Equipment for Scout Camps

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Scouting started in 1907 with a camp in England and outdoor activities
are still an important part of Scouting. Depending on the section (Joeys,
Cubs or Scouts), the activity will vary a little in duration and challenge
but the basic requirements are still going to be similar. One of the best
people to advise you is the leader of the section that you are in, but these
pages will provide the basics for a 'standing' camp (a camp staying in the
same place). Please ask your section leader if you have any questions
about these suggestions or things that you might need for special
It would probably be quite expensive if you bought all the items on this
list at one time. It is probably best to borrow from friends for the first
camp and then to gradually buy items as you need them (Sleeping bag
first, sleeping mat second etc). Remember that many camping shops will
give you a discount as a scout if you show your card. There are camping
shops that concentrate on 'car' camping (Rays, Snowy's and lots more)
and others that focus on lightweight gear suitable for hiking (e.g. Scout
Shop, Flinders Camping, Kathmandu and others on Rundle Street).
It is helpful to think of things in terms of what they are going to do, as it
makes for an easy way of checking that everything is packed.
Things to eat with
Food while camping in Scouts is generally varied but most times only a
few utensils are needed to enjoy it. Usually all that is needed is a bowl
(for cereal, soups, casseroles and deserts); a plate (for cooked breakfasts,
grills and roasts); knife, fork and spoon; a mug or cup (for hot and cold

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drinks) and a pair of tea towels to wash up with.
A good choice is enamel plates and cups from disposal stores – they are
cheap, don't damage easily and are robust. Ceramic plates and mugs can
break and while plastics ones don't have this problem some styles are not
strong enough to do good service, or are not good with heat. Disposal
stores also have inexpensive cutlery sets to go with the plates.
All these things go into what's called a dilly bag. This can be a
pillowcase, a shopping bag or something similar. Homemade drawstring
bags are very popular. The basic idea is that the complete set can be left
in a designated place ready for mealtime. Everything should be marked so
the owner can be identified – sometime washing up is done as a group
and with several items that look the same it can get confusing.
Things for sleeping
Accommodation is usually either in a building or in tents, but can vary
depending on the activity. However, like eating utensils, the basics
remain the same. The biggest problem while sleeping on camp is keeping
warm, and the best way of doing this is being well insulated.
Top of the list is a sleeping bag and liner. Although sheets and blankets
can be used, most campers today use a sleeping bag.
Sleeping Bag
A sleeping bag with a hood is preferable as it keeps the head warm at
night. A bag rated to 0 or –5 degrees is adequate for most outdoor camps.
A good camping store should be able to help you with the selection. Bags
from discount department stores may not be warm enough for winter use
although probably be warm enough for sleeping indoors or during
summer. Side zip bags are preferable so that they can be partly unzipped
on warmer nights.

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Most sleeping bags are 'stuff' bags, where they are stuffed into a bag for
transporting rather than rolled up. However, whether rolled or stuffed,
sleeping bags benefit from being taken out of their bag when not being
used so they can loft up. The simplest way is probably to hang them in a
wardrobe between camps and only pack them the day before use. They
should also be aired before being stored, to allow moisture a chance to
Liner (or inner sheet)
The liner is a separate cloth (silk/cotton/linen) bag that goes inside the
sleeping bag and provides extra insulation while helping keep the bag
cleaner. The liner can be washed after use, which saves the need to wash
the sleeping bag preventing the possibility of damage.
Mattresses are important to stop heat escaping through the ground. Blow-
up mattresses aren't recommended because while comfortable, the can
allow heat to be lost to the ground. They also they need a pump to be
inflated. The two options most suitable are self-inflating mattresses and
closed cell foam sleeping rolls. Self-inflating mattresses are more
comfortable and come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Like sleeping
bags, they are best left unrolled and inflated when not being used.
Underneath a bed is a good place to store them. This is because if left
rolled up the cells in them will take longer to inflate when they finally are
unrolled at camp. For this reason it is best to lay out bedding as soon as
possible when camping.
Other Night Time Items
Along with a mattress, a pillow makes life more comfortable. This is not
necessary – some people put a collection of spare clothes in the bag that
their sleeping bag was stuffed in and use that. A normal household pillow
will do although it can be bulky, or there are camp pillows at some
camping shops that can be used.
A blanket can be used to provide extra warmth, either with a sleeping bag
or by itself. There is a tradition in scouts of sewing badges onto a blanket
especially for camp use. There are probably some examples that people in
your section can show you. Remember to put some of the blanket
underneath you so that you get added insulation underneath as well as on
One part of being comfortable at night is the right sleepwear. Certainly
the clothes worn during the day should not be worn. Pyjamas are fine, or
thermal underwear (long johns) are also good for warmth. Thick socks

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can be worn, but they must be clean and not yet worn – if there is any
moisture in them (such as sweat), they will soon make your feet cold.
A couple of other things that are useful for nighttime use: a pair of thongs
or (better still) sandals for trips to the toilet (easier and quicker to use than
shoes). Thongs are also good for avoiding things like athlete's foot in
A torch – there are two main styles used today. One is a conventional
torch and the other is a headlamp. The headlamps are good as the wearer
has both hands free, while the conventional style is usually more
powerful and cheaper. Both types have their advantages, but a
conventional torch is probably better to start with. A headlamp type can
be added to your kit later if necessary. If they take rechargeable batteries,
make sure they are charged. Depending on how long you will be
camping, spare batteries are sometimes advisable. Torches that require
shaking, squeezing or other ways to generate electricity are not as
convenient and should be considered carefully – perhaps as a back up for

a battery powered torch. Chemical light sticks are sometimes taken on
camp, and while there is nothing wrong with these, they are expensive
and can't be turned off once activated so are perhaps not the best things to
Toiletries Bag
The other thing for the list is a toiletry bag. This is a small bag (preferably
waterproof) with toothpaste, toothbrush, a hairbrush or comb, possibly
shampoo, soap (in a container) and any other necessary items. A towel is
also advisable – large if shower or bathing facilities are available,
otherwise a handtowel is usually big enough.
Please do not bring aerosol cans as the can can be knocked and will
discharge the contents inside your bag or tent. If you need to bring a
mosquito repellent (or deodorant) a roll-on is more convenient and takes
less space.

