Cub Scout Camp Packing: 37 Essentials For Cubs And Parents

If you’ve come across this article, you most likely have a Cub Scout camping trip coming up! Talk about exciting!! Whether you’re a Cub Scout yourself, or the Parent of a Cub, as someone who’s been on his fair share of Cub campouts like these, I’m here to help prepare you to have the best Cub Scout camp possible!

P.S. This article is a guest post collaboration between AOL/Eagle Scout, Michael M, and Cole 🙂

Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you’ve ever been camping before, I’m sure you know just how important it is to pack properly. But, going on a Cub Scout campout may feel like new territory, which is why I made these handy lists to help you and other Cub Scouting families to be prepared!

By the way, you can simply click the links above to jump to the section most relevant to you! Also, I’d encourage you to use these lists as a foundation rather than an official guide. Look ahead and think about things that might happen on your camping trip. Then, try to take each activity into account so that you’ll be ready with the items you need.

Being ready for different possibilities is a key part of being a Cub Scout and BSA Scout, which is why it’ll serve you more and more as you climb up the Cub Scouting ranks. So, with all that being said, it’s now time to dive into a Cub Scout and parents’ ultimate packing list for Pack campouts. Let’s get going! 🙂

Cub Scout Essential Camp Packing List

Clothing: These are probably the first items that come to mind when you think of packing! Of course, some clothes are better suited to certain seasons than others. Think about the temperature, the possibility of rain, and so on as you choose which of the following to pack:

  • Shirts (long and/or short sleeve)
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Underwear
  • Appropriate shoes for your activities
  • Pajamas or sweatpants
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Poncho
  • Extra clothing

Of course, the extra clothing is very important to bring, even if it feels like an unnecessary step while you’re packing. You never know when it’ll come in handy! In cold climates, you can layer up or use the extra clothes for padding in your sleeping bag. In my experience, extra socks are especially vital.

Cub Scout uniform: This includes both your Class A and Class B uniforms unless your pack says otherwise. Your Class A uniform fits well for certain camping events, and it’s common practice to wear them when traveling to and from the campsite!

By the way, I’ll also be adding Amazon links to examples of products I’d recommend packing! While you don’t need to buy the ones I’ve linked, finding reliable gear is a must. The ones I found here are very similar to what I used as a Scout or have fantastic reviews, so I can definitely vouch for their quality!

Cookware/Mess Kit: Meals are a central part of the camping experience, as they bring Scouts together and let them enjoy hot-cooked food as a group. So, in my opinion, this item is among the most important ones to remember! I’d personally recommend the Mallowme Camp and Cookware Mess Kit on Amazon.

Handbook: Be sure to bring this one along! Out of all the items associated with Scouting, one could say that the handbook is the most important one for a Scout to own. Of course, the version to pack is the one that matches your current Scouting rank 😜

To get you a little inspired for your next camp, here’s a wise quote by bestselling author Katrina Mayer about adventuring in the great outdoors:

“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.”

Katrina Mayer

A filled water bottle: Note that this is one of the Cub Scout Six Essentials. When you’re out camping, water is extremely important. You’re going to be active throughout the day, so keep well-hydrated out there! It’s recommended that a child or teen drink at least 48 to 64 ounces of water per day.

First aid kit: This is another of the Cub Scout Six Essentials. Injuries do happen, so it’s vital to be ready. The first aid kit is the symbol of preparedness for events like these! Here are the must-haves:

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Moleskin

Scouting Tip: For those who don’t know, moleskin is a handy item for the protection and prevention of blisters! Please don’t leave it out of your first aid kit, as having a blister is a very uncomfortable experience, to say the least 😬

Flashlight/Headlamp: As one of the Cub Scout Six Essentials, this is one you really don’t want to forget. Please make sure to double-check your batteries! And remember, your flashlight is only to be used in emergencies.

Sunscreen: Here’s another of the Cub Scout Six Essentials. This probably isn’t the first item on your mind when you’re packing, but it’ll save you a ton of discomfort. Sunburn takes away a lot of joy from fun times! Make sure to apply it multiple times throughout the day. SPF 30 to 60 is best in the summer months.

