Going camping with friends is one of the most unique and enjoyable parts of one’s Scouting experience. Earning the Eagle-required camping merit badge will equip you with the skills needed to lead your patrol in safely planning a successful multi-day campout. Are you prepared to take your next steps on the road towards becoming an Eagle scout?
Having an understanding of useful camping techniques and practices will make for more enjoyable campouts in the future. This guide will walk you through each of the requirements and step-by-step solutions that you’ll need to know to complete your merit badge worksheet, learn how to camp the smart way, and earn your Camping merit badge! 🙂
Before we get started, if you have other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, I’d recommend checking out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I’m certain this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!
Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!
Before we dive into things, I need to warn you that camping comes with its own set of risks (which we’ll be learning about very soon). I’d highly recommend purchasing a reliable first aid kit to take along to all of your future camps. This Survival First Aid Kit on Amazon not only provides all of the medical equipment you’ll need, It can also save your life if you’re stranded in the wild!
Did you check it out? Awesome! Then it’s now time to start learning. Let’s begin by thoroughly reading through each of the Camping merit badge requirements!
What Are The Camping Merit Badge Requirements?
What we’ll be covering in this guide are the solutions to many of the knowledge requirements for this badge. Before we dive into the details, let’s discuss what you’ll need to do to earn the camping merit badge. You’ll be required to explain, demonstrate, and act out many skills related to camping which you’ll be learning in this guide.
The most dependable path to success is to know exactly what you need to do, beforehand. Planning is crucial! Take the time to read and fully understand the camping merit badge requirements outlined below:
- Do the following:
a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in camping activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards
b. Discuss with your counselor why it is important to be aware of weather conditions before and during your camping activities. Tell how you can prepare should the weather turn bad during your campouts.
c. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while camping, including hypothermia, frostbite, heat reactions, dehydration, altitude sickness, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation.
- Learn the Leave No Trace principles and the Outdoor Code and explain what they mean. Write a personal and group plan for implementing these principles on your next outing..
- Make a written plan for an overnight trek and show how to get to your camping spot by using a topographical map and one of the following:
a. A compass
b. A GPS receiver
c. A smartphone with a GPS app
(If a GPS-equipped device is not available, explain how to use one to get to your camping spot.)
- Do the following:
a. Make a duty roster showing how your patrol is organized for an actual overnight campout. List assignments for each member.
b. Help a Scout patrol or a Webelos Scout unit in your area prepare for an actual campout, including creating the duty roster, menu planning, equipment needs, general planning, and setting up camp.
- Do the following:
a. Prepare a list of clothing you would need for overnight campouts in both warm and cold weather. Explain the term “layering.”
b. Discuss footwear for different kinds of weather and how the right footwear is important for protecting your feet.
c. Explain the proper care and storage of camping equipment (clothing, footwear, bedding).
d. List the outdoor essentials necessary for any campout, and explain why each item is needed.
e. Present yourself to your Scoutmaster with your pack for inspection. Be correctly clothed and equipped for an overnight campout.
- Do the following:
a. Describe the features of four types of tents, when and where they could be used, and how to care for tents. Working with another Scout, pitch a tent.
b. Discuss the importance of camp sanitation and tell why water treatment is essential. Then demonstrate two ways to treat water.
c. Describe the factors to be considered in deciding where to pitch your tent.
d. Tell the difference between internal- and external-frame packs. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
e. Discuss the types of sleeping bags and what kind would be suitable for different conditions. Explain the proper care of your sleeping bag and how to keep it dry. Make a comfortable ground bed.
- Prepare for an overnight campout with your patrol by doing the following:
a. Make a checklist of personal and patrol gear that will be needed.
b. Pack your own gear and your share of the patrol equipment and food for proper carrying. Show that your pack is right for quickly getting what is needed first, and that it has been assembled properly for comfort, weight, balance, size, and neatness.
- Do the following:
a. Explain the safety procedures for:
—I) Using a propane or butane/propane stove
—II)Using a liquid fuel stove
—III) Proper storage of extra fuel
b. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lightweight cooking stoves.
c. Prepare a camp menu. Explain how the menu would differ from a menu for a backpacking or float trip. Give recipes and make a food list for your patrol. Plan two breakfasts, three lunches, and two suppers. Discuss how to protect your food against bad weather, animals, and contamination.
d. While camping in the outdoors, cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove.
