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Scout outdoor essentials checklist

camp-200x148They’re called “essentials” for a reason. Every packing list starts with these 10 items.

  1. A 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 as small as repairing a damaged backpack. Don’t forget to first earn your Whittling Chip (for older Cub Scouts) or Totin’ Chip (for Boy Scouts).
  2. A first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally.
  3. Bring extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are better than a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.
  4. Rain gear is very important. Being wet from rain may result in hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.
  5. A flashlight is important for finding your way in the dark.
  6. Trail food is good for maintaining your energy.
  7. Water can prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
  8. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help.
  9. Sun protection might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.
  10. A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry in case you get lost.

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

Keeping Clean

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Soap
  • Comb
  • Waterless hand cleaner
  • Small towel
  • Washcloth
  • Toilet paper
  • Trowel for digging cathole latrines

Cooking and eating

  • Large plastic cereal bowl or kitchen storage bowl
  • Spoon
  • Cup or insulated mug
  • Water treatment system
  • Backpacking stove with fuel
  • Large pot and lid (2.5- or 3-quart size)
  • Small pot and lid (1.5- or 2-quart size)
  • Lightweight frying pan (10 to 12 inches in diameter)
  • For melting snow, add 1 large pot and lid (6 to 10 quarts)
  • Hot-pot tongs


  • 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

98 Comments on Scout outdoor essentials checklist

  1. greenninja 44 // April 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm // Reply

    There is a method using a watch to find a north-south line.

  2. trekker tk // April 9, 2015 at 8:39 am // Reply

    really nice list- have used these items on many outings


  4. well said

  5. Member of troop 341 // March 18, 2015 at 6:20 pm // Reply

    Great, all you need is some batteries for the light.

  6. hiboyslife // March 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    you might want to carry some rope or paracord also

  7. Troop 934 is awesome // February 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm // Reply

    Goog list but usually don’t have to carry all of these things

  8. good list but seems a bit heavy weight for a daypack.
    maybe seperate lists for different durations of hikes.
    (day hike, overniter, weekender, etc)

  9. Pioneers did not have batteries. I think a scout should have a old-fashioned kerosene lamp. It may be out of style, but I always go for the old ways.


  10. uh eh ting tang walla walla bang bang // December 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    I was taught the 9v battery and steel wool method… BY A BOY SCOUT THAT WAS 1ST CLASS!!!!!!!

  11. Chief scout Bear Grylls // November 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm // Reply

    All of these are handy there may seem a lot of things but its better to carry them than die!

  12. Magnesium helps2

  13. Well written and explained. Nice!

  14. Wrong wrong wrong these r not the BSA ten

    • Boy Scout Handbook, p. 207
      Remember the “10 Essentials” is not Scout Law… Do your thing, be safe and have FUN!

  15. No clean clothes? They never get worn anyway…

  16. you also might want to have a survival kit on hand!

  17. Troop72 firstclassscout // November 6, 2014 at 8:26 am // Reply

    9 volt and steel woll always good

  18. Troop 6284 member // September 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm // Reply

    It’s also good to have extra batteries with a flashlight for essentials and surival.

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