks have increased padding and structure to support heavier loads.

The pictured backpack is 50L and has been used for 5 day 4 night trips successfully.

Sleep System

Backpacking Gear Checklist
The Sleeping bag is probably the most important gear investment.
On average the coldest we camp at is in the mid to high 30’s.

TIP: A 15-30 degree synthetic bag, with a target weight of 3 pounds or less is recommended.

TIP: A down bag requires increased care & responsibility to keep it dry.

The Sleeping pad – pictured here is a self-inflating pad, many scouts choose a foam pad (recommended) which is both lighter and cheaper.

Backpacking Gear Checklist
TIP: A Compressible sleeping bag makes it easier to fit in your pack, while allowing for a smaller lighter weight pack to be used.

The sleeping bag pictured stuffs to a size of 7″ x 13″

Clothing Packed – base layers (part of sleep system)

Long underwear top and bottom (base layer)
Sleeping socks – Merino wool or synthetic

TIP: In our rainy northwest clothes that you wear can get wet and dirty.
A pair of Long Underwear (base layer) and socks should be kept in reserve for exclusive use for sleeping, this keeps your sleeping bag clean, and keeps you warm.

Mud, dirt, and grime inside your sleeping bag compromises the loft, warmth, and shortens the lifespan of your bag.

TIP: Heavyweight Baselayers are optional and work well when temperatures are in mid 30’s and you have a tendency to get cold.

Clothing Packed

Backpacking Gear Checklist
**Insulating jacket – no cotton
Waterproof-breathable rain-jacket and pants
Second hiking socks – Merino wool or synthetic
Warm hat – no cotton
Warm gloves – no cotton

TIP: Layering keeps you warm by trapping air between layers, and is significantly warmer then wearing a bulky and heavy jacket!

TIP: The Recommended insulating layer is a Polar Fleece Jacket, pictured is a $20 down jacket from Costco which requires additional responsibility in its use.

It is common while hiking for scouts to either add or remove layers as we hike or stop at camp.

TIP: Unused layers and clothes can be stuffed into your sleeping bag stuff sack for use as a pillow!

Water, Mess kit, and Essentials

Backpacking Gear Checklist
2 Water bottle(s) for 2L capacity (Soft bottle OK)
Mess kit (24 oz bowl, 12 oz cup, and spoon)

Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, hand sanitizer, TP)
Concentrated soap (<1 oz) in small bottle

**First aid kit (small gauze, tape, etc)
**LED light (Headlamp & spare batteries)
**Small pocketknife
**Sun Protection (sun glasses, sun screen, lip balm)
**Fire (fire starter, matches, lighter)
**Repair kit (knife, duct tape, tools, spare parts)
Bandanna – cotton OK
Insect repellent

TIP: 1 Liter Gatorade bottles work great and are free!

TIP: Mess kit – if your meals are simple a small disposable ziploc bowl works great.

TIP: All of this gear except First Aid Kit – fits into a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.

Optional Personal Gear

Hat with brim – cotton OK
Mosquito head net
Extra torso layer (wind shirt or long underwear top)
Trekking poles
Gaiters – ankle high
Camera + film/batteries in water proof bag

Patrol Gear (Provided by Troop)

Patrol Tent/Shelter, stakes, ground cloth
Patrol Cook kit (pot, stove, fuel canister)
Patrol water carrier
Patrol first aid kit
Patrol bear bag hanging system

If you have all the items on this Boy Scout backpacking checklist you are ready to go backpacking!


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