- Show experience in camping by doing the following:
a. Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events.* One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.
b. On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision:
—I) Hike up a mountain where, at some point, you are at least 1,000 feet higher in elevation from where you started.
—II) Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.
—III) Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours.
—IV) Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles.
—V) Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience.
—VI) Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more.
c) Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency. This can be done alone or with others.
- Discuss how the things you did to earn this badge have taught you about personal health and safety, survival, public health, conservation, and good citizenship. In your discussion, tell how Scout spirit and the Scout Oath and Scout Law apply to camping and outdoor ethics.
Do the following:
1a) Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in camping activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards
Use your Boy Scout Handbook to look for ideas and treatments of common hazards. Some of these hazards are outlined in requirement 1c, while other types of injuries could include broken bones, sprains, and burns. All first aid hazards are covered in the advancement requirements from Tenderfoot through First Class, with solutions appearing within your Boy Scout handbook.
The most typical hazards you’ll encounter while camping are:
- Unexpectedly Cold Weather Conditions
- Insect Bites/Stings
- Dangerous Wild Animals
- Excessive rain/Flooding
- Heat-Related Injuries
- Accidental Injury From Knives or Fire
Many of these issues can be prevented by being prepared in your packing and can be responded to by removing the affected person from the hazardous environment, then treating them accordingly. For more information on responding to medical emergencies, check out my full guide to the first aid merit badge.
1b) Discuss with your counselor why it is important to be aware of weather conditions before and during your camping activities. Tell how you can prepare should the weather turn bad during your campouts.
Weather and terrain are two important factors to consider when planning a campout. Although you should always be prepared in your packing, it is important to also be aware of potentially hazardous outdoor conditions and to respond accordingly.
Weather conditions such as warnings of heavy rains, snowstorms, strong winds, or any sort of natural disaster will require you cancel your planned campout. These situations can be extremely dangerous and make it easy for scouts to be separated from the group. To reduce risk during any camp, stick with a buddy at all times.
Always have a plan to evacuate. If the weather should turn, be ready to store your belongings and ensure that everyone is accounted for. In the event of heavy storms or natural disasters, be sure to have access to a scout leader with a phone so that emergency services can be contacted if necessary. When in doubt, don’t go out.
1c) Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while camping, including hypothermia, frostbite, heat reactions, dehydration, altitude sickness, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation.
In the case of all of these injuries and illnesses, a good general rule of thumb will be to separate the person from the hazard and bring them to shelter. When they’re no longer at risk of further injury, assess them for any life-threatening conditions while they rest. Make sure they’re hydrated and be on the lookout for any signs of shock.
Hypothermia is caused by one’s core body temperature falling below 95°F. While symptoms of mild hypothermia include shivering and confusion, in more dangerous cases the victim will not have enough energy to continue shivering and may fall unconscious.
If you notice someone is experiencing hypothermia, immediately warm them using extra clothing, fire, or through body heat. Do not suddenly re-warm the victim by placing them in a hot shower, as this could lead to rewarming shock.
Frostbite occurs when extremities, such as fingers and toes, begin to freeze. Skin in the affected areas will turn blue, then white. If you notice frostbite setting in, evacuate to a warm area. To avoid frostbite, wear gloves, socks, and hats in cold weather while camping. Avoid prolonged exposure to below-freezing temperatures.
Try not to wrap the frostbitten area, as this could cause some of the tissue to be killed off. A better way to warm the frostbitten area is by running it under cool water, then, slowly increasing the water temperature as the injury defrosts. If you’re frostbitten while camping, use the heating within a car to warm yourself; seek medical attention.
There are 3 main types of heat reactions:
- Heatstroke: Heatstroke occurs when one’s body temperature exceeds 104°F. If untreated, heatstroke can lead to seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness and even a coma.
- Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion can be caused by either water or sodium depletion. Symptoms include thirst, headache, dizziness, vomiting, a feeling of weakness, and loss of consciousness.
- Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are sudden muscle spasms that occur when the body has insufficient salt or water. These are minor, and will typically subside within half an hour once the victim is hydrated.
