I am a proud affiliate for many of the products you’ll see below. I’ve used, or have had firsthand experiences with virtually every one of these tools, and I’m confident that they’ll be able to help you or a loved one on their Scouting journey!
If you click my link and subsequently make a purchase, ScoutSmarts will earn a small commission. You pay nothing extra, and are able to support the site; any commissions earned come at no additional cost to you. However, as good as these recommendations are, please do not spend any money on these products unless you truly feel they can help!
PS: I’ll also receive a small commission if you click my Amazon link and purchase a different product (like something you were already planning on buying). This is extremely appreciated, and a completely free way to support ScoutSmarts. 🙂
My #1 Pick For Clothing: Lately, a goal of mine has been to live more sustainably. That’s why in the rare instances I buy clothing, it often comes from Patagonia’s worn wear section. World-class products that are basically like new and priced at a great value? Count me in! Plus, they donate a portion of sales to fund conservation efforts!
Rain Gear For Scouting
Rain Gear I Used as a Scout: As I sit here typing this, I’m actually wearing a Colombia sweater that has to be at least a decade old! Columbia has great gear all around (especially their rain jackets) so I’d highly recommend them if you’re looking for an inexpensive option that’ll last for years.
My Favorite Books As a Scout
Best Leadership Book: How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I first read How To Win Friends and Influence People at age 16, and have revisited it many times since. Personally, what I learned in this book transformed my style of communication and made connecting with people so much easier! I would highly recommend it to any scouts currently in leadership positions or who are hoping to become leaders!
Best Outdoor Adventure Story: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
The book, My Side of the Mountain, was actually my inspiration for joining Scouting! Sam, our protagonist, leaves the big city to live alone in the wilderness. As a scout, you’ll definitely relate to this memorable tale and, hopefully, use it as a reason to enjoy the outdoors even more. I honestly believe that you’ll remember this story for the rest of your life!
To Attach Merit Badges: I personally used Badge Magic adhesive after trying (and failing) to sew on my first patch. Honestly, it’s worth every penny! I found that 2 sheets of Badge Magic can attach every merit badge needed for Eagle, with plenty more patch adhesive to spare.
For Journaling, Meetings, and to Stay Organized: Whether you’re using it at camps or during a patrol leader’s conference, the Hardcover Rite in Rain Notebook is great for journaling and notetaking. I still have my own Rite in Rain notebook after all these years and it’s still going strong, even after countless downpours and flooded tents!
My Favorite Scouting Film (EVER): One of the best films of all time has gotta be Follow Me, Boys! Although it came out waaay back in the 1960’s, this timeless Disney film will make you laugh, cry, and moreso appreciate your Scouting adventure. I’d highly recommend checking it out!
The Ultimate Mess Kit + Pan Combo: The affordable Gonex Nonstick Pan + Mess Kit combo is a game-changer! While I never was able to own one of these myself (my parents already owned a cheap, plastic mess kit 🙁 ) a troop friend had one of these and it was awesome! Being able too cook in your mess kit ensures you’ll always have the best food!
My Most-Recommended Outdoor Cooking Tool: When camp cooking goes south and your patrol’s food turns out pretty gross, a Reliable grill basket can save the day! These are great for cooking over open flames, and can really upgrade your camp eating experience!
My #1 First Aid Kit Pick: This Survival First Aid Kit on Amazon not only provides all of the medical equipment you’ll need, it can also help save your life if you’re stranded in the wilderness!
My Budget First Aid Kit Pick: This 100 Piece First Aid Kit is suitable for quickly treating most small injuries, and is something I keep in my car at all times. It’s an affordable option that’s works great as a backup first aid kit.
My #1 Pick Scouting Backpacks For Camps and Hikes
A comfortable backpack that lasts through your entire Scouting career doesn’t need to break the bank. Personally, I’ve used a backpack that’s almost identical to the High Sierra Appalachian 75L for almost 10 years now, and have had no complaints. The High Sierra is a larger bag designed for multi-day treks but is only 6 lbs when empty, allowing it to be used for day hikes as well.
Although this bag is on the pricier end, its high storage capacity and durability definitely make up for it! Would you rather buy a cheap bad that’ll need replacing in a year, or one that’s slightly more expensive but will last throughout your entire Scouting journey? Personally, I love the bag’s 75L carrying capacity and can confidently say that the High Sierra Appalachian bag is well worth the cost!
The Best Budget Backpack Option
Another great option is the Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack. This is about as inexpensive as reliable camping backpacks get, and practical option for 98% of all Scouting activities.
I must say that while I’ve never used this backpack personally, many friends of mine in Scouting used Teton backpacks and found them to be reliable. The backpack that I’m linking to is the 55L Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame model and will be ideal for most 2-4 day treks and camps.
Both backpacks that I’ve recommended to you have room for hydration bladders, and for good reason: it’s crucial to drink plenty of water throughout any trek. What most people don’t realize though, is that if drinking water is inconvenient, you’ll be less likely to do it! Having a trusty water bladder like the WACOOL 3L Bladder eliminates this problem, allowing you to easily stay hydrated.
Although I wasn’t able to find the bladder that I normally use, if I had to buy another one it would be the WACOOL 3L Bladder with cleaning kit. This product has the highest ratings, and for a 3-liter water bladder that comes with cleaning supplies, the price is unbeatable! For how little it costs, I’d definitely recommend you invest in a water bladder to ensure that you’re hydrated and safe on every trek. 🙂
Hiking poles are a must-have for any scout planning on trekking over 5 miles, especially with a loaded backpack. I personally used a pair of amazing Backcountry Trekking Poles on most of my hikes, but those are pretty heavy-duty and a bit pricey, so I wanted to give you a cheaper option.
Based on their reviews and ratings, I’d recommend most scouts get the Trek Poles made by TrailBuddy. Unless you’re going for a 15-day hike through the Rockies, these poles should be more than enough to relieve your knees and back of unnecessary strain! PS: The backpacks that I’ve recommended also have sections made for storing hiking poles. 🙂
The Lighting Equipment I Personally Use: I’m quite picky about my work equipment, but the Dual EMART Fill Lights far exceeded my expectations! They can be dimmed and brightened to provide just the right amount of lighting for any situation. Plus, the tripods on this model are also especially well-made, which is what sets these lights apart for me!
I just had to include this one last thing… Personally, I love playing Cards Against Humanity. In fact, I’ve spent around $100 on expansion pack to play together with friends! Unfortunately, it’s not exactly the type of ‘family friendly’ game that’d I’d want to play together with my parents.
Luckily, Not Parent Approved is the PG-13 version of Cards Against Humanity that your whole family can play together! This game will be an awesome way for your whole family to pass the time together if you’re looking for a fun game night idea.
On a Final Note About Your Gear…
Although there are even cheaper options for hiking poles (and other gear, in general), I’d highly suggest considering quality, first and foremost. It’s much better to pay the extra $25 for a good set of poles, than to get injured because you put your trust in unreliable equipment.
I hope you found these recommendations helpful! In these picks, I was trying to strike balance between quality, what I’ve had experience with, and cost. If you did decide to purchase any of these recommendations, I want to thank you so much for supporting ScoutSmarts! Until next time, best of luck on your Scouting Journey! 🙂