Personal Camping Gear
The purpose of this page is to provide personal gear suggestions for Boy 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 Boy 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 the gear:
- 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 tap.
- Flashlight - A Scout only needs one flashlight, a relatively small one so it will fit in his pocket and not weigh
him down. A head lamp is an optional upgrade, handy while setting up a tent in the dark.
- 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
- 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 Mohegan 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 boys 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 beef jerky.
- 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 to 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. 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 bag.
- 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 8/15/17