How to Camp Like an Eagle Scout

Want to be a light-packing, lean, mean, camping machine? Follow this guide and you can camp like an Eagle Scout!


  1. Image titled Camp Like an Eagle Scout Step 1
    Decide where you want to go. There are many places you can go, including state parks, local campgrounds, and national forests. Wilderness areas are good because there is less noise and fewer people (common in campgrounds).
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    Select your gear. This should reflect what the weather and environment you will be in, what kind of facilities are available (rest rooms, latrines, water stations, etc.), how many people are going (you can share some gear, like tents and stoves). A comprehensive list of what you'll need is provided in the "Things You'll Need" section.
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    Get any necessary permits for land use.
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    Make a trip plan. This should tell other people where you are going, who is going, how to get there, when you expect to get back, and why you are going. This will help tremendously if you get lost, as others will have an idea of where you could be.
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    Go with a friend. You should never go alone. Plus, you'll have more fun.
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    Learn some survival techniques before you leave. The reason for this is obvious.
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    Ask for lessons on camping from an eagle scout. After years of camping in the heat, frost, wind, and rain, an eagle scout should be able to give you a few pointers.
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    Have fun, but be safe and use common sense.


  • Don't cut live trees for wood. Use what's on the ground.
  • Don't bring any more than is needed.
  • When packing, remember: "An ounce in the morning weighs a pound at night."
  • Don't bring anything electronic other than a small flashlight. (no bigger than AA size, you won't need it) Some people use a GPS, but this is just for people who don't trust their map and compass skills enough.
  • Don't cook more than you'll eat.
  • Don't leave trash behind. If you pack it in, you pack it out.
  • Always hang your food in bear-bags. This helps keep the animals "wild" - many bears that eat human food acquire a taste for it and must later be destroyed.
  • Don't feed, touch, or hurt the animals. This is for their safety and yours.
  • Use the trails, and don't cut across back country.
  • Avoid roads if you can. The trails are prettier and safer.
  • Don't urinate on live plants. The salts cause animals to come and tread all over them.
  • Bury human waste about 6–8 inches (15.2–20.3 cm) deep.
  • Don't eat in your tent; again this is about bear safety.
  • Don't hike after dark. You could be stalked by dangerous animals when you do this.
  • Don't eat wild plants.
  • Speak to everyone you meet on the trail.
  • If you are on the down-hill and meet people going up-hill, step to the side and let them pass. Don't make them stop, because they will lose momentum.
  • If you are with a group and need to rest, wait until you reach a level piece of ground that the whole group can stop on. Never rest on an incline. Never make your group rest on an incline, as this is rude and shows your lack of trail courtesy.
  • If you stop for more than five minutes, it'll be hard to get going again.
  • Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
  • When rain pours don't let it drown you spirits.
  • Know how to work a compass and a map. It could save you the embarrassment of eating your friends.
  • Try out all of your gear before you leave.
  • If you are using an external frame pack, tape all of the rings that hold the clevis pins. The rings will separate over time, making fish hooks to stick in your arms when putting on your pack.
  • Nothing is water-proof, only water-resistant.
  • Keep everything you can in Water-resistant bags. A dry camper is a happy camper.
  • Bring a pocket knife, not an 8 and 1/2 inch KA-BAR fighting/utility knife. You probably won't run into any terrorists.
  • Drink lots of pure water.
  • Going camping as much as you can is the best way to learn your style. Spending time outdoors may sometimes mean enduring cold, heat, hunger, fear, rain, wind, and other miserable conditions, but most nature lovers wouldn't trade one minute of any of it for anything.
  • Enjoy the outdoors, but please follow the rules of Leave No Trace.


  • Un-purified drinking water can lead to giardia and other forms of sickness, even death. Always properly filter or sterilize any water intended for human consumption.
  • Avoid eating in your tent. Food can bring unwelcome visitors ranging from bears to insects.
  • Never bother an animal, even if it looks harmless.
  • Don't wear deodorant - it may attract bears and other wildlife.
  • Don't camp on barren hilltops. Your tent will be a lightning rod.
  • Common sense and knowledge can keep you from getting hurt.

Things You'll Need

  • Backpack (one that fits)
  • Sleeping bag (less than 5lbs.)
  • clothing for the season
  • good boots
  • wool socks with poly-pro liners
  • Lexan water bottles, 32oz.
  • food
  • tent
  • stove
  • fuel
  • flashlight
  • 16oz. Sierra cup with spoon
  • toilet paper
  • toothbrush/toothpaste
  • soap
  • 2 bandannas (washcloth and towel)
  • hand sanitizer
  • map and compass
  • matches
  • pot to cook in
  • survival whistle (3 blows means distress)
  • pocket knife
  • A smile

Article Info

Categories: Scouting & Other Youth Groups