What to Expect When You Camp as a Scout

Feb 1, 2023

If you’re considering enrolling your child in the Scouting America, or if you’re a parent or guardian who is new to Scouting programs, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the thought of preparing your child for their first camping trip. Because camping forms such a central part of the Scouting experience, it’s important to do your research and prepare for these events in order to make your son or daughter’s experience a success. Here’s what to expect when your child goes camping as a Scout.

Cub Scout Camping (ages 5 – 10)

Supervision. Cub Scout camping is where young children learn basic camping skills under careful supervision in a family-centered setting. These are limited to day or weekend trips. Cub Scouts have overnight campouts with families in their pack, which are led by a minimum of two adults who have received Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) training who must follow particular Scouting safety rules and policies. At least one adult leader must also have Hazardous Weather Training.

Cub Scout Six Essentials. In addition to toiletries and weather-appropriate clothes and shoes, Cub Scouts are encouraged to bring these important items:

  • First aid kit (including adhesive bandages, moleskin, gauze, and disinfecting ointment)
  • Water bottle (large)
  • Flashlight (for emergency use only, to avoid draining batteries)
  • Trail food
  • Sun protection (including a hat and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30)
  • Whistle (emergency use only)

Activities. Activities for all Scouts must be age-appropriate. Depending on their age and ability, Cub Scouts can participate in beginner levels of climbing, bouldering, biking, hiking, swimming, and more.

Goals. Cub Scout camping is designed to teach children the following skills and abilities:

  • The best methods and protocols for camping
  • Choosing and using proper equipment
  • Engaging in fun and meaningful outdoor activities
  • Learning the relationships between outdoor skills, progression in them, and Scout values
  • Balancing indoor preparation with outdoor activity
  • Building what Scouts call “know-how” and confidence 

Logistics and Rules. You can find more practical tips on how to prepare for Cub Scout and Scouts BSA camping here.

Scouts BSA Camping (ages 11 – 18)

Supervision. Scout camping can take place for up to a week at a time. As with Cub Scout camping, Scout camping must be supervised by at least two adult leaders with BALOO training, and one of them must have Hazardous Weather training. Parents are encouraged to participate in and assist with Scout camping, but Scouts are not required to have a parent camping with them.

Scouts BSA Essentials. Older Scouts should pack all of the same essentials as Cub Scouts, but depending on the activities planned, other packing list considerations may include:

  • Rain gear
  • A pocket knife or multitool
  • Matches and/or a firestarter
  • A map and compass
  • Backpacking stove
  • Cooking utensils
  • Water filtration system

You can find more useful things to pack for Scout camping here.

Activities. All scouts are eligible for troop or patrol overnight camping, camporees, and resident camps. They participate in the same activity categories that Cub Scouts do. However, depending on their age and ability, older Scouts may be eligible for training and partaking in those requiring more skill and safety knowledge. Advanced activities include wilderness survival training, multi-day hiking, biking, and backpacking, using fueled devices and axes, search and rescue practice, using weapons, sailing, riding motorboats, and more.

Goals. Boy Scout camping is designed to teach Scouts more advanced camping, survival, and recreational skills as well as to foster the following areas of personal and social wellness:

  • Good physical and mental health
  • Spiritual growth
  • Social development
  • Citizenship training

Camping Preparation for Kids

If you live in the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, enrolling your child in the Scouting America Laurel Highlands Council is a great way for them to learn camping skills and safety as Cub Scouts and Scouts. Explore more information about Cub Scout Camping and Cub Scout Winter Weekends.

Scouting’s programs and outdoor adventures give young people the opportunity to try new things, provide service to others, build self-confidence, and develop leadership skills. These experiences not only help Scouts while they are young, but help them grow into exceptional men and women that respect their family, community, religion, country and themselves.

The Scouting America Laurel Highlands Council serves youth members and volunteer adult leaders throughout Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and parts of West Virginia. We aim to beneficially involve every eligible child and their family in the fun and adventure of our programs. We provide extraordinary youth development programs that develop and strengthen the values of the Scout Oath and Law. 

So what are you waiting for? Join now!


Trail Markers.



explore resources

We have a number of resources available for you to explore.