Earning Tenderfoot Rank⚜️: A Scout’s Ultimate Guide in 2024

Earning the Tenderfoot rank is the first real obstacle in a Scout’s journey to Eagle. To complete the 11 requirements standing between you and your new rank, you’ll need to learn about camping, personal fitness, first aid, citizenship, and more! While this might seem like a lot, these skills will serve as the foundation you’ll be using throughout your Scouting journey. And I’m here to help! 🙂

In this guide, I’ll be helping you to learn the skills you’ll need to complete your Tenderfoot requirements and rank up. Remember, this information should serve as your starting point. Keep practicing what you learn, and be sure to ask your Scoutmaster or the other Scouts for help if you ever need a hand.

Personally, when I was a Tenderfoot Scout, at first everything seemed new and overwhelming. However, by completing the requirements one at a time, I eventually built an understanding of the Scouting method and even went on to earn Eagle! If I did it, you definitely can too!

First, take a minute to thoroughly read through each of the requirements you’ll need to complete to earn Tenderfoot. Then, I’ll be reviewing the answers to each question with you so you can learn the material and rank up. Enough said — let’s get started!

What Are The Tenderfoot Rank Requirements?

    a. Present yourself to your leader prepared for an overnight camping trip. Show the personal and camping gear you will use. Show the right way to pack and carry it.
    b. Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout. Sleep in a tent you have helped pitch.
    c. Tell how you practiced the Outdoor Code on a campout or outing.
    a. On the campout, assist in preparing one of the meals. Tell why it is important for each patrol member to share in meal preparation and cleanup.
    b. While on a campout, demonstrate the appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve, and eat a meal.
    c. Explain the importance of eating together as a patrol.
  3. TOOLS
    a. Demonstrate a practical use of the square knot.
    b. Demonstrate a practical use of two half-hitches.
    c. Demonstrate a practical use of the taut line hitch.
    d. Demonstrate proper care, sharpening, and use of the knife, saw, and ax. Describe when each should be used.
    a. Show first aid for the following:
    —Simple cuts and scrapes
    —Blisters on the hand and foot
    —Minor (thermal/heat) burns or scalds (superficial, or first degree)
    —Bites or stings of insects or ticks
    —Venomous snakebite
    —Frostbite and sunburn
    b. Describe common poisonous or hazardous plants, identify any that grow in your local area or campsite location. Tell how to treat for exposure to them.
    c. Tell what you can do on a campout or other outdoor activity to prevent or reduce the occurrence of injuries or exposure listed in Tenderfoot requirements 4a and 4b.
    d. Assemble a personal first-aid kit to carry with you on future campouts and hikes. Tell how each item in the kit would be used.
    a. Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Use the buddy system while on a troop or patrol outing.
    b. Explain what to do if you become lost on a hike or campout.
    c. Explain the rules of safe hiking, both on the highway and cross-country, during the day and at night.
    a. Record your best in the following tests:
    —Pushups________(Record the number done correctly in 60 seconds)
    —Situps or curl-ups________(Record the number done correctly in 60 seconds)
    —Back-saver sit-and-reach________(Record the distance stretched)
    —1 mile walk/run________(Record the time)
    b. Develop and describe a plan for improvement in each of the activities listed in Tenderfoot requirement 6a. Keep track of your activity for at least 30 days.
    c. Show improvement (of any degree) in each activity listed in Tenderfoot requirement 6a after practicing for 30 days.
    —Pushups________(Record the number done correctly in 60 seconds)
    —Situps or curl-ups________(Record the number done correctly in 60 seconds)
    —Back-saver sit-and-reach________(Record the distance stretched)
    —1 mile walk/run________(Record the time)
    a. Demonstrate how to display, raise, lower, and fold the U.S. flag.
    b. Participate in a total of one hour of service in one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. Explain how your service to others relates to the Scout slogan and Scout motto.
    a. Describe the steps in Scouting’s Teaching EDGE method. Use the Teaching EDGE method to teach another person how to tie the square knot.
    a. Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived four different points of the Scout Law in your everyday life.
  10. While working toward Tenderfoot rank, and after completing Scout rank requirement 7, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.
  11. Successfully complete your board of review for the Tenderfoot rank.


1a) Present yourself to your leader prepared for an overnight camping trip. Show the personal and camping gear you will use. Show the right way to pack and carry it.

Being well-prepared for a campout is my #1 tip for having a great time! In either the Camping or Tenderfoot section of your BSA handbook (It’s in the Camping section of mine) you can find a gear checklist and backpack loading section that’ll outline the best methods to pack for camp.

