BSA Scout Uniform Inspections: A Troop’s Ultimate Guide ⚜️

The Scouting uniform is one of the most recognizable outfits worn by youths around the world. Therefore, it’s crucial that all scouts wear their uniforms with a sense of pride and respect. To help remind scouts that maintaining a proper uniform is an important part of Scouting, often, uniform inspections are held within troops.

What is a Scout Uniform Inspection? A uniform inspection is often held on a monthly basis and takes place during troop meetings. At these inspections, each scout is expected to arrive groomed and in their full uniforms. They are scored out of 100 points, with the most-correctly dressed scout or patrol ‘winning’ the inspection.

It’s not surprising to hear that there’s a correct way to wear the Scouting uniform. However, a full uniform inspection takes into account over 20 different aspects of a scout’s dress and appearance! With so many parts of a proper uniform to keep track of, it can be difficult for most scouts to prepare for a troop uniform inspection.

Not to worry! In this article, I’ll not only be giving you some pointers to hold a great troop uniform inspection — I’ll also teach you some tips for acing a troop uniform inspection of your own (or helping your patrol ace theirs!).

You might be wondering though, why are uniforms such a big part of Scouting? Great question! To learn the interesting answer, I’d highly suggest checking out my article on The History and Value Of The Scouting Uniform.

So, what does a troop uniform inspection actually look like? The honest answer is that it really depends on your troop. Almost every troop conducts their uniform inspections a bit differently. However, there are a few general guidelines that could be followed to make each inspection as productive as possible. 

We’ll get into those guidelines later on in the article but first, let’s briefly go over what the components of a complete Scout uniform are. Get ready, because there’s probably more to your Scouting uniform than what you were expecting! 😉

An Overview of the Complete Scouts BSA Uniform 

This section of the article takes information and images from the Official Scout Uniform Inspection Sheet, released by the BSA Scout Shop. Check out the actual sheet itself for a printable checklist of what constitutes a complete uniform! 

A Professional and Clean Appearance

  • Good Posture 
  • Clean Face, Hands, and Fingernails 
  • Combed Hair 
  • Neatly dressed (no major rips, wrinkles, or holes in the uniform without a valid reason) 

Pants or Shorts 

  • Official Scouts BSA shorts/long pants
  • No cuffs on bottom wear (This means rolling up the bottoms of your pants legs) 


  • Official Scouts BSA socks 


  • Comfortable, clean footwear. Preferably leather or canvas (sneakers can be worn if voted on by Troop) 
  • In almost every troop, open-toed shoes are not allowed as they present safety hazards

Headgear (Troop Hats)

  • Scouts must wear headgear if decided upon by their troop

Shirt and Neckwear

  • Official Scouts BSA long-sleeve/short-sleeve shirt 
  • Neckerchief/bolo tie/no neckwear 
  • Unbuttoned collar 
  • Neckwear underneath/on top of their collar 


  • Official Scouts BSA belt with insignia on the belt buckle
  • Or, Official Scouts BSA leather belt with a belt buckle of choice (only if voted on by the Troop) 

Merit Badge Sash 

  • Merit badges attached to the front (and back if necessary) of sash 

Shoulder Epaulets 

  • Green Shoulder Loops 

Right Sleeve 

  • American Flag patch at the top of the sleeve 
  • Patrol patch that matches the patrol they are a part of 
  • The most recent Journey to Excellence Unit Award (if applicable)

Left Sleeve Without Pocket

  • Council Shoulder emblem, Unit Number, and veteran unit bar (if applicable) at the top of their sleeve, all touching one another 
  • Their respective leadership position patch centered and touching your Unit number (or 4 inches below the seam of your shoulder 
  • Trained Leader emblem directly below their respective leadership position patch 

Left Sleeve With Pocket

  • Council Shoulder emblem, Unit Number, and veteran unit bar (if applicable) at the top of their sleeve, all touching one another 
  • Their respective leadership position patch centered on the pocket 
  • Trained Leader emblem on the top pocket flap 

Right Chest Pocket

  • Respective nameplate above their BSA Strip OR on the top pocket flap if no Order of the Arrow Lodge insignia is attached 
  • BSA Strip directly above the top pocket flap 
  • Jamboree Insignia worn above their respective nameplate (if applicable) 
  • Order of the Arrow lodge insignia on the top pocket flap (if applicable) (Don’t know what the Order of the Arrow is? Check out our Explanation of Scouting’s Order of the Arrow.

Left Chest Pocket

  • Respective Rank Badge centered on the pocket 
  • Arrow of Light Patch centered directly below the pocket (if applicable)
  • The World Crest emblem and Ring are worn centered over the left pocket and positioned between the left shoulder seam and the top of the pocket.

How to Prepare For a Troop Uniform Inspection 

While there’s no one right way to hold a troop uniform inspection, there are a few good general rules of thumb to follow. In this section, I’ll be teaching you how to prepare for and hold a troop uniform inspection of your own!

