wikiHow to Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp

It can often be confusing to pack for your first boy scout summer camp trip. You may not always know what you may need, or what is allowed/not allowed. This guide will help.


  1. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 1
    Do some background research. Grab a notebook and prepare to utilize your common sense. Write down what time of the year you are going, where the camp is located, what the local weather has been like in the past couple of weeks, how high the elevation is, if there is a lake, etc.
  2. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 2
    Look at how long you are going to be there, and what facilities will be available. Is there a laundromat, showers, a mess hall, tents/cabins, etc.? Will you be able to wash your clothing at a common laundry station, or will you have to pack a week's worth of clothing? The answers to these questions will determine how much you will need to buy or pack.
  3. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 3
    Decide on the activities you will participate in: watersports/activities, fishing, hiking, various merit badges, etc. and what is required for them.
  4. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 4
    Put together a list of clothing you will need, such as underwear, socks, t-shirts, sweaters, pants, shoes, and swimsuits. Lay all of your clothing in groups on a flat surface, such as a bed, and put together a list. Packing too much is preferable to not packing enough.
  5. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 5
    Look at what other things you will need for in/around camp, such as flashlights, a mess kit, canteen, sleeping bag, etc. Lay these out next to your clothing. Don't forget a basic hygiene kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a towel, soap, shampoo, conditioner, a comb, and a washcloth.
  6. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 6
    Pack your clothing into a good-sized, colored duffel bag (or a hiking backpack if you have one) that you will be able to find easily in the dark. Make sure that all of your clothes and items are labeled clearly so they cannot be lost or stolen.
  7. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 7
    Pack a large lunch bag with some snacks and drinks. Various juices, milk, and sodas are fine but water is always preferable to avoid dehydration. Some camps do not allow campers to bring their own food, so make sure this is allowed before you rush for refreshments.
  8. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 8
    Provide some entertainment for yourself during your free time, and pack it. Bring books, music, art supplies, small toys, and games so you will have a variety of familiar things to do in your spare periods. You can carry these in a regular school-sized backpack that you take with you when you leave. Be sure this bag is not overpacked as most summer camps will offer many things to do other than merit badges.
  9. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 9
    Pack everything in a neat and orderly fashion into a large duffel bag. Do not simply stuff it all in carelessly; you may damage your items and it will be harder to save space. You may need more than one container if you are staying longer, or have a need for more clothes or materials. Take care that nothing is poking out of the trunk or pinched in the lid.
  10. Image titled Pack for a Week at a Boy Scout Summer Camp Step 10
    Make sure you bring a lock for your box. This will keep out raccoons and other animals that may want your food. This will also prevent anything from being stolen.


  • Buy a headlamp. Princeton tec, Petzl, and Zebralight all make reasonably priced lighting instruments that are well worth their weight in gold. A headlamp can be used as both a flashlight and a headlamp, and the cheap ones at the dollar store just don't cut it.
  • You may be able to pack lighter if your camp has a trading post, just bring money to buy things.
  • Pack your hygiene kit in groups (i.e.: toothbrush, paste, floss, soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc), and put these groups in Ziploc bags, and put these plastic bags into a small mesh bag. That way, you can see everything, and you don't have to worry about the bag getting wet.
  • Pack efficiently. Keep items you are likely to use often (toiletries, tools, merit badge booklets, etc.) in the outer pockets of your pack. Keep things you will need less often (Mess kit, clothes, etc.) in the core portions of your pack. Use mesh or bag style containers where you can, avoid using firm storage materials (like metal or hard plastic) unless absolutely necessary as these can often be heavier and command more space than they strictly require.
  • If it hasn't rained in weeks, don't assume it won't rain on you, bring a poncho and boots.
  • A tarp can be useful for anything (Shade,floor cover,ECT.)
  • It is possible to do laundry in the shower if you don't have correct facilities. A brand of soap call Campsuds works well, the sample laundry detergents you get in the mail will work well too. Then just hang them up on a simple rope clothesline.
  • Pack according to utility. Keep clothes with clothes, toiletries with toiletries, Scout stuff with Scout stuff (etc.)
  • Rope! You are a boy scout, You should be able to do anything (and everything) with the help of rope and knots.
  • Do yourself a favor: get a high quality flashlight/headlamp. Princeton tec, Petzl, Fenix, and Zebralight all make reasonably priced headlamps and flashlights that use common batteries, are well built, and will last decades. Most of these are multi-mode, allowing you to choose the appropriate amount of light for the task at hand. A quality flashlight or headlamp is a real lifesaver.
  • Save weight where you can. Sodas and water bottles are heavy. Keeping your hygiene products (like soap, toothpaste, and shampoo) in small, travel-size containers will reduce the amount of weight considerably.


  • Be prepared! Keep any emergency materials or first aid kits in easy reach at all times.
  • Read the brochure or other documents from the facility to be sure your gear meets their requirements.
  • Be careful of snakes and spiders. You are not a professional, and it doesn't matter how many books you've read about spiders, every spider might be dangerous.
  • Stick your hand under logs and in holes if you want to learn more about our outdoor friends: both wiggly and creepy.

Things You'll Need

  • A HIGH QUALITY flashlight and headlamp.
  • Appropriate clothing and shoes.
  • Merit badge pamphlets.
  • Sleeping bag.
  • Consider a bedroll.
  • A hygiene kit.
  • Possibly a cot.
  • Possibly a tent.
  • Bring a tarp to cover the top/sides of your tent. Many boy scout camps use WW1 era cotton canvas wall tents. They will stink, and they will leak.
  • An appropriate sized knife. Not just a Swiss army knife, but a HIGH QUALITY LOCK BACK FOLDER, like the Columbia River Knife and Tool co.'s (CRKT) MK-16 (side note: it has two locks, and is available at Walmart). You will want to whittle, and cutting your index finger off at the knuckle your first day at camp is no fun.
  • Extra extra socks: if you need extra socks due to rain, you will need more than you think you will need.
  • Extra underwear for any reason there is.
  • Some form of first aid kit or emergency preparedness kit.
  • Rope
  • Medium Tarp

Article Info

Categories: Scouting & Other Youth Groups | Summer Camp