I’d highly recommend keeping your BSA handbook on hand while actually preparing for your first few campouts. Right now though, I’ll give you a quick summary of everything you should know before your first camp, along with some bonus tips I’ve learned from personal experience!

What Gear Should I Bring To A BSA Camp?

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering what gear to pack for a Scouting camp is the duration of your trip. Typically, I try to bring two more pairs of socks and one more pair of underwear than the number of days I plan to be camping.

Keep in mind, you might also need to hike some distance to reach your campsite. Pack lightly whenever possible, and bring good shoes. I made the mistake of wearing Vans to my first campout — never making that mistake again! If you don’t already have a good pair of shoes picked out, I’d recommend checking out my Scouting shoe-selection guide.

Now here’s a list of the items you’ll be needing during your campout. Double-check that you bring each of these things along, or you might not be able to complete requirements during camp. Practically every Scout packs the following items on overnight campouts:

  • A-Frame Backpack
  • BSA Uniform
  • Proper Scouting Shoes
  • Rain Cover For Backpack
  • Sleeping Bag + Bedding
  • Ground Tarp/Cloth
  • Toiletries kit + Toilet Paper
  • Mess Kit
  • Rain Gear
  • Sun Protection
  • A Map + Compass
  • Extra Clothes
  • First-aid Kit
  • Towel
  • Water bottle + Water
  • Flashlight
  • Trail Food
  • Pocket Knife + Chit
  • BSA Handbook
  • Fire starter + Chit
  • Entertainment
  • Extra Trash Bags

The list I’ve included above contains the base, BSA-recommended necessities of what a Scout should pack for a single or multi-day campout. To see my detailed list of camp gear and fun extras to bring along to Scouting camps, plus some useful tips, check out my ultimate camp packing list for Scouts!

It’ll also be a good idea to speak with your patrol leader or Scoutmaster beforehand to learn about the temperature, terrain, and conditions expected at the campgrounds. Learning about other’s past experiences at the campsite will help you to choose the right gear when packing. A Scout is always prepared!

Packing Your Backpack

Here’s a tip you may not have head: Store things in waterproof bags before putting them in your backpack! My 11-year-old self, unfortunately, didn’t do this during his first camp, but you can avoid getting your belongings soaked too.

After learning the importance of keeping things dry, I started using gallon bags to store related groups of items in my camp backpack. I had 2 bags for clean and dirty clothes, as well as a Scouting bag for my handbook, knives, and firestarter. This method kept my belongings safe and also helped me to become more organized! Here are a few other packing tips I live by:

  • Put the items you’ll need soonest towards the top of your bag (like rain gear or your water bottle) and items you won’t need until later towards the bottom (like your sleeping bag).
  • Bring some good snacks to trade with the other Scouts, in case you forget something important (or just to eat, yourself 🙂 )
  • Keep your bag balanced and pack your heavier items closer towards the middle section to make them easier to carry.
  • Keep your soft items (like clothes or towels) flat against the straps-side of your pack to cushion your back while walking.
  • Leave an easily-accessible, large garbage bag in your backpack. This is useful for many things, and can serve as an improvised rain cover.

While there’s a lot more to say on the topic of camp packing, my best advice is to not stress too much over trying to make everything perfect. On my first few campouts, I forgot a few essentials and needed to borrow things like toilet paper from the other Scouts. I survived, and you will too!

After your campout, just note the things you wish you had packed, and add them to your backpack for next time. Soon, you’ll be packing for camp like a pro, and never forget a thing!

1b) Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout. Sleep in a tent you have helped pitch.

You should now be 98% prepared to attend your very first Scouting camp! While I’ve covered most of the important info in my earlier tips, you can also watch this in-depth video (6:18) if you want a visual walkthrough of how best to pack your camping backpack:

Now that you know what gear to bring along and how to properly pack your backpack, you’re ready to spend at least a few nights on a troop campout! In my experience, camping gets more fun the more you do it. Keep practicing the skills you’re learning, and I’m sure you’ll have a blast too. 🙂

1c) Tell how you practiced the Outdoor Code on a campout or outing.

As an American, I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation-minded.

The Outdoor Code

The Outdoor Code represents a Scout’s promise to protect our natural environment. By practicing the Outdoor Code during campouts, outings, and throughout your everyday life, you’re doing your part to keep the earth sustainable for future generations!

There are many ways to practice the Outdoor Code while camping. Some of the environmentally friendly practices your troop is most likely already doing include:

  • Leaving your campsite cleaner than you found it.
  • Correctly using fire buckets.
  • Never burning plastic, as this creates toxic fumes.
  • Filling in any holes you’ve created.
  • Donating old gear instead of throwing it out.