First, let’s talk about how scouts can best prepare for a troop uniform inspection. This will also be great information to relay to your fellow scouts if you have an upcoming inspection planned. Here are a few tips that I used to practice before every uniform inspection:

  1. Keep all of your Class A uniform gear in one location so that it’s easy to remember to bring everything.
  2. A day or two before your troop meeting and uniform inspection, make sure to trim your nails and shave so that you look tidy. It’s easy to forget on the day-of.
  3. Before leaving home, lay your Class A uniform out flat and place each article of clothing (neckerchief, slide, loops, belt, scout socks, troop hat, etc) in the place it belongs. Make a habit of remembering what goes where so that you’re ready for the next inspection.
  4. Once you arrive meet with your patrol members and inspect each other. The best way to hold a successful uniform inspection is to encourage scouts to hold each other accountable!

By following these 4 straightforward tips, you and your patrol will have a huge advantage during your troop’s next uniform inspection! Plus, by wearing your uniform correctly, you demonstrate respect towards your fellow scouts and Scouting as a whole. Now, let’s talk about the best practices for holding productive uniform inspections within your troop…

Components of a Troop Uniform Inspection 

Motivating your fellow scouts to show up wearing their full uniform will be a huge test of your leadership. Often, troops create a sort of contest between patrols, where the patrol with the most properly-dressed scouts is awarded a prize. This tended to work well in my troop, but I’d encourage you to come up with a system of your own!

Regardless of how you encourage scouts to come dressed in their full uniforms, it’s important that you have a plan. Younger scouts, in particular, are often resistant to wearing their uniforms unless they’re given a good reason to do so.

Whether you’re offering a reward, telling them about the Importance of Their Scouting Uniform, or threatening a friendly penalty, you’ll want to have some method of inspiring your troop to take their uniform inspections seriously. Although you should decide on a system that best suits your troop, here are a few suggestions:

1. Designate Uniform Inspection Leaders 

In larger troops, uniform inspections can take quite a bit of time to finish if you’re not organized. Therefore, it’ll be a good idea to break into patrols and designate a few scouts to inspect the uniforms (scouts from the older patrol are great for this).

You may be tempted to have your adult leaders hold your uniform inspections. This is acceptable if you’re just getting started implementing uniform inspections in your troop, but I’d recommend trying to make your inspections scout-led as soon as possible. Having pride in your uniform is an important value that is best-learned through the direction of older scouts. 🙂

2. Use a Scoring Sheet to Keep Track of Uniform Mistakes 

Using a scoring sheet such as the one mentioned earlier in this article is a great way to keep track of uniform errors, especially when you’re tracking the results of more than 15 scouts. I’d recommend using a whiteboard and transferring each scout’s score from the sheet once their inspection has finished.

3. Create Penalties or Rewards to Motivate Your Troop

Even though plenty of scouts will be excited to compete in a troop uniform inspection, sometimes a few scouts might benefit from an extra incentive that encourages them to try their best. One thing that can be done is to create a light physical activity penalty for the troop if too many scouts have incomplete uniforms. 

There are plenty of other options available, so get creative with this! If you took my earlier tip of splitting uniform inspections into patrol competitions, you could also offer rewards or perks to the winning patrol! Here are a few other useful uniform inspection incentives and penalties:

  • The patrol with the lowest uniform inspection scores needs to clean out your unit’s storage area for 30 minutes during your next free-time meeting.
  • The patrol with the highest uniform inspection scores wins 1 point. If they manage to get 3 points, they’ll win a pizza party.
  • The scouts with the lowest uniform inspection scores get to choose their camp duties last, and the scouts with the highest scores get to pick their duties first.
  • The patrol with the lowest scores need to perform a skit or song for the entire troop and parents (We did this once and it was pretty funny 😛 )

Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration to create a great troop uniform inspection system of your own! Again, I want to remind you that uniforms are an essential part of Scouting. They teach us that we’re all a part of one team and that all scouts are equal — regardless of any differences outside of Scouting.


Remember, your uniform is the first thing other troops, parents, and strangers see when you’re in public, so it’s incredibly important to maintain a proper and clean appearance. When dressed in your uniform, you’re representing the entire Scouts BSA organization, so wear it well! 

By now, you should be an expert on troop uniform inspections. However, there’s still lots to learn! For example, have you ever wondered Why Scouts Wear Neckerchiefs?

Or maybe, you’re interested in learning Why the Fleur De Lis is Such an Important Symbol to Scouting. If these article titles pique your interest, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

Great work reaching the end of this article! I hope you learned a lot of new and useful information that you’ll use to make your troop even better!  I’m looking forward to seeing you here at ScoutSmarts again soon. Until next time, I’m wishing you the best of luck in all your Scouting adventures! 🙂


I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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