In the case of heatstroke, contact emergency medical services by calling 911. To treat other types of heat reactions, rest the victim in a cool, shady place and have them drink lots of fluids with sodium and electrolytes. To prevent heat reactions, stay hydrated, wear sun protection and refrain from strenuous activity during the warmest time of day.
Dehydration occurs when the body does not consume enough water. Some symptoms of dehydration include a flushed face, lack of sweat, or feeling of weakness. This is a potentially fatal condition that can result in lowered blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting. To treat dehydration, encourage the victim to rest and replenish their body with water and electrolytes. Hydrate the victim slowly, avoiding drastic rehydration.
When camping, water will likely be harder to come by, and you may not be able to hydrate as often. Therefore, you’ll need to focus extra hard on drinking enough water. Experts recommend you drink at least 1 liter of water every 2 hours to avoid dehydration. That means constant, easy hydration is key!
Altitude sickness occurs when a person moves to a higher elevation too quickly. At heights exceeding 8000 feet above sea level, the air will contain significantly less oxygen, putting you at risk for altitude sickness. To treat altitude sickness, descend to a lower elevation immediately (ideally below 4000 feet).
Common symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, headaches, dizziness, a loss of appetite, and feelings of weakness. To avoid getting altitude sickness, climb to higher altitudes slowly (this is called acclimatization). Sleeping at the lowest elevation possible also reduces your risk of altitude sickness.
In most cases, insect stings are not dangerous and only result in minor swelling and itching. If stung, remove any stingers left in the area. To treat a sting, wash with soap and water, then apply a cold compress. Taking an antihistamine may also reduce later itching.
In individuals with allergies, certain insect stings can result in a fatal reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic reactions cause immediate and severe swelling in the neck and face, as well as difficulty breathing, and can prove fatal if left untreated.
Most people with severe allergies carry an EpiPen. When used by removing the safety cap and pressing the needle into the victim’s thigh, an EpiPen can counteract an anaphylactic reaction. However, the effect of an EpiPen is temporary and the person must still quickly receive medical attention.
Ticks can be commonly found in fields or forests in some regions, and are small parasites that burrow into your skin. If you find a tick on your body when camping, immediately remove it. Using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin’s surface as possible. Then, gently pull the tick straight out. Be sure not to twist the tweezers to avoid having parts of the tick break off under your skin.
Gently wash the affected area with warm water and soap, applying alcohol to the wound to prevent infection. Save the tick in a container of rubbing alcohol. Several weeks following removal, if you develop a rash or fever, immediately visit a doctor and show them the tick that you saved.
Luckily, only about 20% of snakes are venomous. However, if you’re bitten by a snake, you should immediately call 911 and describe the situation and snake. If there is burning pain at the site of the wound, call an ambulance ASAP. Most emergency rooms and ambulances have anti-venom drugs which could prove life-saving.
Keep the bite below the level of your heart and try to remain calm. If possible, try to identify the shape of the snake’s head. Venomous snakes typically have triangular heads and slit-like eyes. To avoid being bitten by a snake, watch your step in tall grass, keep your tent closed with your belongings secured, and never provoke the wildlife
Blisters typically come from the friction of material rubbing against the skin, which can be caused by poor-fitting shoes or other clothing. Camping in wet clothing can also cause blisters. Blisters appear as bubbles under the top layer of skin. They can be filled with pus, water, or even blood, and could be quite painful.
If you find you’re developing a blister, or notice an area that is rubbing uncomfortably, apply a moleskin to the irritated patch of skin. Blisters are naturally reabsorbed by the body, so by preventing rubbing the blister will heal and go away on its own.
Avoid popping blisters unless they’re so large that you can’t get around otherwise. You can puncture a blister with a sterile needle. Popped blisters risk infection, so thoroughly disinfect and bandage the area immediately afterward. Remove the bandage at night to let the popped blister dry.
Hyperventilation is caused by breathing too quickly which depletes one’s body of carbon dioxide. Also called over-breathing, hyperventilation can lead to feelings of lightheadedness, a tingling sensation in one’s extremities, and may even cause the victim to faint. If you notice someone is hyperventilating, have them relax and take deep breaths.