These tips are just the beginning! As you progress in Scouting, you’ll learn that protecting our environment is an important part of the BSA way. For more than 20 other awesome ideas to be more sustainable within your troop, check out my complete list of ways to practice the Outdoor Code!


2a) On the campout, assist in preparing one of the meals. Tell why it is important for each patrol member to share in meal preparation and cleanup.

Scouting is where I first learned the basics of cooking — and where you will too. By working with your patrol to cook meals, you’ll learn planning skills, teamwork, and get to eat some really tasty food as well!

Why is it important for each patrol member to share in meal preparation and cleanup?

In a well-functioning team, everyone has a role. The same is true of your patrol! Imagine that one of the Scouts in your patrol wants to do their own thing: they didn’t help with preparation or clean up, but every meal they still ate a ton of food. That wouldn’t make you too happy, right?

In my experience, a patrol works together best, and is happiest, when everyone is eager to help out. If the responsibilities of a meal are divided equally amongst your patrol members, you’ll all improve your cooperation skills, and be able to enjoy a stress-free meal together, afterward!

You might have heard the saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” When everyone in a patrol works together, they’re able to produce better results and grow closer together. Therefore, try to include everyone in the work, and volunteer to help out, whenever possible.

2b) While on a campout, demonstrate the appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve, and eat a meal.

It’s important to keep your camp dishes sanitized, as dirty dishes can cause illness and attract wild animals. When cleaning your cooking utensils, make sure to take extra care around sharp or hot objects! I’d recommend washing your cooking knives before placing any other dishes into your soapy wash buckets

The 3-Bucket Scouting Method For Washing Dishes

Even your dishwashing should also follow the Outdoor Code guidelines. Try to avoid wasting water, getting chemicals into the forest, and spreading food scraps around. For a quick lesson on how to properly clean your dishes during a camp, watch the following short video (1:21).

This video should’ve served as a good refresher to the three-bucket method. Remember, always wash the sharps (knives) first and strain the food particles out of your dishwater after each washing. If every Scout washes their own plate using this method, the dishwashing process can become quick, environmentally friendly, and easy!

Proper Waste Disposal While Camping

After doing your dishes, you’ll also need to know what to do with your trash! Impress your Scoutmaster by bringing up some of the important points below. These will help your patrol to keep your campsite clean and safe:

  • Avoid leaving or burying food waste (this attracts animals).
  • Properly sanitize cooking utensils using the 3-bucket-method.
  • Keep the campsite free of food waste and cleaning chemicals.
  • Don’t waste too much water.
  • Strain and dispose of used dishwater using the official BSA method (detailed below)

To dispose of dirty dishwater, according to the official BSA Leave No Trace guidelines, you should: 

Strain dishwater through a small strainer or bandana. Put the food particles in a sealable plastic bag and pack them out. Spread the strained dishwater over a wide area at least 200 feet from the nearest water source, campsite, or trail. Scattering dishwater in a sunny area will cause the water to evaporate quickly, causing minimal impact.

Dispose of the strained food waste in a sealed trash bag. Throw this bag, along with any other garbage you may have, in a designated dumpster after you’ve arrived back from the camp. Helping conserve out planet is that easy! 🙂

2c) Explain the importance of eating together as a patrol.

Whether you’re eating lunch with friends in the school cafeteria, having dinner with your parents, or going out for food on a first date, meals help to bring people closer together. Your patrol is no different!

When I was a Scout, I really enjoyed being a part of some patrols, and kind of disliked being part of others. I’m sure most Scouts can relate to this. The difference between the patrols I loved, and those I just tolerated, was how close I felt with my fellow patrol members. Eating meals together helps to make a patrol closer!

Here’s a tip: Eat slowly and talk with your patrol members — even the ones you don’t immediately get along with. After everyone’s pitched in to cook an awesome meal, eating together is the best way to bask in your accomplishment and to make new friends!


3a) Demonstrate a practical use of the square knot.
3b) Demonstrate a practical use of two half-hitches.
3c) Demonstrate a practical use of the taut line hitch.

To demonstrate a practical use for the square knot, two half-hitches, and taut-line hitch, you’ll need to first know how to tie them. Check out my quick video (2:12) below for a detailed walkthrough of each knot.

Square Knot: 0:04 Two Half-hitches: 0:37 Taut-line Hitch: 1:17

Know how to tie them now? Great! Here are some of these ways that these useful knots can help you out during a campout, hike, or Scouting event.