Trail food: This is the fifth of the Cub Scout Six Essentials. It’s not uncommon for dens to put the trail mix together as a group before going on a campout. Ingredients can include dried fruit, granola, raisins, nuts (if no one’s allergic!), and more. This video (1:22) shows four different trail mix recipes, including one that’s nut-free!

Whistle: Here’s the last of the Cub Scout Six Essentials. This one is perfect for signaling in the case of an emergency. The blaring sound of a whistle gathers attention quickly and effortlessly, making it a must-have for outings like these. Just like your flashlight, this is for emergency use only.

Pocket knife: Obviously, not all Scouts should bring a pocket knife along! This entry on the list applies only to Scouts who have earned their Whittling Chip. It’s dangerous to carry one if you don’t know the safety rules, so please keep this restriction in mind! It’s for the safety of both you and your fellow Scouts 🙂

Sleeping bag: I’m sure it goes without saying that this is a really important one to remember when spending the night outdoors! A sleeping bag keeps you both warm and comfortable, making it an essential part of the camping experience — and better sleep at night means more fun during the day.

Sleeping pad: This item is meant to go beneath your sleeping bag (on a cot or on the ground), and its purpose is to make your sleep more comfortable. It also provides thermal insulation, keeping you warmer during the night. I brought one along on every pack outing, and it always helped me get a good night’s sleep!

Camping pillow: Who doesn’t love pillows for head support? They make sleep so much more comfortable than it would be otherwise. Falling asleep is easier when you have one, and the quality of your sleep is sure to benefit as well. I’d recommend bringing a lightweight pillow designed and intended for camping.

Washcloth and towel: I put these two together as one entry because I tend to think of them as pretty similar. This mindset also helps me remember to pack one when I pack the other! Little tricks like those can go a long way toward an efficient and effective packing job. Quick-dry towels are especially well-suited for camping!

Soap: This one goes hand in hand with the washcloth! Be sure to keep the soap in a proper container so it doesn’t get all over your other belongings. The last thing you want is a soapy set of clothes! I’d highly recommend a bar of soap over a bottle of soap, as bottles have a tendency to leak. Again, this is coming from experience 😂

Toilet paper: I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this is something you do not want to forget! Also, make sure to dispose of it properly after use. This is a key element of Leave No Trace, an important principle of Scouting. Never try to burn TP, as this could easily lead to a wildfire! This quick video (0:48) shows the importance of proper disposal.

Toothbrush and toothpaste: Hygiene is important, whether you’re camping or at home! While campouts are a time for fun and adventure, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your health and cleanliness.

Sunglasses: This one’s an easy one to forget compared to some of the others. Still, it’s important, especially in the summer. Even though sunglasses aren’t my style, I’d 100% recommend bringing some along! There are also elastic straps meant for sunglasses that keep them from falling off and getting lost.

Hand sanitizer: This one’s great for proper hygiene in a pinch! I’d recommend keeping it easy to access so you can take full advantage of it when you need it. It’s definitely a camping staple, even though it might not seem that way if you’re new to outdoor adventuring.

Insect repellent: Insects can easily put a damper on any outdoor adventure. Nothing like a horde of mosquitoes to suck the fun out of a trip! Make sure it’s easily accessible so you don’t have to dig for it when you need it 😜

Card games: This could be a standard deck of cards or something more elaborate, like Uno. Cards are an excellent way to pass the time, and their simplicity fits in well with camping in the outdoors! They’re sure to keep both you and your pack entertained. Here’s a tutorial (1:24) on how to play the most classic camping card game: Go Fish!

Camera: It’s easy to think of this one as more of a nice than a need, but bring it along! A light, inexpensive camera will help you capture memories without using a phone. I didn’t have a camera back when I was a Cub Scout, but my parents and my Cubmaster took lots of pictures to help us all remember the good times! 🙂

Book: Leisure time does happen on campouts, so bringing along a great book is well worth it! I once brought along my personal copy of The Hobbit, and it made my free time all the more enjoyable. Plus, the genre and story of the book fit well with the Scouting spirit of adventure!

Nature books: Taking these along can really add to your camping experience. Wondering what kind of bird or plant you ran into? Flip open your nature book and find out! Not only will you learn something new, you’ll have a cool new bit of information to share with the other Scouts in your pack.