Hyperventilation can result from a variety of situations such as anxiety, severe pain, heavy physical exertion, panic attacks, or infections in the lungs. To treat hyperventilation, have the victim breathe slowly, either through pursed lips or into a paper bag. Bouts of hyperventilation should last no longer than 30 minutes, so seek medical attention if the victim still hasn’t recovered by this time.
2) Learn the Leave No Trace principles and the Outdoor Code and explain what they mean. Write a personal plan for implementing these principles on your next outing.
There are 7 Leave No Trace principles:
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
The Outdoor Code states:
As an American, I will do my best to –
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation minded.
Together, the Leave No Trace principles and Outdoor Code make up the rules that all scouts should live by whenever out in nature. As a scout, it’s your responsibility to leave the outdoors better than how you’ve found it. By following these guidelines, you can help to keep camping safe and enjoyable for all!
To implement these principles on your next outing, you should plan some general guidelines that every person in your patrol can agree upon before heading to the campsite. While camping, be mindful of where you are setting up your fires, pitching your tents, and disposing of waste. Before leaving, always scan the area for any loose trash. Look for ways that you can leave the site nicer than it was before you arrived.
3. Make a written plan for an overnight trek and show how to get to your camping spot by using a topographical map and one of the following:
a) A compass
b) A GPS receiver
c) A smartphone with a GPS app
(If a GPS-equipped device is not available, explain how to use one to get to your camping spot.)
Since each location differs, it would be a good idea to speak to your merit badge counselor about this one. They can ensure that you are able to properly use your compass, and point you in the right direction as far as camping areas go. You can use (https://www.topoquest.com/) to find and print a topographical map of the area.
While you’re able to navigate to your camping spot using a compass, GPS receiver, or smartphone, I would recommend you use a compass to complete this requirement. Navigation is an important skill that very few people are capable of today without the use of their smartphones. Once you have your map and compass ready, it’s time to write a trek plan.
In your plan, it is important to assess the distance, terrain and weather conditions of your trek. Be sure to note all of these factors beforehand, as well as your estimated duration of the trip. This, as well as a few brief paragraphs of your plans and expectations for the camp should suffice.
4. Do the following:
a) Make a duty roster showing how your patrol is organized for an actual overnight campout. List assignments for each member.
b) Help a Scout patrol or a Webelos Scout unit in your area prepare for an actual campout, including creating the duty roster, menu planning, equipment needs, general planning, and setting up camp.
These requirements can both be easily done within your own troop. Take this opportunity to speak with a troop leader and familiarize yourself with how your troop tends to handle their duty roster. On your next campout, ask your patrol leader for help completing this requirement.
This time, you’ll be in charge! After your patrol has met to plan the next campout, note down each of your patrol members’ duties. That’s your duty roster. Make sure to pack it in your bag, because you’ll be referencing it during your upcoming campout.
During the troop meeting right before your campout, you should also be able to complete requirement 4b) by helping plan the menu, evaluating your patrol equipment needs, and helping everyone get organized. After you’ve arrived at the camp, you can finally assist in helping set up!
Congrats on Finishing Part 1 of the Camping Merit Badge!
Great work making it this far :). You definitely deserve a break at this point; give yourself a huge pat on the back!
As of 2021, I’ve made some updates and improvements to the second half of my Camping merit badge guide. This new version has a lot more resources and helpful explanations so that you can understand the concepts even better!
Once you’re ready to continue on to part 2 of the Camping merit badge (Requirements 5-10) click here.
5. Do the following:
a) Prepare a list of clothing you would need for overnight campouts in both warm and cold weather. Explain the term “layering.”
The clothing needed for overnight campouts can vary based on your location. In warm environments, you should pack sun exposure protection, rain gear, suitable footwear, as well as extra socks and underwear. Personally, I always bring a wide-brimmed hat, a light jacket, a rain jacket, and warm socks whenever camping.
In cold environments, layering means wearing multiple articles of clothing over each other so that you can achieve the right level of warmth. For example, wearing a t-shirt, light jacket, hoodie, and waterproof snow jacket would be considered layering.
Layering can help you keep warm because your body will heat the inner layers, and you’ll be insulated from the cold by the outside layers. You can even remove or add clothing if you begin to overheat or get too cold.
5b) Discuss footwear for different kinds of weather and how the right footwear is important for protecting your feet.