  • Square Knot: Great for closing garbage bags, attaching ropes to your bag (to be untied later), and using a rope as a belt. This knot is so easy to tie and it’ll work for most rope-joining purposes.
  • Two Half-hitches: Used to tie a rope to a post. Two half-hitches aren’t adjustable, so this knot is great for clotheslines, hanging a rope across the top of your tent, or attaching a rope to a ring. Keep in mind, this knot shouldn’t be used to secure heavy loads.
  • Taut-line Hitch: Like the Two Half-hitches knot, the Taut-line hitch is a loop knot. However, it’s also adjustable! This makes the taught-line hitch great for securing tent lines, changing the length of a permanent line, or tying down loose objects.
3d) Demonstrate proper care, sharpening, and use of the knife, saw, and ax. Describe when each should be used.

You’ll need to earn your Totin’ chip before handling knives, saws, axes, or any other woods tools. After you’ve earned yours, the next step is to learn how to properly care for these items. These tools can get expensive, but regular maintenance will lengthen their lifespans and help you to get much more good use out of them!

It’s best to learn how to handle dangerous tools under qualified supervision. I’d recommend working with a Scoutmaster when you actually try these methods out for the first time. In the meantime, watch the video (9:30) below where Scouter Rob has done a fantastic job detailing the proper handling, care, and use of sharp tools.


4a) Show first aid for the following:
—Simple cuts and scrapes
—Blisters on the hand and foot
—Minor (thermal/heat) burns or scalds (superficial, or first degree)
—Bites or stings of insects or ticks
—Venomous snakebite
—Frostbite and sunburn

The first aid treatments you’ll need to learn to earn the Tenderfoot rank are particularly useful for injuries occurring during hikes and campouts. I’d recommend keeping your first aid kit on hand while learning the following first-aid methods, and identifying which tools you’d use for each instance. This knowledge will improve your confidence and prepare you for the most common emergencies!

Simple Cuts and Scrapes

Cuts and scrapes carry a high risk of infection, so always be sure to thoroughly clean your hands before administering first aid. In the case of a larger wound, you’ll want to prevent further bleeding by applying pressure to the wound and not removing any of the applied bandages.

If the cut or scrape is minor, clean the wound with water and wash around the affected area with soap. Avoid putting soap directly into the wound! After cleaning the area, apply some antibiotic ointment and a bandage over the injury. If the wound is deep, you should also consider getting a tetanus shot, as deep cuts and scrapes have the potential to become infected.

Blisters on the Hand and Foot

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 and can be filled with pus, water, or even blood.

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 the area from 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.

Minor (Thermal/Heat) Burns or Scalds (Superficial, or First Degree)

First degree burns can come from briefly touching a stove, hot iron, or boiling water. A sunburn is also considered a type of first-degree burn. These burns are quite minor and only damage the top layer of skin. However, the affected area will appear red and may be sensitive to touch for the next week.

For minor burns taking up relatively little space on the body, treatment should be done by cooling the affected area. Apply a wet compress until the pain subsides. Afterward, bandage the burn with sterile gauze, apply aloe vera lotion, and wrap the area loosely so as not to put pressure on the injured skin. Afterward, continue to protect the area from sun exposure.

Bites or Stings From Insects

In most cases, an insect sting or bite will not be severe. To treat these wounds, wash the area with soap and water. You can also take an antihistamine (like Benadryl) to reduce itching. However, for some people with allergies, stings and bites can trigger anaphylactic reactions that have the potential to be deadly.

Especially in the case of bee stings, be ready to call emergency services if the victim has difficulty breathing, facial swelling, nausea, a feeling of faintness, or a rapid heartbeat. They may be allergic. If possible, use their EpiPen on them. If there is no EpiPen available, they can also be temporarily treated with an antihistamine like Benadryl.

Tick Bites

Ticks are small parasites that burrow into your skin. If you find a tick on your body, you should 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 rubbing 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.

Venomous Snakebites

Fortunately, 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 in the first place, watch your step in tall brush and never provoke the wildlife.


Nosebleeds can be caused by nose picking, a strong impact to the face, extended exposure to dry air, and infection. In the case of a broken nose or sinus infection, inform an adult and seek proper medical care.

