Scout Camp Planning: Schedules, Activities, And Gear⚜️


Weekend campouts are one of the troop activities that practically every scout loves. During these camps, members of Scouts BSA often participate in fun, action-packed activities like hiking, swimming, outdoor cooking, campfires, patrol challenges, and more!

In this article, I’ll be giving you a full overview (along with some tips) so that you’ll be extra-prepared to have an amazing Scout campout with your troop! As an Eagle Scout who’s gone on countless campouts with my own troop, I know camp planning like the back of my hand. 😉

How do you plan a weekend Scouting Camp? Typically, Scout campouts run from Friday night to Sunday morning and are planned 2-3 troop meetings prior to the event. Scouts meet in their patrols beforehand to decide on the camp menu, duty roster, and activities.

So, what should every scout (or parent) know when it comes to getting ready for a troop campout? If that’s what you’re wondering, great question! There are 3 main things that every scout should be prepared with before departing on any camping adventure:

  1. A pack stocked with the Essential Items For A BSA Campout (Troops often supply a few of these).
  2. A timeline/agenda of what you’ll be doing, along with a camp Duty Roster.
  3. An understanding of each activity you’re planning, along with the necessary tools to make it happen.

Below, I’ll be helping you ace points 2 and 3 by giving you an example weekend camp itinerary and explaining each activity. Plus, I’ll also share with you my best tips for having the perfect Scout campout! For gear packing tips, check out my Ultimate Scout Camp Packing Guide. 🙂

If you plan for it correctly, camping with your troop can be one of the most exciting and memorable parts of Scouting. My goal with this article is to help you to be ready to have an awesome time at your next campout! Now, enough said. Let’s jump into your typical camp schedule!

A Typical Weekend Scout Campout Agenda

Having a clear schedule for your campouts will help every scout to be organized and prepared. Before we get into the details though, I’d encourage you to watch part of the video (16:52) below to see an awesome troop campout for yourself!

While my troop was a bit different from the one above, and every troop has its own unique way of holding campouts, understanding the basic components of a successful weekend camping trip will surely help your plans to run more smoothly!

Now that you know how much fun a troop campout can be, take a minute to thoroughly read through the example weekend camping schedule below:

Friday 

EventTime
Arrive at campsite No later than 6:30 pm 
Set up Camp/Unload Gear/Set up Dining Fly, Tarps, and Tents/Set up Fire Pit6:30 pm – 8:00 pm 
Dinner/Cracker Barrel (snacks that can be made with a fire) 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm 
Cleanup/Free Time9:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Lights Out/Beginning of Quiet Hours10:30 pm

Saturday 

Event Time 
Wake-Up/End of Quiet Hours/Flag Raising and Lowering8:00 am – 9:00 am 
Patrol Breakfast 9:00 am – 10:00 am 
Breakfast Clean-up10:00 am – 10:30 am 
Morning Troop Activities 10:30 am – 12:00 pm 
Lunch 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm 
Lunch Clean-up 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm 
Afternoon Troop Activities 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm 
Free Time 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 
Dinner5:30 pm – 7:00 pm 
Dinner Clean-up 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm 
Special Activities (ex: retiring a flag, fire-building, stargazing, etc.)7:30 pm – 9:00 pm 
Final Campfire/Scoutmaster’s Minute9:00 pm – 10:00 pm 
Free Time10:00 pm – 11:00 pm 
Lights Out/Beginning of Quiet Hours11:00 pm 

Sunday

EventTime
Wake-Up/End of Quiet Hours7:00 am – 7:45 am
Breakfast7:45 am – 8:30 am
Breakfast Clean-up8:30 am – 9:00 am
Breakdown Camp9:00 am – 10:30 am
Final Campsite Clean-up10:30 am – 11:00 am 
Leave Camp11:00 am 

Preparing For Your Scout Campout

Now that you know what a weekend troop campout agenda looks like, it’s time for more tips and details! Below, I’ll be providing a quick description of each activity I’ve outlined above. Closely read through each section and, by the time you’re finished, you’ll be a troop camping expert! 😀

Friday’s Camp Schedule

EventTime
Arrive at campsite No later than 6:30 pm 

As mentioned earlier, you and your troop should be trying to arrive at your campsite before sunset. Having available light will make the camp setup much easier and more leisurely. Arrival times could vary though, depending on the camp’s distance and your schedules.