Waterproof notebook and pencil: Campouts are all about cool activities, so it’s natural to want to record them in some way! Why not take along a notebook and do some journaling? Or maybe you prefer to draw — talented artists in my Scouts BSA troop brought pencils and papers to events like these for that exact reason!

Cub Scout Parent’s Essential Camp Packing List

Now, it’s time for the parent’s list! This one will include items for yourself and your Cub, as well as some gear intended for the pack as a whole. You’ll also want to bring the following personal items: clothing, cookware/mess kit, toiletries, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, a pillow, and a flashlight. Please note that this list assumes you will be tenting with your Cub!

Tent: When you think of camping, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you’re anything like me, it’s a tent! This may sound obvious, but making sure you have all your poles and stakes is a must. Also, if your tent doesn’t come with a rainfly, make sure to bring one along! This video (4:47) gives a great demonstration of how to set up a tent.

Tarp/Ground cloth: This goes hand-in-hand with the tent you’ll bring. In fact, imagine them as two “sides” of the same item. Thinking of it this way will help you to remember to bring the ground cloth when you’re packing your tent! Also, make absolutely sure the ground cloth is waterproof.

Cot(s): Cots have their pros and cons. They’re comfortable and put space between you and the ground. However, they tend to be bulky and heavy. If you do decide to bring a cot, you’ll likely still want to use a sleeping bag on top of it. You can bring a cot for yourself or your Cub, or you can even bring one for each of you (although, if you’re hiking in, I wouldn’t recommend it 😉 )!

Camp chair(s): Bringing a camp chair can and will improve your camping experience. It’s especially handy when it comes time to cook, as it gives you a comfortable place to sit. And of course, it’s very nice to have at mealtime! Eating alongside the Cubs and parents is an excellent opportunity for bonding, so why not do so in the comfort of your own chair?

Clothesline: If you intend to wash and hang your clothes, then this one is a must. Also, remember that its use isn’t just limited to clothes! It can be used for drying towels and the like too. I’d recommend just getting a long length of chord, and cutting from it when necessary then fusing the ends!

Food: Often, one or two parents are tasked with buying food for the entire pack. If you’ve been given that job, then this list entry is for you! Should any of the Cubs have special dietary needs, you’ll want to purchase foods that accommodate them as well.

Ice chest: This is where all the perishable food goes! Pack it carefully and thoughtfully, and you’ll be able to fit more food in the room you have available. When it comes to packing, space efficiency is key!

Lantern(s): Flashlights are a time-tested and reliable light source, but lanterns have a lot to offer too. They’re listed among the approved chemical-fueled equipment in the Guide to Safe Scouting, so feel free to bring one (or more) along! My troop used propane lanterns, which were super bright — but they also got hot! That said, please make sure to get a lantern that Cubs will be safe around

Extra tent stakes: When it comes to packing certain items, there’s strength in numbers. The tent stake is definitely one such item! You never know when you’ll need some extras. Plus, you’ll be able to offer some up if another parent or Cub Scout is in need!

Extra flashlights: Here’s a list item in the same vein as the last! You’d bring along extra flashlights mainly to help out any parents who end up losing or forgetting their own. It feels good to step in when people are in need, and it can even tighten your bonds with them! 🙂

Extra batteries: These can come in handy both for yourself and other parents in need of fresh batteries. So, I’d highly recommend bringing some along! You can never be too careful, and you can never be too prepared.


Packing may not be your favorite activity as a Cub Scout, but you’ll thank yourself for all your hard work and preparation once you get there. Plus, the process of getting packed is a lot more enjoyable if you keep in mind all the fun times you’ll have with the other Scouts. Trust me, it’s more than worth it! 🙂

Also, thanks so much for dropping by ScoutSmarts! If you enjoyed all of the useful Scouting info we covered here, I’d also recommend checking out any of the following articles if they spark your interest:

I really hope this list helped you out! Camping in the great outdoors is an essential part of any Scout’s journey, so make sure to enjoy it to the fullest. By packing properly and being prepared, whether you’re a Cub Scout or a Cub Scout’s awesome parent, you’ll be all set for a fantastic adventure with your pack!


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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