Personal Camping Gear
The purpose of this page is to provide personal gear suggestions for Scouts in
Troop 54. Other groups may have different resources that call for different
Backwoods Camping List - This Troop 54
list for backwoods camping is our adaptation of the list in the Scout Handbook, provided in the form of a
one-page checklist (PDF format). The same list can be used for a car camping trip. Each item should be
crossed off if not needed (e.g., swimsuit in December) or checked off when packed. The Scout is
the one who should pack the gear and check off the list, not the parent.
For your Scout gear shopping, you only need to look at the "Personal Camping Gear" section of
the list. Even there, many are things your Scout won't need for a given trip. Some suggested details on
- Water Bottle - A water bottle can be a Vitamin Water bottle (these bottles are pretty rigid and
are often available at the supermarket for $1 each) or even a small soda bottle that you refill from the
- Flashlight - A Scout only needs one flashlight, a relatively small one so it will fit in his/her
pocket and not weigh him/her down. A head lamp is an optional upgrade, handy while setting up a tent in
- Sleeping Pad - For a sleeping pad, get a blue closed cell foam pad - the kind that does not need
to be inflated and that can't soak up water. Walmart is a good place to get this.
- Day Pack - A day pack is the same sort of pack most kids take to school. This is used for hiking
around away from the camp site and is usually a good idea on anything but a backpacking trip (where the
weight would be a problem). You can probably borrow one from the Scoutmaster on your first trip(s).
- Rain Gear - The simple and easy rain gear is a poncho. You can get one at Walmart for a few
dollars - nylon is better than vinyl if there is a choice. If your Scout already has a rain suit, that is
better, so skip the poncho.
- Fork/knife/spoon - For the fork/knife/spoon, they sell sets clipped together - again the camping
section at Walmart is the low cost place to get one. The Heart of New England Council Scout shop has a
nicer set, but you don't really need to make a trip there just for that.
- Cup - A cup is usually a plastic or metal mug - good for drinking hot chocolate or for eating
soup. One is included in most mess kits (below).
- Mess Kit - Most Scouts get a simple mess kit for the plate and bowl - if you are spending more
than $10 for that, you are probably buying something too fancy. Your Scout can probably borrow a plate from
the troop stuff for the first few campouts if you want to hold off on buying that.
- Trail food - Trail food (snack food) can be just about anything your Scout will eat. Candy is
not a good idea (at least not much of it). Granola bars or cereal bars are a good choice. Most kids like
- Pillow - Your Scout may want to bring a pillow. On a backpacking trip, skip the pillow to
save weight and instead place your extra clothing in a stuff sack to make a pillow.
- Sleeping Bag - For a sleeping bag, we recommend the Desert Pine +20 from Alps Mountaineering.
Their Crescent Lake +20 is also good. The difference is that the Desert Pine has a ripstop nylon outer
shell, and the Crescent Lake has a polyester shell. An alternative is to go to Dick's Sporting Goods if you
don't get something online. If they are on sale there, they are usually around $50. A $10 bag is probably
intended for indoor sleepovers, not for camping. Camping stores (New England Backpacker, EMS, REI) will
have high quality bags, but expect to pay more. Go for something like a 0°F or 20°F bag for starters. The
ratings at Dick's Sporting Goods do tend to be overrated (a 0°F bag is really only good down to 25 or
30°F). Typically, our only really cold trip is the January one, where temperatures get into the single
digits overnight; for that, you can either get a warmer sleeping bag or add a liner to another sleeping
- Backpack - Eventually, your Scout will need a backpack. Some information on backpacks can be
found on our Backpacks page. This is one item where fit is important and a
knowledgeable sales person can ensure that. For most young Scouts, there are few choices of pack that will
actually fit. We recommend going to New England
Backpacker (in Worcester) for this; they give a 10% discount to Scouts, so mention your membership while
you are there.
- Boots - On camping trips, boots offer better protection than shoes. Fit is important. Knowing
that your Scout is growing, it likely does not make sense to get a really expensive boot. Also, if your
Scout only wears the boots on camping trips, he should test wear them for hours before each trip - wearing
boots that are too tight for a whole weekend is torture. Waterproof boots are best, typically lined with
Gortex, but they can be expensive. Water resistant or repellant boots are better than boots not
indicating anything about water.
In most cases, there is no need for the swimsuit, backpack, pocket knife, camp chair, or most of the
other optional extras on an initial trip.
Page updated 5/25/19