In my troop, we’d first all meet at the storage container where our gear was held, usually around 4:30 or 5. After splitting the equipment, having the patrols fall in, and setting up rides, we were good to go! Make sure you have everything and everyone accounted for when arriving — before it gets too dark.

EventTime
Set up Camp/Unload Gear/Set up Dining Fly, Tarps, and Tents/Set up Fire Pit 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm 

When you get to camp, you should immediately begin setting up for the weekend. Time is of the essence! This means putting up a dining fly, along with tables, chairs, lanterns, and stoves. Then, pitching up the tents you’ll be sleeping in, and preparing your fire pit as well.

Protip for Setting up Camp: When setting up main elements like the cooking area or fire pit, assign these tasks to groups of 2-3 scouts. By delegating work and ensuring that everyone is doing something, you can be sure your campsite will be set up much faster!

EventTime
Dinner/Cracker barrel (snacks that can be made with a fire) 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm 

Some of the best things about camping are the awesome campfire snacks you can make! Some troops call this time cracker barrel, where you all the scouts gather around the fire to share campfire snacks such as hot dogs, popcorn, and smores!

Friday Cooking Tip: Instead of a cracker barrel, you could also simply prepare patrol meals. I’d recommend selecting something quick and easy for your first meal, like hotdogs, hamburgers, or spaghetti, as you likely won’t have as much time available after setup.

Regardless of what you choose, these first camp dinners are a great time to hang out with your fellow scouts and take a break after all that work getting set up. These were always one of my favorite parts of a campout, so I hope you enjoy it too! 🙂

EventTime
Cleanup/Free Time9:00 pm – 10:30 pm

During any campout, your troop should have a few hours of unstructured time set aside for scouts to hang out with each other. Free time is there for scouts to relax, talk, try fun Troop camping activities, explore their environment (when safe), do activities like fishing or knot tying, and so much more!

Scouting Free-Time Tip: If you’d like to be a great leader in your troop, try to help everyone feel included during free times. In my troop, playing cards or telling stories were some of my favorite ways to spend this time, and I’d always try to get other scouts involved and having fun!

Although it’s important that you learn about Scouting-related topics, you should also be sure to build friendships with your fellow scouts. Free times are perfect opportunities for this! Whether you’re playing cards, talking, or participating in fun Scout camping activities, aim to become better friends with those around you. 🙂

EventTime
Lights Out/Beginning of Quiet Hours10:30 pm 

After a certain time, usually between 10-12, all scouts and leaders are expected to follow quiet hours. This means keeping conversations to a hushed talking tone and lowering the noise out of respect for those trying to sleep. Honestly, some of my life’s best conversations happened during scout quiet hours!

Saturday’s Camp Schedule

Event Time 
Wake-Up/End of Quiet Hours/Flag Raising and Lowering8:00 am – 9:00 am 

Sometime early in the morning, scouts and leaders will be expected to wake up and start preparing for the day. During wake-up time, you’ll wash up, brush your teeth, possibly fall in with your patrol, and ensure your fellow scouts are awake.

After that, many troops hold a BSA Flag Ceremony in the mornings (at least, we always did in my troop!) with a lashed flagpole constructed by a few older scouts. For info on how to do this, check out my ultimate guide in the link!

Event Time 
Patrol Breakfast 9:00 am – 10:00 am 

The best way to start the day is with a delicious, nutritious breakfast! During camp, breakfast usually consists of easy-to-cook items like bacon, eggs, potatoes, sausage, fruit, toast (cooked on a pan, naturally), and anything else like that.

