BL Essentials

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

Comments about “Scout outdoor essentials checklist”

  1. @CoolKid101 says:

    Now, I’m not a Scout, but this is a perfect checklist!

  2. checkitout65 says:

    All great comments, one I didn’t see was keeping it packed at all times, means that when you come home you clean it and repack the used items and come the next time add any additional items.

  3. Tenderfoot kid says:

    This is very helpful if you are a new scout.

  4. SMtom says:

    Each boy in the troop is expected to have his “scout bag” with him at all times…outside of the campsite. Each one has the top ten, plus handbook, pen or pencil, paper and min. Of ten feet of rope. Anything extra is on them, but sometimes we ask for event or weather appropriate extras. I think these lists are in the handbook, I know they are in the E. PREP MB book. Be Prepared!

  5. LikeABoss says:

    Really helpful. :)

  6. Ian m. says:

    What about the whistle?😕

  7. ExplosionAF12 says:

    Toilet paper should be one of the ten essentials because you can use it as a fire starter, trail marker, rope (if you have a HUGE amount of it), as well as other things. My troop calls it the eleventh essential.

  8. Fishin6061 says:

    Out here in NV, I recommend a signal mirror to fellow scouts and hunters. Also, Consider iodine tablets or a life straw or similar devise. Remember, Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

  9. Mr. C says:

    Rope or 100 mile cord
    Mole skin
    Extra Socks (x2)
    Baby Wipes
    Duct Tape
    Baby Powder or similar drying powder for feet
    Headache medicine/Muscle ache medicine

  10. Old man says:

    The top ten are probably the most likely to be needed – whether a day hike or longer trek. I keep those first 10 items in my truck all the time in a small day pack, then move them to my backpack for longer treks.

    Not every item is needed every time, but I cannot count the number of times that sun shine somehow turned liquid (and not in the forecast for the region) or changing my shirt was a wonderful way to feel refreshed after a sweaty section of a trail.

  11. why, comatose, why??? says:

    Awesome! Im going to go pack all this into a bag tonight!

  12. lifescout says:

    Also remember the three layers for cold weather wicking, warmth, and weather layers. Wicking is the t shirt and undies the warmth is like long johns and a fleece, and the weather layer is like a poncho or wind breaker or both. don’t wear cotton. cotton kills

  13. lifescout says:

    Duct tape is a great thing to have

  14. fox says:

    this is helpfull sence im so forgetfull

    thanks for posting it

  15. A Scout @ Troop 853 says:

    Real handy list! It’ll help me prepare for next camporee.

  16. gorrilla guy says:

    this list definitly needs a rope on it
    I also noticed that tent wasn’t on it, but I suppose that It would be hard to forget it
    Also maybe sleeping bag.

    Other that that I thought it was great

  17. 33'er says:

    To those that mentioned rope, I think the aforementioned “nylon cord” refers to 550 Paracord which is excellent as a “rope.” It has a high tensile strength and a multitude of uses.

  18. beachball says:

    needs rope and back up knife

  19. Awesome dude385 says:

    I agree, but rope should be one of the basic essentials also.

  20. YA BOY BILL NYE says:


  21. campchamp37 says:

    I usally pack that stuff

  22. 3DS User says:

    L U V I T ! ;) :) :P

    • Also a 3DS User! says:


  23. Patrol leader of the Monkey Patroll, troop 413 says:

    Our patrol plans every camp out months ahead, and we always include every item from this very list. Thanks Boys Life!

  24. Camp Time 621 says:

    Don’t pack it all. When you use this, think about the campout. If your going to a state park, you won’t need a latterine. Also, check the weather, you may not need a sweater or rain gear.

    • campcommonsense says:

      @camptime But also remember that the weather in the mountians or a the beach, or pretty much anywhere can change in an instant. Scouting is about being prepared, so never leave your rain gear at home!:)

    • Tr00p 363 Member says:

      you should always pack your rain gear because you never know for sure.

      • Flash_EXE says:

        Look, if your going somewhere like: Bass Lake, and the forecast says: Clear sky today! the day your going, then I don’t really think that you have to bring Rain Gear. You could, but if your backpacking, then thats just more weight.