Determine if your trek will take place in a wet or dry environment. In a wet environment, slow-drying shoes can mean an increased chance of blisters and feet infections. You’ll need to pack shoes that can be dried on the go and are resistant to moisture damage. Be sure that your feet are also well-supported if you will be walking long distances, and remember to bring a change of footwear.
In cold, damp environments, you’ll want to pack insulated, warm, waterproof shoes that will stand up to the outdoor conditions. Failing to choose the right footwear to protect your feet is one of the biggest mistakes that inexperienced campers make. If you’re looking for scouting footwear, check out my complete guide to choosing the right footwear for any type of Scouting trek.
5c) Explain the proper care and storage of camping equipment (clothing, footwear, bedding).
Keeping equipment properly cared for after every camp out will prolong its usability and save you money in the long run. This means emptying, cleaning, washing, and drying your gear following each campout. Properly cared for camping equipment should be stored dry and out of direct sunlight, in an area free of pests.
Quick tips when caring for camping gear:
- Funky odors are caused by bacteria. You can reduce the smell and kill the bacteria by washing your equipment and then leaving it in direct sunlight to dry (not for thin/sensitive gear)!
- Always shake out bedding and sleeping mats to remove any twigs, bugs or debris. These could damage your equipment while in storage.
- If your clothes really smell, you can place them in a bucket filled with a 1/2 cup of baking soda and water overnight. This will eliminate smells like smoke or sweat!
5d) List the outdoor essentials necessary for any campout, and explain why each item is needed.
Outdoor essentials can vary based on the nature of your camping environment. Once you’ve been camping for some time, you’ll have a better sense of what equipment you commonly use and what to bring. At a minimum, you should carry water, a first-aid kit, and gear to create an overnight shelter.
I don’t want this article to be too long, as you likely already have a good idea of what gear you frequently take along to campouts. However, for a complete checklist of the most common essentials you might need for different types of outings, check out my article on a Scout’s Essential Camp Gear Packing List!
5e) Present yourself to your Scoutmaster with your pack for inspection. Be correctly clothed and equipped for an overnight campout.
If you’ve read each of the previous sections, you should have a good idea of how to properly prepare for an overnight campout. Pack your bag according to the the above checklist, look sharp wearing your class-A uniform, and get ready for an amazing camping trip! You’re ready.
6. Do the following:
a) Describe the features of four types of tents, when and where they could be used, and how to care for tents. Working with another Scout, pitch a tent.
Four types of tents which can be characterized by their unique shapes are A-Frame tents, Pyramid tents, Hoop tents , and Dome tents
- A-Frame tents: A-Frame tents take on a triangular shape and are supported by a pole on each end. These tents tend not to be very spacious, given their ground surface area.
- Dome tents: The most common type of tent, dome tents are usually made with poles which criss-cross over its middle. These tents are very strong and spacious.
- Hoop tents: Hoop tents can be very spacious and are made by stretching fabric over parallel hoops. These tents are often longer than other types of tents.
- Pyramid tents: Pyramid tents are supported by a single central pole with the tent fabric being pulled out and pegged on each of its sides.
Tents should be pitched away from places where water may pool, in areas clear of roots and sharp sticks. After a camp, tents should be cleaned and stored in a dry environment until their next use.
6b) Discuss the importance of camp sanitation and tell why water treatment is essential. Then demonstrate two ways to treat water.
A scout is clean. Camp sanitation is important in preventing foodborne illnesses and insect infestations. Unsanitary camp conditions can lead to consuming spoiled food which may result in indigestion, food poisoning or diarrhea. There is also a high risk of illness when drinking untreated water.
To make water suitable for human consumption, three methods of purification are typically used:
- Iodine droplets
Demonstrating two of these methods will be very straightforward. Simply find some clear fresh water and boil it. Then, depending on your equipment, you can either drop an iodine tablet into unclean but clear water or run it through a water filter. Boiling and iodine tablets will not remove the heavy sediment in your water, so always use a water filter, if possible.
6c) Describe the factors to be considered in deciding where to pitch your tent.
Tents should be pitched over debris-free areas on a slight incline. In the event of heavy rains, the water will flow away from the tent rather than pooling where you sleep. Also, avoid pitching your tent in a meadow area, and instead, place it on short grass or insensitive ground. Avoid branches, as these may puncture the floor of your tent.