Camp Breakfast Tip: Scrambled eggs and sausage/bacon along with some fruit like bananas or cuties are, from my own experience, the easiest and most filling camp breakfast to make. You could also consider making a large pot of oatmeal and putting things like chocolate, apples, and other toppings in it.

Your troop may choose to do something a bit more elaborate, such as breakfast burritos or breakfast sandwiches, but usually, camp breakfast is a quick meal that doesn’t require too much work. So, leave your quiche and eggs benedict recipes at home! 😉

Event Time 
Breakfast Clean-up10:00 am – 10:30 am 

After every meal, there’s a clean-up period where a few scouts on the duty roster wash any dishes, cooking utensils, and pans used to prepare the food. I’d suggest soaking your pots and pans while you eat so that the food residue comes off easier!

Scouting Duty Roster Tip: Ensure that each scout in your patrol has at least 1 cooking and clean-up slot on your duty roster. Also, try your best to pair them with scouts they might not normally work with. This is how new friendships are built, bringing a patrol closer!

You can check out my other article to learn how to make outstanding Troop Duty Rosters.

There are several ways to wash your dishes while camping, but the most common wash method is to set up a three-station wash line: A soap & water station, a rinse station, and a disinfectant station. This method also helps you to save water, which is good for the planet!

Event Time 
Morning Troop Activities 10:30 am – 12:00 pm 

After breakfast, you’ll likely get into some of the structured activities your troop had previously planned for the weekend. Some of the (many) troop activities that scouts do at camp include:

  • Campsite Restoration Service Projects
  • Hiking
  • Knot Tying and Lashing Practice
  • Learn how to start a fire with just a flint and steel
  • Fishing
  • Work on Easy Merit Badges
  • Swimming
  • Compete In Patrol Games and Scavenger Hunts
  • So Much More!

Having planned activities also gives scouts an opportunity to socialize with troopmates outside of their patrols, which is another great way to encourage friendship-building! Remember, your imagination is the only limit when suggesting awesome troop activities for your next campout. 😀

Event Time 
Lunch 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm 
Lunch Clean-up 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm 

Now it’s lunchtime! Like breakfasts, camp lunches are also often not super complicated to make. In my troop, we’d often go with sandwiches, along with fruits and chips on the side. However, I’d encourage you to feed your troop even better — maybe prepare a pan-fried chicken and salad! 

Camp Cooking Tip: When it comes to preparing great food on campouts, nothing beats the experience you’ll gain from earning your Cooking merit badge. Completing Cooking will teach you about food safety, nutrition, and even different prep techniques. You can check out my guide (linked earlier) if you’d like a briefer!

Lunchtime cleanup is essentially handled in the same way as breakfast cleanup. A few patrols members use the 3 bucket method to ensure that all mess kits and cooking utensils are squeaky clean! During this time, the rest of the patrol typically relaxes or works on requirements.

Event Time 
Afternoon Troop Activities 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm 

After lunch, your troop will probably launch into its second set of activities. Usually, afternoon activities are different from the morning ones so that the scouts have the opportunity to experience as many outdoor experiences as possible! 🙂

Camp Activity Tip: In my troop, I noticed that we often did 2 types of activities: educational activities and physical activities. I’d recommend choosing one educational activity, like merit badge work or knot-tying practice, and one physical activity, like a Scout skill relay race!

Also, keep in mind that the two activity slots and lunch can be combined into one. For instance, if your troop loves hiking and wants to go on a 10-mile trek, you’ll most likely be having lunch on the trail and wrapping things up in the afternoon. Because of this, feel free to change this schedule to fit your preference!

Event Time 
Free Time 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

Any good campout has ample periods of free time for scouts to relax or get requirements signed off! Usually, you’ll have a second free time on Saturday afternoon, leading up to dinner. Make sure to use it wisely and start ranking up!

