January 22, 2017

Scout Outdoor Essentials


They’re called “essentials” for a reason. Every packing list starts with these 10 items.

1. A pocketknife or multitool can be handy in a wide variety of situations. It’s useful for tasks as large as building an emergency shelter or lighting a campfire with poor fuel, or as small as repairing a damaged backpack. Keep you knife sharp and clean, and don’t forget to first earn your Whittling Chip (for older Cub Scouts) or Totin’ Chip (for Boy Scouts).

2. A first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally. A few items will allow you to treat scratches, blisters and other minor injuries. They should also allow you to provide initial care while waiting for help for more serious injuries.

3. Bring extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are better than a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.

4. Rain gear is very important. Rain can come in a hurry, and getting your clothes drenched is more than just uncomfortable, it can lead to hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.

5. A flashlight, headlamp or a rugged penlight is important for finding your way in the dark. Bring extra batteries, too.

6. Trail food is good for maintaining your energy. Bring more than you think you’ll need in case you get stuck (or lost) in the woods.

7. Water can prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Use a lightweight, unbreakable container with a secure lid.

8. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help. Store matches or lighters in resealable plastic bags.

9. Sun protection might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.

10. A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry in case you get lost.


Here are some hygiene items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Soap
  • Comb
  • Waterless hand cleaner
  • Small towel
  • Washcloth
  • Toilet paper
  • Trowel for digging cathole latrines


Here are some cooking and eating items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:
  • Large plastic cereal bowl or kitchen storage bowl
  • Spoon
  • Cup or insulated mug
  • Water treatment system
  • Backpacking stove with fuel
  • Large pot and lid (2.5- or 3-quart size)
  • Small pot and lid (1.5- or 2-quart size)
  • Lightweight frying pan (10 to 12 inches in diameter)
  • For melting snow, add 1 large pot and lid (6 to 10 quarts)
  • Hot-pot tongs


Here are some extras you may want to pack, depending on the outing:
  • Watch
  • Camera
  • Notebook
  • Pen or pencil
  • Sunglasses
  • Small musical instrument
  • Swimsuit
  • Gloves
  • Whistle
  • Nylon cord
  • Insect repellent
  • Repair kit
  • Hiking stick or trekking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing gear
  • Animal identification books, plant keys, geological studies, star charts or other guides

January 21, 2017

Winter Camping Equipment List

Winter Camping Equipment List

Note on Uniforms: When participating in the Klondike Derby or other winter camping events, Scouts must wear their class A uniform when departing on the trip and during the competition.  Event organizers have been known to check on this.  

Note on Clothing:  Scouts should dress in layers to keep warm; this includes socks.  Layers of clothing next to the skin must be changed at least daily (socks twice daily) because sweat makes them wet, and boys with wet clothing can quickly get chilled.  Cotton is not appropriate for underclothing, socks, and shirts because when wet it provides no insulation at all.  All clothing (and all personal gear) should be labeled with boy’s name.    

As always, Scouts should pack their own gear (with parental supervision) so they know what they have and where everything is.  Here is a checklist for a winter weekend camping trip.  

  • Class A Uniform (including at least shirt, neckerchief & slide; hat and pants are optional)
  • Hat that covers ears (e.g. balaclava) or hat with earmuffs
  • Insulated gloves (2 pairs in case one gets wet or lost), waterproof or water resistant
  • Heavy jacket or parka, waterproof or water resistant
  • Socks, 4 pairs, non-cotton; wool or smart wool worn over sock liners
  • Sock liners, 2 pair (silk and/or polypropylene) (wear under wool outer socks)
  • Thermal Underwear, 2 pairs, non-cotton
  • Waterproof boots or rubber overshoes (required)
  • Long sleeve turtle neck shirts, non-cotton
  • Heavy sweater or sweatshirt
  • Pants, 2 pairs, non-cotton (ski clothing works great here)
  • Sleepwear (jogging suit or similar, stocking cap)
  • Poncho or other raingear
  • Personal wash kit (washcloth, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb)
  • Water bottle or canteen
  • Mess kit and silverware
  • Daypack to carry stuff in during the competition
  • Sleeping bag (rated 5 degrees or less), or 2 sleeping bags can be used one inside the other.
  • Sleeping bag liner or a wool or fleece blanket can be used inside the sleeping bag
  • Ground pad or other closed cell insulator (required)
  • Boy Scout Handbook for those on the Trail to First Class
  • Flashlight with working batteries, extra batteries, spare bulbs

Optional Gear

  • Watch
  • Compass and whistle
  • Matches (preferably in waterproof container) IF boy has Fireman’s Chit
  • Pillowcase-optional (can be stuffed with clothing to make pillow)
  • Personal first aid kid
  • Chap stick and/or lotion
  • Sun screen

Electronics Merit Badge

Electronics is the science that controls the behavior of electrons so that some type of useful function is performed. Today, electronics is a fast-changing and exciting field.


  1. Describe the safety precautions you must exercise when using, building, altering, or repairing electronic devices.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Draw a simple schematic diagram. It must show resistors, capacitors, and transistors or integrated circuits. Use the correct symbols. Label all parts.
    2. Tell the purpose of each part.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Show the right way to solder and desolder.
    2. Show how to avoid heat damage to electronic components.
    3. Tell about the function of a printed circuit board. Tell what precautions should be observed when soldering printed circuit boards.
  4. Discuss each of the following with your merit badge counselor, and then choose ONE of the following and build a circuit to show the techniques used:
    1. Tell how you can use electronics for a control purpose, and then build a control device circuit.
    2. Tell about the basic principles of digital techniques, and then build a digital circuit. Show how to change three decimal numbers into binary numbers and three binary numbers into decimal numbers.
    3. Tell about three audio applications of electronics, and then build an audio circuit.
Show how to read the schematic diagram of the project you chose and, to the best of your ability, explain to your counselor how the circuit you built operates.

  1. Do the following:
    1. Show how to solve a simple problem involving current, voltage, and resistance using Ohm’s law.
    2. Tell about the need for and the use of test equipment in electronics. Name three types of test equipment. Tell how they operate.
  2. Find out about three career opportunities in electronics that interest you. Discuss with and explain to your counselor what training and education are needed for each position.