For your own safety, always pitch your tent with a side wall facing into the wind. Never face your tent opening into the wind, otherwise, your tent might be blown away! In heavy winds, be especially careful of camping under trees, as their falling branches could be hazardous.
6d) Tell the difference between internal- and external-frame packs. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Both internal and external frame backpacks come with a metal frame to support your back while hiking. However, an internal frame pack has the frame built into the backpack and is more form-fitting. On the other hand, an external frame pack has a metal frame on the outside of the bag which can be used for attaching gear or distributing weight.
External-frame packs tend to leave a space between the bag and your body which provides a cooling airflow. These bags pull your center of gravity backward and are good for hiking groomed trails where you often need to redistribute weight among different parts of your back. However, external-frame packs are bulky and can snag easily. Therefore, these bags may not be ideal for difficult trails.
Internal-frame packs have recently become more popular, as they sit closer to your back and have less risk of snagging. These bags push your center of gravity forward, which helps with your stability but may feel uncomfortable during flat, easy hikes. Internal-frame packs are also typically more expensive than external-frame but are more suitable for maneuvering challenging trails.
6e) Discuss the types of sleeping bags and what kind would be suitable for different conditions. Explain the proper care of your sleeping bag and how to keep it dry. Make a comfortable ground bed.
There are many different types of sleeping bag styles such as the rectangular sleeping bag, barrel-shaped sleeping bag, and mummy sleeping bag. However, these bag-type differences are usually not important. The features of these sleeping bags can differ by brand, so the main things to look out for are the bag material, temperature rating, and care instructions.
However, the most important thing to consider when purchasing a sleeping bag is the temperature that you’ll be using it in. Each sleeping bag comes with a temperature rating at which it will be most effectively used. Assess the conditions in which you’ll be camping, and pick a lightweight bag most suitable to your needs.
Sleeping bags should be cleaned often and stored dry. Avoid using your sleeping bag on uncovered ground as it may get damaged. A good sleeping bag can easily last you your entire scouting career.
7. Prepare for an overnight campout with your patrol by doing the following:
a) Make a checklist of personal and patrol gear that will be needed.
b) Pack your own gear and your share of the patrol equipment and food for proper carrying. Show that your pack is right for quickly getting what is needed first, and that it has been assembled properly for comfort, weight, balance, size, and neatness.
Here’s an example checklist of camping gear, but I’d encourage you to create your own based on your past experience.
Before packing, take the time to think through what you’ll be doing on the campout.
First, you’ll hike in, you’ll pitch your tent, then you’ll make dinner. After that, you’ll get changed, and finally you might have some free time. Therefore, you should have water near the top of your bag, then your tent supplies, then cooking supplies, a change of clothes, and finally whatever you’ll need during your free time stored at the bottom of your pack.
8. Do the following:
a) Explain the safety procedures for:
I) Using a propane or butane/propane stove
There are always some risks when using an open flame, so be sure to set up your stove away from anything that may catch fire. Propane stoves should always be used in open-air with exposure to oxygen. Never leave your stove unattended while on. After use, be sure to clean the stove and disconnect your canister.
These stoves need to be connected to a propane canister, so always check if the connections are fully tightened. This can be done by applying soapy water to the areas where the canister is fastened. Small bubbles should form if the canister is not securely sealed. If the seals are not fully connected, you should also smell the propane (a rotten egg-like scent).
II) Using a liquid fuel stove
Liquid fuel stoves are very similar to propane stoves and should be cared for in the same manner. However, these can be a little bit harder to use, as they need to be primed before lighting. To prime a liquid fuel stove, open the canister to release a little bit of fuel into the burner. Then, close the canister and light the burner. Once lit for a few minutes, slowly reopen the fuel cannister.
Liquid fuel stoves may be more difficult to use, but perform better than propane stoves in cold weather, and can also be refilled.
III) Proper storage of extra fuel
I shouldn’t need to say this, but fuel is extremely flammable! Do not leave your fuel anywhere near a campfire. Make sure to regularly check for leaks, and monitor the level of your remaining fuel. Refill tanks when necessary. Doing so will ensure that you have ample fuel for the next camp out.
8b) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lightweight cooking stoves.