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Things to wear during the day
Weather will play a large part in what to take to wear during the day, as
will the types of activities that happen on the camp. For long camps it
may even be necessary to take washing powder and pegs so that laundry
can be done part way through.
As a minimum, a complete change of clothes is required, with extra
underwear and socks as necessary. For most camps, two changes are
probably better. Remember that during wet weather there is rarely space
to hang things up to dry.
For wet weather, rubber boots are good but if there is walking involved
these can cause blisters. Elastic sided boots can also cause problems if
they don't fit well. The best things for walking are lace up shoes or boots.
Sandals are acceptable for wearing around camp, but shoes should be
worn when engaged in planned activities. Sandals don't offer any
protection against things being dropped on your foot (for example, knives
when cooking) or when walking, stabbing your foot with a stick. Gaiters
are useful when used with boots or walking shoes for keeping grass seeds
Hats are necessary for either keeping the sun off and/or keeping the head
warm. A broad brim hat is good for daytime wear with a beanie for early
morning or eveningwear. If necessary a beanie can be used to keep your
head warm while sleeping too (especially if your sleeping bag has no
Good raingear is essential. It needs to be able to withstand heavy rain for
at least ½ an hour, which nylon parkas don't. Plastic ponchos are
available which are cheap and give basic protection. Gore-Tex outers and
oilskin coats are good, but expensive. For growing scouts, plastic
raincoats are probably a good option. Getting a size or two larger is a
good idea so that there is room for a small daypack underneath the coat.
Remember that the legs need to be protected too, so some over trousers
may be necessary unless the coat is a good length.
During warm and sunny weather, shorts are tempting, but remember that
sun protection is needed. Sunscreen is a necessity. If there are swimming
facilities on camp, then swimwear can be taken (your leader should
advise if this is necessary).
During cold weather, the emphasis is on keeping warm. Jeans are poor
insulators, so if it is cold things like thick track pants are better for
keeping warm. Layers of clothing are better so that they trap the air and
keep you warm. At one stage, overalls (long sleeve) were popular for

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adding an extra layer, especially at night. Beanies are good, as are gloves.
Balaclavas are also good for warmth.
On most camps at least a short walk will be taken. It is usual to put things
for these trips in a daypack. It should be large enough to hold raingear, a
small first aid kit, food (if required) and water. How much water will
depend on the length of walk and the weather, but a 600ml bottle would
only be suitable for a short walk (1 to 2km) on a mild day. Hotter days
and longer walks will need more. Only specially made water bottles
should be carried in packs. Most bottles will leak and so are best carried
on outside a pack. Cheap (but perfectly good) water bottles are available
from disposal stores. Hydration packs are a possibility, but are expensive
and for normal scouting activities can be a bit of a gimmick.
Day packs come in all shapes and sizes. Cheaper ones are available
through discount department stores. The main difference between these
and more expensive ones is that the more expensive ones are more
durable, are better built and also usually have more features (pockets,
securing straps and so on). Daypacks are one of those items where
borrowing is a good way of getting by until you establish your own
personal preferences for types and styles of gear.

Things not to bring
There are some things that shouldn't be brought on camp (unless
specifically instructed by a leader). This is usually either because the
items are dangerous or are provided as part of the camp. At the leader's
discretion if these things are found on camp they may be taken away until
the end of the camp. The items in question include things like –

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• Tents. Usually the group will provide these if needed, and it is better
  to avoid potential damage to private belongings. It is also easier for
  others to help put a tent up if they are familiar with its type.
• Toys, games (including sports equipment) and electronic devices. Any
  equipment necessary for the camp is usually supplied. Damage to
  private belongings is an issue, as well as possibly distracting people
  when they should be doing other things.
• Knives (other than table knives used for eating). These are a safety
  issue. The group will either supply them or individuals will be asked
  specifically to bring them.
• Matches and other flammable substances. Again a safety issue. The
  group will either supply them or individuals will be asked specifically
  to bring them. Modern synthetic materials as used in tents and
  sleeping gear is usually highly inflammable, and naked flames are
  very dangerous.
• Aerosol cans should not be brought , partly because the gas propellant
  in most of them is a fire hazard and partly because you might knock it
  and discharge the contents inside your bag or tent. Please use roll-on
  mosquito repellent (or deodorant but most scouts don't bother for short
• Sweets, lollies and other food. Scout camps are generally fully catered
  including these sorts of things. To ensure proper meals are eaten,
  between meal snacks are usually not allowed unless for medical
  reasons. If there is a special occasion (such as a birthday)
  arrangements can be made with leaders for cakes or other things to be
  included as part of the camp menu.
• Personal comfort items such as hot water bottles (unless required on
  medical grounds). These items use resources that may be in limited
  supply on a camp (especially if everyone has one) and so they are
  normally discouraged unless absolutely necessary.
As a reminder, if you have a medical condition that either requires special
consideration or some form of medication, your section leader should
know about it and it should be listed on the camp permission form.
Depending on the medication it may be appropriate for the leader to hold
it for safe keeping, rather than trust that it won't get damaged, lost or
misused if left with person it is meant for. This should be discussed with
the leader.

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