Camp Free-Time Tip: During free times, I’d always have a few requirements set aside to work on with a Scoutmaster. I’d say that definitely helped on my journey to Eagle, and was one of my best strategies for quick rank advancement. To learn my other strategies, check out the linked article!

You can also use your free time to work on merit badges, play games with other scouts, explore the surrounding areas with a buddy, read a book, or even just take a short nap. Free time is truly your time, so enjoy it however you’d like!

Event Time 
Dinner5:30 pm – 7:00 pm 

Most scouts can continue their free time until just before dinner, but the chefs from each patrol should start preparing their meals a little early — usually at least an hour before it’s actually time to sit down and eat. These camp diners are always a real treat!

Saturday Evening Camp Dinner Tip: If your troop doesn’t go all-out on these meals, you should really convince them to give it a try. Since you have quite a bit of time to cook Saturday dinners, you’ll be able to make some incredible (and surprisingly simple) dutch oven recipes!

If you need a reliable Dutch oven to get started, I’d recommend trying the Overmont Camping Dutch Oven (Amazon referral link) or something similar, as it’s the right size for camp cooking, heats evenly, and is extremely durable. For amazing meals, you should also check out my article on the Best Scout Camp Cooking Tips!

Event Time 
Dinner Clean-up 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm 

Dinner clean-up is pretty much like every other clean-up that’s happened, except there are usually a lot more dishes! I’d recommend setting up 2 wash stations if you have more dishes that need washing. Also, be sure to soak the pots and pans while your patrol eats, for an easier clean-up process.

Event Time 
Special Activities (like retiring a flag, fire-building competitions, stargazing, etc.)7:30 pm – 9:00 pm 

Some troops may choose to hold special activities at night, such as retiring an American flag, stargazing, holding a PLC meeting that every scout can attend, and more. These activities are often great chances to make fun, lasting memories with your troop! 🙂

Event Time 
Final Campfire/Scoutmaster’s Minute9:00 pm – 10:00 pm 

These final campfires were always one of my favorite parts of any campout! During this campfire, we’d make smores, perform Hilarious Patrol Skits, tell jokes, recite scary stories, and simply enjoy each other’s company. The entire program would typically be planned by one or two older scouts.

Before all that happened though, our Scoutmaster would almost always deliver an Impactful Scoutmaster Minute to help inspire us all to become better scouts, leaders, and citizens. Sometimes, the older scouts would even share wisdom from their own lives!

Event Time 
Free Time10:00 pm – 11:00 pm 

After the main campfire program is over, scouts usually have some free time before lights out. During this time, we’d often sit around the campfire and talk, or go to each other’s tents and play cards. Our evening free time was almost always spent relaxing and not working on badge requirements.

Here’s a video (5:34) explaining how to play our all-time favorite card game (we called it Egyptian War though):

Event Time 
Lights Out/Beginning of Quiet Hours11:00 pm 

Lights out begins after the last free time period. Usually, scouts are pretty tired from a full day of activities, so many go to sleep right away. Sometimes though, my friends and I would stay up whispering for hours, as we knew we could sleep once we got home the next morning. Such good times! 🙂

Sunday’s Camp Schedule

EventTime
Wake-Up/End of Quiet Hours7:00 am – 7:45 am

Sunday morning typically signals the end of a great Scout camp. To be prepared to get going on time, scouts should wake up early, quickly get ready, and begin breaking down their tents. The schedule I outline here is a bit slow, so feel free to get going faster if your troop is up for it!

EventTime
Breakfast7:45 am – 8:30 am 

On Sundays, a more simple breakfast is usually served to save time and simplify the clean-up process. Dishes like oatmeal or pre-made muffins were what we typically ate so that we could begin the breakdown of camp as early as possible. The earlier you get going, the more of your Sunday you have left to enjoy!

EventTime
Breakfast Clean-up8:30 am – 9:00 am

Usually, there isn’t too much time needed to clean up a Sunday Scout breakfast so, in my troop, each patrol member washed their mess kit individually. We also made sure to locate and put any trash around the campsites into the trash bags we had tied to the dining fly.