      • Bushcrafter says:

        I have always advocated carrying one or two simple plastic garbage bags. They can function as emergency rain gear, emergency shelter, water containers, or…trash bags if the area is badly littered.

    • cmaxwell9 says:

      u forget it your in trouble if it

  25. dexter k9 says:

    to much stuff but thanks anyway

  26. RobotMate says:

    A-W-E-S-O-M-E!! Thanks a TON BL

  27. kick ninja says:

    best check list :D

  28. indy says:

    i normaly carry all this stuff and makes pack weigh a ton :(

    • D Dog says:

      Yes it does, but if you make it small and you exercise often, it will make it a lot easier. Plus, I have found it easier that if you camp and hike with others you must split the gear out between all of you.

    • rmcamper says:

      when you exercise try it with your pack on too, that may help.

  29. kevdog says:

    thats rely good

  30. Bama says:

    Yeah i always will use this thanks bl

  31. wivd says:

    awesome checklist! i forget half this stuff on most campouts, so it’s helpful

  32. Camaro Boy says:

    Life saving checklist. me would have defintly forgot half stuff on there : )~

  33. Troop 31 says:

    Many of the things on the check list aren’t as essential as lets say a tent or sleeping bag

    • JUSTIN says:

      I think I know what to bring now
      THANK YOU BOYS LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • underthestarscamper says:

      tent is not essential, man! what kind of trip is a tent a nessecity? I have never used a tent on my camping trips and will use one for the first time this summer, but it is not neccesary. sleeping bag? neccesity as much as the rest of your gear. tent? usefull, not essential

  34. burntboy#1 says:

    This is awesome!! Thanks Boyslife!

  35. pack77rocks says:

    this checklist rocks!!!!!!!!!:)

  36. troop405 says:

    Why would you take a musical instrument but yeah i would never remember to take a towel im always fogetting something!

    • buby22 says:

      does tuba count as small instrument

      • Flash_EXE says:

        When it say’s “Small” it doesn’t mean you HAVE to take a small instrument, its just saying that you could bring one, in reality you can bring whatever sized you want!

      • Anonymous says:

        No, not really.
        Is it full size or 3/4 size?

      • bandatthecampfire says:

        harmonica for around the bonfire. if you play tuba around the bonfire then I’d love to camping with you and bring my drums. maybe bring a grand pianist along too…

  37. Best Scout in America says:

    BEST CHECKLIST EVER!!!!!!!! :-)

  38. The Big "G" says:

    I think I just might have to refeer back to that checklist in a couple of months when I go to BSA Camp.

  39. The Big "A" says:

    That is a great checklist!!!

  40. woohoo says:

    What are those iodine tablets used to purify questionable water? What ever they are could you please add them to the list? Other than that it was really helpful.

  41. I'm alive says:

    The checklist is extremely helpful- I would never remember things like sun protection or the trowel.

  42. lizz says:

    Ithink that was a good idea about the trail food.

  43. Master Monkuku says:

    I think all this gear is good ,but you should add a portiable water purifire.

  44. RBryanP says:

    This is all great stuff!

    Each of the other four lists has a link to a PDF that can be downloaded and printed. It would be nice to have a PDF for this list as well.

    Thanks for the outing-specific lists.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Is there a button to print just the checklist?

  46. SS says:

    While I agree with your “Essentials Checklist” I was surprised to see the whistle listed on the “Extras” list and not on the Essentials.

    It’s smaller than everything else on the Essentials list and is probably one of the best/easiest signaling devices a scout (or anyone else for that matter) can carry on a hike should they become lost.


  47. Upton says:

    Usually I forget my toothbrush and all these things. Ewwww! I never realized that these things were “essentials.” I appreciate Boyslife for making these handy-dandy little checklist that tells scouts “essentials” for outings.

  48. T@troop 127 says:

    I liked the fact that you mentioned trail food I go out with my troop sometimes and theres allways that one guy who didn’t bring along anything to keep him going on a long hike.


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