A few different types of cooking stoves are white gas stoves, kerosene stoves, cartridge stoves, and propane tank stoves:
- White gas stoves: Strong but volatile. These stoves are often prohibited on airplanes and ferries.
- Kerosene stoves: Hot burning but must be preheated before use.
- Cartridge stoves: Very portable and easy to use. Simply attach your canister, turn the knob and light your burner. Less fuel capacity than other types of stoves.
- Propane tank stoves: Typically has more burners and a higher fuel capacity, but can be quite bulky. These stoves work well for long, single location camps.
8c) Prepare a camp menu. Explain how the menu would differ from a menu for a backpacking or float trip. Give recipes and make a food list for your patrol. Plan two breakfasts, three lunches, and two suppers. Discuss how to protect your food against bad weather, animals, and contamination.
You might want to use your troop’s prior camp menus for inspiration. Ask your patrol what they want to eat so that everyone’s happy with your meal choices. My troop always cooked hamburgers or hot dogs after setting up on the first night, as those are some of the easiest, most inexpensive outdoor meals. If you need some inspiration, here is a website of camping recipes.
Food should always be stored in some sort of container so that it does not become contaminated or attract animals. Practice general food safety rules like not leaving meat out and keeping perishables on ice. Avoiding cross-contaminating meat and vegetables by cleaning knives between uses. When disposing of food, either place it in a tied-off trash bag or far away from camp so as not to attract wildlife.
8d) While camping in the outdoors, cook at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner for your patrol from the meals you have planned for requirement 8c. At least one of those meals must be a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove.
After preparing your camp menu, it’s time to start cooking! Work with your fellow patrol members to prepare a meal using a lightweight stove. I’d recommend checking out this affordable Nonstick Pan + Mess Kit combo on Amazon. Being able to cook in your mess kit is a gamechanger!
Remember, you can check out the website I listed in requirement 8c for step-by-step recipes that could be completed on any campout. For more info on cooking, I’d also highly suggest checking out my complete guide to the Cooking merit badge. Good luck, I hope your dish tastes great! 🙂
9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:
(a) Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.
There’s no quick way to complete this requirement. However, scouts who attend most of their troop’s activities should be able to pretty easily camp for a total of 20 days within their first year and a half of Scouting. Just stick with it, and you’ll get there in no time!
9b) On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision:
I) Hike up a mountain, gaining at least 1,000 vertical feet.
II) Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.
III) Take a bike trip of at least 15 miles or at least four hours.
IV) Take a nonmotorized trip on the water of at least four hours or 5 miles.
V) Plan and carry out an overnight snow camping experience.
VI) Rappel down a rappel route of 30 feet or more.
I completed requirements I) and VI), but your troop may give you the opportunity to do any one of these activities. You probably won’t need to go out of your way to finish this either, as troops generally try to help out scouts in earning their Eagle-required badges.
9c) Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency. This can be done alone or with others.
This will be a troop community service project. If you’re not rushing to complete this badge, all of requirement nine can be more of a waiting game. Eventually, your troop will take you out to do these activities, or you’ll complete them during a longer seasonal camp. With that, you’ll be set to earn your camping merit badge!
10. Discuss how the things you did to earn this badge have taught you about personal health and safety, survival, public health, conservation, and good citizenship. In your discussion, tell how Scout spirit and the Scout Oath and Law apply to camping and outdoor ethics.
This one is on you! What were some of the things you did in earning this badge? What have been some of your favorite moments while camping? How did you show scout spirit in overcoming the outdoor challenges you encountered? Do you like camping any more now than when you started? Discuss these points with your counselor once you’ve finished the other requirements.
Using the skills we’ve covered, you’re now able to start camping like a true pro! Don’t be afraid to ask older scouts or adult leaders for advice, as there’s always more to be learned when camping. Get out there, stay safe, but also remember to have fun!
The Camping merit badge is a great way to build confidence in the outdoors and is essential on your path to becoming an Eagle Scout. I hope you’ve found my guide helpful, and encourage you to check out some of my other complete guides here. Share this article with your fellow scouts, and use it as a reference if you ever need a refresher on the camping merit badge.
I hope this guide has helped you gain a bit of ScoutSmarts, and I wish you the best of luck in your Scouting journey! 🙂