EventTime
Breakdown Camp9:00 am – 10:30 am

In most cases, breaking down camp will take quite a while as equipment will need to be dismantled, organized, and packed into the vehicles. By the end of this, all tents and tarps, along with the entire kitchen area should be packed and ready to bring home.

Camp Breakdown Tip: Having solid leadership is especially helpful for making a camp breakdown go smoothly. By having your SPL delegate certain parts of the camp breakdown process to each patrol, I promise that you’ll save a ton of time!

You can also prepare for the camp breakdown process even before Sunday morning! By making sure that everything is organized, kept clean, and accounted for throughout the whole camp, you’ll have a much easier time getting everything ready to store in the cars when the time comes. That’s preparedness for ya!

EventTime
Final Campsite Clean-up10:30 am – 11:00 am 

The final campsite cleanup involves picking up any trash, burnt firewood, or any other foreign objects in the campsite area. As the Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace principles state, “Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!”

Campsite Cleanup Tip: During clean-up n my troop, we would all stand in a line on one end of our campsite and slowly walk across with our eyes pointed downwards, picking up any trash we saw along the way. This method was super effective for getting everything!

After we crossed, our SPL would look around for any trash we had missed. If they found anything, we’d repeat the process. This kept going until there was no trash to be found. Talk about leaving no trace!

Cleaning up is an incredibly important part of the breakdown process, as you don’t want the campsite to become a dump. Out of respect for future campers and the beautiful slice of nature you made your home for the last few days, make sure your cleanup is thorough!

EventTime
Leave Camp11:00 am 


Once everything is packed up, all the scouts are accounted for, and you’ve finished falling in one last time, it’s time to depart from the campsite with your troop. Hope you had a fun-filled weekend! Congrats, you just finished a successful Scout camp! 😀

After-Camp Tip: If it rained during the campout and your tents are wet, in my troop the scouts with available yard space would take a tent home to rinse off and then pitch in the shade for a few hours to dry off. They also counted the poles and stakes, which helped ensure our gear was ready for next time!

Once you return home, you should make sure you haven’t forgotten any of the belongings you brought. If so, simply let your troop know online, or during your next meeting. Here are some other things to take care of after a scout camp:

  • Look over your rank requirements and take note of whether you can get anything signed off from the campout.
  • Make sure to remove any opened food from your backpack to avoid attracting bugs.
  • Replenish any parts of your first aid you used during the camp.
  • Start a load of laundry right away! Often, camp clothes get smellier the longer they’re left out. :O
  • If your flashlight is rechargeable, charge it.
  • Make sure your backpack is completely dry before storing it.
  • Make sure your sleeping bag and mat are also completely dry. I’d wash my sleeping bag every other camp, if dry.
  • Clean your knife/mess kit/additional equipment if it’s still grimy or oily. It’s hard to wash well during camp!

Conclusion 

While your first camping weekend may feel a bit overwhelming, trust me when I tell you that the more troop campouts you attend, the easier (and more fun!) it’ll get. Soon, you’ll be 100% prepared for anything and ready to outdoors with your fellow scouts and scout leaders! 

Going on camping trips is one of the best times you can have as a scout, so I encourage you to attend as many as you can! Once you know what to pack for camp, how to schedule your time, and what to do for each activity, you can even begin to step up as a leader in your troop!

Now that you’re practically a pro at planning troop campouts, you might be interested in earning your Eagle-required Camping merit badge. Now that one’s a lot of fun! In completing it, you’ll learn survival skills, camping tips, and more! You can check out my ultimate guide through the link above.

Great work making it to the end of this article! I hope the work I’ve put into writing this has helped prepare you for plenty of fun-filled campouts ahead. See you back here at ScoutSmarts again soon and, until next time, best of luck on your Scouting journey! 😀

Cole

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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