However, no serious medical care is required for most nosebleeds. To treat a minor nosebleed, follow the procedures below:

  1. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward: As you’ve already learned, you should elevate wounds above the heart to prevent blood loss. The same is true of nosebleeds. Sitting up straight will slow the bleeding.
  2. Lightly pinch your nose between your thumb and forefinger, just below the bridge: While doing this, remain tilted slightly forward and breathe from your mouth. Applying pressure on your nose will help the nasal wall to stop bleeding.
  3. Wait: After 10-20 minutes, your nose should have stopped bleeding. However, the wound could reopen. Avoid sneezing, strenuous exercise, and bending down for a few hours. If your nose begins to bleed again, repeat steps 1 and 2. Speak with an adult if your nosebleed lasts longer than 3 hours.

It was common advice a few decades ago to lean your head back when treating a nosebleed. However, I looked this up and it’s no longer recommended, as tilting your head back causes blood to run down your throat and could lead to nausea and other stomach issues.


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. Try not to wrap the affected area in anything, as this could cause some of the tissue to be killed off.

A better way to warm a frostbitten area is by running it under cool water, then, slowly increasing the water temperature as the injury defrosts.


Sunburns are caused by prolonged sun exposure. The affected areas will become sensitive to touch, appear red, and may blister. To avoid sunburns, always apply sunscreen SPF 30 or higher when outdoors, and try to avoid being in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. When swimming, make sure that your sunblock is water-resistant, and try to reapply it every hour.

To treat a sunburn, you can cool the skin with a damp towel or apply a soothing aloe vera lotion. Remember to keep the victim hydrated, and have them refrain from picking at the burn, should it begin peeling later on. Sunburns should take no longer than 2 weeks to heal.


Choking occurs when an object becomes lodged in a victim’s windpipe and blocks their airflow. If the person who’s choking is still able to cough, weakly breathe, or speak, encourage them to cough up the object. This means that they are still getting some air into their lungs. You can help them by using your palm to hit the top of their back in steady blows to help them cough.

To respond to a choking emergency, imagine a torso as a bag of air. You’re basically trying to abruptly squeeze that air out of the victim’s windpipe. The quick burst of air pressure will dislodge the choking hazard and allow the victim to breathe.

However, if a choking victim cannot speak, cough, or breathe, you’ll need to take immediate action. To respond to a choking emergency, perform the Heimlich maneuver:

  1. Ask the victim if they’re choking. If they can’t respond, proceed to step two. If they’re able to weakly respond and breathe, use your palm to hit the top of their back. This will help them to cough and dislodge the object.
  2. Stand behind the person and let them know you’re about to help. 
  3. Make a fist with one hand and place that fist on the person’s abdomen (right above their belly button). Reach around the choking person and grab your closed fist.
  4. Quickly pull your arms inwards and upwards in one sharp motion. This should force air up and out their windpipe. Repeat this motion until an object flies from their mouth.
  5. Check if they’re able to breathe. If they still have objects in their windpipe preventing air flow, continue the Heimlich maneuver until they are able to breathe on their own.
  6. If the victim loses consciousness, instruct someone else to call 911. Continue working to clear the person’s airway.

Choking can easily be prevented. Here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid choking emergencies in the future. Food is the most common cause of choking. Eating too quickly or not chewing your food will greatly raise your likelihood of choking. 

If you find yourself choking, try to keep calm and gesture to your throat. If no one is around to help, be aware that it’s possible to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself.

To perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself: Lean over a rounded object or chair. Position the head of the object into your abdomen, and push down forcefully. Reposition after every 3 blows to push the most air possible out of your windpipe. Repeat until the object is dislodged.

To Be Continued…

I hope you’ve been finding my guide to the Tenderfoot rank helpful! I’m currently working on this post alongside a few other projects, so it’ll take some time to finish. (Update, it’s finished 😀 ) Thanks so much for your understanding and patience!

PS – Great work making it halfway through your Tenderfoot rank!! I truly hope my explanations have helped you a ton. For many Scouts though, one of the best ways to ensure continued progress in Scouting is through a clear strategy, along with effective planning, continued tracking, and friendly accountability.

That’s why I created an in-depth course, Your TrailMap To Eagle! In it, you’ll learn my best methods for staying organized, ranking up insanely fast, and making the most out of Scouting — while still maintaining a healthy school-life balance.

So, if you’re wondering if my program is right for you, check it out today!

If you’d like me to notify you the moment I finish this post, sign up with the form I’ve included below. Through my weekly newsletter, I’ll also be sharing with you Scouting tips and helpful articles like The 3 Easiest Merit Badges you could earn in a day and my Eagle Merit Badge Difficulty Rankings! Don’t miss out. 🙂

Update: Ready to move on to requirement 4b for the Tenderfoot rank? Click here!

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    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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